Ten mics for recording acoustic guitars (under $1,000)

There are plenty of options available when it comes to recording great acoustic guitars sounds, but it's generally thought that you can't go wrong with condenser mics - either a good small-diaphragm condenser (SDC), or a large-diaphragm condenser (LDC). With that in mind, here is a selection of mics, in alphabetical order, priced under that ever-important $1k (USD) mark that the Gearslutz community thinks are worth checking out.


AKG C451 B

AKG C451 B


The C451 B is a standout & a venerable small diaphragm condenser microphone that traces back to AKG’s famous capsule design from 1969, and it never ceases to amaze recording engineers worldwide. A studio classic with a tonne of mileage, it arrives in the present day featuring a slick design - good looks coupled with important features such as a -10/-20db attenuation pads and 75/150 Hz low-cut filters, and a tight cardioid pattern for a focused sound. They are also available in stereo matched pairs - what's not to love? Read our user reviews.



Audio-Technica AT4050

Audio-Technica AT4050


A very popular choice amongst the Gearslutz community, the AT4050 has three polar patterns (cardioid, omni and figure-of-8), very low noise and a sparkling clean sound. This large diaphragm condenser mic also also comes in a stereo version, the AT4050ST, which is slightly more expensive but features switchable stereo and mid-side modes for added versatility. Read our users reviews.



Avantone Pro CK-1

Avantone Pro CK-1


This cost effective small diaphragm condenser microphone comes with three capsule options for cardioid, omni and hyper-cardioid pickup patterns. The CK1 also comes with a 10dB attenuation pad and an 80 Hz low-cut switch and is also sold in stereo-matched pairs. Read our user reviews.



Beyerdynamic MC 930

Beyerdynamic MC 930


This is an elegant cardioid small-diaphragm condenser with a -15db gain pad and 6db/octave low-cut filter at 250 Hz. Widely used on a variety of applications, the MC 930 is specifically mentioned on many acoustic guitar recording discussions not only due to its overall sonic quality but also because it’s an extremely affordable option. Also available in stereo-matched pairs. Read our user reviews.



CAD Audio M179

CAD Audio M179


A large-diaphragm condenser that finds versatility due to its variable polar patterns - omni, figure-of-8, cardioid are the main three but you can dial in anything "in between" which can lead to some creative sonics. Often cited as a budget alternative to much more expensive mics, the M179 also features a -10db gain pad, a low-cut filter at 100Hz and is a mic that can also be used for many applications other than acoustic guitars, standing out as a good and affordable LDC workhorse. Pro tip: when you're not trying this one on your six-strings, pop it on some tom-toms and thank the GS community later. Read our user reviews.



DPA Microphones d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone for Guitar

DPA Microphones d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone for Guitar


A super compact and unobtrusive condenser microphone tailored specifically for acoustic guitars, presenting a very small footprint, excellent noise rejection, an extremely focused supercardioid polar pattern and great overall sound quality. It features a very reliable clip-mounting system and superb feedback suppression which also makes it a smart choice for live use/stage performances. Read our users reviews.





Oktava MK-012

Oktava MK-012


A nifty little small-diaphragm condenser mic with interchangeable capsules that cover cardioid, figure-of-8, hypercardioid or omni-directional polar patterns. It ships with a cardioid capsule and features a -10db pad - making it an affordable "initial investment" that can be expanded further down the road by acquiring the other capsules and the optional low-cut filter module. Also available in stereo matched pairs. Read our user reviews.



Peluso Microphones CEMC-6

Peluso Microphones CEMC-6


Highly regarded by this community as a great all-round small-diaphragm condenser, the CEMC-6 is a great choice when it comes to recording acoustic guitars. It features a -10/-20 attenuation pad, 75/150 Hz low-cut filters and ships with a cardioid capsule, which can be swapped for omni, cardioid, 'wide cardioid,' or hypercardioid polar pattern capsules (sold separately). This is a mic that can do a lot with all those capsule options, making it a great budget-conscious acquisition for any studio. Also available in stereo matched pairs. Read our user reviews.



Rode NT5-S

Rode NT5-S


Another mic that is often recommended by our members, this small-diaphragm condenser is known for its tight cardioid pattern, great detail, high clarity and low noise. The NT5-S can also be turned into a omnidirectional mic by simply swapping the capsule, which considerably extends its applications. Also available in stereo matched pairs. Read our user reviews.




So, what do you make of it? We surely had to leave a lot of mics out since there are a myriad of options out there for recording acoustic guitars. What would YOU have on YOUR list?