Best Guitar Mics for Recording (Acoustic, Electric)


Best Guitar Mics

The 3 Best Guitar Mics for recording (Acoustic, Electric):

Best Guitar MicsReason to Buy
Shure SM57 Guitar MicVersatility: The Shure SM57 is incredibly versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications, not just miking guitars. It’s often called the “Swiss Army knife” of microphones because it performs well on guitar cabinets, snare drums, brass instruments, and more.
Durability: It’s built like a tank, which makes it a reliable choice for live sound where it might endure some rough handling.
Affordability: The SM57 is budget-friendly, making it an excellent choice for musicians and recording engineers on a tight budget.
AKG C414 Guitar MicExceptional Clarity: The AKG C414 is renowned for its high-quality sound capture, making it an ideal choice for those who want to capture every detail of their guitar performance.
Versatility: With multiple polar patterns and adjustable sensitivity, the C414 can adapt to various recording situations, including different instruments and vocal recordings.
Professional Quality: It’s a go-to microphone in many professional studios, and it’s often used for critical recording tasks where high-quality audio is essential.
Royer R-121 Guitar MicWarm and Natural Sound: The Royer R-121 is known for its warm and natural sound signature, making it an excellent choice for capturing the organic tones of acoustic and electric guitars.
Ribbon Microphone Character: Ribbon microphones like the R-121 provide a classic, vintage character to recordings, which can add depth and uniqueness to your guitar tracks.
Build Quality: While it’s a bit more delicate than some other microphones, the R-121 is well-built and designed to provide years of reliable performance when handled with care.

Welcome to the world of amplified artistry, where every strum, pick, and chord is captured in perfect harmony. If you’re a guitarist, you know that finding the right microphone can make all the difference in your sound. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your musical journey, the quest for the best guitar microphone is a never-ending adventure.

In this blog post, we’re diving headfirst into the fascinating world of guitar microphones. We’ll explore the various types of mics that can help you achieve that sweet, resonant tone you’ve been chasing. From dynamic microphones to condenser gems, we’ll uncover the secrets of capturing your guitar’s soulful melodies and powerful riffs with precision and finesse.

So, whether you’re looking to record your next hit song, perform on stage, or simply elevate your practice sessions, you’ve come to the right place. Join us as we unravel the mysteries of the best guitar microphones, and discover how they can transform your music into something truly extraordinary. Let’s embark on this sonic journey together!

Best Guitar Mics for Recording (Acoustic, Electric)

1. Shure SM57 Guitar Mic

Shure SM57 Dynamic Instrument Microphone
  • EXEPTIONAL VOCAL PERFORMANCE – The SM57-LC delivers high-quality vocal reproduction, thanks to its tailored frequency response and brightened midrange for clear and present vocals.
  • INDUSTRY STANDARD – The first choice for performers around the globe, the SM57 Dynamic Vocal Microphone is ready to bring any performance to life. From the club to the stadium, Shure has your back.
  • CLARITY & CARE – The uniform cardioid polar pattern reproduces every note as it was intended, delivering warm, crisp sound time after time.
  • LEAVE BACKGROUND NOISE BEHIND – The SM57 has a spherical mesh grille and built-in pop filter to keep any unwanted noise out of the mix.
  • DROP THE MIC – The durable construction and break-resistant stand adapter makes the SM57 the perfect companion on the road, going strong through the toughest performances.

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 15kHz
  • Sensitivity: -56.0 dBV/Pa (1.6 mV)
  • Impedance: 150 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Versatile for various instruments
Durability and roadworthy
Budget-friendly
Iconic sound for guitar amplifiers

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Limited frequency response
May require additional EQing for vocals

Description:

The Shure SM57 is an industry-standard dynamic microphone renowned for its versatility and legendary durability. Its cardioid polar pattern ensures focused sound capture while reducing background noise, making it an excellent choice for miking guitar amplifiers. With a frequency response ranging from 40Hz to 15kHz, the SM57 delivers a classic guitar tone with a slight midrange boost, which can help cut through a mix.

Musicians and sound engineers often praise the SM57 for its ability to handle high sound pressure levels, making it ideal for close-miking guitar cabinets and snare drums. Its rugged construction can withstand the rigors of live performances and studio sessions, making it a go-to choice for professionals worldwide.

While the SM57 excels at capturing the character of guitar amplifiers, it may require some EQing for other applications like vocals due to its limited frequency response. However, its affordability, reliability, and iconic sound make it a must-have microphone for any musician or sound engineer looking to capture the essence of their guitar tones.

In summary, the Shure SM57 is a workhorse microphone that has earned its place in music history for its consistent performance and versatility, particularly when it comes to miking guitar amplifiers.

2. AKG C414 Guitar Mic

Sale
AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Vocal Condenser Microphone, Multipattern, Black
  • Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone with 9 Switchable Polar Patterns

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Patterns: Nine selectable (including cardioid, omnidirectional, figure-eight)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 23 mV/Pa (-33 dBV)
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Versatile polar pattern selection
Wide frequency response
Exceptional detail and clarity
Suitable for various studio applications

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Higher price point
Requires phantom power
Delicate construction for live use

Description:

The AKG C414 is a premium condenser microphone renowned for its versatility and pristine audio quality. It offers nine selectable polar patterns, including cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-eight, allowing for precise sound capture in various studio settings. With a wide frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz, this microphone can faithfully reproduce the full spectrum of guitar tones.

Musicians and engineers appreciate the C414 for its exceptional detail, clarity, and sensitivity. It excels at capturing the nuances of acoustic and electric guitars, making it a top choice for studio recordings. The microphone’s ability to handle high sound pressure levels also makes it suitable for miking guitar amplifiers in live settings, although its delicate construction may require extra care.

While the AKG C414 offers unparalleled audio quality, it comes with a higher price point and requires phantom power for operation. However, for those seeking uncompromising sound quality and versatility in a studio microphone, the AKG C414 is a wise investment.

In conclusion, the AKG C414 is a versatile and high-quality condenser microphone that delivers exceptional audio fidelity, making it an excellent choice for capturing the full beauty and intricacy of guitar tones in both studio and live environments.

3. Royer R-121 Guitar Mic

Royer Labs R-121 Ribbon Microphone – Recording Studio and Live Use – an Audio Industry Standard for Decades – Made in USA
  • THE SOUND OF ELECTRIC GUITARS and so much more!
  • HIGH SPL CAPABILITIES: No internal active electronics to overload or produce distortion up to maximum SPL rating
  • FIGURE-8 POLAR PATTERN
  • EQUAL SENSITIVITY FROM FRONT OR BACK OF ELEMENT: Consistent frequency response regardless of distance
  • EXTREMELY LOW RESIDUAL NOISE

Specifications:

  • Type: Ribbon
  • Polar Pattern: Figure-eight
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 15kHz
  • Sensitivity: -50 dBV/Pa (1.99 mV)
  • Impedance: 300 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Warm and natural sound
Ideal for guitar cabinets and acoustic instruments
Smooth high-frequency roll-off
Robust build quality

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Fragile ribbon element
Limited high-frequency extension
Requires phantom power with a special preamp

Description:

The Royer R-121 is a ribbon microphone known for its warm and natural sound reproduction. Featuring a figure-eight polar pattern, it excels at capturing the nuances of guitar cabinets and acoustic instruments. The R-121’s frequency response spans from 30Hz to 15kHz, providing a smooth and vintage tonal character with a gentle high-frequency roll-off.

One of the standout features of the R-121 is its robust build quality, making it suitable for studio and stage applications. However, it’s worth noting that the ribbon element is fragile and requires careful handling to avoid damage.

While the R-121’s limited high-frequency extension might not suit every application, its unique sonic character, especially when miking guitar cabinets, is highly sought after. It’s essential to pair the R-121 with a preamp that provides sufficient phantom power and gain to achieve the best results.

In summary, the Royer R-121 is a ribbon microphone prized for its warm and vintage sound, making it an excellent choice for capturing the character of guitar cabinets and acoustic instruments.

4. Neumann U87 Guitar Mic

Neumann U 87 Ai Condenser Microphone (Studio Set, Black) with RF-5P-B Reflection Filter & Reflection Filter Mic Stand Bundle
  • Variable large diaphragm microphone
  • Pressure-gradient transducer with double membrane capsule
  • Omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8 characteristics
  • Switchable low frequency roll-off
  • Switchable 10 dB pre-attenuation

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Patterns: Three selectable (cardioid, omnidirectional, figure-eight)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 28 mV/Pa (-31 dBV)
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Legendary studio microphone
Exceptional detail and clarity
Versatile polar pattern selection
Wide frequency response

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
High price point
Requires phantom power
Delicate construction for live use

Description:

The Neumann U87 is a legendary studio condenser microphone celebrated for its exceptional audio quality and versatility. With three selectable polar patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-eight) and a frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz, the U87 is well-suited for capturing the intricate details of acoustic and electric guitars.

This microphone’s pristine audio reproduction, clarity, and sensitivity make it a top choice for professional studio recordings. It’s often used to capture the full beauty of acoustic guitars and the nuances of guitar amplifiers. However, due to its delicate construction, it’s typically reserved for controlled studio environments and not recommended for live use.

While the Neumann U87 offers unparalleled audio fidelity, it comes with a higher price point and requires phantom power for operation. Musicians and engineers seeking the utmost in sound quality and versatility will find the U87 to be a worthy investment.

In conclusion, the Neumann U87 is a legendary studio condenser microphone that excels at capturing the intricate details and beauty of guitar tones, making it a prized tool for professional studio recordings.

5. Sennheiser MD 421 Guitar Mic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 17kHz
  • Sensitivity: 2 mV/Pa (-54 dBV)
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Classic dynamic microphone
Ideal for guitar cabinets and drums
Durable build for stage use
Excellent off-axis rejection

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Limited high-frequency extension
Requires external mounting for some applications

Description:

The Sennheiser MD 421 is a classic dynamic microphone celebrated for its versatility and durability. With a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response ranging from 30Hz to 17kHz, it excels at capturing the punch and warmth of guitar cabinets and drums.

One of the MD 421’s standout features is its durability, making it a reliable choice for live stage performances. Its excellent off-axis rejection helps minimize unwanted background noise, ensuring clear and focused sound capture.

While the MD 421 may have a limited high-frequency extension compared to condenser microphones, it has a unique sonic character that many musicians and engineers appreciate. Additionally, some applications may require external mounting due to its design, but it remains a favorite choice for miking guitar amplifiers and drums.

In summary, the Sennheiser MD 421 is a classic dynamic microphone known for its durability and versatility, making it a valuable tool for capturing the punch and warmth of guitar cabinets and drums.

6. Audio-Technica AT4040 Guitar Mic

Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  • Technically advanced large diaphragm tensioned specifically to provide smooth, natural sonic characteristics
  • Externally polarized (DC bias) true condenser design, Exceptionally low noise, wide dynamic range and high SPL capability for greatest versatility
  • Transformerless circuitry virtually eliminates low frequency distortion and provides superior correlation of high speed transients
  • Precision machined, nickel plated brass, acoustic element baffle provides enhanced element stability and optimal sensitivity
  • State of the art surface mount electronics ensure compliance with A T’s stringent consistency and reliability standards

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -32 dBV/Pa (25.1 mV)
  • Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Versatile condenser microphone
Wide frequency response
Transparent and detailed sound
Affordable for its quality

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Requires phantom power
Not as rugged as some other options

Description:

The Audio-Technica AT4040 is a versatile condenser microphone known for its transparent and detailed sound reproduction. With a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response spanning from 20Hz to 20kHz, it’s well-suited for capturing the nuances of acoustic and electric guitars.

One of the key advantages of the AT4040 is its affordability while delivering high-quality audio performance. It’s often praised for its ability to faithfully reproduce vocals and instruments with clarity.

However, it’s important to note that the AT4040 requires phantom power for operation and may not be as rugged as some other options on the market. Nevertheless, its balance of price and performance makes it an attractive choice for musicians and engineers seeking a quality condenser microphone.

In conclusion, the Audio-Technica AT4040 is a versatile and affordable condenser microphone that excels at capturing the transparency and detail of guitar tones, vocals, and various instruments.

7. Beyerdynamic M160 Guitar Mic

Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Microphone – Hypercardioid, Wired, Wireless
  • Unique double ribbon microphone transducer with hypercardioid polar pattern
  • Extended frequency response
  • Excellent transparency and transient response
  • Compact and rugged design
  • Warm and natural sound.Microphone Frequency Response:40 – 18,000 Hz

Specifications:

  • Type: Ribbon
  • Polar Pattern: Hypercardioid
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 18kHz
  • Sensitivity: 1.2 mV/Pa (-58 dBV)
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Unique ribbon microphone character
Hypercardioid pattern for isolation
Warm and smooth sound
Suitable for various instruments

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Fragile ribbon element
Limited high-frequency extension
Requires phantom power with a special preamp

Description:

The Beyerdynamic M160 is a unique ribbon microphone with a hypercardioid polar pattern, known for its distinctive sound character. With a frequency response ranging from 40Hz to 18kHz, it captures audio with a warm and smooth tonality, making it an excellent choice for various instruments, including guitar amplifiers.

One of the M160’s standout features is its hypercardioid pattern, which provides excellent isolation and minimizes off-axis sound. This makes it a valuable tool for capturing guitar tones while reducing unwanted room noise.

However, like many ribbon microphones, the M160’s ribbon element is delicate and requires careful handling to prevent damage. It also has a limited high-frequency extension, which may not suit every application. Additionally, it requires phantom power with a special preamp designed for ribbon mics.

In summary, the Beyerdynamic M160 is a ribbon microphone prized for its unique sound character and hypercardioid pattern, making it an ideal choice for capturing the warmth and isolation of guitar amplifiers and other instruments.

8. Electro-Voice RE20 Guitar Mic

Electro-Voice RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone with Variable-D
  • Professional quality dynamic cardioid microphone with studio condenser-like performance
  • The classic sound of FM radio voices with smooth, natural, and controlled sonic character
  • The Variable-D design and heavy-duty internal pop filter excel for close-in voice work, while an internal element shock-mount reduces vibration-induced noise
  • Steel case and hum-bucking coil provide exceptional magnetic shielding and guards against line hum
  • Great for podcasts, voice-over work, audiobook narration, talk shows, sports announcers, radio, broadcasting, and music production

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz – 18kHz
  • Sensitivity: 1.5 mV/Pa (-54 dBV)
  • Impedance: 150 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Versatile dynamic microphone
Exceptional durability
Low handling noise
Natural and balanced sound

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Limited high-frequency extension
May require additional EQing for specific applications

Description:

The Electro-Voice RE20 is a versatile dynamic microphone known for its exceptional durability and natural sound reproduction. With a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response ranging from 45Hz to 18kHz, it captures audio with a balanced and authentic tonal character, making it suitable for various applications, including miking guitar amplifiers.

One of the RE20’s notable features is its low handling noise, ensuring clean and clear sound capture even in dynamic environments. Its robust build quality makes it a reliable choice for both studio and stage use.

While the RE20 delivers a natural and balanced sound, its limited high-frequency extension might require additional EQing for specific applications. However, its versatility and durability make it a trusted choice for musicians and engineers seeking a reliable dynamic microphone.

In conclusion, the Electro-Voice RE20 is a versatile and durable dynamic microphone that excels at capturing the natural and balanced sound of guitar amplifiers and other sources.

9. Rode NT1-A Guitar Mic

RØDE NT1 5th Generation Large-diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone with XLR and USB Outputs, Shock Mount and Pop Filter for Music Production, Vocal Recording and Podcasting (Black)
  • Groundbreaking studio condenser microphone that fuses the classic sound signature of the iconic NT1 with patented next-generation technology
  • Connect to an audio interface or mixer via XLR, or plug directly into a computer via USB to record studio-grade sound in any setup – an all-in-one digital recording solution for the home or the studio
  • Offers the classic warm, silky character, extremely low self-noise and high SPL handling capability that the original is revered for, perfect for a huge range of applications, from voiceovers and guitars to drums and piano
  • Features RØDE’s ultra-low-noise, high-gain Revolution Preamp and high-resolution (up to 192kHz) analog-to-digital conversion for crystal-clear digital recordings
  • Body machined from high-grade aluminium with nickel plating and military-grade ceramic coating, ensuring its ready to take on the rigours of recording day in, day out

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -31.9 dBV/Pa (25.0 mV)
  • Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Affordable condenser microphone
Wide frequency response
Low self-noise
Transparent and detailed sound

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Requires phantom power
Not as rugged as some other options

Description:

The Rode NT1-A is an affordable condenser microphone known for its transparency and detailed sound reproduction. With a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz, it captures the nuances of acoustic and electric guitars with clarity.

One of the key advantages of the NT1-A is its low self-noise, making it an excellent choice for studio recordings where capturing quiet nuances is crucial. It’s often praised for its ability to reproduce vocals and instruments with transparency.

However, like most condenser microphones, the NT1-A requires phantom power for operation and may not be as rugged as some other options. Nevertheless, its affordability and performance make it a compelling choice for musicians and engineers seeking a quality condenser microphone.

In summary, the Rode NT1-A is an affordable and transparent condenser microphone that excels at capturing the subtleties and clarity of guitar tones, vocals, and various instruments.

10. Earthworks SR25 Guitar Mic

Earthworks Audio SR25 Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
  • High-Definition Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  • Designed for micing drums and electric guitars in live performance and studio recording environments
  • Sonic timbre and frequency response stay uniform
  • Lighting fast transient response makes handling sharp attacks easy
  • Transparent sonic character with a 20Hz – 25kHz frequency response

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 25kHz
  • Sensitivity: 15.8 mV/Pa (-36.5 dBV)
  • Impedance: 65 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Exceptional detail and clarity
Wide frequency response
Rugged build quality
Minimal proximity effect

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Higher price point
Requires phantom power

Description:

The Earthworks SR25 is a condenser microphone celebrated for its exceptional detail and clarity. With a cardioid polar pattern and an impressive frequency response ranging from 50Hz to 25kHz, it captures guitar tones with precision and accuracy.

One of the SR25’s standout features is its rugged build quality, making it suitable for both studio and live applications. Additionally, it exhibits minimal proximity effect, ensuring consistent sound capture even at varying distances from the source.

While the SR25 offers exceptional audio quality, it comes with a higher price point and requires phantom power for operation. However, for those who demand uncompromising sound quality and precision in their recordings, the Earthworks SR25 is a top choice.

In conclusion, the Earthworks SR25 is a condenser microphone prized for its exceptional detail and clarity, making it an ideal tool for capturing the subtleties and nuances of guitar tones in various settings.

11. Aston Spirit Guitar Mic

Aston Microphones Spirit Large Diaphragm Multi-Pattern Condenser Microphone
  • Designed and built in the UK
  • Multi pattern Microphone
  • Built in Pop filter Built in Pop filter using the latest stainless steel mesh knit technology
  • End Caps Direct to stand microphone mounting
  • Capsule The Aston Sound Developed by Professional Artists, Engineers and Producers

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Patterns: Omni, Cardioid, Figure-eight
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 23.7 mV/Pa (-33.5 dBV)
  • Impedance: 1k ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Versatile polar pattern selection
Wide frequency response
High-quality build and design
Transparent sound

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
Higher price point
Requires phantom power

Description:

The Aston Spirit is a versatile condenser microphone known for its high-quality build and transparent sound. With selectable polar patterns (omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-eight) and a frequency response spanning from 20Hz to 20kHz, it offers flexibility for various recording scenarios, including miking guitar amplifiers.

One of the Spirit’s notable features is its high-quality build, which includes a unique wave-form mesh head design for enhanced durability and performance. This microphone excels at capturing the full spectrum of guitar tones with transparency and accuracy.

However, it’s important to note that the Aston Spirit comes with a higher price point and requires phantom power for operation. Nevertheless, its versatility and top-notch design make it an attractive choice for musicians and engineers seeking a high-quality condenser microphone.

In conclusion, the Aston Spirit is a versatile and well-designed condenser microphone that excels at capturing the transparency and richness of guitar tones in various recording scenarios.

12. Heil Sound PR30 Guitar Mic

Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone (Standard)
  • Generating element: Copper-wound dynamic with neodymium magnet structure
  • Body: Steel body with zinc die-cast bottom ring
  • Frequency response: 40Hz to 18kHz
  • Impedance: 600 ohms balanced
  • Polar pattern: End fire, cardioid, uniform front to back discrimination

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 18kHz
  • Sensitivity: -51 dBV/Pa (2.8 mV)
  • Impedance: 600 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Reasons to Buy:

Pros
Versatile dynamic microphone
Wide frequency response
Suitable for guitar cabinets and vocals
Excellent off-axis rejection

Reasons to Avoid:

Cons
May require additional EQing for specific applications
Not as rugged as some other options

Description:

The Heil Sound PR30 is a versatile dynamic microphone known for its wide frequency response and suitability for various applications. With a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response ranging from 40Hz to 18kHz, it captures guitar tones with clarity and versatility.

One of the PR30’s standout features is its ability to handle both guitar cabinets and vocals, making it a flexible choice for musicians and engineers. It also offers excellent off-axis rejection, reducing unwanted background noise.

While the PR30 delivers a balanced and versatile sound, it may require additional EQing for specific applications. Additionally, it may not be as rugged as some other dynamic microphones on the market. However, its versatility and performance make it a valuable addition to any microphone collection.

In summary, the Heil Sound PR30 is a versatile dynamic microphone suitable for capturing guitar tones, vocals, and more with clarity and flexibility in various recording and live sound scenarios.

What kind of mic is best for guitar?

The choice of microphone for recording a guitar depends on various factors, including the type of guitar, the style of music, and the sound you want to capture. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some common types of microphones that are often used for recording guitars:

  1. Dynamic Microphones: Dynamic microphones like the Shure SM57 or the Sennheiser MD 421 are popular choices for recording electric guitars, especially for rock and metal genres. They can handle high sound pressure levels and can capture the punch and warmth of a guitar amplifier.
  2. Condenser Microphones: Condenser microphones, such as the Neumann U87 or the AKG C414, are known for their sensitivity and ability to capture detail. They are commonly used for acoustic guitars and can capture the nuances of the instrument’s sound, making them a great choice for genres like folk or classical music.
  3. Ribbon Microphones: Ribbon microphones like the Royer R-121 or the AEA R84 have a smooth and vintage sound. They are often used to capture the warm and natural tones of acoustic guitars. However, they are delicate and can be sensitive to loud volumes, so caution is required when using them with guitar amplifiers.
  4. Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones: Small diaphragm condenser mics like the Audio-Technica AT2021 or the AKG C451 are excellent for capturing the transient response and high-frequency detail of acoustic guitars. They are also good for stereo recording techniques like XY or ORTF.
  5. Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones: Large diaphragm condenser mics like the Neumann U87 or the Audio-Technica AT4040 can work well for both acoustic and electric guitars. They provide a warm and full-bodied sound, which can be useful for recording vocals and guitar simultaneously.
  6. Boundary Microphones: Boundary microphones are often used for recording acoustic guitars in live sound or conference settings. They are placed on a surface, such as the floor or a wall, near the guitar, and capture a wide and natural sound.

What microphone is best for recording acoustic guitar?

When it comes to recording acoustic guitar, the choice of microphone depends on your budget, the type of acoustic guitar you’re recording, the recording environment, and the sound you want to achieve. Here are some popular microphones that are often used for recording acoustic guitars:

  1. Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones: Small diaphragm condenser microphones are a common choice for recording acoustic guitars because they can capture the intricate details and transient response of the instrument. Some popular options include the Neumann KM 184, Audio-Technica AT2021, and Shure SM81. These mics are often used in stereo pairs for a wide and natural stereo image.
  2. Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones: Large diaphragm condenser microphones can also work well for recording acoustic guitars, especially if you want a warm and full-bodied sound. The Neumann U87, AKG C414, and Audio-Technica AT4040 are examples of large diaphragm condenser microphones that are favored by many recording engineers.
  3. Ribbon Microphones: Ribbon microphones, like the Royer R-121 or the AEA R84, can provide a smooth and vintage sound when recording acoustic guitars. They are known for their warm and natural sound, which can be particularly appealing for certain acoustic guitar styles.
  4. Dynamic Microphones: While dynamic microphones are more commonly associated with recording electric guitars, they can also be used for recording acoustic guitars, especially if you’re going for a specific sound or if you want to reduce room noise. The Shure SM57 is a versatile dynamic microphone that some musicians and engineers use for this purpose.
  5. Tube Microphones: Tube microphones, like the Neumann M149 or the Telefunken U47, are known for their warmth and character. They can add a vintage and rich quality to acoustic guitar recordings, but they tend to be on the more expensive side.
  6. Matched Stereo Pair: If you want to capture a natural stereo image of your acoustic guitar, consider using a matched pair of small diaphragm condenser microphones in an XY or ORTF configuration. This can provide a realistic and immersive sound.

What mic is best for guitar amp?

The choice of microphone for recording a guitar amp depends on the type of amp, the style of music, and the desired sound you want to capture. Here are some popular microphones that are often used for miking guitar amps:

  1. Shure SM57: The Shure SM57 is a classic dynamic microphone that is frequently used for miking guitar amplifiers. It’s known for its durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels. The SM57 can capture the punch and midrange frequencies of a guitar amp, making it a staple choice for rock and metal genres.
  2. Sennheiser MD 421: The Sennheiser MD 421 is another dynamic microphone that works well for guitar amps. It has a broader frequency response than the SM57 and can capture both the low-end and high-end frequencies of the amp, making it suitable for a variety of music styles.
  3. Royer R-121: The Royer R-121 is a ribbon microphone known for its smooth and natural sound. It can add warmth and character to guitar amp recordings and is a favorite for capturing the nuances of vintage and boutique amplifiers.
  4. Shure Beta 57A: This is an alternative to the SM57. The Beta 57A offers a slightly different tonal characteristic and can be a good choice if you want a variation in sound compared to the SM57.
  5. Electro-Voice RE20: Although it’s primarily a broadcast microphone, the RE20 can also be used for guitar amps, especially if you’re looking for a microphone with a different sonic character. It’s known for its warm and smooth response.
  6. AKG C414: The AKG C414 is a versatile large diaphragm condenser microphone. While it’s not as commonly used for guitar amps as dynamic mics, it can provide a more detailed and transparent sound when capturing both the amplifier and room ambience. It’s a good choice for genres where accuracy and clarity are essential.
  7. Sennheiser e609: The Sennheiser e609 is a dynamic microphone designed specifically for miking guitar amps. Its unique side-address design makes it easy to position in front of the speaker cone, and it’s known for capturing the amp’s tonal characteristics accurately.
  8. Audix i5: The Audix i5 is another dynamic microphone suitable for guitar amps. It’s designed to handle high SPLs and is known for its clarity and presence in the midrange frequencies.

What is the best mic setup for acoustic guitar?

The best microphone setup for recording acoustic guitar depends on your goals, the acoustic guitar’s characteristics, and the desired sound you want to capture. There are several common microphone techniques used for recording acoustic guitar, and the choice among them depends on factors like stereo imaging, room acoustics, and the type of performance. Here are some popular microphone setups for recording acoustic guitar:

  1. Single Microphone (Mono):
    • One Large Diaphragm Condenser: Position a large diaphragm condenser microphone, such as the Neumann U87 or Audio-Technica AT4040, about 12-18 inches in front of the guitar’s soundhole. This setup captures a full and natural representation of the guitar’s sound.
    • One Small Diaphragm Condenser: A small diaphragm condenser microphone, like the Neumann KM 184 or AKG C451, can be positioned in a similar manner. This setup captures more detail and transient response, making it suitable for fingerstyle or intricate playing.
  2. Stereo Microphone Techniques:
    • XY Pair: Position two small diaphragm condenser microphones in an XY configuration, crossed at a 90-degree angle, and place them above the guitar’s soundhole or where the neck meets the body. This creates a realistic stereo image with good mono compatibility.
    • ORTF Pair: Set up two small diaphragm condenser microphones in an ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française) configuration, with the capsules spaced apart by approximately 17 cm at a 110-degree angle. Place this pair above the guitar to capture a wider stereo image than XY.
    • Spaced Pair: Use two identical microphones spaced several feet apart and positioned in front of the guitar, facing the sound source. This technique captures a broad stereo image but may require careful phase alignment.
  3. Mid-Side (M/S) Pair:
    • The M/S technique combines a cardioid microphone (mid) and a figure-eight microphone (side). The two microphones are positioned together, with the figure-eight microphone perpendicular to the mid microphone. This technique allows for control over the stereo width during post-production.
  4. Blended Microphones:
    • Combine a dynamic microphone like a Shure SM57 or Sennheiser MD 421 with a condenser microphone for a blended sound. The dynamic microphone can capture the guitar’s attack and percussive qualities, while the condenser microphone captures the body and nuances. Blend the two signals to taste.
  5. Room Microphone:
    • Place a single large diaphragm condenser microphone at a distance from the guitar to capture the instrument along with the room’s natural ambiance. This approach can add warmth and space to the recording.

Best Guitar Mics for Recording FAQs

What microphone does Eric Clapton use?

Eric Clapton’s choice of microphone may vary depending on the specific recording or performance, but he has been known to use a variety of microphones throughout his career. Some of the microphones commonly used by professional musicians like Clapton include the Neumann U87, Shure SM57, and various vintage microphones. It’s important to note that microphone preferences can change over time and depending on the desired sound for a particular project.

What mic do most musicians use?

Most musicians use a range of microphones depending on their needs and the context of their music production or live performances. However, some popular microphones often favored by musicians include the Shure SM58 for vocals, the Shure SM57 for instrument miking, and the Neumann U87 for studio recording. The choice of microphone can vary widely based on individual preferences, musical genres, and recording environments.

Is it better to mic a guitar amp?

Miking a guitar amp is a common and effective way to capture the sound of an electric guitar in both live and studio settings. It allows you to capture the natural tone and characteristics of the amp and the room. This method provides flexibility in shaping the guitar’s sound during recording or live performances, making it a preferred choice for many guitarists and producers.

Is a dynamic or condenser mic better for guitar?

The choice between a dynamic and a condenser microphone for recording a guitar depends on the specific application and desired sound. Dynamic microphones like the Shure SM57 are often used for miking guitar amplifiers because they can handle high sound pressure levels and provide a warm and focused sound. Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are commonly used for acoustic guitars and can capture more detail and nuance. Ultimately, the choice depends on the context and personal preference.

Why use two mics on a guitar amp?

Using two microphones on a guitar amp can offer greater flexibility in shaping the guitar sound during recording. This technique is known as “double miking.” By combining two different microphones, such as a dynamic and a condenser, or placing them at different positions on the amp speaker, you can capture a fuller and more nuanced sound. It allows you to blend the characteristics of both microphones to achieve a unique and desirable tone.

What mic is best for electric guitar?

The choice of the best microphone for electric guitar depends on the desired sound and the specific context. However, the Shure SM57 is a popular choice among engineers and guitarists for miking guitar amplifiers due to its ability to handle high sound pressure levels and its versatile sound. Other dynamic microphones and some condenser microphones can also work well for miking electric guitars, depending on the sound you want to achieve.

Is it OK to plug a mic into a guitar amp?

In most cases, plugging a microphone directly into a guitar amplifier is not recommended. Guitar amplifiers are designed to amplify the signal from a guitar’s pickup, which is a high-impedance source. Microphones, on the other hand, have a low-impedance output. Plugging a mic directly into a guitar amp can result in poor sound quality, improper impedance matching, and potential damage to the microphone or the amp. It’s advisable to use a microphone preamp, mixer, or audio interface to connect a microphone to a sound system or recording equipment.

Are SM57 and SM58 The Same?

The Shure SM57 and SM58 are similar in many ways, but they are not the same microphone. Both are dynamic microphones and share some internal components, but they have different polar patterns and are optimized for different applications. The SM57 is primarily designed for instrument miking and is commonly used for guitar amplifiers and drums. The SM58, on the other hand, is a vocal microphone with a built-in pop filter and is often used for live vocals. While they have distinct purposes, both microphones are highly regarded for their durability and versatility.

Which mic is best for instruments?

The choice of microphone for recording instruments depends on the specific instrument and the desired sound. Dynamic microphones like the Shure SM57 are versatile options that work well for a wide range of instruments, including guitar amps, drums, and brass instruments. Condenser microphones are often preferred for acoustic instruments like acoustic guitars, pianos, and stringed instruments due to their ability to capture fine details and nuances. Ultimately, the best microphone for an instrument depends on the context and the sound you want to achieve.

Should I use one or two mics for acoustic guitar?

Using one or two microphones for recording acoustic guitar depends on your goals and the available equipment. A single well-placed microphone can capture a great acoustic guitar sound. However, using two microphones, placed strategically, can provide more tonal options and a richer stereo image. Experiment with both techniques to determine which suits your recording and mixing preferences.

Is it better to record acoustic guitar with a mic or direct?

Recording acoustic guitar with a microphone (acoustic miking) is generally preferred for capturing the natural and authentic sound of the instrument, including its resonance and tonal nuances. Direct recording (using a pickup or an acoustic guitar with built-in electronics) can be a useful option for certain situations, such as live performances or when you want a clean and direct sound. Ultimately, the choice depends on the desired sound and the context of your recording.

How close should a mic be to an acoustic guitar?

The distance between a microphone and an acoustic guitar depends on the microphone type, the guitar, and the desired sound. As a general starting point, place a condenser microphone or a small-diaphragm dynamic microphone about 6-12 inches (15-30 centimeters) from the guitar’s soundhole or the 12th fret. Experiment with mic placement to find the sweet spot that captures the desired balance of warmth, clarity, and room ambiance.

Is the Shure SM57 good for acoustic guitar?

The Shure SM57 is primarily known for miking guitar amplifiers and drums, but it can also be used for miking acoustic guitars with good results. Its versatility and ability to handle high sound pressure levels make it a suitable choice for recording acoustic guitars, especially if you’re looking for a brighter and more focused sound. However, the choice of microphone for acoustic guitar can vary based on personal preference and the sound you want to achieve.

Where is the best mic position for a guitar amp?

The best microphone position for a guitar amp can vary depending on the amp, the room, and the desired sound. A common starting point is to place a dynamic microphone like the Shure SM57 or Sennheiser MD 421 around 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) away from the amp’s speaker grille, aimed directly at the center of the speaker cone. This position often captures a balanced and focused guitar tone. Experiment with mic placement to fine-tune the sound to your liking.

How far should a mic be from an amp?

The distance between a microphone and a guitar amp depends on the microphone type and the desired sound. For close-miking a guitar amp with a dynamic microphone like the Shure SM57, start with a distance of about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) from the speaker grille. For room miking or capturing more room ambiance, you can move the mic farther away, typically 1-3 feet (30-90 centimeters) or more, depending on the room’s acoustics and your preferences.

How can I make my acoustic guitar sound better when recording?

To make your acoustic guitar sound better when recording, consider the following tips:

  1. Use a high-quality microphone: Choose a microphone that complements the natural tone of your guitar.
  2. Mic placement: Experiment with mic placement to find the best position that captures the guitar’s tone and resonance.
  3. Room acoustics: Record in a room with good acoustics to enhance the natural sound of the guitar.
  4. Preamp and EQ: Use a quality microphone preamp and apply EQ as needed to shape the sound.
  5. Performance: Play the guitar with precision and emotion to capture a compelling performance.
  6. Multiple mics: Consider using multiple microphones or a stereo pair for a richer sound.
  7. Post-processing: Apply minimal processing during mixing to preserve the natural character of the guitar.

What is the best way of recording acoustic guitar?

The best way to record acoustic guitar depends on your goals, but here’s a general approach:

  1. Choose a suitable room: Select a room with good acoustics or use acoustic treatment if needed.
  2. Select the right microphone: Use a high-quality microphone that complements your guitar’s tone.
  3. Mic placement: Experiment with mic placement to find the sweet spot that captures the desired sound.
  4. Use a pop filter: If recording vocals along with the guitar, use a pop filter to reduce plosive sounds.
  5. Capture a performance: Record the guitar in a single take or record the vocals and guitar separately, depending on your preferences.
  6. Use quality preamps: Connect your microphone to a good-quality preamp to maintain signal integrity.
  7. Record in high resolution: Choose a high-resolution audio format to preserve the detail in your recording.
  8. Mixing and post-processing: Apply minimal processing during mixing to enhance the recording as needed.

How do you record the best guitar sound?

Recording the best guitar sound involves careful consideration of several factors:

  1. Guitar selection: Use a well-maintained and properly set up guitar that suits the style and tone you want to achieve.
  2. Room acoustics: Record in a room with good acoustics, which can enhance the guitar’s natural sound.
  3. Microphone choice: Select a microphone that complements the guitar’s tonal qualities.
  4. Mic placement: Experiment with mic placement to find the best position for capturing the desired sound.
  5. Use quality preamps: Connect your microphone to a high-quality preamp to maintain signal integrity.
  6. Performance: Play with precision and emotion to capture a compelling performance.
  7. Post-processing: Apply minimal processing during mixing to preserve the natural character of the guitar.
  8. Monitoring: Use accurate studio monitors or headphones to ensure you’re capturing the sound you want.
  9. Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try different techniques and equipment to discover your unique guitar sound.

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David Sandy

Hey there! My name is David Sandy and I'm the founder of Sandy Music Lab. I've been playing guitar for several years now and created this site to be able to share and explore music with others.
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