When you think of a traditional microphone, you may think of the standard, straight-shaped, handheld microphone that celebrities use on stages. This is one of the most common types of unidirectional microphones used today, and it is used across the world by schools, venues, artists, and much more. This standard microphone is also a cardioid microphone.
What exactly is a cardioid microphone?
Breaking down the word, you can see its root: Cardio.
That’s right, a cardioid microphone is named so because of its heart-shaped pattern of sensitivity. While there are several different types of microphones, the cardioid family is the most widely used. It uses a combination of figure-8 shapes and omnidirectional patterns to form a heart-shaped sensitivity repeating pattern along the top and sides of the device.
With a shape that specific, it must have been designed for a reason.
So, what is a cardioid microphone used for?
Project in a Single Direction
While all microphones use a variety of combinations to pick up sound, the cardioid microphone family is especially good at focusing only in one direction.
Want to know the best part?
The cardioid microphone can reject sound from all other directions, except the direction that your voice is coming from. This is why it’s so popular on stage and at large venues, because the cardioid microphone is especially skilled at rejecting feedback from monitors or any other background sounds. The heart-shaped pattern built into the sensitivity structure helps the microphone greatly reduce the amount of pickup it receives from the sides and the rear of the device, focusing only on what’s in front of it – which would typically be your voice.
Amplify Your Speech
Naturally, all microphones were built to pick up sound in some way. But the cardioid mic is particularly adept at picking up vocals and speech patterns, making it the king of its field in terms of voice recording or projection.
You may be looking to record your voice at home, perhaps for a YouTube video or a live Twitch stream. There are studio cardioid mics that are recommended by the pros, which will help to focus on your clear voice and reject all other sounds in your recording space.
Other than recording your speaking voice, a cardioid microphone can do wonders in picking up singing sounds as well. Perhaps you have a small studio set up at your home or office, where you wish to record your songs with professional quality. Investing in a cardioid microphone can help you get the same sound as your favorite, best-selling artists.
There’s a reason cardioid microphones are commonly referred to as “studio microphones.”
The Right Technology Exists
The most popular type of cardioid microphone for any type of concert or live stage event is the Shure SM58, which has been hailed by the industry as the best in picking up a crisp voice and leaving all other noises out.
Did you watch the Academy Awards this year?
If so, you probably watched celebrities speak through quite a few cardioid microphones. The SM58 is a staple at popular celebrity events, and singers from around the world seek out this type of mic as well.