Originally Posted by rjo361
what does the heart shaped one do then?
thanks for the info!
Good observation! The "heart" shape is exactly what you're supposed to see! It's actually called a "cardioid pattern" (heart shaped).
A "standard" cardioid patten favors the front, but also picks up a significant amount of sound from the sides and above and below the center axis of the mic. Think of the pick up pattern as a sort of broad flood light shape. On a standard cardioid pattern setting, the sound at the sides (at 90 degrees from the center line) is only reduced by 6 dB, but from the back (180 degrees) it may be reduced by 25 or 30 dB.
The narrower hypercardioid pattern is more like a "spotlight" in that it will reduce the pick up at the sides (90 degrees) by 12 dB. The lowest sensitivity of a hypercardioid mic is at 120 & 240 degrees, not 180 as with a "standard" cardioid.
The pattern that looks like a simple circle is the omni-directional pattern, meaning that it has equal sensitivity in all directions.
Changing patterns will dramatically effect the ratio of the direct sound from your source to the amount of "room" sound (reflected, diffuse sound).
The "omni" will pick up the most "room sound", the "cardioid", less and the "hypercardioid" and the "Figure-8" even less.
Sorry if this is too much "technical crap", but this is a forum for audio engineers and without the "technical crap" most musicians would still be making music by hitting sticks together.
give you a detailed explanation of how changing the switch position electronically changes the pickup pattern using "technical crap" terminology like "capsule polarization bias" and "phase inversion", but don't worry, we won't. For now just consider it "magic".