17 Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Authentic Sound Capture (2024)

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Explore the best Acoustic Guitar Mics, the ultimate tools for capturing the rich, intricate sounds of an acoustic guitar that have defined countless musical genres over the decades. From the gentle strumming in a heartfelt ballad to the intense fingerpicking of a bluegrass masterpiece, or the rhythmic strums of a folk anthem, the acoustic guitar delivers a timeless and evocative sound that demands precise and faithful recording.

Securing the true essence of this beloved instrument in a recording setting necessitates not just technical prowess but also the right microphone. Amidst the plethora of microphones available today, certain models stand out for their ability to record acoustic guitars, adept at capturing the instrument’s full dynamic range, tonal qualities, and the subtle nuances that distinguish every performance.

This guide introduces you to the 17 best microphones specifically designed for recording acoustic guitars, ensuring every chord, note, and harmonic resonance is captured with unparalleled clarity and depth. Aimed at both seasoned professionals and aspiring recording artists, our curated list is dedicated to helping you discover the perfect microphone to elevate your acoustic guitar recordings.

Our Top Picks
  • Shure SM81
  • Shure SM57
  • Neumann TLM 102
  • Neumann U 87 Ai
  • AKG C451 B
  • sE Electronics Voodoo VR2
  • Royer Labs R-121
  • Beyerdynamic M 160
  • Audio-Technica AT2035
  • Audio-Technica ATM450
  • Mojave Audio MA-200
  • Shure KSM44A
  • Neumann KM 184
  • DPA 4099 Core Guitar Microphone
  • Audio-Technica AT4050
  • AKG P420
  • Rode NT4
Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Shure SM81
(Image Credit: Shure)

Shure SM81

Precision Instrument Miking with Iconic Clarity

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Specifically tailored for instrument miking, especially acoustic guitar.
  • Flat frequency response ensures accurate representation of the instrument's sound.
  • Low noise and high output clipping level.
  • Versatile in various recording situations with selectable low-frequency response.
  • Durable construction meant for rugged use.

Overview:

The Shure SM81 is a revered name when it comes to instrument miking, and for a good reason. This cardioid condenser microphone is built with a keen attention to detail, ensuring that it captures every nuance of an acoustic guitar with precision. Its flat frequency response provides a clear and uncolored representation, making it perfect for guitarists who want their recordings to be as true to the instrument’s natural sound as possible.

One of the standout features of the SM81 is its low noise and high output clipping level, ensuring that your recordings are clean even in challenging environments. The selectable low-frequency response (flat, 6 or 18 dB/octave rolloff) gives you flexibility in shaping the sound, making it a versatile tool in the studio or on stage. Built to withstand the rigors of prolonged use, the SM81 boasts a rugged construction that ensures its reliability.

Final Thoughts:

For those in search of a microphone that offers a transparent window into the world of acoustic guitar, the Shure SM81 is a formidable choice. Its combination of clarity, versatility, and durability makes it a staple for many professionals in the recording industry. Whether you’re recording in a studio, performing on stage, or capturing ambient sounds in an open space, the SM81 stands out as a dependable companion for all your acoustic guitar recording needs.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Shure SM57 Dynamic Mic
(Image Credit: Shure)

Shure SM57

The Industry-Standard Workhorse with Unrivaled Versatility

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Renowned for its adaptability across a wide range of instruments and vocals.
  • Tailored frequency response ideal for capturing the bright and clean sound of an acoustic guitar.
  • Pneumatic shock-mount system reduces handling noise.
  • Extremely durable design suitable for rigorous touring and studio conditions.
  • Consistent cardioid pattern isolates the main sound source while minimizing background noise.

Overview:

The Shure SM57, often hailed as the “Swiss Army knife” of microphones, has earned its reputation by consistently delivering top-notch performance across various applications. When it comes to recording acoustic guitar, the SM57 shines with its tailored frequency response, capturing the instrument’s essence with clarity and punch. Its bright and clean sound reproduction ensures that every strum, pluck, and nuance is captured with fidelity.

A distinct feature of the SM57 is its pneumatic shock-mount system, which plays a crucial role in reducing handling noise, making it ideal for both studio recordings and live performances. Additionally, its cardioid pattern helps in isolating the main sound source, ensuring that ambient noises and other unwanted sounds are kept at bay. Given its legendary ruggedness, the SM57 is often the go-to choice for musicians and engineers who find themselves in demanding situations, be it on stage or in the studio.

Final Thoughts:

The Shure SM57 is not just a microphone; it’s an institution in the audio world. Its versatility is unparalleled, and its performance when recording acoustic guitars is a testament to its design and engineering. If you’re looking for a mic that offers both reliability and exceptional sound quality without breaking the bank, the SM57 is a time-tested option that won’t disappoint.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Neumann TLM 102
(Image Credit: Neumann)

Neumann TLM 102

Compact Size, Stellar Performance for Acoustic Guitar

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Exceptional sound quality with crystal clear highs and powerful bass.
  • Compact design suitable for both studio and live settings.
  • Large diaphragm ensures detailed sound capture.
  • Perfect for capturing the nuances of acoustic guitars.
  • Very low self-noise making it ideal for studio applications.

Overview:

The Neumann TLM 102 showcases the brand’s commitment to top-tier sound quality in a compact form factor. Designed with a focus on versatility, this microphone particularly excels when it comes to recording acoustic guitars. The large diaphragm captures every nuance of the instrument, from the gentle fingerpicking to powerful strumming, ensuring a balanced and vibrant sound representation.

One of the TLM 102’s striking features is its ability to reproduce the high frequencies with immense clarity. This trait is especially crucial for acoustic guitar recordings, where the brightness of the strings and the resonance of the guitar body need to be perfectly balanced. Alongside, the microphone’s robust bass response adds depth and warmth to the sound, resulting in a full-bodied recording.

The compact design of the TLM 102 makes it a suitable choice for both studio and live performance settings. And with its minimal self-noise, you can be assured of a clean and noise-free recording, making it a favorite among studio professionals.

Final Thoughts:

Neumann’s reputation for premium quality microphones is further solidified with the TLM 102. Whether you’re a budding musician recording in your home studio or a seasoned professional, the TLM 102 offers a blend of size, performance, and reliability. For those keen on capturing the soul of their acoustic guitar in every recording, this microphone stands out as a top contender.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Neumann U87 Condenser Mic
(Image Credit: Neumann)

Neumann U 87 Ai

Legendary Microphone for Acoustic Guitar Brilliance

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8

Benefits:

  • Offers three switchable polar patterns, providing versatility in recording.
  • Renowned for its detailed and rich sound reproduction.
  • Time-tested design that has become a staple in professional studios.
  • Ideal for capturing the natural resonance of an acoustic guitar.
  • Built-in attenuation switch for recording at high sound pressure levels.

Overview:

The Neumann U 87 Ai is not just a microphone; it’s a piece of recording history. Esteemed by professionals worldwide, its legacy as one of the best studio microphones is undeniable. When it comes to recording acoustic guitars, the U 87 Ai’s impeccable sound reproduction ensures that the instrument’s intricate details are faithfully captured.

A notable feature of the U 87 Ai is its three switchable polar patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8. This flexibility allows for various recording setups, ensuring that you can capture the sound just as you envision it. Whether you’re miking the guitar directly or looking to capture room ambience, the U 87 Ai offers the adaptability to achieve the desired sound.

Its broad frequency response ensures a balanced representation across all frequencies, capturing the shimmering highs and deep lows of the acoustic guitar. The built-in attenuation switch further adds to its versatility, allowing it to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion.

Final Thoughts:

The Neumann U 87 Ai is an investment in unparalleled sound quality. Its reputation in professional circles speaks volumes about its capabilities. For recording acoustic guitar, the detailed sound, combined with its versatility, makes it a premier choice. While it comes at a premium, the results are worth every penny, ensuring recordings that resonate with warmth, clarity, and authenticity.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: AKG C451 B
(Image Credit: AKG)

AKG C451 B

Precision and Clarity for Acoustic Guitar Recording

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Highly accurate and detailed sound reproduction, ideal for capturing acoustic guitar nuances.
  • Rugged design with a robust build ensures durability.
  • Features a switchable pre-attenuation pad, allowing for high sound pressure levels without distortion.
  • Exceptional transient response captures the dynamics of the guitar play.
  • Low self-noise ensures a clean recording, free from unwanted background interference.

Overview:

The AKG C451 B, with its lineage tracing back to the classic C451 EB + CK1 capsule from the 1960s, is renowned for its precision and clarity. For recording acoustic guitars, the microphone offers a detailed sound that captures the instrument’s natural tonality and resonance.

A standout characteristic of the C451 B is its exceptional transient response. This feature ensures that the fast-paced dynamics of guitar strumming or fingerpicking are captured with accuracy, preserving the instrument’s emotion and energy. Furthermore, the cardioid polar pattern focuses on sound sources directly in front of the microphone, ensuring that background noise and side interference are minimized.

With its switchable pre-attenuation pad, the C451 B is adaptable for recording in scenarios with varying sound pressure levels. Whether you’re capturing soft melodies or aggressive strumming, this microphone ensures that the sound remains free from distortion.

Final Thoughts:

The AKG C451 B is a testament to the brand’s commitment to sound accuracy and detail. For those seeking a microphone that captures the authentic essence of an acoustic guitar, the C451 B stands as a formidable choice. Its combination of precision, clarity, and adaptability makes it an asset for any recording setup, delivering results that resonate with listeners and capture the true spirit of the instrument.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: sE Electronics Voodoo VR2
(Image Credit: sE Electronics)

sE Electronics Voodoo VR2

Ribbon Mic with Modern Sound and Classic Warmth

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Ribbon
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Figure-8

Benefits:

  • Delivers full-range frequency response, capturing every nuance of acoustic guitar.
  • Innovative design allows for detailed high frequencies without the need for EQ.
  • Figure-8 polar pattern provides a natural and open sound.
  • Delicate ribbon element captures the warm tones of an acoustic guitar beautifully.
  • High SPL handling for a ribbon microphone, allowing versatility in recording dynamics.

Overview:

The sE Electronics Voodoo VR2 brings a modern touch to the world of ribbon microphones. Traditionally, ribbons were praised for their warmth but lacked in capturing high-frequency detail. The VR2, however, with its innovative design, bridges this gap, ensuring the warmth of a ribbon and the high-frequency response of a condenser.

For acoustic guitar recordings, the VR2’s full-range frequency response shines. Whether it’s the shimmering highs of a strum or the deep resonant lows of fingerpicked notes, this microphone captures it all with accuracy and character. Its figure-8 polar pattern adds another layer of depth to the recordings by picking up sounds from both the front and rear, resulting in a more open sound profile.

The inherent warm character of ribbon mics makes the Voodoo VR2 a perfect match for acoustic guitars. It accentuates the natural, wooden tones of the instrument, making the recordings sound rich and immersive. Additionally, despite being a ribbon, the VR2 can handle high sound pressure levels, providing more versatility in capturing louder guitar playing without the risk of distortion.

Final Thoughts:

sE Electronics Voodoo VR2 stands as a bridge between classic and contemporary, offering the best of both worlds. For acoustic guitar enthusiasts who want to capture their instrument’s soul with a touch of vintage warmth and modern clarity, the VR2 is a top contender. It’s not just a microphone; it’s a statement of quality and character, making every recording session memorable.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Royer Labs R-121 Ribbon Mic
(Image Credit: Royer Labs)

Royer Labs R-121

Iconic Ribbon Microphone with Exceptional Warmth and Detail

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Ribbon
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Figure-8

Benefits:

  • Renowned for its warmth and natural sound, perfect for capturing acoustic guitars.
  • Figure-8 polar pattern results in a lifelike stereo image when used in pairs.
  • Superior transient response captures every nuance of guitar playing.
  • Handles high SPLs, making it versatile for different playing styles.
  • High-quality design and construction ensures durability and consistent performance.

Overview:

The Royer Labs R-121 has been an industry favorite for decades, earning its reputation as one of the best ribbon microphones available. Acoustic guitar recordings stand out with the R-121, given its ability to reproduce the instrument’s natural tone and warmth without adding unwanted coloration or harshness.

The microphone’s figure-8 polar pattern brings out an open and spacious quality to the recordings. When used in pairs, the R-121 can create a stunning stereo image that captures the spatial characteristics of a guitar in a room, making the recordings sound expansive and lifelike. The R-121’s transient response is impeccable, allowing it to pick up the subtle nuances of fingerpicking, strumming, and other playing techniques.

One of the standout features of the R-121 is its ability to handle high SPLs, uncommon for many ribbon microphones. This means that whether you’re recording soft, delicate passages or strumming with vigor, the R-121 can handle it with ease, ensuring clean and undistorted recordings.

Final Thoughts:

The Royer Labs R-121 isn’t just a microphone; it’s an investment in quality and sonic excellence. Its reputation precedes it, and countless professionals rely on it to capture the true essence of acoustic guitars. If you’re looking for a microphone that will elevate your acoustic guitar recordings to the next level, the R-121 is a choice you won’t regret. Its combination of warmth, detail, and versatility makes it a must-have for any serious recording enthusiast.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Beyerdynamic M160 Ribbon Mic
(Image Credit: Beyerdynamic)

Beyerdynamic M 160

Unique Double Ribbon Microphone for Precise Acoustic Recordings

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Ribbon
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Hypercardioid

Benefits:

  • Distinctive double ribbon design offers an extended frequency response.
  • Hypercardioid pattern isolates the instrument and reduces room noise.
  • Exceptionally clear and detailed sound, perfect for capturing the nuances of acoustic guitars.
  • Compact and durable, suitable for both studio and live applications.
  • Widely acclaimed for its natural tonality and depth.

Overview:

The Beyerdynamic M 160 stands apart in the ribbon microphone category with its double ribbon design. This unique configuration gives the M 160 an extended frequency response, capturing a broader range of the acoustic guitar’s sonic palette. Its hypercardioid pattern is another distinguishing feature, helping to focus on the instrument while minimizing room noise and ambient sounds. This precision is especially valuable when recording in environments where background noise can be a concern.

Sound-wise, the M 160 is known for its clear and detailed reproduction. Whether you’re recording fingerstyle pieces or strummed chords, this microphone ensures that every nuance is captured faithfully. Its natural tonality preserves the richness and resonance of the acoustic guitar, making it a favorite among many professional musicians and engineers.

Given its compact design, the M 160 is not only ideal for studio use but is also robust enough for live stage performances. Its durability ensures that it can withstand the rigors of regular use without compromising on sound quality.

Final Thoughts:

For those who prioritize precision and clarity in their acoustic guitar recordings, the Beyerdynamic M 160 is an exceptional choice. Its unique design features, combined with its outstanding sonic performance, make it a valuable tool for both studio and live recording situations. While it carries a premium price tag, its consistent delivery of high-quality recordings makes it a worthy investment for serious musicians and audio professionals.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Audio-Technica AT2035 Condenser Mic
(Image Credit: Audio-Technica)

Audio-Technica AT2035

Large-diaphragm Condenser with Balanced Tones

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Large-diaphragm design ensures detailed and full-bodied recordings.
  • Excellent dynamic range with a high SPL handling capability.
  • Built-in 80Hz high-pass filter and 10dB pad offer flexibility in various recording situations.
  • Consistent cardioid pattern focuses on the sound source and isolates from ambient noise.
  • Comes with a shock mount, providing better isolation from external vibrations.

Overview:

The Audio-Technica AT2035 is a versatile microphone that has been a popular choice for various applications, including the recording of acoustic guitars. Its large-diaphragm condenser design captures the intricate details and dynamics of guitar playing, rendering each pluck and strum with clarity and depth.

One of the AT2035’s notable features is its consistent cardioid pattern, which zeroes in on the sound directly in front of the microphone. This ensures that the primary focus remains on the guitar, minimizing unwanted ambient sounds. The built-in high-pass filter further helps in eliminating low-frequency hums or noises that might otherwise interfere with a clean recording.

Another strength of the AT2035 is its high SPL handling capability. This allows it to capture loud strumming or aggressive playing styles without distortion, ensuring a clean and clear recording every time. The added 10dB pad provides added versatility, making it suitable for varied recording scenarios.

The provided custom shock mount is another thoughtful addition. It helps in isolating the microphone from potential physical vibrations or handling noises, ensuring that the recording remains pristine and unmarred.

Final Thoughts:

The Audio-Technica AT2035 offers a combination of quality, versatility, and affordability. Its detailed sound capture, coupled with its robust features, makes it a valuable addition to any recording setup. Whether you’re a budding musician looking for your first serious recording mic or a seasoned professional in search of a reliable workhorse, the AT2035 stands ready to deliver.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Audio-Technica ATM450
(Image Credit: Audio-Technica)

Audio-Technica ATM450

Side-address Cardioid Condenser for Precise Positioning

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Unique side-address stick design offers effective positioning options.
  • Extended flat frequency response captures the natural tone of acoustic guitars.
  • Cardioid polar pattern minimizes sound pickup from the sides and rear.
  • High SPL handling ensures distortion-free recording, even with spirited playing.
  • Built-in 80 Hz hi-pass filter effectively reduces unwanted low-frequency noise.

Overview:

The Audio-Technica ATM450 stands out from the crowd with its distinctive side-address design. This stick-style microphone is specifically engineered for miking instruments, and its design ensures that it can be positioned precisely, especially around acoustic guitars.

The cardioid polar pattern of the ATM450 ensures that it captures the sound directly from where it is pointed, minimizing interference from other ambient noises. This makes it perfect for recording in environments where there might be other instruments or sounds present. The inherent sound profile of this microphone is flat and neutral, meaning it reproduces the sound of the guitar faithfully, without adding any coloration or altering the tone.

An added benefit of the ATM450 is its ability to handle high sound pressure levels. This ensures that whether you’re delicately fingerpicking or vigorously strumming, the microphone captures the sound without any distortion. The built-in 80 Hz hi-pass filter is an additional feature that comes in handy to reduce any unwanted low-frequency noise or hum.

The physical design of the microphone also facilitates its use in tight or tricky positions. Whether you’re trying to mic an acoustic guitar in a dense mix setup or simply want to find that sweet spot without the mic stand getting in the way, the ATM450 provides the flexibility you need.

Final Thoughts:

The Audio-Technica ATM450 is a gem for those looking to mic acoustic guitars with precision. Its design, combined with its sound quality, makes it a top contender for anyone serious about capturing the true essence of their guitar. Its side-address format, while different from the norm, provides a unique advantage in positioning, making it a must-consider option for acoustic guitar recordings.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Mojave Audio MA-200
(Image Credit: Mojave Audio)

Mojave Audio MA-200

Premium Tube Condenser for Warm and Rich Sound

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Tube Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Incorporates a hand-selected 3-micron capsule that captures intricate details.
  • Vacuum tube circuitry provides warmth and richness to the recordings.
  • The cardioid polar pattern ensures focused sound pickup, minimizing ambient noise.
  • Solid build quality with a professional-grade aesthetic.
  • Designed to handle fast transients and high SPLs without distortion.

Overview:

The Mojave Audio MA-200 stands as a testament to what high-quality craftsmanship and engineering can achieve in the realm of microphone technology. As a tube condenser microphone, the MA-200 excels in delivering a warm and textured sound that’s especially suited to the nuanced tones of an acoustic guitar.

The heart of the MA-200 is its hand-selected 3-micron capsule, which ensures that the intricate details and nuances of the acoustic guitar are captured with utmost clarity and precision. The tube circuitry further adds a characteristic warmth and richness to the sound, lending a vintage character that many artists and producers desire.

Beyond its stellar sound quality, the MA-200 boasts a solid build. It feels robust, and its professional-grade aesthetics make it look the part in any studio setup. Its cardioid polar pattern is a boon for studio recordings, ensuring that unwanted noises and reflections are kept at bay, leaving only the pure, unadulterated sound of the guitar.

While tube microphones often have a reputation for adding a lot of coloration, the MA-200 manages to strike a balance. It does offer that coveted tube warmth, but it doesn’t overpower or overshadow the natural tone of the instrument. This makes it versatile enough for both purists and those looking for a touch of vintage vibe.

Final Thoughts:

For those on the lookout for a microphone that not only captures the details but also adds a touch of warmth and character to acoustic guitar recordings, the Mojave Audio MA-200 is an excellent choice. It’s a premium offering that delivers consistently on quality, making it a valuable addition to any studio setup. Whether you’re recording intricate fingerstyle pieces or broad, sweeping chords, the MA-200 ensures your guitar sounds its best.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Shure KSM44A
(Image Credit: Shure)

Shure KSM44A

Versatile Multi-Pattern Large-Diaphragm Condenser

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Multi-Pattern (Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional)

Benefits:

  • Features three selectable polar patterns for versatile recording applications.
  • Ultra-thin, 2.5 µm, 24-karat gold-layered, low mass Mylar® diaphragm for superior transient response.
  • Class A, transformerless preamplifier circuitry eliminates cross-over distortion for improved linearity across the frequency range.
  • Built with an integrated three-stage pop protection grille to reduce breath and pop noises.
  • High-pass filter and -15 dB pad provide flexibility in various recording scenarios.

Overview:

The Shure KSM44A stands out in the world of studio microphones due to its versatility and stellar sound quality. As a multi-pattern large-diaphragm condenser, this microphone is well-suited for a myriad of recording situations, and when it comes to capturing the delicate tones of an acoustic guitar, the KSM44A truly shines.

At its core is an ultra-thin, gold-layered Mylar® diaphragm that ensures superior transient response. This allows the KSM44A to capture the intricate details and nuances of acoustic guitar playing, from the softest fingerpicking to the most aggressive strumming. The Class A, transformerless preamplifier circuitry further ensures that the sound remains pure and free from any crossover distortion, providing a linear response across the entire frequency range.

One of the key features of the KSM44A is its ability to switch between three polar patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. This means that whether you’re recording a solo guitar piece, a live room session, or a duet with two instruments facing each other, the KSM44A has got you covered. Additional features like the high-pass filter and -15 dB pad give users more control over their recordings, making it adaptable to various environments and setups.

Final Thoughts:

The Shure KSM44A is a testament to Shure’s commitment to quality and innovation. It’s a microphone that offers both versatility and top-tier sound reproduction. If you’re looking for a reliable, flexible, and high-performing microphone to capture the beauty of acoustic guitar, the KSM44A should be high on your list. Its features and build quality make it a worthy investment for both professionals and passionate enthusiasts alike.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Neumann KM 184 Condenser Mic
(Image Credit: Neumann)

Neumann KM 184

Precision Engineered Small-Diaphragm Condenser

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Part of Neumann's famed KM 100 series, known for their precision and clarity.
  • Tailored frequency response ideal for capturing the nuances of acoustic instruments.
  • Sleek design with a lightweight body, making it easy to position.
  • Renowned for its clear sound without coloration or distortion.
  • Provides high SPL handling, making it versatile for both quiet and loud sound sources.

Overview:

The Neumann KM 184, part of the celebrated KM 100 series, has established itself as one of the go-to microphones for precise acoustic instrument recording. Renowned for its clarity and transparency, the KM 184 captures the essence of acoustic guitars with an unparalleled authenticity.

Featuring a cardioid polar pattern, this small-diaphragm condenser microphone is specifically designed to focus on sound directly in front of it. This ensures that ambient noise or room reflections are minimized, leading to a pure and direct capture of the instrument. This characteristic, coupled with its tailored frequency response, ensures that every detail, from the sparkle of guitar strings to the resonance of its body, is captured with precision.

The KM 184’s design is as impressive as its performance. With its sleek form factor and lightweight body, positioning and setup are a breeze, whether in a studio or on stage. Furthermore, its robust construction ensures longevity, even under demanding conditions.

Final Thoughts:

For anyone serious about capturing the true sound of their acoustic guitar, the Neumann KM 184 stands out as a top contender. It’s not just a microphone; it’s an investment in sound quality. With its impeccable reputation and proven track record, the KM 184 continues to be a staple in studios worldwide. Its ability to deliver clear, uncolored, and detailed recordings makes it an invaluable tool for any musician or recording engineer aiming for the highest levels of sonic fidelity.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: DPA 4099 Core Guitar Microphone
(Image Credit: DPA)

DPA 4099 Core Guitar Microphone

High-End Versatility with Uncompromising Sound

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid

Benefits:

  • Superb audio quality with natural sound reproduction.
  • Highly flexible and durable gooseneck for easy positioning.
  • Unique clip-on system designed specifically for guitars, ensuring a secure fit.
  • High SPL handling, making it versatile for various playing styles.
  • Minimal interference from other instruments due to its supercardioid pattern.

Overview:

The DPA 4099 Core Guitar Microphone is part of DPA’s acclaimed 4099 series, known for its exceptional audio fidelity and adaptability to a range of instruments. Designed specifically for guitars, this microphone captures every nuance, from soft fingerpicking to aggressive strumming, with unmatched clarity.

One of the standout features of the 4099 Core is its supercardioid polar pattern. This design ensures that the microphone picks up sound directly from the guitar while effectively rejecting unwanted noises from the environment or other instruments. This ensures that the guitar’s tone remains distinct and pure, even in ensemble settings.

Ease of use is also a hallmark of the 4099 Core. The unique clip-on system ensures that the microphone stays firmly attached to the guitar, and the flexible gooseneck allows for easy positioning to find the sweet spot for optimal sound capture. Whether used live on stage or in a studio setting, the DPA 4099 Core consistently delivers premium performance.

Final Thoughts:

DPA’s commitment to excellence is evident in the 4099 Core Guitar Microphone. It offers musicians and sound engineers a reliable solution for capturing the true essence of an acoustic guitar. Its design considerations, from the clip-on system to the flexible gooseneck, show a deep understanding of the needs of guitarists. If you’re in search of a high-end microphone that promises uncompromising sound quality and versatility, the DPA 4099 Core is a stellar choice.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Audio-Technica ATM4050
(Image Credit: Audio-Technica)

Audio-Technica AT4050

Precision Crafted for Clear and Transparent Acoustic Recordings

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Figure-of-eight

Benefits:

  • Multiple selectable polar patterns offer versatile recording options.
  • Exceptional transparency and sound accuracy for authentic guitar tone representation.
  • Robust construction ensures durability and longevity.
  • High SPL handling suitable for capturing both delicate and loud playing dynamics.
  • Minimal noise, maximizing the clarity of acoustic guitar recordings.

Overview:

The Audio-Technica AT4050 stands as a testament to Audio-Technica’s dedication to producing microphones that deliver pristine audio quality. Built with precision engineering, the AT4050 is tailored for those seeking transparency and authentic sound representation, making it an excellent choice for recording acoustic guitars.

One of the AT4050’s standout features is its multiple selectable polar patterns. Whether you’re looking for the directness of a cardioid, the openness of omnidirectional, or the spatial attributes of a figure-of-eight pattern, this microphone offers flexibility to suit various recording scenarios. This adaptability ensures that users can find the perfect sound balance based on the guitar’s tonal characteristics and the desired room ambiance.

Given the dynamic nature of acoustic guitar playing, the AT4050’s ability to handle high SPLs becomes an invaluable trait. It captures everything, from the soft nuances of fingerstyle playing to the robust strums of rhythm guitar, ensuring that the microphone does not distort even during the loudest passages.

Final Thoughts:

The Audio-Technica AT4050 brings forth a combination of versatility and fidelity. For guitarists and sound engineers aiming to capture the true soul of an acoustic guitar in recordings, this microphone emerges as a strong contender. Its design considerations and technical specifications align seamlessly with the demands of acoustic guitar recording, promising a sound that remains true to the source. In the realm of professional audio recording, the AT4050 is a worthy investment, assuring quality results each time.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: AKG P420
(Image Credit: AKG)

AKG P420

Dual-Capsule Design for Versatile Acoustic Recording

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Figure-of-eight

Benefits:

  • Dual-capsule design offers three selectable polar patterns for recording versatility.
  • Wide frequency response captures the full spectrum of acoustic guitar sounds.
  • High sensitivity ensures detailed sound capture without the need for high gain.
  • High SPL handling capability, ideal for diverse playing styles and techniques.
  • Budget-friendly without compromising on sound quality.

Overview:

The AKG P420 embodies a balance of quality, versatility, and affordability. As part of AKG’s Project Studio Line, this microphone caters specifically to the needs of home studio owners and semi-professional setups. With its dual-capsule design, the P420 provides users with the choice of cardioid, omnidirectional, or figure-of-eight polar patterns, granting flexibility in various recording situations.

Acoustic guitarists will particularly appreciate the P420’s wide frequency response, capturing everything from the deep resonance of the body to the bright, sparkling harmonics of the strings. The microphone’s high sensitivity ensures that every nuance and detail of the guitar playing is captured, be it a soft fingerpicked passage or an energetic strum.

While the AKG P420 offers features typically found in higher-end microphones, its price point is surprisingly affordable. This makes it an excellent choice for budding musicians or those looking to expand their microphone collection without breaking the bank.

Final Thoughts:

For those on a budget but unwilling to compromise on sound quality, the AKG P420 emerges as a top contender. Its features rival those of pricier microphones, and its performance in recording acoustic guitars is commendable. Whether you’re a beginner looking for your first serious microphone or a seasoned musician wanting a versatile addition to your mic arsenal, the P420 promises to deliver on both fronts.

Best Acoustic Guitar Mics: Rode NT4 Stereo Mic
(Image Credit: Rode)

Rode NT4

Stereo Brilliance for Authentic Acoustic Captures

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (x2 for Stereo Imaging)

Benefits:

  • X/Y stereo configuration captures a wide sound field without phase issues.
  • Dual cardioid capsules ensure accurate representation of acoustic guitar tones.
  • Compact and convenient all-in-one design eliminates the need for matched pairs.
  • Powered by either a 9V battery or 48V phantom power, offering versatility in various recording scenarios.
  • Delivered with a custom carry case and windshields for field recording.

Overview:

The Rode NT4 stands out as a unique proposition for recording acoustic guitars, primarily due to its X/Y stereo configuration. This configuration employs two cardioid capsules placed in close proximity and angled relative to one another to capture a wide sound field, resulting in a natural stereo image that’s free from phase issues.

Acoustic guitar recordings benefit immensely from the stereo capturing of the NT4. Whether you’re aiming to record the ambient resonances of a room or the direct tones of the guitar, the microphone provides a spatial depth and detail that’s hard to achieve with a mono setup. It manages to catch the full breadth of the instrument, from the body’s warmth to the strings’ shimmering clarity.

Ease of use is another significant advantage of the NT4. Unlike other stereo setups requiring two separate microphones, the NT4’s all-in-one design ensures perfect alignment of the capsules, thus eliminating setup time and potential phase discrepancies. Its ability to run on a 9V battery makes it a handy tool for outdoor or location-based recordings, while studio users can opt for the 48V phantom power.

Final Thoughts:

The Rode NT4 is not just a microphone; it’s an experience, especially for acoustic guitar enthusiasts. It offers the opportunity to present listeners with a genuine representation of the instrument, capturing its ambiance and nuances with unparalleled depth. For those looking to elevate their acoustic recordings, be it in-studio or on-location, the NT4 stands as a reliable and premium choice.

FAQ Buying Guide: Best Acoustic Guitar Mics

Capturing the essence of an acoustic guitar requires a microphone that can do justice to its tonal intricacies. Whether you’re a home studio enthusiast or a professional, choosing the right microphone can elevate your guitar recordings. This guide aims to help you navigate the plethora of options and find your perfect match.

  • What type of microphone is best for recording acoustic guitar?

    While various mics can be used, small-diaphragm condenser microphones are often favored for their detailed, accurate representation of acoustic instruments.

  • Should I opt for a cardioid, omni, or bidirectional pattern?

    A cardioid pattern is the most common choice as it focuses on the sound source and minimizes room noise. However, omni or bidirectional patterns can be used in well-treated rooms to capture a more open sound.

  • How crucial is the frequency response in a microphone for acoustic guitar?

    An extended frequency response ensures that the mic can capture the full range of the guitar, from the deep lows to the sparkling highs. Look for a mic that has a flat or slightly boosted response in the high-mid frequencies.

  • Should I get a USB or XLR microphone?

    For professional recording, XLR microphones are preferred due to their versatility and superior audio quality. However, USB mics can be sufficient for demos or basic recordings, offering a simpler setup.

  • Is placement crucial when recording acoustic guitar?

    Absolutely. Experiment with placements to get the desired sound. A common starting point is placing the mic near the 12th fret, angled slightly towards the soundhole.

  • Are there microphones designed specifically for acoustic guitars?

    While many microphones can capture acoustic guitar beautifully, some mics are tailored for this purpose, offering features or voicings that complement the instrument.

  • How much should I invest in a microphone for recording acoustic guitar?

    Budgets vary, but investing in a good-quality microphone can make a significant difference. However, there are affordable options that still offer commendable performance.

  • Which brands are reputable for mics suitable for acoustic guitar?

    Brands such as Neumann, AKG, Shure, Audio-Technica, and Rode are renowned for producing microphones that excel in capturing acoustic guitars.

  • Can I use the same microphone for vocals and acoustic guitar?

    Many microphones suitable for acoustic guitar also work well for vocals, especially condenser microphones. However, for specialized results, you might opt for different mics for each purpose.

  • How does room acoustics impact guitar recordings?

    The room’s acoustics can significantly influence the final sound. A well-treated room minimizes unwanted reflections, allowing the microphone to capture the guitar more transparently.

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