Overview of Microphones Microphones come in a variety of fl avors. They are referenced primarily by their “ pickup pattern. ” Much like a loudspeaker has a coverage pattern, so does a microphone. There are fi ve basic patterns categories for microphones, and these are referred to as “ polar patterns. ” You will seem them listed as Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Super-Cardioid, Hyper-Cardioid, and Bidirectional.

Like reading a speaker coverage pattern, polar patterns can be intimidating until you realize what you are looking at. Often times, a manufacturer will give you readings at various frequencies. For most of your work you will suffi ce knowing the basics. As you advance, you can really gain from knowing the individual frequency response of your specifi c microphone as it pertains to vocalists of different ranges, monitor placement, and more! The illustrations in this section are meant as a reference. I fi nd it helpful to imagine the pickup pattern of a microphone as if it were a fl ashlight. Wherever the fi eld of vision would be illuminated is where the sound will be picked up. With a fl ashlight, if the beam does not illuminate something, it’s not seen. Likewise, with a microphone pickup pattern, if the sound is not within that pattern, it’s most likely not heard. Knowing where a microphone does not pick up sound is often just as important (sometimes more so) than knowing where it does pick up sound.