The Lounge

Find answers, ask questions, share tips, and connect with our community around the world.

  • omni mic question

    Posted by Jesse Lewis on at 10:12 am

    I’m hoping someone can help me understand this concept —

    My understanding is that an Omni directional mic picks up sound from a full 360°, so everything in front of the mic and behind the mic (and sides) is recorded into your wave file. My question is – how does the sound that the microphone is recording in the back of the mic get attributed to your stereo field? Like, does the information that you record behind the mic to the right end up more in your right speaker and the information that you record more on the left side behind the mic go to your left speaker? With standard cardioid position, isn’t it true that you’re mostly picking up sound in front of the microphone and if you listen back to it, it would have some feeling of stereo-ess? Like the sounds coming from the left would be on your left speaker and the sounds coming from the right would be more on your right speaker? I’m not sure if I understand that correctly? But assuming that is correct, I’m still curious how this is all summed in an Omni situation.

    Thanks in advance for any wisdom.


    Jesse Lewis replied 4 days, 17 hours ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Dana Nielsen

    at 1:53 am

    Jesse! Great questions, and you’re right about the way cardioid and omni polar patterns pick up sound, with cardioid picking up sound from the front of the mic/capsule and omni picking up sound from the front, back and sides of the mic/capsule.

    But … it’s important to understand that regardless the polar pattern, these mics output a mono signal. An omni mic WILL capture sound on all sides, giving you a non-directional representation of the room, for example; however, it will be a mono recording of the room … unless you use two or more mics and pan them anywhere other than center.

    In the case of an omni mic when we listen to the recorded audio on a stereo playback system, the sound does come out of both speakers but equally so, thus it is mono. One mic – even when in omni, picking up sound from all sides – can never reproduce stereo sound. Gotta have 2 or more mics to recreate the stereo image you hear with your two ears 😉

    Does that make sense? I’m realizing while typing just how odd and difficult these concepts are to write about. Much better to demonstrate with sound and/or video! 🤘

    • Jesse Lewis

      at 4:08 pm


      Ahhhh yes of course! This makes total sense.

      So basically, if you use only one microphone, it will always be in mono, either equally on both speakers or placed to one side if it’s panned that way.

      So if I understand correctly then — a cardioid mic and an Omni mic would both record a mono recording – it’s just that the Omni mic recording would most likely result in hearing more of the surroundings then the more directional mic which would reject a lot of the elements that are behind it and on the sides of it. So basically you should just pick your polar pattern based on the type of sound you want to record or depending on the specific situation you find yourself in (ie trying to reject certain things)?

      And the same would hold for stereo recording, and that you could capture a stereo recording with two cardiod mics OR two Omni mics, and they would just result in different sound capture, but they would still be in stereo? I think I’m starting to get this now.

      It’s fascinating all the stuff I’ve been learning about using the different polar patterns in different types of situations, especially as cool ways of rejecting certain sounds while recording the ones you want.

      I’ve been doing some research on YouTube and looking to purchase the Lewitt LCT 441 FLEX Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone. It’s got a bunch of different polar patterns and looks indestructible and seems to sound really good from what I can hear on YouTube examples. Are you familiar with that Mic?


  • Dana Nielsen

    at 1:59 am

    This wikipedia article is pretty dang fascinating if you or anyone else is interested in further reading on the subject of microphones and polar patterns. I had no idea there were such things as laser, fiber-optic, and plasma mics!!! ⚡️🧑‍🔬🔭🎤


Log in to reply.