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The Effect of the Singer's Head on Vocalist Microphones

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Vocalist microphones are often optimised for theoretically perfect polar patterns, e.g. cardioid, supercardioid or hypercardioid. The polar pattern can be maintained very well if the microphone is placed in the free-field, with no obstacle around it. When the singer approaches the microphone, the head serves as a reflective and diffractive obstacle. Consequently the far-field polar patterns and frequency responses are distorted, making the microphones more prone to feedback in live amplification situations, and altering the sound of the “spill” in pure recording situations.

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