Microphone Polar Patterns Introduction to Music Production Week 1
Let’s beginHello class,My name is Arjun Nair, from Mumbai, India. I’m going to be attempting totake you through a specific aspect of Microphones which interest me, viz.Polar PatternsHere’s what we’re going to try and cover in this lesson:• What do we mean by Polar Patterns for a Microphone?• What are the different types of patterns that exist? Types, Uses and Examples.• Basics to keep in mind while choosing between Polar patterns for your MicrophoneThis lesson will be more useful if you’ve covered Microphone as aTransducer, and Microphone types available at the following link (https://class.coursera.org/musicproduction-001/lecture/19)
What are polar patterns? The polar pattern of a microphone refers how well it “hears” sound from different directions. It refers to what areas of the Microphone are sensitive to the sound pressure directed at it well and what areas reject it. Every Microphone can be designed with any type of pattern These polar patterns can be represented diagrammatically
What are the different types of Polar Patterns?We will look at three main patterns in theirfollowing aspects:• What (How the Microphone will hear the sound)• What are the possible uses/advantages of such a Polar Pattern in a Microphone?• An example of a microphone designed with such a polar pattern
What are the different types of Polar Patterns? Three broad Polar patterns we will look at: • Omnidirectional • Bi – Directional • Unidirectional • Cardioid, SuperCardiod, HyperCardiod
OmnidirectionalWhat :• With this Polar pattern, the Microphone picks up sound equally well from all directions. The Mic picks up everything within the given space.Uses: When the Microphone needs to pick up ambient sound• When the Microphone is used in an environment where sound sources are moving (since it’s not practical to have a mic move with these sound sources ;) )
Bi – DirectionalWhat:• As the name suggests, with this Polar pattern, the Microphone picks up sound equally best in two directions -- in front of and behind the mic -- and rejects sounds to the sides• Also known as ‘Figure 8’ pattern
Bi – DirectionalUses:• This is useful in recording Dual sources simultaneously• Creatively used in recordings also because of the areas that Do NOT pick up sound.
Bi – DirectionalExample:• Ribbon Microphones • Blue Microphones - Woodpecker Active Ribbon Microphone
CardiodWhat: With this Polar pattern, the Microphone picks up sound best in front of the mic and Partly rejects sounds approaching the sides or rear of the mic. Cardiod mics reject sound best toward the rear. The pattern resembles the shape of a human heart, and hence the name
SuperCardiodWhat: With this Polar pattern, the Microphone picks up sound best in front of the mic. It partly rejects sounds approaching the sides or rear of the mic. It has a "Tighter" or more narrow pickup than cardioid.
HyperCardiodWhat: With this Polar pattern again, the Microphone picks up sound best in front of the mic. It partially rejects sounds approaching the sides or rear of the mic. It has a "Tighter" or more narrow pickup than SuperCardioid.
Differentiation• Primarily differentiated based on not just the pick up, but what it rejectsCardiod SuperCardiod Hypercardiod• Picks up maximum • Narrower pickup • Narrower pickup towards the front than Cardiod than SuperCardiod• Offers maximum • Also has some rear • Also has more rear rejection (null) at pickup pickup than the rear of the SuperCardiod microphone.
Uses for UniDirectional• Cardiod • Used for live sound, for vocals for instance, since it picks up concentrated sound and eliminates ambient sound like the stage monitors. Supercardioid Good for stage-floor miking More isolation than a cardioid Less reverb pickup than a cardioid Hypercardioid Maximum side rejection in a unidirectional mic Maximum isolation--maximum rejection of reverberation, leakage, feedback, and background noise
Concluding TipsA few things to keep in Mind while choosing between polar patterns:• Most microphones boost the bass when used up close. That adds a warm, full tone quality. Microphones with an omnidirectional polar pattern do not have proximity effect.• Choose an omni if you want the most natural sound and dont mind about sound being picked up from all around, like recording crowd reactions in a stadium.• Choose any directional mic if you want to reject sounds from certain directions, or if you want a bass boost for a nearby source, such as a vocalist. A cardioid will be a good all-round choice.• Choose a Supercardioid mic if you want a tighter focus than a SuperCardioid• Choose a hypercardioid mic if you want a tighter focus than a SuperCardioid.• Choose a figure-of-eight if you want to reject sound sources coming from the sides, or if you want to use a two mics for stereo.