Top 5 things you need to know about omnidirectional microphone

What is an omnidirectional microphone?

An omnidirectional microphone captures sound from all sides and all directions. Whether the sound is in front, behind, or on one side of the mic, it picks up the signal equally. It represents another approach different from the category namely directional microphone which is designed to focus on the sound from one direction.

Omnidirectional microphone polar pattern
What's the differences: omnidirectional vs. unidirectional microphones?

"Unidirectional" is just another way to say directional. It seems that a directional microphone is always better recommended than an omnidirectional one, thanks to its focus on one-direction sound and its phase-out of unwanted sound as a consequence. In fact, it’s a great choice when you are recording just one person’s voice and that needs your complete focus; however, it will not allow you to hear from another person on the other side unless you try to reposition the equipment. Neither microphone is “better” than the other - they just have different features and they both perform well in their situations.

Table: Omnidirectional microphone vs. unidirectional by selected indexes

Polar pattern

Omnidirectional

Directional

Gain/feedback ratio

Lower

Higher

Feedback build-up

Slow

Fast

Off-axis coloration

Smooth and even

Typically less smooth

Sensitivity to wind, handling, and pop-noises

Low

Higher

Distortion

Low

Higher

When should you use an omnidirectional microphone?

An omni directional microphone is an excellent option in the situation where sounds from multiple directions should be heard.

There must be some best practices or preferred uses of such microphones; otherwise, they would not become a category of best-selling mics on the market. So what are the applications? Let’s get into the common practices:

  • When it is a most natural recording.
  • When less wind noise and plosive “P”, “T”, and “B” sounds are preferred.
  • When you intend to reduce the amount of handling noise and vibration noise.
  • When the device is expected to work well no matter how it is positioned.  
  • When you want to well handle the recording of a moving target.

Of course, you are expected to be creative with the kinds of microphones you use in different applications. The best omnidirectional microphone is not “made” to be best but is “used” to be.

Advantages

Omnidirectional microphones have many advantages if they are used in the right situations. They are superior to directional ones in outdoor recording because they have no rear ports and the wind noise is minimized.

The most obvious advantage of a professional omnidirectional microphone is its ability to capture sound from every direction. In fact, it can pick up and transmit the sound even when it is held upside down. This is a common occurrence with an omnidirectional lavalier microphone.

SYNCO S Series Lavalier MicrophonesDisadvantages

The only real downside to using an omnidirectional microphone is the possibility of picking up unwanted sounds. However, this is a result of the design and this effect is usually intentional.

Summary

It is essential to use the right type of microphone so that it can bring out the best sound quality in your recording or live performance.

If your attention is very clear and you want to pick up something very specific without the surrounding noise, an omnidirectional mic is not your choice.

If you’ve been struggling to pick up multiple sounds or voices at once, try out the best budget omnidirectional microphone to improve the overall quality.