There are 3 types of microphones: condenser, dynamic and ribbon. Condenser microphones require an external power source like a battery or a wire and they are sensitive to sound. They work best at recording a high-frequency range like cymbals and pianos.

Condenser Microphone no date. Condenser Microphones. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].

Dynamic microphones work best at recording a mid-low frequency range like drums and electric guitars.

Dynamic Microphone no date. Dynamic Microphones. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].

The less common ribbon microphone is very fragile and can be broken easily by dropping them. They tend to be of better quality than dynamic and condenser microphones and they are mainly for recording stereo with a figure of 8 polar pattern as default.

Image result for ribbon microphone cross section

Sarah Jones. no date. Ribbon Mic 101. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].

 Polar Patterns

Microphones recording directions are measured with polar patterns on a graph. The centre of the graph is the end of the microphone and the microphone is always pointing up. The shape tells you the radius of the microphone. The smaller the shape the closer you have to be to the microphone to be picked up. It also shows what directions it can pick up from, for example, microphones with a figure 8 polar pattern can pick up sound from behind them.

Image result for polar patterns

Studio Recording. 2015. Microphone Pickup Patterns: Understanding & Using Directionality. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].


Cardioid microphones pick up sound in a heart shape. They are the most common type of microphone although they were invented after omnidirectional and figure 8 microphones by combining them. They are usually used in interviews. They pick up noise from the sides but as it has a 131-degree acceptance angle the loudest sounds would be coming from the front.

Image result for cardioid polar pattern

Paul. 2011. Polar recording patterns, what is all the fuss about?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].


Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound from every direction. They are used to record ambient sound

Image result for omnidirectional polar pattern

Phil O’Keefe. 2014. Article: What You Need to Know About Microphone Polar Patterns. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].

Figure 8

Figure 8 microphones, also known as bidirectional microphones, pick up sound from the front and back of the microphone. These are used to record stereo sound. They can be placed in between two people to record them both at the same time.

Dan Gonzalez. 2014. Microphone Tips: What is a Polar Pattern?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].


Super-Cardioid microphones come from cardioid microphones and reduce the noise detected from the sides and increase the noise picked up from the rear of the microphone.


Marc Henshall. 2013. What’s the Difference Between the SM58 and the Beta58A. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].


Hyper-Cardioid has a low acceptance angle. They significantly reduce the noise detected from the sides of the microphone, but sound is still picked up from behind the microphone.


Staff Writer. 2012. Polar Patterns (Demystifying Microphones, Part 2). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].


Shotgun microphones are extremely directional microphones. They pick up sound from directly in front of them and use microphones located on the sides of the device to use noise cancellation technology to drastically reduce the noise coming in from the sides. They are used on high-end cameras.

Jeff Sobel. 2009. InfoBlog – Microphone Pickup Patterns. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016].

Ambient Sound Task

I went round the college recording ambient sound and experimenting with different polar patterns.I recorded in 4 different locations and I used a 30-degree and a 150-degree acceptance angle to explore how much difference it makes and here are the results.

Entrance 30°

Entrance 150°


Entrance Sound Map


Student Union 30°

Student Union 150°


Student Union Sound Map


Library 30°


Library 150°


Library Sound Map


Corridor 30°

Corridor 150°

Corridor Sound Map


Foley Task

I was given certain sounds that I had to create using things around college.

These were:

  • Footsteps
  • Running water
  • Rocket
  • Rain
  • Horse hooves
  • Conversation
  • A sound of your own (Door Slam)



We made this sound by walking up some metal stairs. The room was large and didn’t have much in it, so we got an echo which adds to the effect.

Running Water


We used the water fountain to make the sound of running water.



I used a kettle to make the sound of a rocket. Originally we used a toilet flush to try to make a rocket noise but it ended up sounding like a toilet flushing and not anything like a rocket



We found this one by mistake. I was trying to find something that sounded like rain and as it was a sunny day it was hard to find. Originally I was thinking of tapping on some metal but then I heard someone in the room who was typing and I thought it would make a good rain sound.

Horse Hooves


To do this we got 2 cups and tapped them on a concrete path.



Door Slam


Originally we were trying to find a creaky door for a horror effect but we couldn’t find one within the college so we used this instead.