What is a Hyper Cardioid Microphone?

man speaking into a hypercardioid microphone.

What is a Hypercardioid Microphone?

A hypercardioid microphone features a highly directional polar pickup pattern that best receives audio from a narrow, front facing pickup angle.

There are a variety of ways that we can distinguish different microphone types. There are classifications based on the technology on which they are built, such as condenser mics, dynamic mics, or ribbon mics. There are classifications based on their application, such as bass mics, shotgun mics, or boundary mics. yamaha's hypercardioid tabletop microphone.

And one of the most important classifications for microphones is the pattern in which they best pick up sound, otherwise known as their polar pattern.

Hypercardioid microphones are similar to super cardioid mics but with a front pickup pattern a bit narrower than a super cardioid. And like super cardioid mics, a hypercardioid mic also picks up sound from the rear. 

This differs from unidirectional mics, for example, which primarily capture sound in one direction while minimizing the amount of ambient sound picked up. Those mics are best suited for situations such as a speaker at a podium or when recording a singer’s voice.

Omnidirectional mics, on the other hand, pick up sound in all directions and deliver excellent results when placed in the center of a conference table with multiple participants. Bidirectional mics pick up sounds in the front and back of the mic and are great for podcasters conducting an interview or lawyers asking questions of a witness in a court case.

Cardioid microphones get their name from the heart-shaped pattern of the sound field they capture, with the best pickup for sounds in front and on the sides of the microphone. With most cardioid mics, sounds coming from behind the mic aren’t picked up well at all.

When it comes to cardioid mics, there are a few general types based on that heart-shaped polar pattern. Standard cardioid mics pick up sound equally well both in front and at the 90- and 180-degree angle along each side of the mic, while wide cardioid mics do a bit better in picking up sound in front of the mic than on the sides. Super cardioid mics have a tighter pickup pattern as well as characteristics of a bidirectional mic, with greater sensitivity directly in front of the mic to about 75 degrees off the axis as well as sensitivity to the rear.

When to use hypercardioid microphones

Of course, one question that comes to mind when considering the different types of cardioid mics is, “What are they used for?”

Hypercardioid mics are generally used in music and film recording, where precise directionality is desired. They’re a great tool for recording live music, allowing for users to record musicians on the stage without picking up sound from the audience. They’re also perfect for recording audio for film productions.

employees sitting around conference table with yamaha's microphone.Additionally, a hypercardioid mic is a great solution for video conferencing where several people may be sitting at a table and speaking at once. They are also great for recording audio from panel discussions and group presentations.

Hypercardioid mics are popular in the film industry thanks to their directionality and the fact that they can be easily adjusted and moved. They’re also popular in recording studios. When recording drums or guitars, for example, musicians can position a mic so that it captures those sounds only.

And when deciding between investing in a hyper vs. super cardioid, the choice comes down to the fact that a super cardioid mic has a significantly narrower field of sensitivity than a hypercardioid. For most applications, though, either will be sufficient.

The right tool for the task

There are hundreds of microphone types and brands on the market, and choosing the one that best suits your needs can be a daunting task. 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 expertise, there’s no company more knowledgeable than Yamaha Unified Communications.

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.