A cardioid microphone features a directional pickup pattern. It is most sensitive to sounds in front of it. In this article, we are talking about things you ought to know before investing in one. If you are new to it, you are advised to read the former part so you can get the idea how we get the top 3 picks among SYNCO microphones. We talk about the following topics:
- What is a cardioid microphone?
- How to place it for mono and stereo sounds?
- Introduction to four key specs
- Three recommended products at SYNCO
Cardioid microphone definition: Basics of three common types
Cardioid condenser microphone directly captures the sounds from the front and sides while rejecting audio from the rear. It is also called directional micr because its direction will influence the audio capturing.
To go further, there are three types common types, and the followings are their definitions.
Cardioid VS Supercardioid VS Hypercardioid
Unlike omnidirectional pattern, each cardioid microphone pattern is sensitive to the sounds in front it, but the sensitivity to sounds from other directions makes them different as is shown in the above graph.
Cardioid: It blocks the sounds from the rear, or 180°, and is 6dB less sensitive at the angle of 90° and 270° compared to that of on-axis.
Supercardioid: Compared to cardioid, microphone super cardioid is in narrower on-axis response and sensitive to sounds from the rear, which is 10dB less than 0°.
Hypercardioid: It is a unidirectional pattern with narrower on-axis response. The rejection of sounds happens at 110° and 250°. when comparing to the on-axis sensitivity, it is 12dB less at the sides while the rear is 6dB lower.
Besides the aforementioned patterns, there are also types of cardioids like figure-8 and bidirectional.
Cardioid microphones recommended at SYNCO
There are a number of cadioid microphones for sale. They have difference in the type and boost various functions. It may cost you a lot of time to shop for a suitable one, so we list three SYNCO microphones here. They perform well in different aspects. Just have a look and find your pick.
SYNCO D2 - Professional cardioid condenser microphone for on and off camera shooting
Go and buy at B&H Store
If you pursue really professional recording, the cardioid microphone D2 is a popular choice. It features the hypercardioid polar pattern, capturing the sounds that it is pointed at and rejecting sounds from the side. The brass metal body enables it to be solid and stay away from interference, so it is a good choice for outdoor recording to capture crisp sounds.
It has an ultra low self noise at 12dB(A-weighted), which means it can record clear sounds even when the target sounds is in low volume.
You can mount the cardioid XLR microphone D2 on your DSLR with a XLRM-XLRF cable and then start your shooting. In addition, it can be mounted on the boom pole. With an experienced boom operator, you can get high quality sounds for the streaming.
SYNCO D2 Key Specs
- Polar Pattern: hypercardioid
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20KHz
- Signal/Noise: 80dB (1KHz at 1Pa)
- Sensitivity: -32dB±3dB (1dB=1V/Pa at 1KHz)
- Max. SPL: 130dB (T.H.D≤1% at 1KHz)
SYNCO M3 - Budget cardioid microphone for on-camera talent
Go and buy at Moman PhotoGears Store
Among the three recommended microphones, the SYNCO M3 is the best budget. If you are new to video creation and want to buy a cardioid microphone to start the camera shooting journey, the M3 is a perfect choice.
It is in supercardioid pickup pattern, enabling you to capture clear sounds in noisy environment. The 3 level gain control and 100Hz low cut help you amplify the target sounds and filter ambient noises. It is easy to set up by adjusting the button, which is user friendly.
The M3 includes a cotton wind muff and shock mount and weighs only 52g, so you can still capture smooth sounds in outdoor or mobile recording without any burden.
SYNCO M3 Key Specs
- Polar Pattern: supercardioid
- Frequency Response: 30Hz to 20KHz (HPF is optional at 100Hz)
- Signal/Noise: ＞78dB (A-weighted)
- Sensitivity: -41dB±2dB RL=0.68KΩ Vs=1.5V (1KHz 0dB=1V/Pa)
- Max. SPL: 135dB SPL
SYNCO U3 - Mini cardioid microphone for smartphone
Go and buy at Moman PhotoGears Store
If you feel like using a shotgun cardioid microphone to work with your smartphone, the SYNCO U3 is recommended. It features regular cardioid pattern and magnetic absorption which goes for all types of mobile phones. Once the connection is observed, it powers on right away,offering great convenience to on-the-go shooting. It is easy to carry and will not block the lens with a small size of 116 x 53 x 46mm.
If you record in noisy surroundings, the low cut at 75Hz or 150Hz works to reduce unwanted audio while the stepless gain control from 0 to 15dB strengthening the sound source. In addition, a 3.5mm jack enables you to plug earphones in to monitor the output and make adjustment accordingly.
SYNCO U3 Key Specs
- Polar Pattern: cardioid
- Frequency Range: 50Hz-12KHz
- Sensitivity: -26.5dbV@1KHz
- Max. SPL: 105dB
Single cardioid mic placement technique
It plays a large role to look at the placing technique of cardioid microphone since the direction impacts the sound recording. And the key is to find the “sweet spot”.
What is sweet spot? It is the position where you can capture the best quality of sound sources. It depends on what the sound sources are and where you are.
It is perfect to place the cardioid pattern microphone in the sweet spot. But how to find it? The tip is to cover one ear and listen with the other ear with your hand cupping behind it. And then you are supposed to move around the sound sources and find a position where the source subjectively or objectively sounds the best.
Stereo miking setups
There are three common ways to set up two cardioid microphones to record stereo sounds. You can learn about the techniques and utilize them when being stereo is needed.
- A/B: Point the pair of mics at the sound source and place them 3 to 10 feet apart. Make sure that they are 7inchs from each other.
- X/Y: Place one mic slightly over the other and ensure their angle is between 90° to 135°.
- ORTF: In this setup, two capsules are placed end to end and angled at 110°. It is equally the same way as we hear.
Cardioid microphone specs explained
To decide whether a shotgun cardioid microphone is for your need or not, it is significant to understand the specifications. Here we list some important specs so you can know what to look for when investing in a microphone.
Self Noise - It decides how quiet the recording can be.
As its name suggests, it stands for the sound that the cardioid mic produces even when there is no sound source. It comes from the running current and is common in all microphones. However, it is differed by the models.
The acceptable range of self noise relies on the volume of the target sound and the distance from the mic to the talent.
If you are recording loud sounds at a short distance, you can loose the requirement of self noise. But if you try to capture soft audio and the distance is long, you will need a really low self-noise level.
Sensitivity - High sensitivity is required for recording sounds of low volume.
It measures the volume of the output under the same input. Here input is the target sound and output means the signals.
If a mic is more sensitive than another, it refers that it produces louder signals when recording the same sound source.
Cardioid microphone uses are the key to decide on the best sensitivity. If you usually record isolated and loud sound, microphone with low sensitivity is your top choice. On the contrary, high sensitivity makes sense when the subject is in quiet volume.
Frequency Response - It shows the range of sounds that can be picked up.
Frequency response is the frequency range that a cardioid microphone is able to record, usually it is between 20Hz and 20KHz. Besides that, you need to know how the microphone responds to the specific frequency and think about your recording content. For example, if you are going to record bass music or instruments, a microphone that works better at lower frequencies is a good choice for you.
Maximum SPL (Sound Pressure Level) - It represents the max volume the mic can record without distortion.
SPL measures the audio intensity. Here are some examples for you to understand it. The softest sound you can hear falls at 0dB SPL, daily chatting measures 70dB SPL and sounds at above 120dB SPL will make us feel painful.
The maximum SPL in specs means the mic will start to distort when the target sound hits that level. Therefore, the higher the maximum SPL is, the louder sounds the mic can capture. Generally, a mic with 120dB SPL is good. If you tend to higher quality, 135dB SPL is better while 150dB SPL performs the best.
Buying a cardioid microphone is all about understanding the basic information and specifications and decide what features fit your need. After reading the article, you are able to get the knowledge of it.