What is a Bidirectional Microphone?


What is a Bidirectional Microphone?

A bidirectional microphone picks up sound in two directions, in a figure-8 pattern from in front of and behind the microphone. When it comes to two people sitting across from each other at a conference table, a bidirectional microphone might be the best tool for the job.

Although there are dozens of microphone types incorporating a variety of technology, most operate in the same general way, incorporating a diaphragm placed near a magnet. The diaphragm vibrates when struck by sound waves and interacts with the magnetic field. That interaction is translated into an electric current that can be sent across great distances and ultimately converted back into sound.

The term “directional” in terms of microphones describes the direction in which the microphone can pick up sound.

A unidirectional microphone, for example, picks up the best sound from a single direction, generally the one in which the microphone is pointed. An omnidirectional microphone, on the other hand, picks up sound equally well from all directions. There are also cardioid microphones, which pick up sounds primarily from the front and sides. Those microphones are so named because of the heart-shaped pattern of the sound pickup field.

So what applications are best suited for different types of mics, and when would you use a bidirectional microphone?

When to use a bidirectional microphone

bidirectional yamaha microphone.If the situation involves two people sitting across from each other, a bidirectional mic placed in the middle of the table would deliver the desired result.

Use cases for bidirectional mics might be a legal deposition, where an attorney is asking questions of a witness to a car accident. Another case might be a politician delivering a presentation on proposed legislation and accepting questions from audience members who step up to a podium, or when producing a podcast where the host interviews a guest.

Although an omnidirectional microphone might accomplish the same goal in those situations, in the bidirectional vs. omnidirectional debate there will likely be situations where a bidirectional mic is the better choice. In the case of the politician delivering a presentation, the speaker likely doesn’t want extraneous noise from the sides interfering with the communication. In the example of a podcast, the host doesn’t want the sounds of others in the room interfering with the recording.

However, when it comes to someone speaking at a podium to a group of people, for example, you’ll most likely want a microphone that will only pick up the voice of the speaker and not the sound of the audience, In that case, a unidirectional microphone would be the best choice.

Furthermore, in a videoconferencing situation where there is a group of people sitting around a conference table, or the discussion at the table is being recorded, a cardioid mic placed at the end of the table would likely be the best option. In that case, the mic would pick up the voices of those at the table but wouldn’t pick up sounds from behind the microphone.

Or maybe the participants are all around the room, and the goal is to pick up everyone’s voice no matter where they may be standing. In that case, an omnidirectional mic in the middle of the room would accomplish the task.

Choosing the right microphone

With so many microphone types on the market, picking the right one for your particular situation can be confusing. To make the most of your investment and ensure the mic you choose will deliver the desired results, it helps to speak with an expert.

And when it comes to delivering the best in audio, Yamaha Unified Communications is the clear leader.

Yamaha UC offers a variety of microphone systems, with solutions for nearly any situation. Additionally, the company offers a variety of conference phones, speaker systems, accessories, and other audio solutions.

So no matter what your audio needs may be, Yamaha UC can help. Contact us to speak with an expert and learn more.