Acoustic Guitar

Best Mic for Acoustic Guitars

August 10, 2018
Damilola

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Best Mic for Acoustic Guitars

Microphones are one of the most valued accessories of acoustic guitars. This is for a simple reason that acoustic guitars do not have sound amplifiers. The purpose of a microphone is not just sound amplification A microphone is important in a lot of ways. This is especially true when it comes to stringed instruments.

Key Considerations When Buying a Microphone for Acoustic Guitar

The variety of microphones available for stringed instruments is huge. As a result, it is tough to make a choice between what’s good and not. To help, we have made a list of different features. These should be considered while buying a microphone.

  • SPL Handling Capacity – Always buy a microphone that can handle maximum sound pressure. Higher sound pressure handling microphone can capture noise-free and stable sound.
  • Frequency Band Sensitivity – A good microphone is able to capture vibrations from different frequency bands. This ensures that the music sounds good even after it is digitally recorded.
  • Response Curves – A response curve demonstrates the sides to which a microphone is most responsive to. Thus, choose the one according to whether you need one for professional recording or home recording. Furthermore, while choosing one for live performances, keep in mind the size of the venue and the crowd.
  • Proximity Response – A good microphone for acoustic guitars is one that can produce clean sound irrespective of the fact whether it is too close or far away from the guitar. However, the consideration remains the fact whether the mic is being used for studios, open stage events, or auditorium shows.
  • Low Impedance – Pick a microphone with low impedance. In other words, a microphone with separate balanced connectors and cables are better. They have high SPL and music to noise ratio.
  • Your Budget – Diverse features come at an additional cost. Hence, you should choose a microphone with features curtailed to the event in concern. For example, you can count on a condenser mic with basic features for home recordings.

Quick Links: Best Mic for Acoustic Guitars

  1. Shure BETA 58A Mic for Acoustic Guitars
  2. AKG C451 B Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  3. Avantone Pro CK 1
  4. Miktek C5
  5. Neumann KM-184

Our Top Recommended Mics for Acoustic Guitars

Shure BETA 58A Mic for Acoustic Guitars

  • This microphone has a high signal-to-noise ratio
  • Highly responsive to midrange and bass roll-off sound
  • Offers isolation from surrounding noises while recording
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AKG C451 B Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

  • The joint is very strong and doesn't crack upon falling
  • It is lightweight and durable
  • Highly affordable for the kind of features it has
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Avantone Pro CK 1

  • It can capture vibrations from different frequency bands
  • This has a high bass cut-off filter that reduces buzzing noises
  • Easy mounting microphone with a non-slippery body
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Miktek C5

  • Cuts noise from back and sides
  • Can amplify sounds from different frequency bands
  • It is lightweight; thus, good for live performances
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Neumann KM-184

  • The guitar is perfect for close miking of stringed musical instruments
  • This item can be used for live grand concerts
  • It has a high bass cut filter for noise cancellation
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A wide variety of features and considerations might confuse someone who’s new to buying a microphone for stringed instruments. Thus, we have a list of 5 microphones for acoustic guitars with different features. Explore our list to find out which microphones are currently in-trend and why.

Shure BETA 58A Mic for Acoustic Guitars

Pros:

  • This microphone has a high signal-to-noise ratio
  • Highly responsive to midrange and bass roll-off sound
  • Offers isolation from surrounding noises while recording
  • Enhances notes and makes them crisp, bright and loud

Cons:

  • It does not have an on-off switch
  • Hard to adjust the distance so that the guitar notes sound clear
  • Not ideal for live performances and concerts

This strong build microphone for acoustic guitars is perfect for recordings and stage shows. Its handle is made of diecast metal and its spherical shell is made of stainless steel. This stainless steel mesh is highly durable and strong. It doesn’t crack or scratch so easily. Also, Shure BETA 58A is a strong output mic that comes with a microphone mounting dock. This product has a built-in neodymium magnet that has a high signal-to-noise ratio. It means that the microphone automatically cuts down noise, leaving the sound as pure as possible.

With an amazing signal-to-noise output, this microphone reduces sound collision. Thus, each note, high-end as well as low-end, can be distinguished from the other. However, the mic lacks a switch. This is why it isn’t a great choice for stage performances. Moreover, this dynamic microphone is an ideal home-recording high output product.

AKG C451 B Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Pros:

  • The joint is very strong and doesn’t crack upon falling
  • It is lightweight and durable
  • Highly affordable for the kind of features it has
  • Produces warm sound when placed above the soundhole

Cons:

  • It is quite expensive for the purpose of home recordings
  • Engineered just for classic sounds, and not rock music
  • Its carry case is of sub-standard quality

AKG C451 B Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone has an inbuilt low noise preamplifier. Its body can withstand high sound pressure as well. For this reason, it removes distortion even when the mic is placed too close to the guitar. It comes with a preloaded high-pass filter. Furthermore, the filter cancels low rumbling noises like that of wind while recording. It can produce bright sound when placed at a distance from the guitar. It produces a soft and warm sound when placed close to the soundhole.

This nickel plated small diaphragm microphone has a cardioid pattern. Thus, it can pick sound from most of the frequency bands and amplify them equally well. However, it is too expensive to be used for home recordings. So, unless using it for studio and commercial recordings, you’ll be better keeping your hands away from this one.

Avantone Pro CK 1

Pros:

  • It can capture vibrations from different frequency bands
  • This has a high bass cut-off filter that reduces buzzing noises
  • Easy mounting microphone with a non-slippery body
  • It lightweight, durable and affordable

Cons:

  • Switches are fragile and can rattle
  • The capacitors in the audio path aren’t very strong
  • Sound cap isn’t sealed to the mic properly

Avantone Pro CK-1 microphone has a good bass cut filter that helps in reducing distortion. The mic comes loaded with high-quality capacitors placed right in the patch of audio signals. This results in sound amplification without attracting noise from the surroundings. Also, this home-recording microphone has 3 capsules. This product has quite a few settings to choose from. Therefore, switching to and from the settings allow this microphone to capture, record and brighten up sounds from different frequencies.

Not ideal for commercial recordings, the Avantone Pro CK-1 microphone comes with its own limitations. While the pickup, sound amplification, and bass cut-off by the microphone are good, its performance gets dull with time. For thsi reason, this microphone is good for home recordings but not commercial purposes.

Miktek C5

Pros:

  • Cuts noise from back and sides
  • Can amplify sounds from different frequency bands
  • It is lightweight; thus, good for live performances

Cons:

  • Too expensive for home recordings
  • Its durable body can develop scratches easily
  • Its caps can get rusty if exposed to moisture

Miktek C5 high-class pencil condenser microphone is great for studio recordings. It is a 0.5-inch cardioid full bodied capsule with an evaporated gold 5-micron mylar diaphragm. Also, it is fitted with high-quality transistors. These transistors make the microphone highly responsive to vibrations from a lot of frequency bands. It has a high SPL handling capacity. Also, it can block noise from the sides and back. Miktek C5 has a shiny outer body and comes secured in a high-quality wooden case. Lastly, it is incorporated with AMI T5 transformer.

This is a multi-purpose studio recording microphone. This is because, it is not just good for acoustic guitars, but also violins, brass instruments, and pianos. It has a good SPL handling ratio. Thus, this microphone is highly capable of reducing high-pitch noise and rumbling low noises. Also, it cuts away all sounds from the back and sides. All in all, pick this microphone for commercial recordings, even live performances.

Neumann KM-184

Pros:

  • The guitar is perfect for close miking of stringed musical instruments
  • This item can be used for live grand concerts
  • It has a high bass cut filter for noise cancellation

Cons:

  • It is heavier than expected
  • The body is prone to scratching despite its high price.
  • It’s somewhat a high-end mic
  • Not ideal for classical acoustic guitars

With a cardioid polar pattern, this transformerless microphone has a solid sound pick-up. It has a transducer that works on 0-axis as well as lateral axis. With a wide pickup angle, this stunning microphone for acoustic guitars has a nickel or black finish. Also, it has a high sound pressure handling capacity. This product has a pickup range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Lastly, it has a high output voltage that produces bright and noise-free sound.

Surprisingly heavier, the Neumann KM-184 microphone does have its own share of benefits. For one, it allows close miking and cuts most of the distortion from all directions. However, it is a somewhat high-end microphone. Which means, the sound is not more natural, which is why it is not a good option for classical acoustic guitars that produce deep and airy tunes. Overall, this one’s worth a try for the bright pop sounds it produces.

Uses of Microphones for Acoustic Guitars

Some of their most important uses other than sound amplification are listed below.

  • Noise Cancellation – Recording music created by stringed instruments is not an easy task. The sound is adulterated with a lot of high and low pitch noises from the surroundings. And microphones work as a noise canceling medium.
  • Quick Response – Microphones are highly responsive to multiple frequency bands. This ensures that even masked vibrations are clearly caught. Therefore, the music that microphones ultimately amplify is rich and intense.

The Different Features of Mics

These are the two unique features of microphones other than simple sound amplification. Now that you know these, it is time that you should learn about the different kinds of microphones available for stringed instruments.

  • Dynamic Microphones – These are the ones that are many performers prefer for live performances. They should be ideally a foot away from acoustic guitars to catch all the sound clearly. It also helps to cut noises from the surroundings, and produce rich music.
  • Condenser Microphones – These are as good as dynamic microphones used for acoustic guitars. They are mostly used for studio recordings. Furthermore, these mics have high SPL handling capacity. They also cut noise from different directions. Lastly, they are responsive to a wider frequency range.
  • Ribbon Microphones – These are most fragile of all the 3 types. Despite this, they produce fairly good and noise-free intense music. They easily crack and break, which is why they aren’t for live shows and professional recordings.

Out of the 3 types that we have mentioned, dynamic and condenser microphones are most popular when it comes to connecting them with acoustic guitars. The primary difference between the two is the size of their diaphragm. Dynamic microphones have a larger diaphragm. Out of the two, smaller diaphragms performers prefer studio recording and larger diaphragms seal the stage for live performances.

Microphone Sizes

There are also different sizes microphones come in that serve a variety of purposes. Being well aware of these differences can help make a more informed decision.

  • Bi-Directional Microphones – These are the ones that can collect sound vibration from East and West, but not North and South. The rule remains the same for noise cancellation as well.
  • Omni-Directional Microphones – are sensitive to sound from all the directions. Hence, their noise cancellation capacity is also high. Also, they catch vibrations from a number of frequency bands.
  • Uni-Directional Microphones – are sensitive to sound coming from one specific source from one direction. This feature ends up contributing to the sound quality since the mic is ignorant of noises from its surroundings.

Microphone Patterns

The most popular pattern for stringed instruments is a polar pattern. These can be classified in three types.

  • Cardioid Microphones – These are responsive to audio from sides and straight. They are ignorant about sounds from the other half 180-degree angle.
  • Supercardioid Microphones – There are 4 sides, east, west, south, and north to these mics. The supercardioid mics are the ones that have little to no response to two sides. However, they pick sound from the other 180-degree angles.
  • Hypercardioid Microphones – These are the ones that have little to no response for sounds coming from 270 degrees and 90 degrees. However, they are highly responsive to sounds coming from a 180-degree angle.

One thing that you need to focus on is that polar pattern microphones have capsules that you can interchange. You can flex the mic between cardioid, super cardioid, and hypercardioid by changing the capsules. Also, ideal proximity level between the mic and the guitar depends upon the size and pattern of the microphone, as well as the size of the venue.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, when it comes to recordings, microphones for acoustic guitars are necessary. Moreover, a microphone’s type and quality determine how melodious the music will be. Furthermore, always try to buy the microphones that allow close mic. While some of the items may not be ideal for you, they are all considered great choices on the market.

Damilola

Damilolai has been writing about music for the past 7 years before joining musicgroupies.com team. When he's not working he loves going to the park with his two Jack Russell Terrier's Joe and Bells.
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