Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 1, last updated 6/25/2013
A special category of microphone called a shotgun microphone can be even more
directional, depending on the length and design of the microphone (Figure 1.17). Shotgun
microphones can be very useful in trying to pick up a specific sound from a noisy environment,
often at a greater than typical distance away from the source, without picking up the surrounding
Figure 1.17 Polar plot for a shotgun microphone
Some microphones offer the option of multiple, selectable polar patterns. This is true of
the condenser microphone shown back in Figure 1.11. You can see five symbols on the front of
the microphone representing the polar patterns from which you can choose, depending on the
needs of what you're recording.
Polar plots can be even more detailed than the ones above, showing different patterns
depending on the frequency. This is because microphones don't pick up all frequencies equally
from all directions. The plots in Figure 1.18 show the pickup patterns of a particular cardioid
microphone for individual frequencies from 125 Hz up to 16000 Hz. You‟ll notice the polar
pattern isn‟t as clean as consistent as you might expect. Even for a directional microphone,
lower frequencies may often exhibit a more omnidirectional pattern, where higher frequencies
can become even more directional.
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