Another thing that one must look for when getting ready to purchase a microphone is polar pattern. What is that you may find asking yourself? A lot of engineers will use a cardioid pattern, which is more sensitive to sounds arriving from the front rather than from the back and sides of the microphone, as this will avoid capturing much of the unwanted ambient sounds. However, cardioid designs color the sound in a variety of ways. The most obvious of these is that they exhibit the proximity effect, whereby low frequencies become more pronounced the closer you move to the microphone. However, the sound will also change if the singer moves off axis — in fact, even if the singer remains in front of the microphone, any reflected sound arriving at the sides or rear of the microphone capsule will still be subject to tonal change.
Some recording engineers occasionally use omni-pattern microphones, which pick up sound equally from every direction. While this can often result in a more transparent sound, it is at the expense of a higher level of recorded ambience.
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