Stefan Kiessling – organist
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The Polar Pattern of Microphones

© by Stefan Kießling

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Sound arrives at the microphone from all directions. However, a microphone might not be equally sensitive to sound from all directions. If it is, it is called an ”omni-directional“ microphone. Very common are microphones, that are sensitive for sound coming from the front, while sound from behind is (almost) blocked. Those microphones are called ”Cardioids“, because the graph, that shows the sensitivity as a function of the angle of the incoming sound looks a bit like a heart (heart is Kardía in the Greek language).

Imagine you look at the microphone down from above. Then you can draw a graph that shows the sensitivity of the microphone in each angle. If the graph is close to the center, the sensitivity is low. If it is far away, the sensitivity is high. The bottom direction stands for sound from behind, the top direction for sound from the front. The whole thing is called ”Polar Pattern“. There are very typical patterns:

A dashed graph means that the sound is captured with inverted phase.

You can listen to different patterns. Also: real microphones show a slightly different pattern for different frequencies. This leads to a coloration of the sound when it arrives from an angle that is not 0°.

Choose out of a list from microphones. Choose ideal microphones if you want to focus on the pattern.

Choose non-ideal microphones, if you want to listen to off-axis coloration as well.

Frequency Response at


If you want to listen carefully to the off-axis coloration, check this button. The pattern's inherent signal attenuation will then be balanced out.
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