Omnidirectional vs. Unidirectional Mic

Omnidirectional vs Unidirectional Mic
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There are many instances in life where you will find that you need a microphone. Perhaps you want to create a new podcast or maybe you want to start up a YouTube channel to make extra money on the side.

Most think that they can just purchase any microphone to accomplish their goals, however this is not the case. Choosing a microphone is something that should be researched so that you can be sure you get the right one.

When shopping for a microphone, you will find that the market is oversaturated with them which can make it all the more challenging to settle on the right one. The first step is understanding the type of microphone you will need. Do you need a microphone that is omnidirectional or unidirectional?

Omnidirectional vs Unidirectional Mic for Podcasting

This article will highlight some of the key differences between an omnidirectional microphone versus a unidirectional microphone. This information will be helpful to you as it will explain information on the benefits and challenges to both types of mics, giving you a better idea of which one will work best for your needs.



An omnidirectional microphone works to receive and broadcast sound signals from a variety of directions. In other words, this type of microphone picks up sounds from the front, back, left, or right side and records all sounds equally. This is different from a unidirectional microphone which will only pick up sound with the highest sensitivity and from only one side.

If you are interested in recording sound effects or the environment around you, an omnidirectional microphone is a great choice. With this type of microphone you will be able to pick up sounds such as wood creaking, water babbling, birds chirping, or trees rustling.

The way an omnidirectional microphone works is that it has a polar plot that is a circular shape. This means that it can record from zero to 360 degrees. Imagine a circular pattern and as the sounds come towards the circle, they are all recorded equally. In other words, it does not matter what direction or angle you are speaking from as the microphone will pick it up.

A great example to demonstrate the difference between the omnidirectional and unidirectional mic is to think about a musical performance. The band is playing instruments in front of a choir who is singing. If you were to use a unidirectional mic, you would only be successful at capturing the band or the choir with a good gain, but not both. However, if you were to use the omnidirectional microphone, you would be able to pick up both the band and the choir with positive gains.

One of the main reasons that people choose to invest in an omnidirectional microphone is because they offer flexibility that a unidirectional mic cannot provide.

Unidirectional mics


Unidirectional mics only pick up sound with a satisfactory gain from one side of the microphone. This means that if you are speaking directly into the microphone, you will want to make sure that you are speaking into the voice-speaking side, otherwise, the sound quality will be poor and may even be unclear. This differs from an omnidirectional mic where you can speak from any direction and have it recorded with a good gain.

The unidirectional mic uses a polar plot that has the best gain when the sound is coming directly in front of the mic. If the mic were to rotate, the gains would diminish as the rotation occurred.

Finally, a unidirectional microphone mic is perfect if you are speaking in an environment that has an abundance of ambient signals that you are striving to avoid. An example would be if you are interviewing someone in a crowded place for the purposes of a YouTube video. Another great example is to use this type of mic if you are a professor and want to record your classroom lecture so that it can be replayed at a later date.

This type of microphone will ignore the surrounding noise and only pick up what is being spoken into the microphone. If you are going to be using a microphone in an environment where there are a lot of people, you will want to limit the chatter and feedback that is picked up by a microphone. With that being said, the unidirectional microphone will best your best option.


Choosing between an omnidirectional vs unidirectional mic is going to come down to what you are trying to achieve with your mic. You may find that you need one of each if you are going to be doing different tasks that require the use of both types of mics. If you do not have a budget for both mics, you will need to determine which one you will use the most and buy that kind first.

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