X-Y Pattern (Microphones)

What is an X-Y Pattern in Microphones?

An X-Y pattern in microphones refers to a specific method of positioning two or more microphones to capture stereo sound. This technique is used for accurate reproduction of a sound source in a stereo field, providing a rich and full-bodied sound experience. It’s extensively used in fields like video editing, filmmaking, and by influencers or YouTubers when they need to record high-quality, immersive audio.

Understanding The X-Y Pattern

In an X-Y microphone setup, two identical microphones are placed in close proximity and angled towards each other, typically at 90 or 120 degrees. This pattern gets its name from the X-Y coordinates in a graph, where the mics create an ‘X’ and the source of the sound forms the ‘Y’. This setup captures the sound coming from different directions, thus producing a stereo effect. The result is a highly accurate, phase-coherent stereo image.

Advantages of X-Y Pattern

  • Phase Coherence: Since the sound hits both microphones at the same time, there are no phase issues. This makes it easier to mix the sound down to mono without any loss of quality.
  • Directionality: The X-Y pattern offers excellent directionality, capturing the sound source precisely. This makes it an ideal choice for recording sound in a specific area or direction.
  • Easy Setup: The X-Y setup is relatively simple and straightforward, making it suitable for both professionals and beginners.

Drawbacks of X-Y Pattern

  • Narrow Stereo Image: The X-Y pattern can sometimes result in a narrower stereo image compared to other setups like the A-B pattern.
  • Requires Identical Mics: For the best results, the X-Y pattern requires two identical microphones. This can be a limitation if you don’t have access to two of the same mics.

Applications of X-Y Pattern

The X-Y pattern is widely used in various audio recording scenarios. It’s especially popular in video production and filmmaking, where capturing precise, high-quality audio is crucial. Influencers and YouTubers also use this pattern to enhance the audio quality of their content. Other applications include field recording, live music recording, and podcasting.


Understanding the X-Y pattern and its applications can drastically improve your audio recording quality. It provides a simple yet effective solution for capturing stereo sound, making it a valuable tool for anyone involved in audio-visual content creation.

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