There are reasons why you should mic your guitar amps. One reason is that your guitar amp may not have the necessary means to connect directly to the PA.
Another reason is that speakers have a critical role in shaping the tone of your guitar amp. Some speakers make my guitar sound trebly and bright. Yet, some speakers may also make my guitar amp sound richer.
So, to maximize the use of your guitar amp and enhance the sound of your electric guitar, you need to mic your amp. This is especially true if you are recording guitar tracks. You must use the best microphone for your guitar amp.
As mentioned above, there are myriads of microphones in the market today, and finding the right one for your guitar amp might become a bit difficult. Hence, to facilitate the choosing process for you, we have listed here the following best microphones for guitar amps:
Last update on 2021-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Neumann U 87 Ai Set Z (Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone Set)
The Neumann U 87 Ai Set Z is a widely used microphone for vocals recording. It is also used for recording instruments. Moreover, it is a very high-fidelity mic. It also features a variable large diaphragm with a pressure-gradient transducer and a double membrane capsule.
The Neumann U 87 Ai Set Z is a classic studio microphone that features three-directional characteristics. Its polar patterns include the Omni, Cardioid, and Figure-8 polar patterns. It also comes with a 10-dB attenuation switch that is found on its rear. This attenuation switch enables it to bear maximum sound pressure levels of 127 dB without distorting. You can also reduce its low sound frequency to offset the proximity effect.
If you are recording loud sounds, you should use this mic because it is not prone to damage. Moreover, as a large-diaphragm mic, it can capture ambient sound in a room during the recording process.
AKG Pro Audio C414 XLS
The AKG Pro Audio C414 XLS is a popular microphone for recording acoustic instruments and vocals. It features a perfectly engineered microphone designed for maximum linearity as well as for the high neutrality of sound that it produces.
It features 9 selectable polar patterns allowing you a wide range of usage for this microphone. It also features 3 attenuation levels, namely -6, -12, and -18dB. Thus, you can use this mic for close-up recording. You can also use this for high-output sources with a maximum SPL of up to 158dB.
This mic also comes with three switchable bass-cut filters for reducing wind noise, proximity effect, and subsonic noise. Moreover, it features an overload warning that comes with audio peak hold LED for detecting the shortest audio peaks.
The AKG Pro Audio C414 XLS comes with a long history of popularity. It has been here for several decades and is well-known for its versatility. Its construction is of exceptional quality, making this mic a popular choice among studio owners for recording electric and acoustic guitars.
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a “go-to” mic if you are looking for an affordable condenser mic for your studio. It comes with great versatility with its high SPL handling, along with its wide dynamic range. It is engineered nicely with its low-mass diaphragm. It offers extended frequency response along with better transient response.
The Audio comes with a cardioid polar pattern. This lets it reduce the capture of sounds from the rear and sides. This enables you to isolate sound that you do not want the mic to capture. Moreover, it comes with a threaded stand mount that pivots. You simply need to attach it securely for precise and easy mounting. It also comes with a protective pouch.
The AT2020 features a sturdy construction that comes with an all-metal case. Thus, it can take a lot of hitting and abuse. If you want an affordable mic that offers great performance, you can opt for this mic.
Sennheiser e609 Silver Drum Mic
The Sennheiser e609 is a perfect mic if you want a directional mic with its super-cardioid polar pattern. This provides you with perfect isolation of other audio signals. It also comes with a hum coil for reducing electrical interference.
The Sennheiser e609 is known for its excellent performance. You can hang it over the amp’s front end. In this way, you will not need any mic stand. With its super-cardioid polar pattern, you can expect it to reject off-axis sounds.
It also comes with a hum-canceling coil. This coil enables it to block interference and noise from other audio sources. Moreover, it features a Neodymium ferrous magnet that comes with boron for keeping it stable.
It weighs around 1.96 pounds and has the following dimensions of 10 x 5 x 3 inches. It is a perfect choice if you want to capture a sound from a specific audio source.
Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
The Shure SM57-LC is one of the favorite mics for guitar amps. It is also a go-to mic for recording drums. It is easy to set up and delivers great capture for guitar amps and drums. It features a contoured frequency response that delivers clean audio reproduction. It is perfect for use in recording instrumentals and vocals.
The Shure SM57-LC is a professional-quality microphone that delivers great reproduction for instruments like percussions and drums and for miking amplifiers of instruments. It features a uniform cardioid polar pattern that readily isolates the audio source while it lessens background noise.
This mic is known for its durability, even if heavily used. It features a frequency response range from 40 to 15,000 Hz. It is capable of handling up to 149dB. With this massive SPL, it can handle extremely loud sounds. Hence, this mic is a mainstay in most recording studios.
As a dynamic mic, it also tends to reject off-axis noise and sound; thus, it gives you an unaltered sound coming directly from the amp. This mic is ruggedly constructed and does not need external power to operate. It can withstand high SPLs and is usually a crucial peg in recording sessions as well as live gigs.
As mentioned above, you should mic your amp if your amp does not have the necessary feature to directly connect with the PA system. However, if you want to shape your guitar amp’s tone, you should also mic it. With properly placed mic on the guitar amp, you can enrich the tone of your amp and make your guitar sound brighter, trebly, and richer. To zero in on the right mic for your guitar amp, you can consider the abovementioned list of the top 5 most recommended mics for guitar amps.
Last update on 2021-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Mic for Guitar Amps
There are many types and models of microphones that you can use for miking your guitar amp. And if you want to identify the best microphone for miking guitar amp, you need to know the following factors to consider when choosing a microphone for your guitar amp:
When choosing a microphone for your amp, you need to consider the polar pattern of the mic. The microphone’s polar pattern refers to the sound sensitivity of the mic. It also refers to how a mic rejects sound. The most common mic pattern is omnidirectional.
The omnidirectional pattern, of course, is characterized by the off-axis spill. You can use this pattern when recording the ambient sound of the room or if you want to record a wide range of sound sources. Yet, an omnidirectional mic is not recommended for miking guitar amp.
The cardioid pattern, which is named after the Latin word “heart” because its audio sensitivity—is shaped like a heart. It is also the preferred polar pattern by many musicians because it silences ambient sound and background noise.
However, if you want something that comes with a narrower pickup and stronger feedback rejection, you should opt for a super-cardioid pickup pattern.
Consider the Brand
Some musicians rely on brand names when choosing the mics for their guitar amps. Of course, there are merits in doing so. First, there are trusted brands when it comes to mics. These trusted brands are known for their quality and durability. Moreover, it is easier to choose if you know that a brand maintains a high level of quality for its products. Brands such as Audio-Technica, AKG, Neumann, and Shure, for example, are some of these brands known for the quality of their products.
Although there is no reason for sticking to a single brand, you can play around with your brand by trying different known manufactures. Yet, the industry’s known brands are already known for the quality and clarity of the mics they produce. So, you are more at peace in settling for the products of these known brands.
Mics come with varied diaphragms. Some come with large diaphragms, while others have small diaphragms. The variations in the size of diaphragms spell out the difference in the audio results.
As a rule, the small diaphragm mic is best used when the audio source is close to the mics. It can also pick up subtle details. If a cardioid pickup pattern complements this small-diaphragm mic, then, its noise rejection is further enhanced.
Large-diaphragm mic, on the other hand, provide good ambient room sound. It also renders better instrument recording. You should use larger diaphragm mics when recording vocals and instruments. In the last analysis, however, both types of diaphragms can be used for guitar amps.
Another factor that you need to consider is the frequency response of the mic. If you are using it for your guitar amp, your mic’s frequency response should be from 80Hz to 5 kHz for miking guitar amps. This range is perfect if you want to maximize the use of mics.
However, if you are engaged in recording drums, the frequency range you should choose for your mic is from 30Hz to 40Hz to capture the bass drum’s low and deep sounds. It would also be good to consider that different mics have different frequency responses.
Sound Pressure Level
The Sound Pressure Level (SPL) refers to mic sensitivity. SPL is measured in decibels. It is the volume level that a mic can handle without distorting the sound. Many musicians consider the SPL is the most important factor when choosing a mic. It determines the level of sounds that a mic can pick up. This factor is also crucial when you are recording an electric guitar. The rule in getting the SPL is that the lower the number, the higher the mic’s sensitivity, and vice versa.
Another factor that you sometimes need to consider is the mic filter. Mic filters, of course, help in ridding your recording of low frequencies. An example of a mic filter is the high-pass filter. This type of filter lets the high frequencies pass while getting rid of low frequencies. With a high-pass filter, you will get much leeway or space for instruments like the bass guitar to be heard.