Best Mics for Recording: Electric guitar [2021]

 by 

Jay Von K   -  


Updated: December 28, 2020

Do you want to record your electric guitar with a mic?

In this article, I will help you choose the one for you!

We will cover every microphone type: whether you prefer dynamic, condenser or ribbon mics, here you will find one that suits your needs!

Electric Guitar Microphones
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But before we start, let’s take a look at the benefits of each type of microphone for your electric guitar...

Dynamic mics are very often used in concerts for miking amps and they are the most common choice for live shows. That doesn’t prevent them from being used also at the studio.

Condenser mics capture also the room that you are in, so if you want to record in a room with interesting reverb and adequate soundproofing, they are the best choice.

Finally, ribbon mics often come with a bi-directional polar pattern that is very useful to record two guitars at once.

But enough with the talking!

Let’s dive deep into the eleven best microphones for electric guitar!

The 11 Best Mics for Recording Electric Guitar of 2021 include:

1. AEA Ribbon Mics R84A

AEA - R84A
General

Let’s begin with a top-quality ribbon mic that many people compare to a condenser mic.

The AEA Ribbon Mics R84A is the active version of the popular R84 ribbon mic (please note that it needs phantom power to work).

Do you know why this mic has been praised by musicians and sound engineers?

The R84 comes with a large-diaphragm and captures full and especially warm sound. The same applies to the R84A!

AEA R84A Mic for Electric Guitar

Are you also demanding about a microphone’s appearance?

One of the advantages of the R84A is its gold-plated grille that adds even more to the stylish, retro-looking design.

The active design of this mic allows it to be more sensitive: it doesn’t need a very powerful preamp to work and produce great results.

The bi-directional polar pattern of this mic allows you to record duets with ease.

It also ships with a hard carrying case that lets you transport it without worrying about damaging it.

On the downside, this microphone is quite pricey.

PROS
  • Full and warm sound performance
  • Stylish design
  • Carrying case included
  • Figure-8 polar pattern
CONS
  • Expensive
Compare Prices

On the whole, the AEA Ribbon Mics R84A is a top-quality, stylish mic that is highly recommended for recording duets.

AEA Ribbon Mics R84A:

2. Audix i5

Audix - i5 Mic for Electric Guitar
General

Do you crank up the volume when you play the electric guitar?

I feel you… One of the best things about electric instruments is the ability to go as loud as you like.

But doesn’t that cause problems with microphones?

Well, you won’t have this issue with the Audix i5!

This dynamic mic has been made to handle loud sound sources (especially snare drums), so it will accurately transmit or record the sound of your amp.

i5 Mic for recording Guitar by Audix

Its shape also makes it easy to place it in front of your amp and it has a robust build quality that allows it to be used on stage.

The package includes everything you need, such as a carrying bag, a microphone clip, and a thread adapter.

Do you know what is really good about this mic?

It is affordable! Plus, it is quite versatile, so that you can use it with other instruments as well.

On the downside, it doesn’t feature any switches for either attenuation or frequency control.

PROS
  • Cost-effective
  • Great for loud amps
  • Comes with useful accessories
  • Rugged build quality
CONS
  • No switches
Compare Prices

Summing up, if you are looking for a robust and cheap dynamic microphone that can record your guitar at full blast, the Audix Microphones i5 is a great pick.

Audix Microphones i5:

3. AKG C414 XLII

AKG - C414 XLII Condenser Mic Recording Guitar
General

Do you wish for a versatile, low-cost condenser microphone?

This is not a hopeless quest!

In fact, the AKG C414 XLII is exactly that: it comes at a very reasonable price and features no less than nine polar patterns!

You can choose between cardioid, wide-cardioid, hypercardioid, omnidirectional, bi-directional, as well as four intermediate positions!

C414 XLII Condenser Mic

The sound quality is top-notch, but you might need some EQ to soften its harsh performance if you are used to warmer mics.

Many options are also available both for the incorporated high-pass filter (roll-off at 40, 80, or 160 Hz) and the attenuation pad (-6, -12, or -18 dB).

The package includes everything you need: an elastic mount, a pop filter, a windshield, and an aluminum carrying case.

The price of the C414 is really good if you consider the versatility and quality of this mic.

PROS
  • Value for money
  • Variety of switchable polar patterns
  • Ships with a lot of accessories
  • High-pass filter and attenuation pad
CONS
  • You might need some EQ
Compare Prices

All in all, if you are looking for a condenser mic that can provide you with many different polar patterns, then you should absolutely go for the AKG C414 XLII.

AKG C414 XLII:

4. Beyerdynamic M 160

Beyerdynamics - M160 Ribbon Mic for Electric Guitar
General

You know what I’m tired of hearing?

“Get Mic A for studio recordings, but you should absolutely get mic B for live recordings”.

What about a mic that can easily do both?

If you share the same problem with me, keep reading!

M160 Ribbon Mic by Beyerdynamics

The Beyerdynamic M160 does exactly that: it is a ribbon mic that can be used both for recordings and live situations! The reason behind its versatility is the hypercardioid polar pattern that easily rejects unwanted sound sources.

Once you get it, it will surely not collect any dust, as you can use it for various instruments!

Moreover, this is a portable mic, as it comes in a compact size. However, it would benefit from a hard case that adds to the cost.

Finally, its design is pretty unique for a ribbon mic, as it doesn’t follow the vintage-looking trend, but opts for a more modern-looking design.

PROS
  • Both for studio and live use
  • Modern-looking design
  • Portable
  • Suitable for many instruments
CONS
  • You need a hard case
Compare Prices

In short, if you are looking for a versatile and portable ribbon mic, then you should absolutely check out the Beyerdynamic M160.

Beyerdynamic M 160:

5. Mojave Audio MA-201fet

Mojave Audio - MA-201fet Mic for Electric Guitar
General

Now let’s take a look at a premium-quality, large-diaphragm condenser microphone for your electric guitar.

The Mojave Audio MA-201fet offers high-quality, rich audio performance that can capture all the details of your guitar sound.

Plus, it really brings out the middle frequencies that are the most important for electric guitars.

This mic doesn’t only sound good, but it looks good as well: its design and black color make it really sleek.

MA-201fet Mic for Recording Electric Guitar

It is also quite rugged so that you don’t have to worry about carrying it around.

As you can probably imagine, this is not the cheapest mic around, but its price is quite reasonable if you compare it to other condenser mics.

Its value is increased if you take into consideration the shock mount and hard carrying case that ship with it.

The main disadvantage is the fact that it doesn’t feature any switchable polar patterns, which is something we would expect at this price point.

PROS
  • Rich and detailed audio
  • Nice design
  • Brings out the midrange
  • Shock mount and transport case included
CONS
  • No switchable polar patterns
Compare Prices

Overall, the Mojave Audio MA-201fet is a reasonably priced large-diaphragm condenser mic that can capture all the details of your performance.

Mojave Audio MA-201fet:

6. Royer Labs R-121

Royer Labs - R-121 Mic for Electric Guitar
General

Do you want a ribbon mic to record your electric guitar?

Then you should absolutely check out the Royer Labs R-121!

This mic offers great sound quality and comes with a bi-directional polar pattern that also lets you record more than one instrument at once!

Can you guess why I am recommending this mic for guitar amps?

The answer is simple. This mic is famously good at recording really loud sound sources, so it is the perfect match for an amp!

R-121 Ribbon Microphone for Electric Guitar

What is more, this mic is really eye-catching. Its retro design is really sleek and makes you a proud owner of such a beautiful microphone!

The only problem?

Sadly, this mic falls heavily on the expensive side…

On the other side, it is a versatile mic that you can use for other instruments as well, so it will be a useful all-around mic for studio owners and audio professionals.

PROS
  • Great audio quality
  • No problem in handling loud amps
  • Bi-directional polar pattern
  • Sleek design
CONS
  • Pricey
Compare Prices

On the whole, the Royer Labs R-121 is highly recommended to anyone looking for a top-quality ribbon mic for an electric guitar.

Royer Labs R-121:

7. Sennheiser E609

Sennheiser - E609 Mic Recording Electric Guitar
General

Are you on a low-budget, but you still want to record your electric guitar with crisp sound quality?

Then you should absolutely take a look at what the Sennheiser E609 can offer you!

This dynamic microphone that comes at a surprisingly low price tag for a Sennheiser model, provides you with crystal clear sound quality.

One of its best and most unique features is the fact that it comes with a hypercardioid polar pattern that allows it to focus only on your guitar’s sound, rejecting other unwanted sound sources. Plus, that makes it suitable for using it live!

Sennheiser - E609 Mic for Electric Guitar

Its design also allows you to easily place it in front of an amp, even without a stand!

You don’t even have to worry about smashing this mic, as it comes with robust build quality.

The only problem?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, don’t expect this mic to have as detailed sound performance as other, more high-priced models.

PROS
  • Bang for the buck
  • Hyper-cardioid polar pattern
  • Easy placement in front of an amp
  • Sturdy build quality
CONS
  • Not very detailed sound
Compare Prices

On the whole, the Sennheiser E609 is a nice dynamic microphone that you don’t need to spend a fortune on.

Sennheiser E609:

8. Sennheiser MD 421-II

Sennheiser MD 421-II Mic Recording Electric Guitar
General

The MD 421-II is another dynamic mic manufactured by Sennheiser, but it comes at a much higher price compared to the E609 we just reviewed…

This time, this model is based on an older successful mic, the Sennheiser MD 421.

Do you know what is the difference between these two?

The new mic comes with a much more robust build quality as well as a more sleek design!

Sennheiser MD 421-II Mic Recording Guitar Amp

But let’s take a deeper look into it.

The MD 421-II comes with a cardioid polar pattern that allows it to reject unwanted sound sources. Plus, it is really good at handling loud sound sources, such as guitar amps.

That feature makes it versatile and allows you to use it for every loud instrument (loud vocalists included).

It ships with a clip that sadly is not well-made, so you need to get another yourself.

PROS
  • Good at handling loud sounds
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Sleek design
  • Suitable for live shows
CONS
  • The clip is not good
Compare Prices

In short, if you are looking for a high-quality dynamic microphone either for your studio recordings or for live shows, the Sennheiser MD 421-II is an amazing choice that fits your needs.

Sennheiser MD 421-II:

9. Shure SM7B

Shure - SM7B Mic for Recording Electric Guitar
General

The Shure SM7B is another high-quality dynamic microphone that is highly recommended for live situations.

This high-end mic comes with a cardioid polar pattern, and its technology allows it to reject both external unwanted sound sources and internal noise.

Can you guess what other feature is useful for live shows?

Shure - SM7B Mic

This mic is shielded against electromagnetic interference, which creates these awful “hums” in many situations.

It features two switches: one for bass roll-off and one for boosting the middle frequencies.

Regarding sound performance, it delivers a very natural and rich sound that reminds of the sound quality of a condenser microphone. The good thing is that this mic comes at half the price of a decent condenser mic.

Note, however, that you will need a decent preamp to get enough output out of this mic.

PROS
  • Natural sound performance
  • Internal and external noise rejection
  • Bass roll-off and mid-boost switches
  • Shielded
CONS
  • You need a good pre amp
Compare Prices

All in all, the Shure SM7B is a suitable microphone for those who want the quality of a condenser microphone in the body of a dynamic one, so that they can use it for concerts.

Shure SM7B:

10. Shure SM57

Shure - SM57 Mic for Recording Electric Guitar
General

Here comes a very famous mic that you might have seen in front of guitar amps in many live shows…

The Shure SM57 is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern that allows it to easily reject other sound sources that are not right in front of it.

Do you want to know the best thing about this mic?

Well, take a look at its price tag. The SM57 is one of the most inexpensive mics on the market that is used daily by audio professionals.

SM57 Mic Recording Guitar Amp

Part of its value is its famous sturdy build quality that ensures that once you buy it, it will last for years to come.

Plus, it is very easy to use, even for those of you who have never used a mic before.

Note, however, that this mic is as simple as it gets: it doesn’t feature any high-pass filter or attenuation pad.

PROS
  • Bang for the buck
  • Great for live shows
  • Robust build quality
  • Easy to use
CONS
  • No advanced features
Compare Prices

On the whole, the Shure SM57 is a great choice for those of you who are looking for an inexpensive and rugged mic for their guitar amp!

Shure SM57:

11. Neumann U87 Ai

Neumann - U87 Ai Mic Recording Electric Guitar
General

What about a mic that both musicians and sound engineers have been praising for years?

The Neumann U87 Ai is an industry-standard condenser microphone that has been praised for its rich sound quality.

It delivers a unique sound, and many people who have been using it for long, claim that they can recognize this mic in different recordings!

The U87 Ai comes with three switchable polar patterns to choose from: cardioid, Omni-directional and bi-directional.

u87ai-studio-set

This condenser mic is great if you want to record the acoustic environment along with your guitar.

Plus, it is versatile: as I mentioned before, you can use it to record literally everything, so once you get it, it surely won’t be collecting dust.

On the downside, as it often happens with Neumann products, it takes a lot of money to buy the Neumann U87 Ai.

PROS
  • Rich and detailed sound
  • Three switchable polar patterns
  • Versatile mic
  • Industry-standard
CONS
  • Pricey
Compare Prices

All in all, if you are looking for a high-quality condenser mic to record your guitar performance along with the acoustic environment, nothing can beat the sound quality of the Neumann U87 Ai.

Neumann U87 Ai:

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Final Thoughts

Up to this point, I have presented you with a variety of mics.

Dynamic, condenser, and ribbon mics compete for a place in your studio.

There are also many options for those of you on a low budget.

Now, it’s your time to act!

Pick one and start recording all your electric guitar tunes!

Next level audio production and studio recording
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