Our in-store microphone testing station helps you compare different models when choosing a new microphone.See more about our Mic Testing station
If you are unsure about the types of microphone or what the differences between mic patterns are please see the explanations after the list of mics available.
There is a wide range to choose from including basic models and professional microphones.
microphone polar patterns
Understanding microphone pickup patterns helps you choose the mic best suited for your particular requirements. Recording a choir using a couple overhead mics requires a different polar pattern than picking out a soloist at the front of a stage.
There are two types of pickup pattern that can be used to minimise picking up background noise and reduce the risk of feedback between the cardioid mic and speakers.
The ambient noise and other sounds either side of the mic is referred to as off axis sound. Some manufacturers quote an "off axis sound rejection" figure.
Cardioid and Super Cardioid pickup patterns offer very good off axis sound rejection and are therefore less prone to feedback.The images below show the comparison between Cardioid and Super cardioid pickup patterns.
Hyper Cardioid Pickup
I personally use the hyper cardioid (or super cardioid) pickup pattern when working with vocalists and musicians on stage. This allows greater separation of the sound sources when setting the main mix for PA or the recording mix.
An Omni directional polar pattern is equally sensitive to sound from all sides. Typically a tie clip microphone for a wireless system would be Omni Directional to aid pickup when the wearer turns there head etc.
omnidirectional mics are more likely to cause feedback when used with PA systems as the mic will pick up the amplified sound and send it round again just as easily as the voice of the person wearing the mic.
Hemisphere PickupA boundary mic uses a hemispherical pickup pattern, generally used to cover large areas. The hemisphere pickup depends on having a large flat area behind the mic.
Boundary Mic top view
Boundary Mic side view
The hemisphere pattern is very useful when you are looking at recording meetings, stage plays, or in conjunction with hearing loops.
Where it is not possible to suspend overhead mics and you need to pickup sound on a stage the a pair of boundary mics can be used on the wing walls, but care must be taken to avoid feedback.
Types of Mic
These do not require any form of power to make them work, they can be used with any audio mixer. However, they are much less sensitive than condenser mics. Dynamic mics use a moving diaphragm with a coil and a magnet to produce a tiny voltage. This means that when used in conjunction with a hearing loop they can be prone to interference between the loop and mic coil.
An advantage of the dynamic mic is that they are very robust and are pretty indestructible, making them a good choice on the open air festival circuit!
These require a power supply to make them work. This can take the form of batteries or Phantom Power. Our listings will tell you which kind of power supply is required (if any). Phantom power is provided by the Audio Mixer, if you are not sure if your mixer provides this please contact us for advice.
The condenser mic capsule uses a diaphragm to alter the distance between to metal filaments, this is measured as capacitance using an electronic circuit. This makes this system much more sensitive and prevents interference from hearing loops.
Some manufacturers further enhance the capabilities of their condenser mics by incorporating circuitry to vary the base response and sensitivity.