Best Mic for Recording Guitar Amp

Best Mic for Recording Guitar Amp

In this post we help you flawlessly capture those juicy electric guitar tones with the best mic for recording guitar amp.

Quick answer: choosing a mic can be a subjective process, but across gear related forums and seasoned industry advice you’ll find three options that come up a lot…

  1. Shure SM57 – If you’re looking for a dynamic, bet on this. It’s cheap too.
  2. Royer R-121 – If you want that characteristic ribbon sound, this is the one to get.
  3. AKG C414 XLS – If you’re intent on getting a condenser, you can’t go wrong here.

Our recommendation is to get a combination of a dynamic (like the Shure SM57) and one of the others mentioned above. Often combining two different mics lead to delicious results, and it’s a practice many professionals rely on.

Of course, we won’t leave out the other options often mentioned. Perhaps you already have the mics mentioned above and want to try something different? Browse through the other mentioned mics below and simply select based on what you need.

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Top 10 Best Mic for Recording Guitar Amp

  1. Shure SM57
  2. Sennheiser e609
  3. Sennheiser MD421
  4. CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic
  5. Royer R121
  6. Neumann TLM 102
  7. sE Electronics X1 A Condenser Microphone
  8. Neumann U87
  9. Beyerdynamic M160
  10. AKG C414

Best Mic for Recording Guitar Amp Reviews

Shure SM57

Shure SM57

Pros
  • Perfect fit to guitar amp
  • Noise reduction
  • Excellent build quality
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • None
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Original SM57 was released in 1975 and quickly became one of the most used go-to microphones on the planet, which isn’t a surprise given that it’s extremely reliable and nearly indestructible.

Best features and specs

Shure SM57’s frequency response curve isn’t exactly flat with a fairly aggressive mid-range boost and a noticeable low-cut. It has a very simple design and exceptional build quality.

User impressions

Users say that Shure SM57 is, without saying, an industry-standard, it’s versatile and can handle extreme pressure levels. Also, it has an outstanding build quality, cool looks and it sounds super clean.

What we think

Since we’re talking about the microphone with a very strong vintage heritage and outstanding reputation, you might expect it to go for a very high price. But surprisingly enough, through the years, Shure made sure that it would remain as budget-friendly as it can be.

Bottomline

Shure SM57 is a great choice for someone who is looking for one of the most reliable go-to microphones on the planet.

Sennheiser e609

Sennheiser E609

Pros
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Compact design
Cons
  • Less warmth with low, mid frequencies
  • Difficult to find the right placement to get the best out of it
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Sennheiser e609 is a dynamic microphone with a super-cardioid pick-up pattern and a frequency response of 40-18000 Hz. It’s a modern version of the legendary Sennheiser MD 409.

Best features and specs

Sennheiser e609 has a hum compensating coil that effectively reduces electrical interference and most importantly, its flat design makes it possible to hang it from a speaker cabinet.

User impressions

Users say that Sennheiser e609 has a warmer and fatter sound, and it’s good when a darker sound is desired.

What we think

Sennheiser e609 has a very noticeable mid-range boost between 6 and 3 kHz, which makes the guitar cut through the mix both on stage and in the studio. And a low cut at 40 Hz means that you don’t have to worry about a low rumble.

Bottomline

Sennheiser e609 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very robust and durable dynamic microphone specifically designed for micking speaker cabinets. And emphasize any given guitar tone. Also, for a mic of such quality, it’s priced well within reason.

Sennheiser MD421

Sennheiser MD421

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Solid build
  • Doesn’t require phantom power
Cons
  • Lousy clip
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Sennheiser MD421 is a very versatile dynamic microphone with a cardioid pick-up pattern. It has a very impressive ability to handle high-pressure sounds.

Best features and specs

Sennheiser MD421 has low-cut at 30 Hz with an adjustable bass roll-off to help you eliminate the proximity effect in close micking situations.

User impressions

Users say that Sennheiser MD421 is a great mic that is capable of providing clean sound when recorded during live gigs or home studio. Also, it’s versatile and delivers a rich and warm tone to guitar amps.

What we think

It seems that Sennheiser MD421 was specifically tailored to specifically complement guitar amps since it fixes all of the problems that might occur in that particular situation exactly.

Bottomline

Sennheiser MD421 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a budget-friendly dynamic mic made specifically for electric guitars and bass cabinets.

CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic

CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic

Pros
  • Clear and bright sound
  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Solid build quality
Cons
  • None that we could find
See price @ Amazon

CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic is a dynamic microphone with a super-cardioid pattern and frequency response of 100-15000 Hz. This mic has an outstanding ability to handle high-impact sound sources.

Best features and specs

CAD Audio TSM411 has a full-metal body with a protective screen on top, which makes it extra durable. And specially designed suspension reduces vibrations from a mic stand, which makes this mic exceptionally effective on stage.

User impressions

Users like CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic for having outstanding build quality, being durable, and versatile. Users add that these mics are perfect for both touring and studio usage. Also, some praised this mic’s bass response and the ability to give the guitar recordings a solid punch.

What we think

Low cut at 100 Hz makes perfect sense for micking guitar cabinets on stage and the super-cardioid polar pattern makes sure that the mic wouldn’t catch any peripheral sound.

Bottomline

CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic is a great choice for someone who is looking for a dynamic microphone that handles extensive use at live gigs. With its fairly reasonable price, it provides a very convenient cost-to-value ratio.

Royer R121

Royer R121

Pros
  • Warm and smooth sound
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Shockmount is not included
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Royer R121 is a ribbon mic with a figure-8 polar pattern and a frequency response of 30-15000 Hz. It also has no internal active electronics, which results in a staggering 135-dB SPL.

Best features and specs

Royer R121 comes in a very beautiful wooden case and has an extremely robust full-metal body. It’s a very flexible and versatile mic that adds a very subtle silky flavor to the sound.

User impressions

Users agree that using Royer R121 makes a huge difference to the sound by making it sound fuller. Users say that with this mic, mids sound ‘in your face’ and low end sounds good. Also, this mic captures the guitar amp sound as close as possible to how it sounds in an isolation booth.

What we think

A figure-8 polar pattern might not be ideal for micking a guitar cabinet, so you may want to use some additional sound-proofing insulation in front of the cabinet after you mic it.

Bottomline

Royer R121 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a top-shelf ribbon mic that provides a lot of versatility in the studio. But considering its price range, it might be better to avoid using it on stage.

Neumann TLM 102

Neumann TLM 102

Pros
  • Compact form factor
  • Low self-noise
Cons
  • Not many accessories included
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Neumann TLM 102 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a very sharp and transparent sound and a compact design.

Best features and specs

Neumann TLM 102 has a very gentle high-shelf boost at 6 kHz for additional clarity and very deep and rich low-end as you would expect of the mic of this caliber.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Neumann TLM 102 because of its excellent sound quality, cool looks, and versatility. It’s said that this mic can withstand high levels of sound pressure, which makes it a great choice to use with guitar amps.

What we think

It’s very hard to avoid Neumann while discussing microphones. And, frankly, any such discussion should end there since it’s extremely hard to find better mics than the ones Neumann does. But the problem, of course, is that they’re not exactly cheap.

Bottomline

Neumann TLM 102 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a Neumann mic since every producer should have at least one of those in their arsenal. Although it’s on the pricey side of things, it still is a very good investment.

sE Electronics X1

sE Electronics X1 A Condenser Microphone

Pros
  • Reduce unwanted reflections
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Boxy midrange
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

sE Electronics X1 A is a condenser microphone with a cardioid pick-up pattern and a full-frequency response range. Its -20 dB attenuation switch gives you extra dynamic headroom with an impressive 150 dB SPL.

Best features and specs

sE Electronics X1 A has a switchable 6 dB per octave low-cut filter at 100 Hz, integrated windscreen, and a handmade condenser capsule.

User impressions

Users like sE Electronics X1 A for being well-built and having cool looks. It provides plenty of clarity and makes the guitar sound a bit brighter than desired.

What we think

A flat frequency response curve is always beneficial for capturing the most accurate sound representation and a switchable low-cut filter makes it a lot more convenient to use on stage.

Bottomline

sE Electronics X1 A is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very accurate condenser mic with a very fast response and exceptional sound quality. Considering how much value this mic can add to your workflow, you’d be very surprised by its cost.

Neumann U87

Neumann U87

Pros
  • Professional sound quality
  • Versatile
  • Recognizable character
Cons
  • Is way too expensive
See price @ Sweetwater

Neumann U87 is a modern take on one of the most iconic studio microphones since 1967. It thoroughly recreates the original circuitry, thus providing you with vintage sound on top of a modern fidelity.

Best features and specs

Apart from the staggeringly good sound, the new Neumann U87 has 3 switchable polar patterns, a selectable low-cut filter, and an attenuation pad.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Neumann U87 because of its build quality, versatility, and unique, highly recognizable character.

What we think

Since it’s a Neumann, you’d be right to expect it to cost a lot. But considering that the original U87 can go for a jaw-dropping amount of money, that is, of course, if the owner would be willing to part with it, the new U87 all of a sudden doesn’t seem to cost that much.

Bottomline

Neumann U87 is a great choice for someone who is looking for an iconic vintage sound and the best quality there is. All of the Neumann mics are completely handmade with almost inhuman craftsmanship to make sure top-shelf reliability and sound quality.

Beyerdynamic M160

Beyerdynamic M160

Pros
  • Compact form factor
  • Lightweight
  • Instant response to the sound source
Cons
  • Limited frequency response
See price @ Sweetwater

Beyerdynamic M160 is a ribbon microphone with a hyper-cardioid polar pattern and a low-cut at 40 Hz. It’s an extremely capable microphone from a respectable manufacturer.

Best features and specs

Beyerdynamic M160 comes with its own wooden case and a mic clip of high quality. It also sounds exceptionally good, even for a high-end ribbon microphone.

User impressions

Users say that Beyerdynamic M160 is exceptionally versatile, has great sound quality, and gives you warm and smooth mids. Users like that the bottom end is full and present and the high end is detailed and clear. This mic reproduces the sound with meticulous accuracy.

What we think

The thing about ribbon mics is that they always give you some sort of a very subtle vintage flavor, which surprisingly fits any given style, even those that don’t assume anything vintage.

Bottomline

Beyerdynamic M160 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a top-shelf ribbon mic for a price well within reason. Using a ribbon mic on stage isn’t unheard of, but still, it fits rather better in a studio.

AKG C414

AKG C414 XLS

Pros
  • 9 polar patterns
  • Classic C414 sound
  • High dynamic range
Cons
  • Isn’t exactly budget-friendly
See price @ Sweetwater

AKG C414 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that offers you exceptional versatility and reliability. It also has very accurate sound representation and, therefore, is widely used in recording studios around the world.

Best features and specs

AKG C414 has 9 selectable polar patterns, 3 attenuation pads, and a variable low-cut filter with 3 selectable frequencies.

User impressions

Users like AKG C414 for being versatile and the most naturally-sounding mic. Also, this mic has low self-noise and is extremely flexible with 9 patterns to choose from. Its ability to handle a range of sound pressure levels makes it a perfect choice for recording guitar amps.

What we think

It seems like a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to go through all of the features that this mic can offer you. But nevertheless, it’s always good to be prepared for any situation, which is exactly why AKG C414 was made in the first place.

Bottomline

AKG C414 is a great choice for someone who is looking for an extremely versatile condenser mic with a lot of sound-shaping options. But considering its price range and general capabilities, it’s highly unlikely that you would want to use it on stage.

Mic for Recording Guitar Amp Buying Guide

If you desire to choose the best microphone for recording guitar amp more carefully, you might want to pay attention to some minor details.

What is a mic for recording guitar amp?

You most certainly can record a guitar amp with any given mic, but note that some might do the job significantly better than the others, and some are specifically tailored for the task.

Why would you need a mic for recording guitar amp?

Although there’re some amp models with a built-in line output or even a USB one, using a mic to capture the amp sound is still the most common way to do it. And the most convincing one at that.

Important features

While choosing a mic for recording guitar amp, you may want to pay attention to the ability to withstand high-pressure sound, durability, and frequency response.

Sound Pressure Level

Guitar amps are usually extremely loud and, therefore, produce a high-pressure sound, which many mics simply couldn’t handle. So we’re obviously looking for the one that does. You can read more about sound pressure level or SPL here.

Durability

Whether it’s a budget mic or an expensive one, you’d still want to put significant mileage on it. So you’ll need a mic that can easily withstand hardships or studio and stage work.

Frequency response

The guitar tone is a very individual thing that can only be achieved with experience. So the frequency response of the mic should also be chosen empirically, based on the frequencies you want to emphasize and what to mask.

How to choose the right one for you?

In order to choose the best mic for recording guitar amp, you might want to pay attention to the sound pressure levels of the mic, as well as its durability. It’s best to take some extra time and choose the actual sound of the mic by trial and error.

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