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Best mic for recording acoustic guitar

If you are in search of a microphone that is suitable for recording the melodious and eathy sounds of an acoustic guitar, you have come to the right place. No doubt acoustic guitars are one of the hardest instruments to record.

Editor's Pick

Name

Shure SM81

☞SPL Value: 136dB
☞Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz

In this article, we have covered everything for that will prepare you to choose the best mic for recordigng acoustic guitar.

Microphones for Acoustic Guitars – Buyers’ Guide

Buying a mic for recording acoustic guitar requires you to keep the following things in mind:

Type of mic

The first thing that you should consider is the type of mic that you should choose. Condenser mics are usually considered to be the best option for recording acoustic guitar.

A condenser mic is capable of recording even the tiniest details of the music produced by acoustic guitar and hence preferred by most of the musicians. Not only does it capture the details, but also produces the best quality possible.

Your budget

The problem with buying an acoustic guitar is that it is an expensive investment and most of the musicians that have just started their career can’t afford it. Having said that, you can get a condenser mic at an affordable price too, but it will have fewer features than an expensive one.

If you are on a budget and you are willing to sacrifice on features, go for the affordable option, but never compromise on sound quality. There are a lot of options in affordable mics as well that can provide you with excellent voice quality.

The Diaphragm Size

Condenser mics come in two diaphragm sizes. They are either large or small. The type of mic that you should choose depends upon your needs.

Small diaphragm mics are great when you need a mic to place it close to the acoustic guitar. It will be very useful in recording the tiniest of details while ignoring the studio’s acoustic at the same time.

Large-diaphragm mics, on the other hand, work well even when they are slightly away from the guitar. They are ideal for occasions where you want depth and natural feel in the recordings. The large-diaphragm mics also work well for up-close recordings.

The Purpose

Before buying a mic, you should be clear regarding the purpose of buying it. Different mics are made to fulfill different purposes.

Microphones that come with Omni-directional polar patterns are made to capture voice coming out of all directions. So, they are ideal to use in live settings.

On the other hand, the cardioid polar patterns capture the voice coming from only one direction and are more suitable for studio recording.

Keep the purpose of your purchase in mind and then decide which mic type suits you the best.

The Accessories

Keep in mind that the expensive condenser mics come equipped with a lot of accessories. Accessories usually include shock mounts, popper stopper, mic stands,  etc.

These accessories are helpful in many ways but you can get your work done even without them. So, if you are a beginner, focus more on the quality of the mic rather than the expensive accessories.

Reliability

As miking acoustic guitars require a lot of repositioning, they are always prone to falling. So, the material used in the construction of the mic is very important.

Condenser mics are expensive and you can’t afford them to be breaking down as a result of an accidental fall.  A solid mic will be resilient against wear and tears, giving your mic a longer life.

Best mic for recording acoustic guitar

8 Best mic for recording acoustic guitar

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Shure SM81

☞SPL Value: 136dB
☞Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
Price on Amazon
Rode NT2A

☞SPL Value: 147dB
Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Price on Amazon
Neumann KM 184

SPL Value: 138dB
☞Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
Price on Amazon
Royer R-121 Ribbon Microphone

☞SPL Value: 135dB
☞Frequency Response: 30-15,000 Hz
Price on Amazon
AKG Perception 170

☞SPL Value: 155dB
☞Frequency Response: 20 – 20000 Hz.
Price on Amazon
Shure KSM141

☞SPL Value: 134dB
☞Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
Price on Amazon
Rode NT4

☞SPL Value: 143dB
☞Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Price on Amazon
Audio-Technica ATM450

☞SPL Value: 152dB
☞Frequency Response: 40-20,000 Hz
Price on Amazon

1. Shure SM81 – best mic for recordigng acoustic guitar

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 136dB
  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz

Shure SM81 is another good option for recording acoustic guitar. This condenser mic also comes with a small diaphragm. Microphones that have a small diaphragm are considered to be lacking in frequency response, but this one covers the whole audible spectrum as it ranges between 20Hz to 20KHz.

SM81 comes with cardioid polar patterns, which makes it quite handy in ignoring background noise. It has an SPL value of 136dB which is not one of the best in this price range, but it is still pretty good in recording louder instrumental voices. Due to its rugged construction, the mic is quite durable.

We couldn’t find any major problems with the mic instead of its natural limitation of not being able to record low-frequency sounds. Other than that, some customers had reported issues with the mic clip.

Pros

  • Covers the whole audible spectrum
  • Cardioid polar patterns are very effective in ignoring background noise
  • Its rugged construction makes it quite durable

Cons

  • Comes with a low-quality mic clip

Price on Amazon

2. Rode NT2A – Affordable mic for recording acoustic guitar

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 147dB
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Rode NT2A belongs to the category of mics that come with a large diaphragm. Rode mics are known for their voice quality and reliability. This product comes in a complete package including all the necessary accessories needed for recording acoustic guitar

NT2A also comes with a switchable polar pattern feature. The sound quality of the mic is excellent in both Cardioid and Omni-directional modes, you just need to know when to use what. Due to its large diaphragm, it adds a natural feel in the sound of the acoustic guitar.

Customers have some durability concerns with this one but other than that it pretty good overall.

Pros

  • Comes in a complete package including all the necessary accessories
  • Allow you to switch between multiple polar patterns
  • Its large diaphragm adds a natural feel in the sound
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not the best in terms of durability

Price on Amazon

3. Neumann KM 184 – Durable mic

Neumann KM 184 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Satin Nickel

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 138dB
  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz

This is a pencil style condenser microphone having a small diaphragm, which can achieve the same sensitivity as the larger diaphragm mics. Its frequency response value ranges between 20Hz to 20KHz. It comes with an SPL value of 138dB, which is pretty average considering how expensive it is.

Neumann KM 184 emphasizes its minimal off-axis coloration, which makes it very suitable for recording acoustic guitar. Furthermore, the mic comes with a premium build quality that is resilient to wear and tear and will provide you with a longer life.

Overall, we couldn’t find any issue with this one. The only problem is the price tag that it comes with.

Pros

  • Same sensitivity as the larger diaphragm mics
  • Minimal off-axis coloration
  • Resilient to wear and tear

Cons

  • High price tag

Price on Amazon

4. Royer R-121 Ribbon Microphone – high quality mic for recording acoustic guitar

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 135dB
  • Frequency Response: 30-15,000 Hz

Royer R-121 is the most expensive out of all the mics on this list. Its ribbon design is great in capturing ambiance, which injects sole into the music. Due to the quality of sound that it produces, it is considered to be a very good option for the professionals who want to use it for recording acoustic guitar.

R-121 comes with polar patterns that are pretty effective in reducing background noise. The ribbon element of the mic is heat and humidity proof. With this mic, the users don’t have to worry about high-frequency phase distortion.

Despite being so high priced, it has a frequency response ranging between 30Hz to 15kHz, which doesn’t cover the whole audible spectrum. Moreover, it comes with an SPL value of 135dB, which is pretty average as well.

Pros

  • Produces high-quality natural sound, ideal for professional use
  • Effective in reducing background noise
  • No high-frequency phase distortion
  • The ribbon element of the mic is heat and humidity proof

Cons

  • Highly expensive
  • SPL and frequency response values are pretty average

Price on Amazon

5. AKG Perception 170 – metal mic for recording acoustic guitar

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 155dB
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20000 Hz.

For beginners that need a condenser mic for recording acoustic guitar in their home studio, there is no better option than AKG Perception 170. It is a highly affordable mic that is great in fulfilling all your basic requirements. This mic comes with an all-metal body that is quite resilient to wear and tear.

This microphone uses Uni-directional polar patterns that capture the voice coming from only one direction while ignoring voices coming from all the other directions. Despite it being low-priced, it has an exceptional SPL value of 155dB. In short, the mic is capable of delivering high quality, clear voice.

Some customers reported that it stopped working after a little while.  Once mic’s accessories are lost, they are available at a very high price from outside.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • All-metal body
  • Uni-directional polar patterns
  • Exceptional SPL value

Cons

  • Un-Durable
  • Accessories of the mic are expensive if bought separately

Price on Amazon

6. Shure KSM141 – distortion free mic

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 134dB
  • Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz

The unique thing about Shure KSM141 is that it comes with a feature that allows you to switch between Uni-directional and Omni-directional polar patterns at any time. This feature makes the mic find its utility in various recording applications. The product is great for recording acoustic guitar.

Now we move towards the quality of voice that it produces. The microphone is great in reducing background noise as it comes with a switchable low-frequency filter. In addition to that, its switchable pads allow it to capture loud noises without any distortions. Overall, the sound quality is pretty good.

When we place the acoustic guitar behind the mic in the Omni-directional mode,  KSM141 suffers a noticeable amount of high-end loss.

Pros

  • Allows you to switch between Uni-directional and Omni-directional polar patterns
  • Great in reducing background noise
  • Captures loud noises without any distortions

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • KSM141 suffers a noticeable amount of high-end loss in Omni mode

Price on Amazon

7. Rode NT4 – Durable mic for recording acoustic guitar

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 143dB
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Another Rode mic makes it into our list. This one is a bit expensive though but ideal for beginners that are scared of trying stereo recording. Rode NT4 comes with two mic capsules on a single body that makes stereo recording a lot easier. The body of the mic is quite strong and doesn’t wear and tear easily.

NT4 is capable of producing high-quality, neutral sound. The frequency response value ranges between 20Hz to 20Khz, making it capture all the high and lows. Moreover, it comes with a generous SPL value of 143Db, while the sensitivity is measured to be 38Db.

In addition to that, its Uni-directional polar patterns are pretty effective in reducing the background noise, making it a good choice for recording acoustic guitar in the studio setting.

Pros

  • Two mic capsules on a single body
  • Strong body
  • Produces high-quality, neutral sound
  • Uni-directional polar patterns

Cons

  • We couldn’t find any

Price on Amazon

8. Audio-Technica ATM450 – best microphone for recording acisutic guitar

Key features:

  • SPL Value: 152dB
  • Frequency Response: 40-20,000 Hz

Audio-Technica ATM450 comes with a pretty affordable price tag and still the best when it comes to recording acoustic guitars. ATM450 belongs to the type of condenser mics that consist of a small diaphragm. The mic gives the best performance when it is placed closed-up to the acoustic guitar.

This microphone comes with cardioid polar patterns which make it more suitable for studio recording. The mic has a very large SPL value of 152dB which means it can capture loud noises without producing any distortions. Moreover, it comes with an 80Hz hi-pass filter and a switchable 10dB pad, making it a good choice for recording acoustic guitar.

Some customers feel that it doesn’t have the greatest low-end response, but it can always be compensated with EQ or keeping the mic closer to the sound source.

Pros

  • Provides great value for money
  • Great for studio recordings
  • Capable of capturing louder sounds

Cons

  • Doesn’t have the greatest low-end response

Price on Amazon

Conclusion

We hope that this article was helpful in making your decision. Our team has researched well and made a list of the best mics for recording acoustic guitar available on the market.

We leave the rest to you. You need to decide which one of the above suits your budget while fulfilling all your needs.

FAQs

1. How do you determine the best microphone to use with an Acoustic Guitar?

Ans: You must look for a mic that can capture the tiniest details of the sound. Condenser mics are usually considered to be the best option for recording acoustic guitar. Not only does it capture the details, but also produces the best quality possible.

2. How are small-diaphragm condenser mics useful?

Ans: Small diaphragm mics are great when you need a mic to place it close to the acoustic guitar. It will be very useful in recording the tiniest of details while ignoring the studio’s acoustic at the same time.

3. How are large-diaphragm condenser mics useful?

Ans: Large-diaphragm mics work well even when they are slightly away from the guitar. They are ideal for occasions where you want depth and natural feel in the recordings. The large-diaphragm mics also work well for up-close recordings.

4. What’s the difference between recording in mono and stereo?

Ans: Mono recording is usually the one that is done with a single mic which means that the sound on both the left and the right channels is the same. Stereo recording on the other hand requires you to have at least two mics that can produce different sounds on both the channels.

5. Can you record stereo with one mic?

Ans: No, to record stereo you need to have at least two mics unless you have a mic that comes with two mic capsules on a single body like Rode NT4 stereo condenser mic.

6. Can you find an affordable mic for recording acoustic guitar?

Ans: Condenser mics are usually used for recording acoustic guitars but they are  quite expensive. You can find a good condenser mic in the price range of 200$-500$.

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About the author

Andrew Colin

Andrew is an avid technology enthusiast, Who loves to try out new technology, gadgets, smartphones, laptop computers and other electronic items. He also reviews daily life products, which he experiences. He wants to help people out there looking to buy different products by sharing his experiences and opinions.

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