December 2, 2022

What is the distinction in between cardioid and condenser microphones?

From church services to musical shows, funny clubs, and political disputes, microphones play a vital function in these locations. Nevertheless, it is essential to keep in mind that microphones are no longer restricted to these locations just. Today, web users need microphones when making podcasts, YouTube Videos, audio recordings, and voiceovers.

And, with a lot of settings where microphones are necessary, the option of your microphone has a huge effect on the success of your task. In this post, we will go over 2 kinds of microphones– condenser and cardioid microphone, and let you understand whether there’s any distinction in between these 2 microphones. Please continue reading for more details.

Condenser microphone

A condenser microphone is a kind of microphone. Other kinds of microphones consist of ribbon and vibrant microphones. Usually, microphones are identified according to their transducer concept. These microphones have a strong metal plate diaphragm.

The diaphragm of a condenser microphone works as a single plate of a capacitor, which is powered by either a battery or phantom power (+48 V) from a mic’s pre-amp. When a sound input strikes the powered diaphragm, the diaphragm vibrates, altering the capacitance. This, in turn, alters the voltage, developing an electrical signal, which is the mic’s output signal. Condenser mics have a greater frequency variety than vibrant and ribbon microphones.

Unlike vibrant microphones, condenser microphones are more in-depth and delicate in recording noise. The primary factor behind this is since it’s extremely simple for acoustic waves to vibrate a thin metal strip that vibrates a thick mic coil.

Noise engineers utilize condenser microphones on nearly whatever– from vocals to acoustic instruments, ensembles, drum overheads, ambient, and space mics. While various microphones have various qualities, condenser microphones sound crisper and hi-fi than other mics.

Cardioid microphone

There’s a great deal of confusion about the distinction in between condenser and cardioid microphones. Some individuals argue that there’s an unique distinction, while others state they are the very same.

A cardioid describes the polar or pickup pattern of a microphone. That’s why a condenser mic can be a cardioid. Bidirectional (figure 8) and omnidirectional (Omni) are other typical pickup patterns.

The microphone’s polar pattern figures out the instructions from which it will be least or most conscious the input noise. So, a microphone with a cardioid polar pattern will get sound effectively from the front however not from the back or the sides. On the other hand, bidirectional and omnidirectional polar patterns can choose noises effectively from various instructions.

Mics with cardioid polar patterns can get sound straight from the source and communicate it to your ears. And, if the noise is powered, the signal has energy, suggesting the voice will resonate in the mouth.

A normal mic with a cardioid polar pattern has a two-piece building and construction. Besides, these microphones are more pricey than other kinds of condenser microphones. And, since cardioids require to be closer to the sound source to get the shown noise plainly, they are bigger and much heavier than vibrant or ribbon microphones.

These microphones are likewise less versatile, and they require to be positioned in a particular instructions or angle to prevent getting undesirable noise or disturbance from other sound sources. However, if your recording environment is loud or you require to change the places of your microphone, a cardioid can be the very best choice. Nevertheless, you will still get DPA Condenser Microphones advantages if you utilize a cardioid microphone.

When should you utilize cardioids?

Mics with a cardioid polar pattern appropriate for phase and close-range mic settings since they can quickly obstruct sound leakages or undesirable noises. For that reason, you can utilize cardioid mics in various sound recording settings like:


you can position a mic with a cardioid polar pattern dealing with a speaker. This can be a keyboard, acoustic, lead, or bass guitar amp. Besides keeping leakages and other space sounds away, a cardioid gets the instrument’s distinct noise through the amp, blending that with other functions that the amp may have, like pre-amp, equalizer, transistors, and valves. The majority of sound engineers utilize this as an alternative to tape-recording straight on the blending console.


cardioid polar patterns permit separated miking of one drum as a total set. Having all the drum tracks separated with extremely low leakages makes blending simpler throughout post-production.

Live studio recordings

if you wish to keep the energy of a live performance in a studio setting, then a cardioid microphone is the best tool for the task. This is since cardioids can prevent sound leakages from other instruments. For example, your microphone will get very little noise from the acoustic guitar or percussion drums you are playing. When adjusting, modifying, blending, and mastering your recording, this makes a huge distinction.

Bottom Line

So, what’s the distinction in between a condenser and a cardioid microphone? Generally, there’s no distinction. A condenser is an innovation, while cardioid is the directivity. Hence, a cardioid is not a kind of microphone– rather, it’s a pickup or polar pattern of a condenser microphone. The only distinction is that various condenser microphones have various polar patterns. For that reason, some condenser microphones have actually cardioid polar patterns while others do not.

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