A well-recorded acoustic guitar performance is truly a thing of beauty.
The studio environment, when used properly, can result in god-like acoustic tones full of color, complexity and inspiration.
Get it wrong, and your guitar will sound like it's made of cardboard.
Don't get it wrong.
Get the best mics for recording acoustic guitar, sit back and enjoy the beautiful warm tones exactly how you intended them to sound.
Typically, the best acoustic tones are captured with microphones, condenser microphones, to be more precise.
Quick Top Mics for Recording Acoustic Guitars:
Keep reading for the full reviews!
Microphones vs. Condensers
Condensers aren’t the same as the vocal mics you use on bar gigs or in church.
Those are called dynamic microphones and are intended to do a whole different job than a condenser.
Condensers are more delicate than dynamics, have a much bigger sound and require direct electrical current to operate.
This is what that Phantom Power switch on your mixer or interface provides.
Dynamic mics are passive devices and need no extra juice to catch sounds.
Today, we’re going to examine some of the best mics for recording acoustic guitar available to all of us home studio folks out there in Guitar Land.
Most of these mics will also work well for vocals and other acoustic instruments and having at least one such mic to track with is central to getting quality recordings.
The modern global manufacturing situation puts these types of mics well within reach of most home and project studio owners, which was mostly impossible before offshore production brought prices down to a fraction of what they were in the past.
Of course, many of us stack up microphones just like we do guitars and it’s not a bad idea to have a few different mics for differing instruments and situations because they all have their own sounds, just like guitars.
Are we ready to hit the studio and get some tones? I sure am!
The Best Mics for Recording Acoustic Guitar
- Professional Recording Studio Equipment: Equipped with...
- Sensitive Capture: The Zingyou BM-800 features thin...
- Great in both Vocal and Instruments: Wide...
The ZINGYOU Condenser Microphone Bundle is an example of just how much microphone performance you can get right now.
It’s built around the company’s BM-800 large diaphragm condenser mic, or LDC, a piece of kit that used to be prohibitively expensive to the point of being unattainable for anyone without a major label budget.
ZINGYOU brings you this great-sounding mic plus a shock mount, boom arm, pop filter and more at a price no spouse will protest.
What makes the magic happen with a mic like this is a thin diaphragm or “capsule” which vibrates and sends a signal to the output when powered up and hit by sound waves, it provides an accurate and highly detailed representation of what’s being recorded.
The BM-800 delivers a wide frequency response that, in addition to making your acoustic guitar sound larger-than-life, is also ideal for tracking vocals, acoustic pianos and other stringed instruments like a boss.
Like all great microphones, the BM-800 is able to take an accurate audio snapshot of any performance and capture all the subtleties and nuances in the tones of these sound sources.
The 800 has a low signal-to-noise ratio, which means it makes very little sound of its own while operating and won’t contribute annoying idle noise to the masterpiece you’re recording.
This is also a mic that will work nicely for any podcasting or other types of broadcast material you may be creating.
With a boom arm, pop filter and shock mount included, getting this combo platter can only be a smart move.
Here’s a quick look at the best mics for recording acoustic guitar in action!
- Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio for...
- Record vocals, create podcasts, and add narration to...
- Add crystal clear audio to recordings for YouTube....
Blue Microphones have become quite popular and widely-used since hitting the market some years back.
The firm makes a full line of recording products, many of which are affordable and well-suited to the home studio or podcasting worlds.
The Blue Snowball is one of the most used USB mics available.
USB mics are devices of the modern era that plug directly into your computer without an audio interface and make simple recording and production tasks quick and easy.
The Snowball is a plug-and-play mic that will instantly connect to your Mac or PC with no additional drivers to install.
Throw one of these and your laptop into a bag, and you've got yourself a fully-portable recording or podcasting rig.
The Snowball can also be used for Skype, FaceTime, Messenger and YouTube applications, making it a must-have item for just about everyone.
If you’re not making full-on albums in Pro Tools or Logic but want to up your overall audio quality, meet your new mic.
The Blue Snowball is beyond wonderful for doing demos in GarageBand, live streaming on Twitch or Facebook Live or capturing the audio for YouTube clips of your newest songs.
It provides its users with crystal-clear audio quality with a minimum of fuss and without a degree in Sound Engineering.
If this sounds like you, it may be time to go Blue.
Blue makes some of the best USB mics on the market, and the Snowball will make an immediate difference in your recorded sound.
Watch this video demo to dig just how powerful the Blue Snowball truly is!
- Back electret microphone designed for cymbals of all...
- Tight cardioid pattern pickupfor extended frequency...
- Aluminum housing and goldplated XLR contacts for...
The Nady CM-88 is a small-diaphragm condenser mic, a type of microphone used to track acoustic guitars but also regularly seen used in pairs as overhead drum set mics and can even be used to capture vocals.
It uses a tight and uniform cardioid pickup pattern to minimize bleed from nearby sources of sound and has an extended frequency response to ensure you get crisp and true sound reproduction.
Its slick-looking aluminum housing and gold-plated XLR contacts make it both attractive and durable.
Like all condenser mics, the Nady CM-88 requires 48v phantom power to function.
Small condensers like this used in stereo pairs can create absolutely huge acoustic guitar sounds and are one of the cornerstones of any microphone collection.
The Nady CM-88 is a simple and elegant little mic that delivers big results for acoustic guitar players but is more than adequate for getting vocal tracks done if you don’t have an LDC at your disposal.
Learn a little about microphone technique, spend some time experimenting with placement and comparing the recorded sounds and you should be off and running towards the tone of your dreams.
This video will demonstrate how great the CM-88 sounds and will also give you an idea of where to point it!
- Plug and play Usb recording microphone with 5.9-Foot...
- Solid sturdy metal construction design computer...
- Recording microphone with additional volume knob itself...
The Fifine Metal Condenser Recording Microphone is another USB mic designed for a multitude of uses, one of them being recording acoustic guitar tracks.
It’s a plug-and-play affair that works instantly with either Mac or Windows computers and needs no drivers or interface to go live.
It’s compatible with Windows Vista, XP, 2000 and Mac OS X.
As is the case with most USB mics, the Fifine Condenser is also a good pick for podcasting, gaming, voiceover work or live streaming.
It records in the expected cardioid pattern for crisp bleed-free sound and will keep your main sound isolated from any background noise that might be happening around you.
One really hip feature about this little dude is the addition of its own Volume control on the body of the mic.
This allows you to make level adjustments on-the-fly in a variety of situations and makes this mic even more versatile than it already is.
It even comes with its own tripod stand to make recording guitars or vocals while sitting at your desk a snap.
The advent of mics like the Fifine has meant a great deal to the average musician recording themselves at home or in a small studio setting and puts to bed any excuses for tracking less-than-stellar guitar tones.
When a pro-sounding mic costs about as much as a delivered pizza, what kind of excuse do you want to make?
The Fifine Metal Condenser Recording Microphone is a short-lister if you happen to be in the market for a USB mic that can be used for just about anything.
Watch this video rundown and prepare to be amazed!
- The Instrument Microphone for Guitar is perfect for PA...
- It offers practically unlimited placement...
- The sound it provides is considerably more natural than...
The HEIMU Clip-On Instrument Condenser Microphone and Universal Clip is a lavalier-style mic that’s meant to attach directly to your guitar instead of your t-shirt.
This makes for a mic with almost unlimited possibilites for location and positioning.
Unlike most other mics in this comparison, the HEIMU Clip-On works just as well for live sound as it does in the recording studio and will work on just about any other instrument you might be tracking in addition to acoustic guitar.
The big payoff for going with this sort of less-traditional mic on your guitar is that it produces a much more natural amplified sound than an under-saddle pickup system or one of those internal mic setups.
What's more, the mounting clip can be operated with one hand, which allows you to move the mic from one instrument to another quickly and easily.
It also features adapters for connecting with various makes of wireless systems.
This lets you keep your microphone if you switch or upgrade wireless gear.
Just use the proper adapter, and you're good to go.
The HEIMU Clip-On is an extremely versatile device that makes sense for anyone looking to get a good acoustic sound recorded without having to worry about staying still and playing to a mic on a stand.
Remaining on-axis with a stationary external mic is something that takes a little practice and awareness and can be foreign for players used to being cabled to their amplification.
The HEIMU solves that problem by making the mic and guitar a single entity and gives users the same freedom of movement they’re used to with their electric rigs.
Plus, it’s a great thing to have a couple of these in your mic locker if you ever work with horns, orchestral instruments or acoustic pianos, which can all benefit from a clipped-on microphone.
It offers lots of gain before feedback and is gentle to your guitar’s delicate finish.
You’re going to need at least one of these.
- Comes with two clip sizes; the first type is for...
- The second clips is smaller and curved in shape; can be...
- Excellent natural sound; very high acceptable sound...
The Prodipe GL-21 Microphone is another clip-on mic for your acoustic guitar or ukulele.
It produces a clear, natural sound on either instrument and is another great choice for those who want to record without being forced to stand perfectly still.
The GL-21 comes with two discreet mounting clips for using the mic with guitars or ukes with different types of soundboards and top bracing, which makes it an instantly-useful studio tool.
The clamps are rubber to help protect the instrument from vibrating the mic and adding unwanted noise.
They are also simple to operate and have no tiny parts to lose, facts you might not fully appreciate until you have to deal with them on a darkened stage somewhere.
Cabling is handled by a mini XLR-to-XLR connecting adapter that allows for proper positioning and for taking in the 48v phantom power the GL-21 needs to go live.
Also worth noting is the Prodipe’s ability to withstand sound pressure levels up to 140 dB, a threshold many condenser mics can’t match.
The Prodipe GL-21 Microphone is another cool and specialized mic to add to your ever-growing mic locker and does its job admirably well.
Prodipe may be an unfamiliar brand name to many guitarists, but the GL-21 is a quality product and is worth some shopping time if you're considering adding something like this to your studio.
Here’s a little sample of what the Prodipe GL-21 can do for your sound!
Tips On Recording Acoustic Guitar
Recording an acoustic guitar part can be done in any number of ways, but there are some basic tips you should know before attempting it the first time.
First, make sure your guitar is in shape for the session.
Put on some new strings, stretch them out, so your tuning is stable, adjust your neck, so your action feels right and generally get whatever instrument you plan to use into its most playable state.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what this small bit of prep does for your overall sound.
If you’re just doing demos, you can get away with recording directly through your guitar’s under-saddle pickup but, if your goal is to capture pro-level audio goodness, a microphone is the only way to fly.
Sometimes, it's okay to record both pickup and mic sounds on their own tracks and blend them together, but most players prefer the mic to be the dominate sound of their guitar.
Like anything else, recording yourself gets easier and better the more that you do it.
Settle in, learn your gear and you’ll be just fine.
Mic Placement For Recording Acoustic Guitar
Basic mic placement for tracking acoustic guitars is pretty simple.
You will want to use some type of boom stand to let you get your condenser mic where it needs to be.
Typically, the best results come from aiming the business end of your mic at the area around your 12th fret from about a foot away.
This is merely general advice, of course, and you’ll need to do some experimentation to find where your guitar’s sweet spot is located.
An old-school engineer’s trick is to stand in front of the person playing, turn your head to the side and slowly move back and forth and listen for the exact spot your ear likes the best.
This, then is where you put your mic.
It may seem primitive but this method works exceptionally well, and you'll learn much about mic technique by using it.
I hope this article about the best mics for recording acoustic guitar has been both fun and educational for you.
Just like playing, recording chops take some practicing to acquire but the time spent learning what to do with the various mics at your disposal is worth its weight in cheeseburgers.
See you again soon with another blast of guitar knowledge!