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Here we will simplify the most commonly used microphone types and characteristics.


All microphone have a pattern of sound that they have been designed to pickup.

This pattern is how the microphone "hears" sound.


Different patterns have different advantages. This gives the recording engineer a more diverse way to Capture music and sound.


Omni directional


The Omni directional Mic picks up sound from all directions. Also called the omni microphone, they tend to get used mostly as ambiance Mic's where getting a broad sound of the room is desirable. These Mic's also have a very accurate and flat audio response for acoustic instruments and are excellent for over head microphone techniques. These Mic's are not used often on a live stage because they have a tendency to feedback rather easily.

Directional Mic's


A directional Mic is one that is not designed to pick up sound from all directions. They are primarily designed to pickup sound directly in front of the microphone. Sounds that strike the Mic at its most sensitive spot are on-axis; sounds from any other direction are off-axis. Directional Mic's are prone to the proximity effect which means they will not sound as good when the source is outside there intended area. These Mic's have a frequency response that is not as accurate as an omni Mic.






Cardiod Mic's are very commonly used in the studio. They pickup the sound on-axis. This means they have a tendency to pick up what is directly in front of them. Sound that is directly behind them will be much more ignored. This can give a good amount of separation in the studio when recording more then one instrument.



Super cardioid


Microphones with this pattern tend to be used often in a live recording environment. This Mic will not pickup sound that is to the side of the capsule. It can pick up some sound that is 180 degrees from the front of the capsule.


Hyper cardioid


A Hyper cardioid Mic has a similar pattern to a Super cardioid but will pick up even less sound that is not directly in front of it.

This is good for a vocalist who is performing live because these Mic are less likely to cause feedback.