Microphone Polar Patterns

When recording tracks it is important to consider the microphone polar pattern. There are many types of polar patterns but today we will cover the 3 types of polar patterns that can be used on different instruments to achieve quality audio capturing in a tracking/production studio.

Polar patterns refer to the sensitivity of any given microphone to sounds arriving from different angles, to its central axis.

Cardioid pattern is the most common directional polar pattern, it has high sensitivity to sound coming in from directly in front of the microphone capsule (0º), basically no response to sound coming directly from behind (180º), and limits sensitivity to sound coming in from the sides (90º/270º).

A cardioid mic is Known for excluding background noise and room reflectionIts most common use is actually in music production and live sound reinforcement.


Hypercardioid patterns are similar to cardioid patterns because primary sensitivity is in the front of the microphone.  However, the point of least sensitivity is at the 150 – 160 and 200 – 210 degree positions (as opposed to directly behind the microphone in a cardioid pattern). 

Hypercardioid microphones are considered even more directional than cardioid microphones because they have less sensitivity at their sides and only slightly more directly behind. Hypercardioid microphones are frequently used in situations where a lot of isolation is desired between sound sources.


A supercardioid mic has a narrow pickup angle and it offers more side rejection than hyper cardioid. It is a little sensitive to sound sources that are directly behind the mic. A supercardioid provides the most isolation from room noise and nearby instruments and can resist more feedback than a cardioid mic, but it serves the purpose to maintain a more consistent position directly.

Since supercardioid has enhanced abilities to reject noise, you can use these for high SPL(sound pressure level) sound sources, noisy Outdoor/indoor stage environments And untreated recording rooms.


An omnidirectional mic has 360 degree axis for receiving equal SPL from any direction. Omni-directional is the complete opposite from unidirectional cardioid mics. Both are useful for different situations in different environment

There are more polar patterns such as shot gun, 8 ball , ultra-cardioid and subcardioid which will cover in a more detail later for film & video audio.

Learn more about gain structure here