Hypercardioid microphone: Definition, characteristics, and uses explained

When it comes to polar patterns, you will sometimes see hypercardioid in the spec list. It is relative to the common caridioid pickup pattern and often confuses people along with the supercardioid pattern. Overall, understanding the hypercardioid microphone and its characteristics can help you be more productive on stage and in the studio. In this article, we will talk about the following topics:

  1. What is a hypercardioid microphone?
  2. What are its characteristics?
  3. The difference between supercardioid and hypercardioid polar patterns.

Video: Hypercardioid microphone definition and sound pickup example

Hypercardioid condenser microphone features a particularly directed pickup pattern. With null points at 110° and 250° and a back lobe of sensitivity, it shows the most sensitivity to on-axis sounds, that is the sounds it points to. Because of their great directionality, it is commonly used in filmmaking.

In this video, TECH HD - Gaming Tech Channel, a YouTuber, tests the sound pickup outdoors and shows how it performs in capturing the on-axis sounds and blocking background sounds. You can jump to 8:49 to have a look.

Eight characteristics of hypercardioid pickup range, placement, and sound performance

Hypercardioid microphone patternBelow we list some characteristics for you to better understand hypercardioid microphone pattern.

Null points at 110° & 250°

The best hypercardioid microphone contains null points at 110° and 250°. These null points denote the direction in which the microphone should ideally reject all sound.

In actuality, the null points are just maximum attenuation and off-axis coloration locations. The sound coming from these angles will not be picked up as clearly or with as much level as sounds coming from the on-axis.

Rear cone of silence

Null points are shown in 2D angles in the aforementioned graph. However, microphones work in three dimensions. As a result, the null points of cardioid microphone constitute a three-dimensional "cone of silence" or cone of maximum rejection to the back of each hypercardioid mic.

Rear lobe of sensitivity yields -6dB at 180°

Hypercardioid microphone, which has a limited on-axis acceptance angle, comes at the expense of a broad back lobe of sensitivity.

The back lobe of the hypercardioid begins behind both null points. The sensitivity rises from these two spots until it reaches around -6 dB (relative to 0° on-axis) at the extreme back of the microphone polar pattern (180°).

The rear lobe, which can take up loudspeaker sound and create feedback in live sound reinforcement circumstances, is a possible hazard. In some microphone settings, it may not offer enough sound source separation.

Roughly 12dB less sensitive at the sides

The directionality of a unidirectional microphone may be determined by the attenuation of the sides. Ideally, it should boost -12dB attenuation at the sides.

Require precise placement

Because hypercardioid USB microphone is extremely directional, it needs an even more accurate mic technique than supercardioid microphone. When a vocalist moves off-axis, the mic's performance changes, which can have a negative impact on sound quality. To put it another way, your vocalist should maintain the mike pointing at their mouth!

Exhibits proximity effect

The proximity effect, a physical phenomenon that amplifies the microphone's bass response as it gets closer to a sound source, occurs naturally with hypercardioid microphone.

The pressure-gradient concept explains why: the hypercardioid pattern can only be achieved if both sides of the mic diaphragm are open to sound pressure. The proximity effect is a result of the pressure-gradient concept.

Sensitive to vocal plosives

Sensitivity to voice plosives and wind noise is another drawback with the pressure-gradient capsule.

The transitory consonant sounds that occur from our mouths during speech are known as vocal plosives. They occur on hard P's, B's, T's, D's, G's, and K's in English.

When voice plosive energy flows through a hypercardioid capsule, it creates a vacuum on one side of the mic diaphragm while applying great pressure on the other. This all happens rapidly, yet it's enough to temporarily overwhelm the mic, resulting in the dreaded "voice pop" in the mic signal.

Excellent sound isolation

Hypercardioid microphone gains extreme directionality. They can give great isolation of a specific sound source when properly positioned. This is especially true when other sound sources are present on the microphone's sides or null points.

Supercardioid vs hypercardioid microphone: Differences in pickup range and uses

Supercardioid and hypercardioid exhibit a similar polar pattern shape, but come in some differences.

The on-axis directivity range of a hypercardioid microphone is significantly narrower, and the sensitivity on the sides at 90 and 270 degrees is even lower. It is more sensitive than supercardioid microphone to the degree of 180.

Hypercardioid microphone has a maximum rejection angle of 109.5°, whereas super-cardioid microphones have a maximum rejection angle of 125.3°.

If you can't decide between a hypercardioid and a supercardioid shotgun microphone, you can't go wrong with either as a highly directional mic because they're equally good at isolating a distant subject.

Hypercardioid microphone uses

In general, it is ideal for the following situations:

  • There is a requirement for precise mic techniques without movement from the target sounds, like field recording documentaries.
  • Pick up the sounds of drums on a stage

Supercardioid microphone uses

You can use it for:

  • Recording in rooms with inadequate acoustic treatment to reduce undesired ambient reflections in your recording.
  • Recording high-gain electric guitars to avoid room reflections, resulting in a tight sound with no distracting background noise.
  • It helps close-mic snare drums to successfully prevent bleeding from troublesome hi-hat cymbals.