Understanding Microphone Polar Patterns
Hunter From Bad Racket Recording Studio in Cleveland, Ohio talks about how microphones pick up sound as well as how we use them in the studio.
Microphone polar patterns is how the microphone picks up sound and in what directions. They includes cardioid, Omni-directional Figure-8. Cardioid or uni-directional mics pick up sound from one direction only and is by far the most common type of mic. There’s some moody music in the background of this video. Stay tuned for all our new videos on our youtube channels! Cool beans!
Hi I’m hunter from Bad Racket recording studios. today were going to talk about the different microphones that are found in the studio. One thing to consider when picking a microphone
The first example and most commonly found is cardioid. Cardioid. One of the most commonly found microphones in the studio is the Shure SM57 This micr is cardiod it picks-up from the front rejects from the rearband a bit from the sides You’re gonna wanna point this and if you had like for example cymbals you wanna point this at the back toward the cymbals
so you you have rejection. Thats taking advantage
another property of a cardiod microphone is the proximity effect. When you get closer to a source the bass responce is indreased.
So if you wanted to have more bass in your sound move the mic closer
Hyper cardiod and supercardiod
these are more focused versions of cardiod and often have a little bit of acceptance from the rear and the sides are more rejected and its more of a focused in teh front.
the akg C414 for example does have a hypercardiod setting This allows you to have a more focused sound.
a good place to use hyper of supercardiod would be a rack tom or a floor tom and you could position it so that the
rejection points are pointing toward your cymbals.
The neumann u87 has an omni directional setting. It’s very useful for capturing room sound or if you wanna have more ambience. Used on acoustic guitar is what i like to use it on.
more ambience in your recording. used on acoustic guitar. it can be very versatile another polar pattern is bi-directional or figure 8 the is cascade fat head is a good example of this
not quite as much as omni It’s good for capturing like a room tone again and anything you want a little ambience with
Theres for major types. Theres more. But we’re just gonna focus on the ones that are mainly used in the studio
Dynamic small diaphragm condensers and ribbons
The first type of microphone i’m going to talk about the dynamic microphone most popular found in the studio found on the live stage. It’s very widely used.
A good example again the Shure SM57 also the 58. Hundred dollars. Can’t go wrong with this mic.
induction coil and magnetic field. this creates a very small amount of electricity. this is a standard dynamic microphone Other ones you might find
like a 421 it’s the sennheiser 421 or the RE20 or Beta 52s They have a. It’s a large diaphragm dynamic it picks up a lower frequency. Dynamic microphones have a high SPL rating so they’re good for capturing loud sources like a drum or a high powered guitar amp.
less sensitive than like say a condenser mic so they’re good for shaping your sound.
when choosing a dynamic microphone theres all kinds of things you want to consider you can find charts online just
look at the frequency response
you can find charts online
just try it out
theres no rules throw it on there, and if it sounds good its good.
another type of microphone is a condenser microphone
otherwise known as a capacitor microphone
it works off of 48 volts of phantom power
this is different from dynamics because you must have an external source of power to supply the microphone.
Condenser microphones are often used for vocals or something that need good details like a drum overhead. they contain more high frequency information
theres a few things to consider when selecting a condenser microphone. One very large thing to look at is whether or not it has
one or two diaphragms in it. Sterling ST55 only has one.
we can only get a cardoid pattern out of it
things like the 414 and the u87 they have 2 diaphragms right next to each other one facing out either way.
that allows you to do your figure 8 or your omni. And The mic will have a switch on it somewhere to let you selet these different patterns
another thing to think about is a large diaphragm would be things like a pad, which is an attenuator which attenuates the signal where it becomes lower. You can turn that down so you’re not clipping your preamp on the way in
another thing to look at is frequency roll offs where you can cut the low frequencies like below 100 hertz would be cut out because you dont really need that
depending on how your style is
anotehr type of condenser microphone
other than the fact that is very obviously smaller with the smaller diaphragm
it takes less air to move the element so they become more sensitve than the large diaphragm
a good example is a CAD e70=, ive used this mic on like a high hat. sometimes acoustic guitars
Even using them in XY or many different stereo configurations for the small diaphragm condenser you wanna look for the same thing, pads, you’re cpmma wanna be able to cut that sound rolloffs and frequency cuts in different types of pencil condensor
a ribbon mic is, its a small piece of alliuminum that has a magnet arond when air moves that small piece of aluminum
a good example would be cascade fat head a rolloff in the high end
they pickup a pretty slow transient. Its good for like guitars and
ribbon mics are all figure 8. Theres no other way to change the polar pattern if you have a source behimnd
so now you know a little about microphones
they can help you make a good judgment about
guidelines, but there’s no hard and fast rules,
this is hunter from Bad Racket