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Polar Patterns – Part 4: Figure 8

The Straight Story on Microphone Directionality

Welcome to the new installment of our microphone polar patterns series! In this article, we’ll examine a special pattern that goes by several names: figure 8, figure of eight, or bi-directional pattern.

In case you missed the first three installments of the series, check out the links below.

Part 1: Omnidirecional
Part 2: Cardioid
Part 3: Supercardioid
 

FIGURE OF 8

The secret to how a figure 8, figure of eight or bi-directional mic picks up sound is all in the name. Looking at the number “8,” the top and bottom bulbs symbolize the highly sensitive spots on the mic, and where the 8 “tucks in” at the sides is where the mic completely rejects sound. So, what’s in a name? Everything! Now, let’s see how to use this polar pattern.

IN STUDIO

The unique figure 8 shape is perfect for recording vocal and instrument duets, or even a single performer looking to achieve extremely wide stereo imaging and natural sound. And since these mics capture sound from such a wide area and are easily positioned above a sound source, they’re perfect for drum overheads or miking orchestral groups.

ON STAGE

Because of the unusually wide pickup pattern, figure 8 mics aren’t traditionally used for stage applications, but there’s always an exception to the rule. If you’re miking an acoustic duo or group on a very controlled stage, figure 8 mics can give you the natural sound and noise rejection you want.

MEET THE MICS

AKG offers a number of figure 8 and multi-pattern mics to capture your sound. Check out the C414 XLSC314 and C411 just to name a few. 

AKG Products with supercardioid polar pattern:

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