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Pickup Patterns

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Codemonkey, May 24, 2009.

  1. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    I'd like to offer up some blabber and MSPaint explanations about common pickup patterns. Here's effort 1.

    The pickup pattern of a mic is simply the area in which it picks up the most sound. Noises outside this area will still be picked up but with less definition and volume.

    Different patterns are required for different sources. Different mics have different patterns although some are "multi-patterned" and can be switched between configurations.

    If you imagine a mic to be a light source, then:

    Cardioid (Cardoid?) (Car-druid?)
    These pick up sound like a flashlight or torch: a cone shape. Generally this the pattern found on dynamics and some condensers. They have a small, specific area which responds well to noises and everything else is much quieter.

    (Actual response and colour of mic/hair may vary)

    These are used on stage for live sound - the tight pattern means increased rejection of other noise sources like floor monitors (feedback), drums and enthusiastic tambourinists.

    A large amount of proximity effect is to be expected from cardioid mics - this is an increase in bass, boominess and low-mid frequency energy caused by being incredibly close to the singer's mouth.

    Like the above, but these shine a narrower cone. Not QUITE as narrow as a laser pen, though. There's a little area at the rear that picks up louder than at the sides, but these are very rarely problematic.

    These are more suited on fixed sources, as any movement will result in a change in tone and proximity effect.

    These are like overhead bulbs. Instead of shining light across the entire room, they pickup sound almost equally from all directions.

    (The image was only a certain size and so the circle couldn't be made much bigger: actual pickup area may vary)

    Proximity effect is harder to achieve with these mics - and you normally won't be that close to a source. Lots of room noise and ambience is picked up by these mics.

    Figure of 8
    I have no idea what kind of lightbulb would project this pattern, unless you had a pair of bulbs, or...
    Regardless, these pick up sound well in 2 distinct areas, but with a null area toward the sides.

    (With some overlap, and less floating heads)

    These are used for, well...mostly as the S in an M/S setup.

    My knowledge of this topic is ridiculously limited of course; please feel free to post suggestions or correct any blatant stupidity.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    I think this is Pornographic? There are other places you can stick those microphones. We won't go there. Hopefully it won't go there either? But if they should ever build one that includes a phantom powered vibrator? I'd consider it. After all, I already have a USB version. Not a microphone! A vibrator! And so do you record many people that are twins like you've indicated? Or did one have a beard & mustache? I don't want any microphones I want dinner.

    Chinese capsule custard. Patch cord bouillabaisse. Hard disk layer cake. A full rack of Southern barbecued motherboards. All sitting atop a lovely fresh carbon granule roll. Wrap it up with Polly & Esther magnetic tape soufflé. And voilà. You're making tracks, directed the bathroom.

    You might need some Presto Abysmal later?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings

    This will work for any pattern as well. I used to have a link to a better module where all parameters were adjustable but I must have deleted it and a quick google didn't turn it up.
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    I don't get that link.
  5. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Thats a very cool link! Thanks for that!

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