Pickup Patterns

Common polarity patterns of microphones.

Microphones are designed to be sensitive to specific polar patterns.

Polar patterns, in turn, affect the overall pickup pattern of a given microphone. So what is a polar pattern?

A polar pattern refers to the “directionality”, or sensitivity of a given microphone relative to the sound source.

  • Omni-directional microphones are equally sensitive to sounds from all angles.
  • Bi-directional microphones are sensitive to sound from two angles.
  • Directional microphones are sensitive to sound from one particular direction.

For example, to capture audio in the middle of a classroom or store, you’d use an omni-directional microphone. If you wanted to capture audio from two directions like a bank teller’s window, then a bi-directional microphone would be ideal.

Depending on the type of microphone in use, pickup ranges will be affected.