Best Mic for Guitar Amp (2021 Reviews & Guide)
Last update on 2021-01-19 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- Our Top Choices for Mic for Guitar Amp
- 1. AKG Pro Audio Instrument Condenser Microphone
- 2. Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic
- 3. Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- 4. Sennheiser E609 Silver Super Cardioid Mic for Guitar Amp
- 5. Audio-Technica Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
- 6. Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Microphone
- 7. AKG P4 High-Performance Dynamic Instrument Microphone
- 8. Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone
- 9. Royer Labs R-121 Large-Element Ribbon Microphone
- 10. Rode NT4 X/Y Stereo Condenser Microphone
Our Top Choices for Mic for Guitar Amp
The AKG C414 XLS has long been considered one of the best condenser microphones on the market. It’s an absolute workhorse, in the sense that there isn’t really anything that it won’t record well.
It’s a large-diaphragm microphone offering nine selectable pickup patterns, four more than the previous model. The pickup patterns include omnidirectional, wide cardioid, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, and figure eight. The other four are intermediate patterns that let you dial in the best settings to suit any particular room.
The C414 XLS has a vast dynamic range of 152 dB and a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. Adding to the versatility of this microphone are three different bass cut filters and pre-attenuation levels.
The bass cut filter slopes are 12dB/octave at 40Hz and 80Hz, plus 6dB/octave at 160Hz. So, whether you are playing clean, high-end lines or funky rhythmic patterns with defined bass notes, you will always capture exactly what you intend to.
Another thing that is often said about this mic is that it’s very natural. It records whatever you throw at it as clean and unaffected as any condenser mic you can find. It also has some excellent in-use features like a peak hold LED and lock mode that disables all controls while engaged.
The C414 is a reasonably expensive microphone, but if you have the budget, we highly recommend you buy one.
Sennheiser makes some of the most popular microphones in the pro audio industry, and the MD 421 is one of their best. This microphone doesn’t come with a bunch of selectable patterns or a million features. But, it’s a cardioid pattern mic that is so robust and reliable that it suits even the most diverse recording situations.
The MD 421 II’s cardioid pattern offers almost unparalleled feedback rejection, which is why it’s so popular for both live and recording use. There are five different bass cut settings, so even when used in close-miking, it still gets a clear sound with no unwanted bass boost.
While the bass cut settings are taking care of any unwanted bottom end, the internal bass tubes male sure that the low-end you do want to keep is responsive and accurate.
It comes with a frequency range of 30Hz to 17,000Hz, which is wide enough for any electric guitar recording needs.
Also, because it’s a dynamic mic, it’s less sensitive to high sound pressure levels. That means if you are a metalhead who likes to push your gear to the limits, this is the mic for you.
Not to mention it’s insanely well built, if you manage to break the MD 421 II, it’s down to you, not the mic.
Has there ever been any best guitar microphone list of any kind that didn’t feature a Shure SM57? It’s by far the most popular dynamic microphone ever, and probably the most universally known microphone ever.
The good news about the Shure SM57-LC is that despite being in such high demand, it has always remained a relatively cheap microphone. The low price makes it widely available to musicians of all levels and budgets.
With a frequency range of 40Hz to 15,000Hz, you have a lot of room to play through. It’s equally at home on the stage or in the studio, so it’s a great choice if you want the same sound for your gigs and recording.
Shure suggests that the SM57-LC is best suited to close-miking instrument amplifiers. On top of that, the tight cardioid polar pattern can take a hell of a lot before it would ever have any feedback issues.
For those reasons, this is one of the best microphones for guitar amps. The fact that it’s a great vocal mic, handheld or on a stand, as a huge bonus.
Add to that the fact that it will withstand all conditions and keep working hard for you. You can even find footage of people running over SM57’s with trucks then using them with no issues – it’s an absolute rockstar.
The Sennheiser E609 dynamic super-cardioid guitar mic is an alternative to something like the Shure SM57. The difference is, this is a dedicated guitar mic, not an all-rounder.
While some microphones look to offer a completely natural sound, the E609 does have its own character. It delivers a tight and punchy low end, but not so much that it becomes boomy – yes, boomy is a technical term. It also provides a rich midrange and articulate highs that make it a go-to guitar mic for engineers and studios all over the world.
It has a frequency range of 40Hz to 18,000 Hz, which gives it a little more on the top than the Shure SM57. The super-cardioid pattern provides high sound rejection with very little feedback. One of the things that it’s most known for is it’s insanely high SPL handling. Crank your amp and do your worst, the E609 will take it.
If there is a downside, it’s not as robust as the Shure SM57. That’s not to say it isn’t well built; it just happens to be in the same price range as one of the most robust mics ever. But, if you have no interest in using it for anything but your guitar amp, then you should check this one out.
Audio-Technica is a name that is all over the pro audio world, from microphones to audio interfaces. The common theme throughout all of their gear is that it provides excellent value for money.
The AT2020 is an entry-level cardioid condenser microphone. Because its performance far outweighs the low price, it’s become a bit of an industry standard for studios everywhere. It has a wide frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz and a signal to noise ratio of 74dB.
The wide dynamic range is matched by its high SPL handling, making the AT2020 the ideal choice for any recording project. If you have a decent home recording setup, and by decent, we don’t mean thousands of dollars, just an average audio interface, and DAW, you’ll get the most out of this mic.
It has a low-mass diaphragm that has been custom engineered to enhance frequency response. The cardioid pattern does an excellent job of reducing the pickup of unwanted sounds and isolating the intended sound source. Overall, we would recommend this one more for the home studio guitarist, and less for the stage.
This M160 is a mid-priced hyper-cardioid ribbon mic that is loved by some of the world’s top recording engineers. The main difference between the M160 and a regular ribbon mic is that it has two ribbons.
The technically superb double ribbon design places one ribbon above the other just half a millimeter apart. The results are some of the most precise and well-defined ribbon mic recordings ever made.
It has a wide frequency range of 40Hz to 20,000Hz, which is perfect for every scenario, from home recording to high-end studios. The hyper-cardioid pattern rejects virtually all off-axis sounds, so you don’t need to worry about any unwanted noise bleeding into your recording.
Beyerdynamic has done a fantastic job with this microphone’s SPL handling, too. Whether it’s a heavy metal thrashing guitar or a growling tenor sax at close range, it handles it without a problem.
It’s also worth noting that the M160 is regarded as one of the best mics in the world for stringed instruments. So, if you are a guitarist who goes between acoustic and electric, this mic could be right up your street.
Another AKG microphone that has made it to our list. However, the two are at entirely different ends of the price range. The AKG P4 is a cardioid dynamic instrument mic that delivers high-quality recording on a tight budget.
AKG says that this mic is most suited to recording drums, percussion, and guitar amps. It has a frequency response of 60Hz to 18,000Hz and a maximum SPL of 157dB. Having a max SPL so high is quite astonishing on such a cheap microphone for recording electric guitar. There is literally nothing that this little mic wouldn’t handle.
It comes with a humbucking coil that rejects unwanted noise. The cardioid pattern also goes a long way to cut out unwanted noise, leaving you with a clean recording of your amp’s output.
The response of the AKG P4 has been tailored to give the most natural representation of your guitar. All in all, for such a cheap microphone, you get incredibly high-quality recording in a case that is built to last. If you don’t want to break the bank, or it’s your first guitar amp mic, go for the AKG P4.
Neumann mics are often considered to be the Rolls Royce of the microphone world. It’s a name that every recording engineer wants to add to their collection.
The TLM 102 is a large-diaphragm condenser mic, which is not cheap, but still considered to be affordable for a Neumann. It stands out from most Neumann condenser mics because of its compact stature.
You should know that this mic is primarily known for being an amazing vocal mic. However, its extremely high SPL handling means that it is just as amazing for guitar amps. Neumann’s TLM technology provides incredibly high clarity of sound with very little noise.
Covering the full human hearing range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz, with an impressive 132dB dynamic range, it’s ready to take any style of playing through any amp. Up to 6,000Hz, it has a linear frequency response, but after 6,000Hz, there is a slight boost to add presence.
It’s a versatile microphone, and above all else, it’s a Neumann, you can’t go wrong.
Now, we are getting into some expensive territory. The Royer Labs R-121 is a thing of beauty, looking like it came straight out of Motown.
It’s a ribbon microphone with a figure-eight polar pattern. The figure-eight pattern gives the R-121 a sensitivity that is close to a quality dynamic mic. What that means is that you can push it harder than most ribbon mics, and it will remain pristine and clear.
The R-121 has a maximum SPL rating of 135dB, so don’t be fooled by its classy looks, this mic will take everything you have.
The real beauty of a Royer mic is that they hear things the way you hear things. What we mean by that is you get an incredibly natural recording, and playback sounds just like you are standing in front of the instrument.
There is a nice little trick if you decide to record an acoustic guitar, too, the back of the mic is brighter than the front at two feet or closer. So, when recording that way, you get a little hint of a condenser sound in the mix.
We can tell you that this is one of the best guitar amp microphones all day but don’t take our word for it. Royer Labs has won Grammy awards for their contribution to the advancement of the recording industry.
Rode is one of those manufacturers that create microphones for every conceivable situation. Whether it’s vocal mics, camera mics, of guitar amp mics, and they do it very well indeed.
The NT4 X/Y, as the name suggests, is an X/Y stereo pattern condenser microphone. Many people prefer an X/Y pattern when recording acoustic instruments, but it’s also the preferred choice of many when it comes to miking an amp.
It has a complete frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz and a maximum SPL of 143dB. From a purely recording point of view, it will capture everything your amp can give without any unwanted noise issues.
The dilemma will be in deciding if you prefer an X/Y pattern over the more traditional cardioid, etc.
The NT4 weighs just 1lb, and it’s very compact, so it’s perfect for taking to gigs if you want to record some live audio from your amp. The most significant benefit of buying this mic over the others will be if you play acoustic guitar, too.
That way, you have an excellent mic for your amp that captures clear and natural-sounding audio, and you also get a one-stop solution to stereo miking for your acoustic guitar.