sound, it's often important to know which sounds a microphone
is going to pick up. If you put the mike
between the guitar
player and the flautist
, will you hear one or both? Which way should it be aimed? Polar pattern
is used to describe a microphone's angular
sensitivity. Most mikes have a symbol for one of the several standard patterns printed somewhere on the handle, so you can tell at a glance while setting up how it can be used. Some have switchable patterns, which is convenient and extra-nice if you can't afford a lot of different mikes.
The most common types of polar
Omnidirectional -- picks up equally well in all directions. Usually indicated by a circle.
Cardioid -- picks up in front of the mike and to the sides, not sensitive behind the mike. Indicated by a gentle heart shape.
Hyper-Cardioid -- picks up the front and a little on the sides. Usually sensitive to a narrow angle in the back, too. Indicated by a more sharply indented heart.
Figure 8 -- picks up in front of and behind the microphone, but not to the sides. Indicated by (you guessed it) a figure 8.
*For the purposes of this node, the back of the microphone shall be the part that one would plug in on a non-cordless mike. The sides are perpendicular and surrounding angles to the microphone's length. The front is the part into which chatty people would more likely be inclined to talk.