If you’re trying to record high quality acoustic tracks, here’s 8 options that are contenders for the best acoustic guitar mics to get you started!
Trying to find the best acoustic guitar mic for recording high quality tracks can be a bit of a nightmare, considering the amount of choice out there. So, to try and make it a bit easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite microphones designed with recording acoustic guitar in mind. These are, what we think, are some of the best acoustic guitar mics that will really bring out the best sound possible and retain all the subtle nuances of your playing and tonal qualities of your guitar, in price ascending order.
1. Shure SM57 Dynamic Microphone
Let’s be honest here, if you’ve ever been serious about recording guitars, vocals, drums or acoustic guitar you’ve likely come across the Shure SM57 as they are ever-present on the music scene. If you have a home studio you need one of these highly versatile microphones as you can enjoy crystal clear recordings thanks to the superb isolation when you point it directly at your guitar.
Due to the high frequency response and higher SPL of over 180, they are predominantly known for recording louder sound sources such as guitar cabs and snare drums, however the fact that the SM57 isolates the sound source and reduces unwanted background noise makes it a great option for recording acoustic guitars as it cuts out anything you don’t need and completely concentrates on the sound of your acoustic guitar.
We think this is one of the best acoustic guitar mics thanks to its ability to pick up everything you’re playing in gloriously high detail – ideal for those who want to capture the subtleties of fingerpicking but also be able to record massive chords without worrying about distortion.
2. sE Electronics X1 S Condenser Microphone
The sE Electronics X1 S Condenser Microphone proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality microphone capable of providing stellar recordings. At just over £100 you get a refined and highly tuned microphone with a hand-crafted and individually-tuned 1" capsule and the highest dynamic range and SPL handling capabilities in its class. The higher sensitivity helps the recordings really stand out in the mix – nothing is lost!
We think this is one of the best acoustic guitar mics for those who don’t have the luxury of recording in a studio and those who prefer to record at home. If you are recording in a particularly noisy environment or your room is not specifically treated acoustically, you’ll appreciate the two switchable low cut filters at 80Hz or 160Hz which are used to filter rumble and foot-fall noise, or compensate for proximity effect. The -10 dB and -20 dB pad switches allow you to make use of the extended dynamic range and record louder sound sources such as mic’d up guitar cabinets, louder voices and more.
3. Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package
Next up we have the Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package. This nifty package is ideal for those on a limited budget and who need a great all-rounder microphone that they can use to record acoustic guitars and vocals as well.
In this package you get an industry standard Rode NT1-A microphone which has been constructed with a large 1” capsule and gold-plated diaphragm for extra sensitivity – you’ll pickup everything you need to! The cardioid polar pattern ensures superb off axis rejection whilst the internal capsule shock mounting ensures you’re minimising any unwanted mechanical noise or any damage to the capsule whilst you’re transporting the microphone.
The low self-noise of level of only 5Db (A) makes it one of the quietest microphones on the market, so you’re safe from any unwanted noise creeping in to your mix whilst the frequency range of 20Hz - 20kHz ensures you pick up all the nuances of your playing.
Best of all, this package also comes with a 10 year warranty, RØDE SM6 Shock Mount, Pop Filter, Dust Cover and Premium Microphone Cable so you can start recording pretty much straight out of the box!
4. SE Electronics sE4 Condenser Microphone
The SE Electronics sE4 Condenser Microphone is ideal for those who want to be able to record a variety of different sound sources, but don’t want to have to fork out for a variety of different microphones. This particular mic has been engineered to accept 2 additional and interchangeable capsules (Hypercardioid and an Omni sold separately) but it’s the included cardioid capsule within that really makes your acoustic guitar recordings stand out.
The 20Hz-20KHz frequency response ensure you’re capturing all the quality of your playing and the subtleties of any tonewoods whilst the max SPL of 135dB give you enough headroom to play with too. This is like a swiss army knife of a microphone and one of the best acoustic guitar mics for those with limited budget and storage space.
5. Aston Origin Cardioid Condenser Microphone
The Aston microphone range is now widely regarded as an industry standard. They are quickly becoming the go-to microphones for all genres of music and recording in-general, with the likes of the Aston Origin Cardioid Condenser Microphone leading the charge.
Built inside the almost indestructible chassis is the 1” gold evaporated capsule providing all-important off-axis rejection and shock resistance so your sound is extremely clean and far more reliable altogether. One of the more ingenious things about the Aston Origin is its built-in pop shield and moulded end cap with integrated XLR and stand adaptor. This means you don’t need any extras like a shock mount or pop shield when you want to record vocals with it. This is not only one of the best acoustic guitar mics but quite possibly one of the greatest microphones ever made thanks to its open, natural sound, ingenious design and 20Hz – 20kHz (+/-3dB) frequency response which can cover all aspects of sound recording whether acoustic guitar, vocals or electric guitar. A great choice that will last a lifetime and seriously up your recording game!
6. Sennheiser Mk4 Condenser Microphone
The Sennheiser Mk4 Condenser Microphone makes our best mics for recording acoustic guitar blog thanks to the fact it’s loaded with a 1" true condenser capsule which is shock mounted for extra clarity, 24-carat gold -plated diaphragm and full metal housing all contributing to a lush sound quality with minimal structure borne noise.
This has actually been based on the Sennheiser e 965 high-end vocal mic, but designed to be far more affordable for those who need high quality recordings whether on stage or in the studio. The high frequency response of 20 Hz - 20 kHz and maximum SPL of 140 dB make it highly versatile and highly accurate.
7. Blue Microphone Hummingbird Microphones
The Blue Microphone Hummingbird Microphones provide exceptional quality recordings and are ideal for those who need high quality mics that can be used for a wide range of applications. However, we think these are some of the best acoustic guitar mics thanks to its specialised, precisely tuned cardioid capsule which is able to capture fast transients and the rich tonal characteristics of your acoustic guitar – it picks up everything warmly and accurately. The 20hz - 20khz frequency response, high sensitivity and SPL of 130dB means you can record a variety of different guitar styles, whether you’re gently plucking away or busting out the big country acoustic chorus lines. Best of all, you can safely record drums, guitar cabs and vocals too!
As we all know, sometimes we can encounter problems recording acoustic guitars simply due to the awkwardness of placing the mic in the right place. Fortunately, the 180-degree rotating head makes it easy to capture sound sources at a variety of different angles! The fact you get a 2 for 1 deal makes it extremely appealing as you can capture stereo recordings with exceptional sonic accuracy and extended frequency response – ideal for guitarists and producers who want to take their recordings to the next level.
For a limited time, the Blue Microphone Hummingbird Microphones are buy one get one free - so be quick!
8. Aston Starlight Condenser Microphone
The Aston Starlight Condenser Microphone also available as a Stereo Pair is easily one of the best acoustic guitar microphones due to its 20mm capsule designed to capture every detail of your playing, high output and laser pointer for accurate placement.
A major difficulty we often find with recording acoustic guitars is finding the perfect placement, and once we do find that placement, replicating it can be an absolute nightmare! Fortunately, the Aston Starlight Condenser Microphone has been designed with a Class 2 laser built in, so you can find the perfect placement, point the laser at it, mark the guitar with a bit of tape or chalk and record multiple times comfortable in the knowledge that you’re replicating the same sound.
Fancy features aside, the Aston Starlight is one of the best microphones for recording acoustic guitars as you have a world of features at your disposal including 3 different circuit paths, effectively making it 3 microphones in one. Choose from Vintage, Modern and Hybrid settings to provide 3 very different voices to your recordings, enjoy perfectly linear off-axis response, Low-Cut Filters which allow you to change from 80Hz to 140Hz and a pad switch which you can use to cut the input down by -20dB/-10dB or leave it at 0dB. Perfect for acoustic guitar recording and all manner of musical recording whether it be drums, vocals, horns or really loud guitar cabs!
Shop a full range of acoustic guitar mics and microphones designed for recording acoustic guitars and instruments over at PMT online today or call in to your local PMT store today to speak to our experts about your needs.