What is the reason we use hypercardiod and supercardiod mics?


I get that cardiod mics only pick up sound from the front of the mic but why would you want to also pick up some sound from the back of the mic like in hypercardiod and supercardiod mics? I`m sure this is a stupid question but I had no success googling. Thanks


@Kevin_Senzaki definitely your question :stuck_out_tongue:


So you’ll probably get a more specific answer from a music recording engineer or a really tech-invested sound library recordist, but basically, despite being really sophisticated technology, microphones in a way are also really simple devices when you get down to it, and the different pick up patterns are derived from differences in design. It’s a lot of advanced research and tech into making these really simple devices perform approximately how you want them to. So, I tend to think of the available microphone types as different “expressions” of the technology that happen to work well, rather than completely “intentional” design. In other words, the back spill is likely more of a side-effect on a design that happens to work well.

So, I don’t know if that above paragraph was any use, but what I’ll typically do in a recording situation in a space with echo is just A/B test different mics I have available - when you’re doing sound for film, you typically don’t have a reliably consistent or fully controllable environment (like you would in a music recording studio) where you can really dial in a predictably “ideal” solution, so there’s always the possibility of weird acoustic quirks or other noise problems that’ll make one mic sound better than the other on any given day. There’s other factors like the actual overall microphone (the physical structure of the device) that affect directionality and how well they reject frequencies from the side, but I always prefer to just test directly rather than over-think things.

So that being said though, generally speaking most cardioid mics will generally feel a little broader in what they pick up versus a hypercardioid. Both can work well indoors, but if you had to pick one I’d lean hypercardioid as that would probably give you broader use, and would perform okay in some outdoor locations as well.


Thanks, that really helps.


It is just the nature of physics/electronics when they’re designing mics, if you want a more directional pick up pattern up front often that leads to a small bulge out back as well.

However practically speaking this often is not a major problem, imagine you’re booming a guy from above, what is there above him that you might pick up which you don’t want? Nothing really. (well… sometimes, maybe air conditioning or a plane flying overhead, but you should be dealing with those anyway)

But there are a few rare exceptions to this, which have managed to design around this problem, such as the famous Sanken CS3e which is designed very differently to most shotguns. And it has next to nothing behind it (one of the many reasons I like it, is my most commonly used mic, I’ll even sometimes use it indoors like I did last week, after doing some room treatment: https://youtu.be/0G6RGImSUd8 )

However you might find the Sanken CS3e to be rather “expensive” (it isn’t an expensive by pro standards! is quite a normal price for a shotgun, but it might come as a sticker shock to others if you’re not used to these).