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About the direction of the microphone. Microphone directivity

By the angle of sound pickup or directivity, we mean the zone of the possible location of the source of the sound signal, inside of which there is no significant loss in microphone efficiency.

The direction of the microphone is the sensitivity of the microphone to sound, depending on the direction or angle from which the sound comes.

Microphones use several directivity characteristics. Usually they are depicted in the form of polar diagrams, in order to graphically display the sensitivity variations in the 360 ​​degree zone around the microphone, taking the microphone as the center of the circle, and putting the reference point of the angle in front of the microphone.

The radiation pattern shows the dependence of the sensitivity of the microphone to the sound signal on the location of its source.

By direction, there are three main types of microphones:

omnidirectional microphones
unidirectional microphones
bidirectional microphones

Omnidirectional microphone

The omnidirectional microphone has the same output level in any direction. It covers all degrees. An omnidirectional microphone picks up the maximum amount of spatial sounds. When used during a concert, the omnidirectional microphone should be located very close to the sound source. In addition, you can rotate the omnidirectional microphone away from unnecessary sound sources such as portals, which can cause wind-up.

About Microphone Directionality (Microphone Directionality)
Omnidirectional microphone

The omnidirectional microphone is sensitive to signals coming from all directions.

About Microphone Directionality (Microphone Directionality)
Hemispherical microphone

A hemispherical microphone is sensitive only to signals coming from one hemisphere of the surrounding world. Microphones with edge effect (PZM) have this orientation.

dependence on room acoustics: do not cut off the echo;
do not provide acoustic isolation, except at a small distance from the sound source to the microphone;
low sensitivity to breathing sounds;
almost no “proximity effect”;
extended low frequencies for condenser microphones, which is very useful when working with an organ, bass drum and symphony orchestra;

Unidirectional microphone

A unidirectional microphone, or “directional”, is sensitive to sound coming from one direction, and less sensitive to others. A typical picture for such microphones is a cardioid characteristic (a kind of heart-shaped diagram). The highest sensitivity, in this case, is achieved in the direction along the microphone axis, and the smallest in the opposite direction. The effective angle of the cardioid microphone is 130 degrees.

Microphones with the directions described below are referred to as so-called or “unidirectional” microphones.

About Microphone Directionality (Microphone Directionality)
Cardioid Microphone

As can be seen from the figure, a microphone with a cardioid radiation pattern is indifferent to the sound coming from behind.

About Microphone Directionality (Microphone Directionality)
Supercardioid Microphone

A supercardioid microphone has a narrower sound capture area in front than a cardioid microphone. At the same time, it partially captures the sound coming directly from behind, but also has two areas of absolute insensitivity (see. Figure).

Supercardioid Microphones:

have the maximum difference between the front and rear sensitivity areas among similar microphones;
provide greater isolation than microphones with a cardioid orientation;
less sensitive to room acoustics than microphones with a cardioid orientation.

About Microphone Directionality (Microphone Directionality)

Hypercardioid radiation pattern

The hypercardioid pattern is similar to the supercardioid pattern. It differs from the latter in that it has a relatively narrower sensitivity zone in front and a wider rear. Microphones with a hypercardioid orientation also have two “zero” regions.

Hypercardioid Microphones:
provide maximum insensitivity to side sounds among similar microphones;
provide maximum acoustic insulation: protect against adverse effects of the room, feedback- and extraneous noise;
prevent signal leakage.

About Microphone Directionality (Microphone Directionality)
Semi-Cardioid Microphones

Thus, a cardioid microphone picks up almost a third (360/3 = 120) of spatial sounds compared to omnidirectional. Unidirectional microphones separate the necessary direct sound from extraneous and spatial sounds.

The use of such a microphone is often a necessary undertaking. In some cases, this is the only way to reduce the penetration of sound into the channel of musical instruments.

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