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Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them?

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Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them?

Postby mhschmieder » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:57 am

I had never heard the term subcardioid until today, when Shure announced new polar pattern capsules for their KSM9 mic.

Here's what a subcardioid polar pattern looks like:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polar_pattern_subcardioid.png

I'm curious if anyone has used a mic with such a pickup pattern, and what sorts of applications they might be good for.

Off the top of my head, acoustic piano seems like a potential application, as it's almost like a semi-elliptical half-flattened omni.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby HCMarkus » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:37 pm

Halfway between a Cardioid and Omni pattern means less directionality and less proximity effect.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby mhschmieder » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:17 pm

Right; that's why I'm thinking it would be good for acoustic piano close-miking.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby mikehalloran » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:36 pm

Anyone with a continuously variable pattern via a separate box may have used one without knowing it.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby mhschmieder » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:01 pm

Good point, Mike. :-)

Other than this new capsule from Shure, the only dedicated subcardioid microphone I see on the market is a gooseneck mic from Audio-Technica:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/audio-technica-at808g-gooseneck-subcardioid-dynamic-console-microphone

This one is specifically designed for talkback, but this pattern might also work well for conferencing/lecterns/etc.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby mhschmieder » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:05 pm

I talked to some people at work about this, and they feel it's more of a marketing thing overall, as most omni mics aren't uniformly omnidirectional anyway. That is, they tend to have a bit of flattening and broad attenuation (as opposed to directional attenuation like the cardioid family of pickup patterns).

I'd have to pore over more polar pattern specs than I care to spend time on right now, to verify this is the case. Surely measurement mics (such as the old B&K's, or DPA's) are True Omnis.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby baanes » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:55 pm

I think the Schoeps, Neumann, Sennheiser high-end modular systems all have "wide cardioid" capsules, which seem to be what you're talking about. Since they're differentiated from the "regular cardioid" models I don't think it's a gimmick. My guess would be like yours, that you get a wider pickup and more natural response than a full cardioid.

There's a mic from Line Audio in Sweden that's cheap and much praised in the usual online forums that is also a subcardioid. I have no personal experience with it, but have considered trying it for some $200.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby mikehalloran » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:15 pm

The CAD M179 has a continuously variable pattern for those who want to fool with it on the cheap.

http://www.cadaudio.com/M179.php

Street price $129.95

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i- ... MgodQxQAwA
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby mhschmieder » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:17 am

Hmm, worth a look as that is a well-loved mic anyway. Warren Dent of Zen Pro Audio and Alan Moon of Front End Audio recommend it on toms, but I typically have not liked condenser mics for close-miking duties on drums. Nevertheless many use the M179 for other purposes as well, including overhead pairs in Blumlein for acoustic instruments. It's worth picking at least one up to play with; I had never noticed it has the continuously variable polar pattern feature. It could be worth it for the education alone.
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Re: Subcardioid microphone polar patterns -- anyone use them

Postby mikehalloran » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:08 pm

Being a big fan of M+S and Blumlein, it's nice to see a well regarded multi-pattern mic for a buck-thirty. The variable pattern is icing on the cake and that it does so without an external box is way cool.

Just because I probably don't need it doesn't mean that I won't buy an M179.
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