Best Acoustic Guitar Mic2020-08-18T13:00:38-04:00

Disclaimer: We may receive a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

Best Mics For Recording Acoustic Guitar

Best Mics For Recording Acoustic Guitar
One would think recording an instrument with the popularity of the acoustic guitar would be a walk in the park for an experienced audio engineer. One would be wrong.

Capturing an attractive sounding acoustic guitar is an elusive art, even for elite producers and engineers, which is why using the best acoustic guitar mic becomes a vital piece of the puzzle.

Recording acoustic guitar is not easy, but once you get your set up down it gets a lot less tedious. But an amazing acoustic guitar sound still doesn’t happen on it’s own. In fact, that really only happens when your set up is built on a solid foundation. For experienced audio gurus, that starts with no less than two high quality condenser microphones.

If you take a close look at the picture above, you’ll see our refereed guitar microphone arrangement for recording acoustic guitar in the studio. Tracking a large diaphragm condenser mic near the sound hole, and a small diaphragm condenser near the neck simultaneously allows you to mix in different tones and frequencies that can make a nice acoustic sound incredible.

For the home studio crowd, it’s worth noting that large and small condenser microphones are vital for nearly any quality recording. Condenser mics will cover a whole range of traditional band arrangements. Whether you are tracking guitar, vocals, strings, drums, horns, piano, or percussion, condenser mics have been the number one option for decades.

With that in mind, our selection process for this review focused on great sounding condenser microphones that can capture all the subtle tones of an acoustic guitar, while remaining fairly affordable. We laid out the pros and cons for two of our favorite large diaphragm condensers and three small condenser mics.

Top Acoustic Guitar Mic Comparison Chart

Top Choice
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
Rode M5-MP Matched Pair Cardioid Condenser Microphones
Aston Microphones Origin Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
AKG Perception 220 Professional Studio Microphone
AKG PERCEPTION 170 Professional Instrumental , 7.40 x 3.50 x 11.30 inches, Sliver Blue - 3101H00410
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Cardioid
Cardioid
Cardioid
Cardioid
Diaphragm Size
Small Diaphragm
Small Diaphragm
Large Diaphragm
Large Diaphragm
Small Diaphragm
Best Uses
Guitar, Strings, Drums, Horns, Piano, Percussion
Guitar, Strings, Drums, Horns, Piano, Percussion
Vocals, Strings, Horns, Piano, Woodwinds
Vocals, Piano, Woodwinds, Strings, Percussion
Guitar, Drums, Horns, Piano, Strings
Customer Rating
Top Choice
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
Microphone
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Diaphragm Size
Small Diaphragm
Best Uses
Guitar, Strings, Drums, Horns, Piano, Percussion
Customer Rating
More Details
Rode M5-MP Matched Pair Cardioid Condenser Microphones
Microphone
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Diaphragm Size
Small Diaphragm
Best Uses
Guitar, Strings, Drums, Horns, Piano, Percussion
Customer Rating
More Details
Aston Microphones Origin Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Diaphragm Size
Large Diaphragm
Best Uses
Vocals, Strings, Horns, Piano, Woodwinds
Customer Rating
More Details
AKG Perception 220 Professional Studio Microphone
Microphone
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Diaphragm Size
Large Diaphragm
Best Uses
Vocals, Piano, Woodwinds, Strings, Percussion
Customer Rating
More Details
AKG PERCEPTION 170 Professional Instrumental , 7.40 x 3.50 x 11.30 inches, Sliver Blue - 3101H00410
Microphone
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Diaphragm Size
Small Diaphragm
Best Uses
Guitar, Drums, Horns, Piano, Strings
Customer Rating
More Details

Best Acoustic Guitar Microphone

1. Shure SM81

Shure SM81 Review

Shure SM81


The Shure SM81 has been used by musicians for years and years. It’s seen as one of the most popular acoustic guitar mics around, and for a good reason. You get a product that’s made by a trustworthy and respectable brand, so you know you’re getting great value for money.

It’s slender in appearance and looks very sleek, meaning it seamless fits into your mic stand and stays in place. Some acoustic guitar mics are guilty of being too heavy, which causes them to drop forward slightly. There’s none of that hear, meaning you can enjoy a comfortable performance with no issues.

This is a cardioid mic that provides excellent sound quality while you use it. Some guitarists worry about the frequency of cardioid mics, but this one has a very uniform response from all around it.

While it’s definitely an excellent mic for any musician, acoustic guitarists will enjoy it more than most. This is mainly thanks to a fantastic 3-position bass roll-off feature. Effectively, this gives you phenomenal sound when you’re placing the mic very close to the guitar. The ambient noises are cut out, and it really offers a clear and crisp tone.

Speaking of the sound, it comes with low-distortion, which is always good news. The last thing you want is a distorted sound when playing gigs or recording. Which also brings up another point, this mic works perfectly in studios as well as on the stage. So, there’s a versatility here that can benefit you.

Obviously, you worry about the durability of a microphone like this. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that this has a very rugged steel construction that stands up to a lot of wear and tear. When you see the price tag, you’ll truly appreciate how important this construction is! It’s perhaps not best suited to beginners, but this can be a very good investment if you’re serious about music.

Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
57 Reviews
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
  • This microphone requires phantom power and performs best with a 48 Vdc supply (IEC-61938). However, it will operate with slightly decreased headroom and sensitivity with supplies as low as 11 Vdc. Most modern mixers provide phantom power. You must use a balanced microphone cable: XLR-to-XLR or XLR-to-TRS.
  • The SM81 is ruggedly constructed. It operates on phantom power and performs over a wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions. It is furnished with a swivel adapter, attenuator-switch lock, foam windscreen, and case for carrying and storage. Other accessories are available.
  • 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response. Flat response curve for accurate reproduction of sound sources.
  • Low noise and high output clipping level. Low distortion over a wide range of load impedances.
  • Cardioid polar pattern, uniform with frequency and symmetric about axis, providing maximum rejection and minimum coloration of off-axis sounds

2. Rode M5

Rode M5 Review

Rode M5


Those of you that want to spend a bit less on an acoustic guitar mic may like the Rode M5. Instantly, you receive phenomenal value for money here. Not only do you get one mic, but you also get another one as part of the pack. So, you can theoretically use one when you perform, then another when you practice or record in a studio.

This is a very compact and neat little mic with low noise and full frequency response. It has a cardioid polar pattern and an all-metal body that offers a very slender design. Visually speaking, it’s hard to look beyond this microphone. There’s a classiness to the finish that makes it seem very professional. Plus, the slim design makes it so easy to carry around – particularly as there aren’t any moving parts to worry about.

The sound quality is also very impressive. You get clear tones when playing your guitar and singing, and it blocks out a lot of the ambient sounds. There’s minimal distortion as well, especially when playing up close. The only slight drawback is that the quality dips a bit at the sides. But, this is usually the case with cardioid mics, especially one that’s in more of the budget range.

Rode is a brand you can trust, and one that’s prevalent throughout the music industry. As such, quality and durability aren’t issues here. One thing to note is that you also get WS5 windshields and RM5 stand mounts for each mic in the package. Effectively, you have a mini set-up right there for you to use! There’s a lot to be impressed about with this acoustic guitar mic, and it’s one of the best options for beginners.

Rode M5-MP Matched Pair Cardioid Condenser Microphones
313 Reviews
Rode M5-MP Matched Pair Cardioid Condenser Microphones
  • Compact 1/2 inch cardioid condenser microphone with low noise and a full frequency response
  • Matched pair has been carefully selected to ensure a variation of no more than 1dB sensitivity betwe
  • A premium foiled certificate is supplied to verify the authenticity of the pair
  • Finished with RODE's proprietary ceramic coating which offers a sleek matt black finish
  • Supplied with WS5 windshields and RM5 stand mounts

3. Aston Microphones Origin

Aston Microphones Origin Review

Aston Microphones Origin


Those of you that have been playing the guitar for a while will know that Aston is a go-to brand for musical equipment. Their range of microphones will rival anyone, and we’ve picked out the Aston Microphones Origin as the pick of the bunch.

On the face of it, this looks like any old microphone for recording. However, there’s a lot to explore if you look inside this mic. Unbeknownst to you, there’s a pop shield and molded end cap located inside this device. It also boasts an XLR and stand adapter, all of which are hidden away. This gives you the benefit of a compact microphone that comes with so many extras. Basically, this saves you time and money if you want to use this microphone for recording. Instead of going out and buying all of the things mentioned above – then wasting time setting them up – it’s all built-in. You don’t have to do anything, and you can start recording songs in high-quality audio.

Obviously, you want to know what this microphone sounds like. Well, it presents a very natural sound with hardly any distorted effects. It makes your guitar sound like it’s amplified – which is exactly what you’re looking for. There’s very little difference in the tones you hear when playing naturally and when the guitar is close to the mic. We were also very impressed by the low-frequency response around the mic.

The design is also very beautiful. It looks professional, and it definitely feels this way too. The materials used to make this product are extremely strong and durable. It can withstand minor accidents, like being dropped from a height.

Yes, this does come in at the higher end of the price spectrum, but it’s built to last. If you’re a professional that wants to get the most out of their acoustic guitar, then this could be the perfect partner for it.

Aston Microphones Origin Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
165 Reviews
Aston Microphones Origin Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  • Designed and Built in the UK
  • Built in Pop filter ; Built in Pop filter using the latest stainless steel mesh knit technology
  • End Caps ; Direct to stand microphone mounting
  • Chassis 2 millimeter solid stainless steel laser cut and etched body
  • Capsule ; The Aston Sound ; Developed by Professional Artists, Engineers and Producers

4. AKG Perception 220

AKG Perception 220 Review

AKG Perception 220


This rugged-looking microphone delivers a host of features that might make it the choice for you. The AKG Perception 220 is very reasonably priced and well-suited to beginners or intermediate musicians. If you’re just starting out and want a good-quality mic to take on stage with you, then this fits the bill perfectly.

In fact, it’s almost made for performers. You could still use it to record in the studio, but some of the features make it ideal for concerts and other loud venues. Mainly, you’re looking at the switchable bass-cut filter. What this does is it reduces the rumbling sounds you hear in high-traffic areas. For example, when you’re on-stage performing, you get the rumbling of the crowd and the hammering of feet. Even in a small venue – like a bar – there’s lots of deep and heavy noise that can interrupt your performance. This feature cancels all of it out, so all you hear is the beautiful sound of your guitar.

The overall design of the microphone suits stage-life as well. It’s very robust and comes with a sturdy box to keep it well-protected.

But, make no mistake about it, this is still a professional studio microphone too! So, don’t be put off if you’re looking for a mic to record songs with. The quality of sound is exceptional, and you will notice a lack of distortion when you’re in the studio. It produces a very warm and clear sound, which is perfect if you do a lot of singing. This type of sound is also ideal for acoustic guitars, so it could be a match made in heaven for you.

AKG Perception 220 Professional Studio Microphone
185 Reviews
AKG Perception 220 Professional Studio Microphone
  • Rugged all-metal body and robust design withstands tough day-to-day use
  • Switchable bass-cut filter eliminates rumble or footfall noise
  • Switchable attenuation pad for high SPL applications up to 155 dB SPL

5. AKG Perception 170

AKG Perception 170 Review

AKG Perception 170


When you click on an article looking at the best acoustic guitar microphone, you expect to see some of the most expensive products out there. Granted, there are some pricey options on this list, but the AKG Perception 170 is the complete opposite of expensive. It’s highly affordable, making it the best microphone for guitarists on a budget.

Part of the reason this mic is so good is that it provides excellent quality throughout. You pay a cheap price by microphone standards, but you don’t get a cheap product. A lot of thought has been put into the design, as it is so strong and durable. You get the sense that it will take a lot to damage this mic. Still, it remains very slim and classy. You don’t have to carry around a bulky carry case, this mic can be snugly tucked away with your guitar.

The AKG Perception 170 boasts a true condenser transducer diaphragm. What does this mean? It means you get outstanding sound quality from a budget microphone. The audio is so clear and transient – it’s easy to pick up the subtle notes from your acoustic guitar. For this reason, it works extremely well in a studio – especially if you’ve set up one in your home.

Now, let’s be realistic, this won’t match the sound quality of some of the more expensive microphones out there. While it’s still very good, there’s only so much you can expect from a low-budget option. So, if you’re a serious musician that absolutely wants the best microphone around and doesn’t care about the price, then it might not be for you. But, if you do care about your budget and want an excellent microphone that won’t break the bank, then the AKG Perception is possibly the best bet.

Sale
AKG PERCEPTION 170 Professional Instrumental , 7.40 x 3.50 x 11.30 inches, Sliver Blue - 3101H00410
121 Reviews
AKG PERCEPTION 170 Professional Instrumental , 7.40 x 3.50 x 11.30 inches, Sliver Blue - 3101H00410
  • Rugged all-metal body and robust design withstands tough day-to-day use
  • Switchable attenuation pad for high SPL applications up to 155 dB SPL
  • Heavy-duty, roadworthy, all-metal construction
  • Country of Origin: China

Here is a helpful video on best placement of an acoustic guitar mic:

Related Articles