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Microphones and Acoustics

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your most commonly asked acoustics questions answered.

Section I: Definitions and Terminology
Section II: Microphone Recommendations
Section III: Calibration and Testing
Section IV: Specification Clarifications
Section V: Specialty Microphone Applications
Section VI: Maintenance and Handling

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What is a polar plot and how is it used?

Polar plots (also referred to as beam patterns) show a radially symmetric view of the angular dependence of the sound pressure detected by the microphone.  The data provided in a polar plot will show how the sound pressure level detected by the microphone changes at various angles of incidence. The angle of incidence used is typically a 180 or 360 degree arc with the microphone at the center.  The pressure amplitude decreases as you move from the center.  Polar plots do not show the frequency dependence of the measured sound pressure and are always acquired at a specific frequency.  The measurement frequency should always be specified with polar data because the shape of the beam pattern will change at different frequencies.

What is a polar plot and how is it used?

Polar plots (also referred to as beam patterns) show a radially symmetric view of the angular dependence of the sound pressure detected by the microphone.  The data provided in a polar plot will show how the sound pressure level detected by the microphone changes at various angles of incidence. The angle of incidence used is typically a 180 or 360 degree arc with the microphone at the center.  The pressure amplitude decreases as you move from the center.  Polar plots do not show the frequency dependence of the measured sound pressure and are always acquired at a specific frequency.  The measurement frequency should always be specified with polar data because the shape of the beam pattern will change at different frequencies.