Do you need the best hypercardioid mic for your latest vocals or streaming project?
Are you a gamer with a streaming video channel, a YouTuber, or even a translator or voice over artist?
Do you need a cardioid condenser microphone that won’t block your face, require use of your hands, or get in the way while it captures your voice?
Are you specifically in need of microphones that are stable, won’t get knocked around, and that don’t pick up large amounts of unnecessary background noise?
If you answered yes to any and all of these with little to no hesitation, then it’s very likely you do, in fact, need this type of microphone. Let’s explore further.
This Audio Technica hypercardioid mic is as high performance as it gets. Capable of handling high sound pressure levels with no distortion and in a killer frame, you couldn’t ask for anything better for your vocals and next streaming or vlogging project.
In This Article
- Top Pick: Audio-Technica AT4053B
- Runner-Up: Shure KSM9HS Dual Diaphragm
- Best Budget Pick: Samson C01
- Best Under 200: Sterling Audio ST131
- Budget Runner-Up: Audio-Technica Artist Series ATM650
- Best Factory-Matched Studio Pair: Oktava MK-012 MSP6
- Best Multi Pattern: AKG Pro Audio C414 XLS
The 9 Best Hypercardioid Mics
Our Top Pick: Audio Technica AT4053B
Our winner for the most effective hyper-cardioid mics goes to the Audio-Technica AT4053B, which is perfect for recording video game streaming sessions or your next hard-core YouTube video session.
The audio capabilities of this mic were designed for broadcasting and professional recording, so you know they aren’t messing around here. In fact, the Audio-Technica has a reputation for being able to capture instruments other mics dare not attempt. It’s also known for being pretty darn hardy and durable, with brass housing construction.
With its lightweight construction, this unit can be attached to your camera gear with an XLR cord, or mounted via boom. 48V phantom power is required, as well. While that might seem like a lot of needs, this is actually a very simple system to set up and mount, and includes a protective case and wind shield.
- Frequency Response of 20Hz to 20kHz
- Switchable 80 Hz hi-pass filter and 10 dB pad
- Maximum sound pressure level: 145db; 155db with 10 dB pad (nominal)
- Constructed without transformer circuitry, which means minimal low-frequency distortion
Runner Up: Shure KSM9HS Dual Diaphragm
The Shure Dual Diaphragm condenser mic is technically a handheld, but great news: it can always be mounted via boom. Even better news: users can switch between hyper-cardioid and super-cardioid polar patterns, which means greater control between very nuanced and extremely nuanced sound requirements.
As mentioned earlier, sensitive microphones like this tend to experience “proximity effect,” in which audio becomes distorted with close distances. The dual diaphragm of this microphone actually reduces that effect.
With it’s premium custom internal shock mount and triple-screen construction, this unit is known for its ability to replicate audio frequencies very well, with minimal distortion, little self-noise, and even handling those pesky plosives.
- Frequency Response of 50Hz – 20kHz
- Maximum sound pressure level: 150.9db
- 48V phantom power required for operation
- Includes aluminum carrying case
Best Budget: Samson C01
Among the large diaphragm hyper-cardioid condenser microphones on the market today, the Samson C01 is a great option, not only for the quality, but for the price point. As a member of the “under-a-hundo” club, this model is a whole lot of mic.
For example, its condenser structure features two ultra-thin 19mm diaphragms, which capture more detail, more characteristics, and more nuances than a typical dynamic coil. Not surprisingly, this particular unit is a top choice with professional DJs and live-streamers for its high quality audio capabilities with a low impact on your wallet.
48V phantom power is required with this mic as well, and it’s designed with an LED alert when power is flowing. It also features a three-prong male XLR connection at the base of the mic, and comes with a swivel mount. Samson recommends a spider shock mount to allow for the highest level of stability when attached to a boom.
- Frequency Response of 40Hz to 18kHz
- Maximum sound pressure level of 136db
- Heavy mesh grill allows capture of warmth and nuances
- A favorite among YouTubers and voice over artists
Best Under $200: Sterling Audio ST131
The ST 131 from Sterling Audio is a condenser microphone with a fully-focused hypercardioid pattern. This mic is typically associated with isolating instrumentals, but that ability to record detailed nuances in acoustic instruments translates well into conveying the characteristics of the human voice.
One main advantage of this microphone is its ability to handle a variety of volumes. As you can imagine, this is handy when recording instruments and capturing crashing crescendos, but also for those super-tense moments in Call of Duty.
The ST131 does require phantom power, and for best results, you might consider a boom set up with a separate shock mount and windscreen. Fear not! With what you save on the price of this microphone, you can more than afford the rest of the gear.
- Frequency Response of 20Hz – 20kHz
- Maximum sound pressure level: 146 dB
- High-pass frequency filter switch on body of mic
- Soft case and mic clip included
Budget Runner Up: Audio-Technica Artist Series ATM650
The Artist Series ATM650 is another example of a dynamic mic that nails it when it comes to miking instruments as well as detailed vocals. As a dynamic mic, no phantom power is required, so it’s ready to go when you are. An XLR connector installed in the base will get you connected.
The price point is also hard to ignore. While not as economical as other options, it still manages to leave you with enough money to buy dinner, too.
A few considerations of this microphone are the specialized Audio-Technica Hi-ENERGY magnet. This neodymium magnet is responsible for a higher quality of output and greater transient response. Also, this rugged mic includes floating dual-wall construction, which minimizes noise and distortion created from handling and distance, resulting in consistent quality through and through.
- Frequency Response of 80Hz to 17kHz
- Flat grille and smaller size allows for placement close to source
- Minimal vibration transfer
- Excellent choice for live recordings
Best Factory Matched Stereo Pair: Oktava MK-012 MSP6
The Oktava MK-012 MSP6 is actually a pair of microphones that have been factory-matched to be equal in every way. This is a great package for those who are looking to simul-cast with a buddy, or for two individuals recording at the same time.
The price on this particular set might be a bit shocking, but remember, you’re getting two microphones, each with the option of three different capsules that change the pattern. Two preamps (bases) and two each of three different capsules, plus two pads equals six options for a variety of needs.
If you don’t like DIY, skip this set. The main draw for these microphones is that you choose your own adventure. The set also includes a -10dB pad for each to help the mics produce the best recording, regardless of the SPL, environmental concerns, or noise levels. For those who find themselves recording in a variety of situations and scenarios, this could be a wise gear investment.
- Frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz
- Maximum sound pressure level: 130db
- Includes storage box and all-metal microphone clamps
- Factory-paired set of 2 preamps, 2 pad attachments, 2 cardioid capsules, 2 hypercardioid capsules, and 2 omnidirectional capsules
Best Multi Pattern: AKG Pro Audio C414 XLS
These condenser mics add some some serious ‘bang’ to your gear list at an affordable price.
When it comes to multi-functional gear, the AKG Pro Audio C414 XLS condenser mics are hard to beat.
Choose from nine different polar patterns, three attenuation levels, and three bass cut filters. On one side, you’ll find a switch that allows you to choose from the five main patterns: cardioid, wide cardioid, hyper, bidirectional, and omnidirectional. In between each setting, you can choose an intermediate option. The attenuation and bass cut filter selections are on the other side.
One really important note is that this is a professional studio microphone, and the price reflects that. A quick pop over to AKG’s site, and you’ll notice that nearly every recognizable musician, from Bob Dylan, to Yo-Yo Ma, to P.Diddy (Puffy? Puff Daddy? What’s he going by these days?) has used one of these. This is not amateur gear.
This large diaphragm condenser microphone is clearly the real deal, so make sure you’ve got the bones to buy it and the set up to support it.
- Frequency Response of 20Hz – 20kHz
- Kit includes Microphone, Universal Shock Mount, Metal Case, Pop Filter, and C414 Windscreen
- LED light indicates overload with red signal, or all clear with green
- On-mic controls can be disabled for greater ease of operation
Our Top pick
What Is A Hypercardioid Microphone?
The term “hypercardioid” refers to the polar pattern of the microphones. “Polar pattern,” in turn, refers to a microphone’s sensitivity to the sound around it, and how well it picks up sound from different source directions.
There are several different polar patterns, but the most common three are omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional (also known as “figure eight”).
Cardioid polar patterns focus on sources directly in front of the microphone. This is fantastic for vocals, instruments, interviews, Skype, and any situation in which you really ONLY want to record one particular voice. This polar pattern effectively blocks out anything other than the source in front of the mic, because it simply doesn’t pick it up.
What is the difference between hypercardioid and cardioid?
Hyper-cardioid and super-cardioid microphones are like cardioid microphones, only even more sensitive. That means they are incredibly focused on the source in front of them.
Who should buy a hypercardioid microphone?
If you are serious about livestream video work, such as gaming or even teaching online courses, you need this type of microphone. If you want to be able to record from your computer, without a giant desktop microphone blocking your face, you need this type of microphone.
Other Mics We Reviewed
There are a lot of mics out there, far more than the ones that made our top list. Here’s another Top Pick and Budget Pick that didn’t quite make our list.
Alternative Top Pick
These mics are pretty popular among radio and news broadcasters. You’ll notice right away that the mic itself is designed to be boom mounted, which is awesome. Additionally, it is one of the few dynamic microphones on this list.
- Frequency Response of 20Hz – 20kHz
- Maximum sound pressure level: 150 dB
- Easy-to-remove headgrille allows for simple and frequent cleaning
- Internal pop shield and shock mount
- No phantom required!
Alternative Budget Pick
With a clear mid-range and clear frequencies all around, if you need a mic on a budget, you should definitely think about this. It’s a dynamic mic with a cardioid pattern, so it will be super easy to hook up and get started!
- Full-range response
- Tight cardioid polar pattern
- Dynamic mic
- Shock mount helps minimize handling noise
If you want to be able to create crystal-clear livestreams, YouTube audio, live lectures, or other fine-tuned voice and video work, hypercardioid microphones are the way to go.
The advantages are obvious: no crazy body mics flopping off or blurring your words, limited background noise, and clear and concise quality recording of your voice. Additionally, many of the mics on this list can do extra duty for vocals or instruments.
The main goal, however, is to get going on what you love. Pick out a mic, order it, try it out, and keep creating with your new gear. If you want to upgrade later, you can always do that.
Continuing to put time and energy into your passion is the most important thing.