Gearslutz (
-   Best Studio Gear (
-   -   Ten Mics for Recording Acoustic Guitars (under $1,000) (

The Press Desk 22nd July 2016 03:25 PM

Ten Mics for Recording Acoustic Guitars (under $1,000)
1 Attachment(s)
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.

 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?


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.

 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.


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.

 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.


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.


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.

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?

Diogo C 23rd July 2016 11:06 AM


TheReal7 26th July 2016 05:30 PM

JUST picked up my new Oktava MK012s in the mail this morning!! Haven't had a chance to try em out yet but for my acoustic work, I am loving my Rode NTK's with Mullard tube replacement! Another Sub $1000 option.

Lenzo 26th July 2016 06:17 PM

Miktek C5's are very good.

dlmorley 27th July 2016 08:58 AM

I have had EXCELLENT results using the Line Audio CM3 and many others have as far as I can tell..
Such a bargain

jeremyglover 27th July 2016 01:12 PM

Where did you buy them? ebay? That's the only place i see them.


Originally Posted by dlmorley (Post 12039319)
I have had EXCELLENT results using the Line Audio CM3 and many others have as far as I can tell..
Such a bargain

dlmorley 27th July 2016 01:33 PM


Originally Posted by jeremyglover (Post 12039755)
Where did you buy them? ebay? That's the only place i see them.

NoHype Audio, Official Reseller for Placid Audio, Copperphone, Line Audio, TK Audio, MTR Audio, Extreme Isolation, TF PRo and Manufacturers of Quality Audio Equipment

I'm in Belgium.

jeremyglover 27th July 2016 03:32 PM

Cool, thanks.

GKP 31st July 2016 05:14 PM

Neumann TLM 103

Diogo C 3rd August 2016 04:58 PM

Some food for thought from the Sylvia Massy Q&A:


In the world of condenser mics, I generally choose the large diaphragms for bigger jobs, and the smaller diaphragms for more focused tasks.

Small diaphragm condensers work well in tight environments, and capture better detail in higher frequencies. I would choose small diaphragms for acoustic guitar, hi-hat, ride, percussion, and the upper horns on a Hammond organ's Leslie cabinet.

Large diaphragms usually work better for wider, full-frequency recording. I would choose large diaphragm mics for piano, vocals, overhead drum recording (cymbals), strings and orchestral recordings.

Certainly this is not an absolute rule. I've used the small diaphragm Mojave MA100 condensers for the decca tree recording of a baroque orchestra with great results. And I've often used a single Mojave MA200 large diaphragm condenser for all kinds of jobs on the same project, from drum overheads to vocals to percussion to acoustic guitar. Mainly because it sounds great on most everything and I didn't want to lose momentum by swapping out and re-balancing the mic between overdubs... Just GO GO GO while the musicians are HOT!!!

Larry Villella 4th August 2016 05:27 PM

You'd think somebody might want a guitar mic built by a guitar player . . .

nightchef 16th August 2016 04:56 PM

Nice list--I only wish there had been room for the AT 4051.

montanasan 9th November 2016 09:06 PM


Originally Posted by dlmorley (Post 12039319)
I have had EXCELLENT results using the Line Audio CM3 and many others have as far as I can tell..
Such a bargain

+1 on this. Excellent little mics for sure

SV.L 16th December 2016 02:08 PM


Originally Posted by jeremyglover (Post 12039755)
Where did you buy them? ebay? That's the only place i see them.

Holger Siedler ( is our Distributor for Line Audio here in Germany. I have mine from him too, excellent guy ! =)

jeremyglover 16th December 2016 11:53 PM


mmhasan01 26th March 2018 08:31 PM

Really very informative and research full writing.I want to go CAD Audio M179 this model.This useful info help to pick best one.Thanks, such type of great post.

Westwave 28th March 2018 02:12 AM

I know this is going to be met with a lot of skepticism. I've used most all of the highly regarded mic's but the Samson CL2 not the cheaper co2 is the best I've ever used on stereo mic'd acoustic guitar.
I know I'ts hard to believe but if you ever get the chance try em. They seem to be hard to find however.

On a side note I've found the CAD M179 to be a stellar mic on Toms. It's fast, handles spl well, and has depth.

Hermetech Mastering 14th May 2018 12:15 PM

The 3U Audio Warbler 127 transformer balanced SDC with Cardioid Flat capsule sounds insanely great on acoustic guitar, and is very reasonably priced. It has somewhat quelled my desire for a KM84!

pcbiz 15th May 2018 07:07 PM

Beyerdynamic M 160. You'll need a high gain preamp. Sounds perfect.

DistortingJack 16th May 2018 11:19 AM

To be honest you can use anything depending on the sound you want.

The Shure KSM137 and KSM141 are great for a tight cardioid SDC sound.

If I were recording a band with a '70s vibe I would consider an M201 for an older vibe.
Sounds record-ready with almost no processing, with more detail than a 57.

I'd love to try something ridiculously accurate like the Sennheiser MKH Series.

MichaelDroste 16th May 2018 09:53 PM

I really like the AT 4050

Mario-C. 23rd May 2018 06:42 PM

Another vote for the Shure KSM SDC's, I'm surprised they didn't make the list.

Lewitt LCT 340 sounds great too and it's under a grand.