Bi-directional or Figure 8


“Figure 8” or bi-directional microphones receive sound equally from both the front and back of the element. Most ribbon microphones are of this pattern. In principle they do not respond to sound pressure at all, only to the change in pressure between front and back; since sound arriving from the side reaches front and back equally there is no difference in pressure and therefore no sensitivity to sound from that direction. In more mathematical terms, while omnidirectional microphones are scalar transducers responding to pressure from any direction, bi-directional microphones are vector transducers responding to the gradient along an axis normal to the plane of the diaphragm. This also has the effect of inverting the output polarity for sounds arriving from the back side.

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