Microphone Polar Patterns

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Microphone Characteristics

Frequency Response - A measure of the output of a microphone across the range of frequencies that are audible to the human ear. 

Certain mics tend to emphasize or de-emphasize certain frequencies within that range.

Frequency Response Chart

Reading a frequency response chart -  The horizontal numbers in a Microphone Frequency Chart represent frequencies (usually over the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range) and the vertical numbers represents relative responses in dB (Decibels). The frequency chart demonstrates how a given microphone performs at certain frequencies.

Proximity Effect - When a sound source gets closer to the mic, the proximity effect causes an increase in the amplitude of the lower frequencies. (Bass). 

Some vocalists like this effect because it adds a certain warmth to their sound.

Transient Response - Refers to how quickly a mic responds to a sound as it reaches the mic.  Condensers respond more quickly than a dynamic mic because of a lightweight diaphragm.

Sensitivity - A measure of the output of a microphone for a given sound pressure level (SPL). 

A highly sensitive microphone generates a higher ouput level for the same amount of sound pressure than a less sensitive mic.

Mics with a higher sensitivity rating can be placed further from the sound source and therefore work better for picking up larger ensembles.

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