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Three basics for better understanding cardioid condenser microphone

A cardioid condenser microphone has a thin metal diaphragm and another metal element called the backplate inside. The diaphragm vibrates and creates small electrical current when sound waves strike it. It is sensitive to sound coming from the front and blocks sound coming from the sides and back. In this article, we are going to tell you:

  1. Two common types
  2. Detailed information of its polar pattern
  3. Tips to place it for high quality sounds
  4. The specs differences among condenser, dynamic, and ribbon mics
SYNCO V10 cardioid studio condenser microphone is used for vocal recording.

Condenser microphone type: Large diaphragms & small diaphragms

When it comes to types, there are two common terms, small diaphragm and large diaphragm. They are different in construction and uses.

Small diaphragm condenser microphones have a diaphragm with a diameter of fewer than 0.75 inches. It tends to capture transients and other high frequency information. Compared to large diaphragm condenser mic, it has a bit more air in the sounds and less coloration, a result of lower mass. This enables it to more closely follow any air disturbances it encounters.

In this way, it is usually utilized to capture sounds that have high requirements for audio details. So you will see it where there are woodwinds, cymbals, hi-hats, acoustic guitars, and small percussion instruments.

The diameter of a large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone is bigger than 0.75 inches. It has a superior ability to capture the depth of low-frequency sounds. To most engineers' ears, they at least sound better on low frequency noises. Large diaphragms, in general, provide a "big" sound that many people have found appealing over time, especially in the human voice.

They'll presumably have a thicker condenser microphone diagram to match the bigger diameter, which will make them more robust in high SPL circumstances. Large diaphragm microphones are commonly employed for projects that require coloration or a large sound. Vocals, guitar or bass amps, drums, and acoustic guitar are examples.

Moman PhotoGears Store sells long, medium, and mini condenser shotgun microphone from SYNCO.

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Cardioid condenser microphone pattern: Cardioid, hypercardioid & supercardioid explained

Condenser mic brands usually make this kind of mic to different polar patterns. The three-dimensional area surrounding the microphone capsule where the capsule is most responsive to sound is known as the polar pattern. To go further, there are three main pickup patterns to consider.

Cardioid: The word “cardioid” comes from the Greek word “heart”. When represented on a two-dimensional graph, a cardioid polar pattern suggests the microphone typically captures sound inside a region that is roughly heart-shaped. Cardioid condenser microphone is particularly sensitive to sound coming from one side or end of the mic - it is unidirectional - and rejects sounds coming from the sides and back.

Hypercardioid: Because they are less sensitive at the sides of the pick-up pattern, hypercardioid microphones are regarded as more directional than cardioid ones, while picking up a little number of sounds from the back.

Supercardioid: Super cardioid shotgun mic is less directional than the hypercardioid one. However, it owns the benefit that it offers a smaller rear lobe.

SYNCO D2 shotgun condenser microphone is used for street interviews.

Cardioid condenser microphone placement: Tips to place the mic for high quality sounds

As mentioned earlier we know that direction matters in the audio pickup. But how to use condenser microphone for recording with cardioid polar pattern? Here we offer two tips for you to arrange the mic placement to capture high quality sounds.

1. Find the sweet spot

When you listen to more experienced audio recording artists, you'll notice that their recordings have a smooth edge even their initial takes in the recording booth have no influence. One explanation for this is that these pros are adept at quickly locating the mic's sweet spot. The sweet spot is the microphone location with respect to the sound source that produces the greatest sound.

You will be satisfied with the recording results of your shotgun condenser microphone if you can discover that sweet spot quickly. This mic positioning is determined by your voice and the surrounding acoustics. You'll receive greater outcomes for any record if you can pinpoint that sweet spot. You must experiment with several locations in order to discover the ideal one that produces the finest acoustic effects.

Various microphones are different in characteristics, so you should relax and experiment with your voice until you find the optimal location on the mic.

To find the sweet spot of your professional cardioid condenser microphone, you can use an earplug on one ear and cup the other ear with your hand. With the open ear, listen carefully to discover the sweet spot. Set up the mic so that the capsule points perpendicular to your hand and toward your mouth after you have found it.

2. Place directional condenser microphone in the proper distance

Various mics will be required for your recording session. It's vital to keep in mind that determining the proper microphone distance from the lips is a process that takes time. To achieve perfect microphone placement, every time you enter the studio, you must remember the proximity impact and also identify the sweet spot.

Your distance from the cardioid microphone will greatly influence the quality of your sound in the final recording. The minimal distance between these mics is 4 inches, resulting in a warm, intimate sound. You'll obtain an airy and open recording if you leave 12 inches between the mike and your mouth. These Cardioid microphones work best when placed at a distance of six inches.

Table: Specs of condenser, dynamic, and ribbon microphones

Generally, there are three common types of microphones on the market. They differ in the specifications, which leads to different recording outcomes. You may hear of flat-response cardioid condenser microphone, which means it features wide and flat frequency response. What about the other two types? Below we list some differences so you can have a brief understanding of them.

Condenser microphone

Dynamic microphone

Ribbon microphone

Transducer Type

Electrostatic principles

Electromagnetic induction

Electromagnetic induction

Frequency Response

Wide & flat



Polar Patterns

Bidirectional is not available

Any pattern

Usually bidirectional








If active, yes


Somewhat durable

Very durable

Least durable