Can you use a shotgun mic in a parabolic microphone?

Audio Technica BP4029 shotgun mic Photo

We are often asked if you can use a shotgun mic with (inside) a parabolic microphone.  It seems logical that if you could use a directional microphone with a parabolic microphone, which is also very directional, the combination would be super-directional.  We’re sorry but this is not true.

Parabolic mics are not intended to be used with shotgun mics.  If someone is suggesting this, they do not fully understand how a parabolic microphone works.

If a microphone is used that is more directional than the dish was designed for, the microphone will ignore the outer edge of the dish.  The microphone will only be capturing sound energy from the center portion of the dish and ignoring the sound energy coming from the ring of the dish that is outside the microphones pickup pattern.

Parabolic dish cross section w hypercardioid micThe most commonly used type of shotgun microphone has a hypercardioid pickup (polar) pattern.  The image on the left shows how much of the dish is ignored when a  shotgun microphone, with a hypercardioid pickup pattern, is placed inside a parabolic dish.  The level of amplification of the hypercardioid microphone, shown by the dark, mushroom shaped curve, is drastically reduced for the regions of the dish past 90 degrees from the axis of the microphone.  (You can learn more about polar patterns here.)

Parabolic dish cross section w lobar mic

More expensive shotgun microphones tend to have lobar pickup patterns.  The image on the right shows how much of the dish is ignored when a  shotgun microphone, with a lobar pickup pattern, is placed inside a parabolic dish.  The level of amplification of the lobar microphone, shown by the dark, elliptical shaped curve, is drastically reduced for the regions of the dish past 30 degrees from the axis of the microphone.

Both images show how using a shotgun microphone greatly reduces the amplification provided by the parabolic microphone.

Parabolic dish cross section w cardioid micThe image on the left show a cardioid pickup pattern placed inside our parabolic dish.   Once again, the level of amplification of the cardioid microphone, shown by the dark, bean shaped curve, is reduced for the regions of the dish past 90 degrees from the axis of the microphone.

An omni-directional mic can be used with a more shallow dish, such as our 16-inch Klover MiK, without a significant loss of amplification because less of the dish is “ignored”.

Parabolic dish cross section w omni micThe image on the right shows an omni-directional pickup pattern placed inside our parabolic dish.  In this case the level of amplification is consistent over the entire area of the parabolic dish.

While an omni-directional microphone will pick up some ambient noise from the rear of the mic, the amplification provided by the dish makes the non-amplified sounds, coming from the back side of the mic, insignificant.

To summarize, our KLOVER MiK 26, and KLOVER MiK 09 products are designed for omni-directional microphones.  Our KLOVER MiK 16 is designed to be used with either omni-directional or cardioid microphones.

In addition, the KLOVER MiK and KLOVER MiK 16 models can be used with a standard stick mic (approximately 20mm diameter) or a lavaliere (lapel) mic.  The KLOVER MiK 09 model can only be used with lavaliere microphones.

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