What Is Polar Pattern? Types Of Polar Patterns

Polar patterns are an important specification in microphones. Most people assume that the polar pattern indicates which direction a microphone picks up sounds from.

A polar pattern is a function of how the directional response of a microphone changes with frequency. Also, there are some different polar patterns. Polar Pattern Microphone is a term that refers to the orientation of a microphone’s directional response pattern.

In this article, we will go over these polar patterns and their types of polar pattern microphones. So, you can easily choose a pattern for your requirement.

What Is Polar Pattern ?

The polar pattern is a term that refers to the orientation of a microphone’s directional response pattern.

“This means that sound waves are detected by the microphone at different levels depending on their angle relative to the mic’s diaphragm.

Because it tells us what sounds will be affected by the directional pattern of a microphone. Also, it helps to reduce noise and feedback when in live applications.

Check out: What Is Gain On a Microphone?

Types Of Polar Pattern Microphone

There are some different polar patterns microphones.

A Cardioid Polar Pattern

A cardioid polar pattern is the most common type of microphone polar pattern. It is the standard pattern on most microphones. One of the main reasons it is so popular is because it points directly to the sound source while rejecting sounds coming from the rear. The -3dB points of a cardioid microphone are at 90 degrees.

A Super-Cardioid Polar Pattern

A super-cardioid polar pattern is very much like the cardioid pattern but has a smaller rear lobe. It is more directional than a cardioid and has good resistance to feedback. It has a -6dB point of around 100 degrees and can reduce background noise with good separation.

A Hyper-Cardioid Polar Pattern

A hyper-cardioid polar pattern is like the super-cardioid but has even better noise rejection. It rejects more off-axis sounds than a super-cardioid and is good for live performances. It has a -6dB point of around 110 degrees.

An Omnidirectional Polar Pattern

An omnidirectional polar pattern is the perfect polar pattern for recording ensembles, orchestras, choirs, etc. It is completely spherical and picks up sounds from all directions equally. Therefore, it needs to be used in a large room with a high ceiling and good feedback resistance. The -3dB points of an omnidirectional microphone are at 180 degrees.

A Bidirectional Polar Pattern

A bidirectional polar pattern is the perfect polar pattern for recording duets, chamber music, etc. It has equal sensitivity from front and back, so it needs to be used in a small-medium room. In addition, this polar pattern has good resistance to feedback. The -3dB points of a bidirectional microphone are at 90 degrees.

Polar Pattern Of a Dynamic Microphone

The polar pattern of dynamic microphones is different from other types of microphones. For example, a dynamic microphone has a cardioid polar pattern. It rejects sounds coming from the rear and helps with feedback in live applications. There are other dynamic microphones with different polar patterns, but the cardioid is the most common.

The Polar Pattern Of Shotgun Mics

Shotgun mics have different polar patterns, but the most common is hyper-cardioid. It has a long slender body that is pointed at the sound source. As a result, it has very good gain before feedback and can be used in live applications with good results.

The Polar Pattern Of Laser Mics

Laser microphones have different polar patterns, but the most common is the super-cardioid. It is made of two laser beams that record the reflections of the sound. It needs to be pointed directly at the sound source and has no proximity effect.

What Is The Figure-8 Polar Pattern?

The figure-8 polar pattern is the standard polar pattern for ribbon microphones. It is a bidirectional polar pattern that is perfect for recording vocals or an instrument solo. It has the same sensitivity from the front and back, so it needs to be used in a small-medium room. In addition, it has good resistance to feedback and high SPLs.

What Polar Pattern Is Best For Vocals?

The best polar pattern for vocal recording is a super-cardioid or a hyper-cardioid. A super-cardioid has good resistance to feedback and can reduce background noise.

A hyper-cardioid has better resistance to feedback and can reject more background noise from a given distance from the source. They both have a -6dB point at 100 degrees.

We recommend using a microphone with a super-cardioid polar pattern.

What Polar Pattern Is Best For The Instrumentals?

The best polar pattern for instrumental recording is bidirectional. It has the same sensitivity from the front and back, so it needs to be used in a small-medium room. In addition, it has good resistance to feedback and high SPLs.

We recommend using a microphone with a bidirectional polar pattern.

Why bidirectional? The reason is it has the same sensitivity from the front and back. No other microphone has this feature. 

Conclusion

We hope you understand what a polar pattern is and the different polar patterns.

Now, you know what polar pattern is best for vocal recording, what polar pattern is best for the instrumentals, etc.

If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a remark below. I hope this post was useful!
Until then, check out some of my other articles as well:
What is a Microphone Preamp? Comprehensive Guide
What is a Condenser Microphone?
What Does A Pop Filter Do?
What is a dynamic microphone? Working, Advantages & Disadvantages
What Is an Audio Interface? [Detailed Guide]

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