There many different microphone polar patterns that exist in the world of microphones. Its important to know them so you get the exact one you need for whatever work you need to carry out.
In this post im going to discuss a polar pattern called the hyper-cardoid. You may have come across this polar pattern name before and didn’t know what it meant. I’ll therefore teach you what you need to know about this polar pattern so you know if it’s the best for whatever application you may have in mind.
With that said, what is a hyper-cardioid polar pattern?
The hyper-cardoid polar pattern is a polar pattern with on-axis sensitivity with a rear lobe of sensitivity. They’re mostly used in film because of their directionality.
The hypercardioid polar pattern is closely related to the supercardioid polar pattern and its very easy for you to confuse the two.
One way to look at hypercardioid is to look at it as a more directional version of the standard cardioid pattern.
IYou can also look at the hypercardioid polar pattern as a cross combination of the cardioid and the bidirectional polar pattern.
The cardioid polar pattern generally has an entirely positive pickup polarity, while the bidirectional is positive to the front and negative to the back or rejects the back.
The general hypercardioid acceptance angle is around 150° if we essentially measure a drop of 6 dB relative to the on-axis response. It’s about 90° if we measure a 3 dB difference. Compared to a cardioid microphone, the hypercardioid is very directional.
Let’s look at the various characteristics of the hypercardioid polar pattern mic.
The vast majority of polar patterns for shotgun microphones are either hypercardioid or supercardioid.
The high directionality of the polar pattern makes it a great choice for shotgun microphones.
The polar pattern gives a straight point for the maximum level of directionality.
In order to achieve a high directional pattern for shotgun mics, an interference tube is used by essentially tightening it in the front side of the hypercardioid directional polar pattern in the effort to narrow down the pattern for maximum results.
Therfore, most shotgun mics have a hypercardioid polar pattern for high sensitivity.
Live Recordings and Film
The hypercardioid polar pattern is intentionally more directional than any other polar pattern.
This gives it the ability to focus on the sound source and makes them ideal for miking instruments that require proximity.
They are also a great choice for close miking situations because they work well for isolation purposes in the midst of loud environments.
In close miking situations, hypercardioid mics will only pick up the intended on-axis sound sources as there is a very short distance between the mic and the sound source.
A hypercardioid microphone features null points at 110 and 250 degrees that represent its basic directional points.
Simply put, the null points show the direction in which the mic works; ideally, these are the points where the patterns reject sounds.
In reality, null points in the polar patterns of the microphones depict the points of attention and off-axis coloration.
Rear Cone of Silence
The null points I’ve mentioned above that are at 110 and 250 degrees of hypercardioid polar patterns can be simply defined as 2D angles without complications.
Whereas many other microphones that have cardioid or supercardioid polar patterns do not operate in 3D space, and hypercardioid microphones operate in 3D space, the null points represent a three-dimensional cone of silence that shows maximum rejection of to the rear sides of hypercardioid microphones.
The rear cone of silence is the main characteristic of hypercardioid mics.
Shows Proximity Effect
Hypercardioid microphones display proximity effect, which can be viewed as a presence that increases the microphone’s bass response as the mic comes closer and zeroes in to the sound source.
The main reason for this is its pressure gradient principle, which states that the hypercardioid pattern is only achieved when both sides of the mic diaphragm are open to the sound source.
Due to the pressure gradient principle, the hypercardioid polar pattern has the ability to display the proximity effect.
The proximity effect is used for significant impact, accentuating the deep voice of the speaker.
It also increases the bass frequency response and happens due to amplitude differences and the combination of sound waves between all sides of the diaphragm.
Uses of Hypercardioid Microphones
Let’s look at some of the uses of hypercardioid microphones.
Hypercardioid microphones are used as on-camera mics, for recording instrumentals, and live recordings.
They’re also used as moveable microphones in recording movies.
They are good for capturing certain isolated sounds of noisy environments. For isolated or single sound sources, hypercardioid mics are great because they can reject noise and focus on the sound source.
Hyper-cardioid mics are also good for picking up sound from a close-positioned individual sound source like a drum kit and are also great choices for live performances.