While our products are commonly referred to as “parabolic microphones” they are in fact “parabolic collectors.”  The parabolic dish collects sound energy and focuses that energy on a single spot where an electronic microphone is typically located.  Because the sound energy from a large area is focused on a single point the collector is actually a mechanical amplifier.


Klover-MEQ-01This means that our parabolic collectors are compatible with any type of electronics that you might want to use.  The broad range of electronics used by our customers is the very reason that we do not build a microphone into our collectors.  We want to provide our customers with the maximum flexibility in how they capture audio.

There are, however, some limitations.  Our largest parabolic, the Klover MiK 26 as well as our smallest parabolic, the Klover MiK 09 require the use of an omni-directional microphone.  These microphones capture sound from a 360-degree pattern around the microphone.  This type of microphone is available in standard cartridge style bodies, normally about 7/8” in diameter, or as lapel (lavaliere) microphones.  The 360-degree pickup pattern of these microphones allows them to capture the sound energy reflected from the outer edges of the parabolic dish.  This sound energy will not be captured by a microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern as the cardioid pattern is focused on sound coming from the front and to the sides of the microphone. (Shure has an excellent tutorial on pickup patterns.)

In contrast, the shallower shape of our Klover MiK 16 parabolic is designed to match the cardioid pattern.  The outer edges of the parabolic dish align with the rear portion of the cardioid pickup patter so no sound energy is lost.  This allows either an omni-directional or a cardioid microphone to be used with comparable results.

Please note that, regardless of what you may see on our competitor’s website, a shotgun microphone should NOT be used with a parabolic dish.  The vast majority of the sound energy captured by a shotgun microphone comes from a small area directly in front of, or behind the microphone.  The majority of the sound energy reflected off of the parabolic dish will be ignored by a shotgun microphone.

For more information of how different types of microphones (polar patterns) work with parabolic microphones please refer to our blog on using shotgun mics in a parabolic microphone.  (If you would like to learn more about the various types of microphones, our friends at Premium Beat have a good article explaining the difference between the polar patterns of microphones.)

Amplifiers & Recorders

H4Now that we have determined what options you have for the microphone’s pickup (polar) pattern, your final microphone selection is primarily dictated by how you will be using the audio.  If you simply want to listen to the audio captured by the microphone you will only require some type of amplifier that will power your headphones.  This could as simple as selecting a microphone that will plug into your smart phone.  In this case you could purchase a microphone with a 2.5mm or 3.5mm plug that matches your smart phone.

If you plan to record your audio, you have a huge number of options.  You could record the audio on personal electronic devices such as your smart phone, tablet, or laptop.  Those wanting more flexibility may consider digital recorders such as a Zoom H1.  For those more serious about audio quality may consider recorders such as the Zoom H4, the Tascam DR-40, the Tascam 60D.  Professional audio engineers may consider a multi-channel recorder such as the Zoom F8 or the Sound Devices 833.

Each of these recorders will work with a certain type of microphone.  The smaller recorders such as the Zoom H1 are likely to have 3.5mm microphone ports.  Most microphones with the 3.5mm (1/8”) microphone connector will require that the recorder provide a low voltage to power the microphone.  This is commonly referred to as “plug-in” power.  Please confirm that your recorder provides “plug-in” power to the microphone port.


Sound-Devices-MM-1The larger, more professional recorders are most likely to have the larger XLR microphone ports.  Most microphones with XLR connectors will again require a voltage be supplied to operate the internal components of the microphone.  This is called “phantom power” and usually is in the range of 12 to 48 volts.  Please confirm if your microphone requires “phantom power” and if your recorder provides it.

Obviously many of our parabolic microphones are used in television production.  In these cases, the microphones within the parabolics are connected, directly or indirectly to the audio engineer’s mixing board.   XLR microphones are nearly always used for broadcast applications.

When the parabolics are rather stationary, and cabling is convenient, the microphone is plugged into a multi-channel connection box that is connected via fiber optic cables back to the mixing board.  If there is an operator carrying the parabolic the microphone will be connected into a preamp with headphone monitor, such as the Sound Devices MM-1, so the operator can hear directly what the microphone is capturing.  In this case the output of the preamp is connected, via an XLR cable, to the connection box.  The preamp also allows the mixer to give the operator instructions through an RF receiver such as the Lectrosonics IFBR1a.

When the parabolics must be mobile the same preamp is used so the operator can hear directly the audio that is being captured but in this case the output of the preamp is cabled to a wireless microphone transmitter such as a Sennheiser SK100G4.  The transmitter would very likely be the same hardware that a performer would wear on stage.  The matching receiver, usually with an external antenna, is cabled back to the mixing board as before.


Joe-CarpenterThe perception of “good audio” is a very personal matter.  Some audio engineers prefer the sound of shotgun microphones to the sound of parabolic microphones.  Some audio mixers prefer the “brightness” of a lapel mic while other audio mixers prefer the flatter response of a full bodied microphone.  The Klover MiK parabolics are designed to provide as much flexibility as possible to the audio professional that is using them.

If you still have questions on how you can best use our products, please contact us.  We would be glad to help and maybe we can learn something new.