Pickup Patterns Microphones can be designed to be sensitive to sounds from given directions while they reject sounds from others. The directional characteristics, or pickup patterns, are defined by noting the direction from which a microphone is optimally sensitive to sound waves. The most common patterns are omnidirectional, cardioid, hyper or super cardioid, and bi-directional.
Omnidirectional Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound from all directions equally - with a slight preference for sounds coming from the direction in which they are pointed. Omni-directional microphones are typically used for recording and group pick-up.
Cardioid Cardioid microphones have a heart-shaped pickup pattern and are sensitive to sounds predominantly from the front of the microphone diaphragm. They love sound from the direction in which they are pointed and reject sound coming from the sides and rear.
Hyper or super cardioid Hyper or super cardioid microphones are even more directionally sensitive. They are sensitive to sound coming from one direction, and are typically used for sound reinforcement for one or two people.
Bi-directional Bi-directional microphones are Sensitive to sounds from the sides 180 degrees apart, while rejecting sound from all other directions
Shotgun Microphones Shotgun mics have a narrow range that can pull in sound from a distance in one direction. When you can’t get right up to the subject and want to block sound from all other directions
Identifying a MicrophonesPickup Pattern A manufacturer will often provide a polar pattern of a microphone, which plots the sensitivity of a given microphone based on its sensitivity to specific frequencies coming from all directions.
Identifying a MicrophonesPickup Pattern Many mics have an icon on the side which indicates the type of pickup pattern.