What microphone should I choose? Which polar pattern should I choose for my microphone? This is a question that almost every new podcaster faces when he is starting out.
There is a lot of confusion around the polar patterns for the microphones. Today, we will try and clear up the confusion once for all and give you a straightforward explanation that will help you to choose the right polar pattern for the type of podcast that you plan to do.
There is no single best polar pattern for podcasting , but it depends on what type of podcast you are into.
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What is a microphone polar pattern?
Polar pattern of a microphone is basically the conditionality of the microphone. A microphone can pick up sound waves from all directions and angles.
The sound wave coming to the diaphragm of the microphone makes the diaphragm to vibrate and thus the sound energy is converted into electrical energy, which can be then stored in the form of a digital audio file.
Generally, podcasters prefer microphone do not get the sound from all the directions as it may mean that it picks up a lot of background noise or the noise of people whom they do not want in their podcast.
Depending on the type of podcast people generally prefer to have a particular direction from which the microphone should pick up the sound.
This is what is known as the polar pattern. The most common polar patterns are omnidirectional, cardioid, super-cardioid, figure of eight . There is also a shotgun microphone and a sub cardioid microphone.
Let’s take a look at all of them and see which one is suited for which application.
Cardioid polar pattern for podcasting
Cardioid polar pattern is probably the most common and most popular type of polar pattern. As you can see in the diagram it has a sweet spot exactly in front of the microphone while it neglects the sounds coming from the back of the microphone.
This isolates your vocals or instrument from unwanted ambient noise. This makes it a great choice for a wide variety of recording applications.
Since cardioid mics are highly directional, they are very good for recording individual sounds of instruments or vocals. They make an excellent choice for podcasting.
If you are doing a podcast on your own, then this is probably the best type of polar pattern that you can get.
Super cardioid microphone for podcasting
Super-cardioid polar pattern mics have even a narrower range of pick up compared to a cardioid microphone. That means they reject even more ambient sound.
However, super-cardioid microphone has some area of sensitivity behind the microphone also and may pick up sound from the back of the microphone which can be disturbing. Super-cardioid is generally not preferred for podcasting.
Omnidirectional microphone for podcasting
Omnidirectional polar pattern , as the name suggests are equally sensitive in all the directions and angles. They are very useful when you want to capture the sound coming from the entire room.
This type of microphone is very useful for recording large group of people with a single microphone when it comes to podcasting.
If your podcast includes a kind of group discussion or a chat , then omnidirectional microphone may make a lot of sense. It is also a great microphone if your podcast has a lot of musical instruments or is kind of an Orchestra.
Figure 8 polar pattern for podcasting
This type of polar pattern picks up equal amount of sound from the front and the back of the microphone Same amount of sound is picked up exactly 180 degrees apart.
microphones with a figure eight pattern capture a wide stereo Sound and can be very good for recording duets.
If your podcast includes or has interviews, then you can use a single microphone with a figure 8 polar pattern and still record a nice interview where both the person you are interviewing and yourself will both sound natural and loud.
Shotgun microphone for podcasting
Shotgun is probably the most unidirectional of the Polar patterns. Shotgun mics are generally used in film recording or video production to record the dialogues of an actor.
They are generally pointed at the Sound Source from a long distance. These are not very popular in podcasting but can be used if you have one laying around.
Out of the various patterns for microphones, there are three which a podcaster should definitely consider.
A cardioid microphone is probably the most suited for someone who is doing podcasting on his own. It will give you a natural, rich and high-quality sound at an affordable price. It will also make your audio editing job a lot easier as it will reject a lot of annoying ambient noise.
If your podcast includes recording multiple voices at a time, then you should use omnidirectional microphone.
If your podcast is more of an interview type with two people speaking at the same time, then you can use bi-directional or figure eight pattern.
There are many microphones out there which have different settings on the same device and the same microphone can be used in different polar patterns. Please read our post on the best USB microphones for podcasting to get more details.
Blue Yeti is one of the popular microphones which has many polar pattern settings to chose from at a press of a button.
Here is a great article to read about polar patterns in more detail.
Welcome to your podcasting journey with quickstartpodcast team.
Below paragraphs have links to all our posts in a logical manner starting from being a podcast listener to being a podcast creator.
The podcast Listener phase :
The podcasting journey generally begins with various questions such as what is a podcast , what a podcast is used for ? how to listen to a podcast , what are the best android and iOS apps to listen to podcast .
Depending upon the things that you like you will search for fiction podcasts , educational podcasts etc. Most of the people restrict their journey in podcasting to this level. They just end up being listeners to podcasts. Some of then take the next leap of faith and decide to start their own podcast.
Podcast creator Phase :
How to start your podcast ? is the main question they are faced with . Once that you have decided to start a podcast , what should be the name of the podcast , what should be the podcast format , which podcasting niche should you chose , what should be episode titles , what are popular podcast formats and what should be mine and so on ..
What is the right equipment for creating a podcast , what are the best XLR , USB , Condenser and dynamic microphones available. Can I record my podcast in an iPHONE , What should be the polar pattern , should I use an audio interface or a mixer , do I need a POP filter . There are so many question . How much podcasting will cost me , what are different setups based on my budget.
Once you in the journey of podcasting you will need to decide how should be a great podcast intro , how to record the podcast , how to record podcast online , how to test the mic , what should be length and frequency of my podcast , how to make great sounding podcasts and finally how to make money from podcasting ? ..
The journey starts from being a podcast listener going all the way to being a great podcast creator and quickstartpodcast is there with you in all this journey.