Bi-directional Microphone – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Sound Design Glossary Terms

I. What is a Bi-directional Microphone?

A bi-directional microphone, also known as a figure-eight microphone, is a type of microphone that picks up sound equally from the front and back of the microphone while rejecting sound from the sides. This unique polar pattern allows the microphone to capture sound from two opposite directions, making it ideal for recording interviews, duets, and other situations where sound needs to be captured from two sources.

II. How does a Bi-directional Microphone work?

Bi-directional microphones use a polar pattern that resembles the shape of the number eight, with equal sensitivity to sound coming from the front and back of the microphone, and minimal sensitivity to sound coming from the sides. This polar pattern is achieved by using two diaphragms that are positioned back-to-back inside the microphone capsule. When sound waves hit the diaphragms, they vibrate and convert the sound into an electrical signal that can be amplified and recorded.

III. What are the advantages of using a Bi-directional Microphone?

One of the main advantages of using a bi-directional microphone is its ability to capture sound from two sources while rejecting unwanted noise from the sides. This makes it ideal for recording interviews, podcasts, and musical performances where multiple sound sources need to be captured simultaneously. Bi-directional microphones also have a natural and warm sound quality, making them popular choices for recording vocals and acoustic instruments.

IV. In what situations is a Bi-directional Microphone commonly used?

Bi-directional microphones are commonly used in a variety of recording situations, including:

1. Interviews: Bi-directional microphones are often used in interview settings where two people need to be recorded simultaneously, such as in broadcast journalism or podcasting.
2. Musical performances: Bi-directional microphones are popular choices for recording duets, choirs, and other musical performances where sound needs to be captured from two sources.
3. Field recording: Bi-directional microphones are also commonly used for field recording, such as capturing ambient sounds in nature or urban environments.

V. What are some popular Bi-directional Microphone models on the market?

Some popular bi-directional microphone models on the market include:

1. Rode NT2-A: The Rode NT2-A is a versatile bi-directional microphone that is popular among recording engineers and musicians for its warm and natural sound quality.
2. Audio-Technica AT2020: The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a budget-friendly bi-directional microphone that is popular for podcasting and home recording applications.
3. Neumann TLM 102: The Neumann TLM 102 is a high-end bi-directional microphone that is known for its transparent sound quality and exceptional detail.

VI. How to properly use and care for a Bi-directional Microphone?

To properly use and care for a bi-directional microphone, follow these tips:

1. Position the microphone correctly: When using a bi-directional microphone, make sure to position it so that the sound sources are coming from the front and back of the microphone, rather than the sides.
2. Use a shock mount: To reduce handling noise and vibrations, use a shock mount to securely mount the microphone on a stand or boom arm.
3. Store the microphone properly: When not in use, store the microphone in a protective case or pouch to prevent dust and debris from accumulating on the diaphragms.
4. Clean the microphone regularly: Use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the microphone grille and diaphragms to remove any dirt or debris that may affect the sound quality.
5. Avoid exposing the microphone to extreme temperatures or humidity: To prevent damage to the microphone components, avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or humidity levels.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your bi-directional microphone continues to deliver high-quality sound for years to come.