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Recording Tip#8
Pointing Cardioid vs. Hypercardioid Microphones
Microphone Basics Part 4
Daniel Dennis
Pointing A Microphone
The whole reason that you "choose" a directional pattern, is to best point a direction for the situation at hand. Let's review the rules about pointing a directional microphone.
Pointing A Microphone - Edited From Recording Website Tip
Many times the home recordist doesn't have to much worry about pointing microphones, because one thing is recorded at a time (and therefore it is easy and logical). When you have a set of drums with several microphones, when you have two instruments in the same room, or when you are doing microphone placement for live performances, the rules change.
You would think it was very simple to point a microphone. Point the front of the microphone at the musician or sound source and you're done - WRONG! This is actually backwards! Here are the rules:
1. Only 10% important: Point the front of the microphone towards the instrument you want.
2. 90 % important: Point the rejection of the microphone at the loudest sound you don't want.
More than 90% of "pointing" a microphone is in pointing the rejection. For a microphone which has a "cardioid" pickup pattern, the full pickup is in the front and the full rejection is in the back.
The angle of maximum pickup is very wide (plus or minus 45 degrees from the mic's front); and the angle of maximum rejection is very narrow (plus or minus about 5 degrees from directly in back).
Different Patterns
When setting up for a live sound gig (or for a studio session), two of the most common microphone patterns are cardioid and hypercardioid.
Cardioid microphones have the least pickup (the most rejection) directly to the back. Microphones in this pattern include the Shure SM-57, Shure SM-58, SM-48, SM-86.
Hypercardioid microphones do not reject directly in the back. The Hypercardioid rejects at 120 degrees. The original Beta 57 and Beta 58, Audio-Technica Pro 25, ATM-25, and others use this pattern.
The diagram below shows these two patterns.
Cardioid vs. Hypercardioid
To listen to the audio demo comparing the different patterns, click HERE.
Live Setup
One of the main points to pay attention to in a live setup is rejecting the monitors. The pattern of the microphone will dictate its placement.
Cardioid Microphone Rejecting Monitor Wedge
Hypercardioid Microphone Rejecting Monitor Wedge
One of the big advantages of using hypercardioid is that many things can be rejected, as the rejection of these microphones is 120 degrees at any point as opposed to a cardioid which can only reject one thing.
Hypercardioid Rejects Many Things
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