Microphone Terminology: H (With Definitions)

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Hamasaki Square:

What is the Hamasaki square miking technique? The Hamasaki square is a surround sound miking technique with 4 bidirectional mics arranged in a 1.8 – 2 meter (6 – 6.5 ft.) square. The mics point left to right so that their null points face the main sound source. The Hamasaki square captures ambient sound while minimizing direct sound and reflections.

Hamasaki Square

Hamasaki Surround System:

Also known as the NHK Surround System.

What is the Hamasaki surround system (HSS) miking technique? The HSS is a baffled surround sound miking technique with 5 cardioid and 2 omnidirectional mics. The L and R cardioids are 30 cm apart, angled at 45° and baffled with the C mic 30 cm ahead. 2 omnis are spaced 3 m apart in line with L and R. The rear cardioids are 2-3 m behind the front at an angle of 135°.

Hamasaki Surround Drawing

Handheld Microphone:

What is a handheld microphone? Though any practical microphone can be held in one’s hands, a handheld microphone is mic that is designed for handheld use. Handheld mics are designed for vocals and are typically top-address with either an omnidirectional or cardioid-type polar pattern.

See: Microphone.

For more reading martial on handheld microphones, consider reading How To Hold A Microphone When Public Speaking And Presenting and How To Hold A Microphone When Singing Live.


Handling Noise:

What is microphone handling noise? Handling noise in the mechanically transferred noise that reaches the mic capsule as the mic is handled. Handling noise can happen in any mic but typically refers to noise in handheld mics due to grip changes, movement, and contact with other objects. Isolated capsules help minimize handling noise.


Hansa Reverb:

What is the Hansa reverb technique? Hansa reverb is a miking/mixing technique. It has multiple mics set up at varying distances from a sound source in a reverberant space. One mic up close, one mic at the far end of the room, and mic(s) in between. Each mic is gated so that as the source gets louder, more reverb is reproduced.


Harsh:

What does “harsh” mean when referencing a microphone signal? Harsh typically means one of two things when it comes to describing a mic signal. Often times a mic signal is described as harsh if it has exaggerated presence or overly represented high-end frequencies. Other times, it means the signal is too hot and is overloading the mic or mic preamp, causing “harsh” distortion.


Headset Microphone:

What is a headset microphone? A headset mic is a hands-free mic design that is held in place on a speaker’s head and has an arm or gooseneck to position the mic capsule in front of the speaker’s mouth. These mics are often part of headphone/microphone combinations. Headset mics capsules are typically omnidirectional electrets.

See: Microphone.


Hertz (Hz):

What do Hertz measure and why are they important to microphones? Hertz (Hz) means cycles per second and measures the frequency of sound and of mic signals. The human hearing range is from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz and the frequency response of a mic is also denoted by a range of Hertz values. The higher the Hertz value, the higher the frequency and pitch of a sound.


High-End Frequencies:

What are high-end frequencies in relation to microphones? High-end frequencies are frequencies on the high-end of the human range of hearing, roughly between 10-20 kHz. High-end frequencies make up the harmonics, brilliance, and “air” of sounds. Many dynamic mics have high-end roll-offs and cannot respond to upper high-end frequencies.


High-End Roll-Off:

What is a high-end roll-off in a microphone? A high-end roll-off means a mic’s sensitivity gradually decreases in its upper frequencies range (before 20 kHz). Gentle roll-offs often yield a natural sounding mic capture. Steeper roll-offs often sound coloured and dark. Dynamic mics usually have high-end roll-offs while condensers usually do not.


High-Impedance Microphone:

What is a high-impedance microphone? A “high-impedance mic” is a mic with an output impedance typically between 10-100 kΩ. High-impedance mics are consumer-grade products with unbalanced outputs. Their signals lose most of their high-frequency content when sent through any practical length of cable, resulting in a dark, muffled sound.

See: Microphone.


High-Pass Filter:

What is an audio high-pass filter and why are high-pass filters important to microphones? A high-pass filter (HPF) removes frequencies below a cutoff point in an audio signal. Some mics have switchable HPF options built-in. Engaging an HPF will help reduce low-end rumble, EMI, handling noise, proximity effect, and even mic plosives. An HPF with a high cutoff may thin out the mic signal.

For more information on microphone high-pass filters, check out my article What Is A Microphone High-Pass Filter And Why Use One?


Higher-Order Ambisonics:

What is higher-order ambisonics? Higher-order ambisonics is ambisonic recordings with more axes than first-order tetrahedral configurations. The extra axes pointing out from higher-order ambisonic mics (and mic array) provide greater 3-dimensional detail but require more equipment and processing for the various playback formats.


Hole-In-The-Middle Effect:

What is the hole-in-the-middle microphone effect? The hole-in-the-middle effect in a [generally unwanted] effect caused by coincident pair stereo miking techniques that have their mics pointed at too great an angle from one another. These techniques yield wide stereo images but often have weak captures of the direct source they are meant to record.


HRS Connector:

Also known as a Hirose connector.

What is an HRS connector and how do they apply to microphones? HRS microphone connectors are small 4-pin connectors used to connect some lavalier microphones to some bodypack transmitters.


Hum:

What does hum mean when talking about microphones? Hum is typically in reference to the electromagnetic interference from AC power mains (50 or 60 Hz depending on the country) that affects a mic signal. voice coils and output transformers pick up hum. Balanced audio cables, humbucking coils, high-pass filters, and mic positioning can reduce hum.


Hum Pickup Level:

What is microphone hum pickup level? Microphone hum pickup level is a mic specification that is sometimes written on mic datasheets. It tells us the typical level of hum in the mic signal at a given electric field strength and frequency of its alternating current.


Humbucking Coil:

What is a humbucking coil and why are they important to microphones? Some dynamic mic designs utilize humbucking coils to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI). Humbucking coils are made of two coils wound in such a way to induce EMI out-of-phase while inducing the mic signal in-phase. This greatly reduces hum and improves the signal-to-noise ratio.


Hypercardioid Polar Pattern:

What is the hypercardioid microphone polar pattern? The hypercardioid polar pattern is a highly directional mic polar pattern. Ideal hypercardioids are a 3:1 ratio of bidirectional to omnidirectional patterns. They are more directional than cardioids and supercardioids with a rear lobe of sensitivity and null points at 110° and 250°.

To learn more about the hypercardioid polar pattern, check out my article What Is A Hypercardioid Microphone? (Polar Pattern + Mic Examples).


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