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Mics & Preamps
Recording FAQ

Shotgun Technique

    While accurate stereo imaging forms the basis for the art of stereo recording, there is one technique in use today, that does not produce an accurate ambient stereo image. This involves the use of "shotgun" mics.

    A shotgun mic has a very directional pickup pattern. The pick up pattern or polar pattern is the area of space that the microphone will "hear". The pickup pattern on a shotgun mic is a narrow , forward facing lobe. This allows the microphone to only pick up or hear what it is "pointed" at. The shotgun or "spot mic" as it is sometimes called, is the only mic you can point at a sound source. Any other mic requires consideration of its polar pattern during placement for a stereo recording. The results obtained thru the use of shotgun mics are satisfying only when recording a directional sound source (like a PA system) or when highlighting a specific sound, like a bird call, in an ambient recording. When recording a PA system, they produce stereo in the same way a direct feed would, with amplitude differences between channels.

    The best results are obtained when using hybrid shotguns like the AKG line, which are less directional at low frequencies. This characteristic produces a recording with high isolation of ambient sounds , like crowd response and spatial information , yet is less colored and more natural sounding to the ear. They are best used as spot mics when high isolation is required.

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