Best Mics For Acoustic Guitars – 2020 Complete Buyer’s Guide

Whether you want to play on stage or record your tunes, mics for acoustic guitars are much-needed accessories for all players.

A high-quality one can definitely shape your experience in a positive way or totally bust your tunes! 

There are many versions available on the market, so we decided to offer you a summary of the best mics for an acoustic guitar, how to choose one, and many other useful bits of information!

Comparison Chart of the Best Mics For Acoustic Guitars

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Shure SM57 Dynamic Microphone

  • Best acoustic guitar mic overall
  • Rich vocal pickup with clean reproduction
  • Reduced background noise, and professional-quality mic
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Rode NT2-A Studio Condenser Microphone

  • Internal shock-mounting system
  • Reduces noise, has a wide dynamic range
  • On-body control of polar pattern, HPF and PAD
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AKG P420 Project Studio Condenser Microphone

  • Best for the Money
  • Professional quality condenser microphone
  • Made from zinc/aluminum and handles high sound pressure levels
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Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Microphone

  • 10 dB attenuator, made of steel
  • Best Mic for Recording Acoustic Guitar
  • Condenser microphone with feedback suppression and noise rejection
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AKG P170 Project Studio Condenser Microphone

  • Switchable 300 Hz bass-cut filter
  • Small diaphragm condenser microphone
  • Best Mic for Recording Acoustic Guitar Under $100
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Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone

  • Best Mic for Live Acoustic Guitar
  • Ultra-low noise and a cardioid polar pattern
  • Wide dynamic range with shock-resistant system
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AKG C 451 B Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

  • Includes stand adapter and windscreen
  • Two pre-attenuation pads of 10 and 20 dB
  • Best Small Condenser Mic for Acoustic Guitar
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Can Any Mic Be Used With an Acoustic Guitar?

Although you can use any type of mic with your acoustic guitars, experts have decided that some types are more efficient than others. One such type is the small diaphragm condenser mic, which captures all the details with no sound coloration and will ensure high clarity and depth. 

Small diaphragm condenser mics are often used in close-miking the guitar and diminishing the studio’s acoustic influence on the recording. They are great, especially when you are miking other instruments at the same time – such as when in a band. If you want to capture the room ambiance, a large-diaphragm condenser mic will offer you just what you need. 

Can You Really Find a Quality Mic That’s Affordable?

Just like any other product, an expensive mic is not necessarily a good-quality one. In fact, a high-quality mic can also be affordably priced – it all depends on what you need. You need to pay attention to the proximity effect – which means the closer you are, the more emphasis is placed on the lower register. 

This can be handy for some and a deterrent for others, but the muddy effect is not a result of poor quality, but rather improper use of the mic. Some quality, affordable mics have some trade-offs between durability and sound quality, so make sure you choose wisely! 

How to Choose a Mic That'll Work Great With an Acoustic Guitar

Here are some main considerations you should consider when you choose the best mic for your needs:

The Higher the SPL, the Better

An SPL handling capacity means that the mic can handle high sound pressure, so a high SPL is always a good feature to have. This also means that the sounds are noise-free and maintain their stability and integrity. 

Proximity Response

Pay attention to the proximity response, as this will influence quality when performing on stage versus in the studio. This will impact the sound clarity, depending on how far it is placed from your guitar, so you need to establish whether you will be closer or further away from the mic.  

Budget

Lastly, choose the best mic for your budget. Of course, unless you want to spend a crazy amount of money, there will be some kind of trade-off between features. The truth is, however, you will never need all the features in one mic, and, even more realistically, no mic has all the features. Therefore, take your time, have a look through the next section below, and decide which one fits your needs the best. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best mics for acoustic guitars:

  1. Shure SM57
  2. Rode NT2-A
  3. AKG P420

Review of the Best Mics For Acoustic Guitars

Once you know what features you are looking for, take a look through our recommendations to find one that suits your needs and budget.

Best Overall:
Shure SM57

PROS

  • One of the sturdiest mics
  • All-purpose, highly versatile mic
  • Clean sounds, especially clear highs
  • No background noise or interference
  • Highly durable, with shock-mount system
  • Ideal for both beginners and more experienced musicians

CONS

  • Low gain
  • No power switch
  • Warms up the sound a bit

What Recent Buyers Report

The SM57 Mic is one of the most durable, perhaps even indestructible microphones you can get - and buyers LOVE it. The shock-mount system helps it withstand any spills, bumps, and drops. It is a great mic, although it does tend to warm up the sound a bit when used with acoustic guitars. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing!

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Shure SM57 is a highly dynamic and versatile microphone, specially crafted to reproduce your guitar’s tunes with great accuracy and eliminates background noises. It is ideal for any type of sound reinforcement, great for recording, and best recommended for acoustic guitars.

Who Will Use This Most

Whether you are a beginner or a pro, you will definitely love this mic. The vocal sounds are recorded with high clarity, without distorting the tones. It is one of the most popular professional-quality microphones of all time and has a bulletproof design, making it virtually indestructible.

Bottom Line

Extremely durable and versatile, Shure SM57 is our top recommendation of a mic for acoustic guitars. It is dynamic, professional-quality, and replicates the sounds with great loyalty. It delivers crisp highs, but full low ends, which ensures that your sounds are natural and highly accurate.

Runner-up:
Rode NT2-A

PROS

  • Highly versatile
  • Includes carry case
  • Smooth frequency response
  • Extremely sturdy design and high-quality build
  • Three different polar patterns, choice of pads, bass roll-off response setting

CONS

  • Quite bulky
  • Poor quality control
  • Highly sensitive to humidity

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent purchasers of this mic say that it is highly impressive due to its versatility and transparency. It is one of the best mics in its price range and it has an astonishing sound quality. However, it is quite bulky (1.9 lbs), but this also makes it very long-lasting and sturdy. Overall, it is an excellent mic for acoustic guitars.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Rode NT2-A is a large diaphragm condenser with three different pickup patents, cardioid, figure eight, and omni-directional. It has a highly convenient high-pass filter switch for 40 hz/80hz. It also comes with a pad adjustment switch and all components are sturdy and well-made.

Who Will Use This Most

This mic is widespread among many categories of users. It is convenient, well-built, and highly versatile, which makes it ideal for both acoustic guitar tracking and multiple instrument recording. Whether you are a beginner or are more experienced and are on a budget, you need to check this one out.

Bottom Line

Overall, this mic is a great versatile accessory for acoustic guitars. It contains many features that are hard to come by in other alternatives on the market, such as the three polar patents, three positions for high-pass filter, and the three-position variable pad. It ticks all the boxes!

Best for the Money:
AKG P420

PROS

  • Maintains natural sound qualities
  • Has a shock-mount system for durability
  • Highly versatile with three polar patterns
  • Comes with a rugged aluminum carry case
  • 20dB attenuation switch for very high sound pressure levels

CONS

  • Finish is prone to scratching
  • A bit too much emphasis on the highs
  • Slops down above 12 kHz and under 50Hz 

What Recent Buyers Report

No matter the music genre or style, buyers claim the AKG offers a natural, warm sound recording with a maximum SPL of 155 dB. This microphone is quite inexpensive, which makes its top-notch features even more impressive. It is great for any occasion and is easy to match with your acoustic guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The P420 is a versatile, affordable microphone with excellent performance and the ability to toggle flawlessly between three different polar patterns: figure eight, cardioid, and omni-directional. You can also switch to an appropriate preset if you desire and you can experiment with numerous setups and positions.

Who Will Use This Most

AKG comes with some interesting qualities which feature a multi-pattern, true condenser mic for both stage performances and studio recording. Both professionals and starters will highly appreciate its qualities and versatility, warmth, and clarity of the sounds. It is both durable and stylish.

Bottom Line

Overall, this mic comes with all the features you need from a high-quality mic, at an extremely affordable price range. It is durable, shock-resistant, and has three polar patterns. It is highly versatile and can be used successfully both on stage and studio – what else could you wish for?

Best Mic for Recording Acoustic Guitar:
Shure SM81-LC

PROS

  • High clipping level
  • Professional quality
  • Has superior frequency response
  • Ideally designed for acoustic guitars
  • Steel components for enhanced durability
  • Suppressed feedback and rejects background noises

CONS

  • High price range
  • Not for beginners

What Recent Buyers Report

With outstanding recording quality, buyers state that this microphone is by far one of the best mics for acoustic guitars. What is best about it is that you can turn the volume quite high before it starts distorting – much higher than many other "good quality" mics on the market!

What Recent Buyers Report

This mic offers a flat frequency response, which allows you to pick up raw sounds from your acoustic guitar with flawless clarity and makes the mixing and recording process smooth. It is truly a professional-level mic designed for studio recording, sound reinforcement, and many other tasks.

Who Will Use This Most

This mic is an outstanding performer. However, due to its complexity and high price range, it is only recommended for professional use. You can add it as one of your essential studio accessories, use it during live performances, and much more. It’s well constructed, so you can easily use it in a wide range of temperatures or humidity levels.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Shure SM81 is an excellent professional mic that can handle heavy use both in the studio and on stage. You can enhance the natural qualities of the sounds, record your favorite tunes or broadcast – all with high accuracy and precision. The low noise properties and wide frequency are a must-have!

Best Mic for Recording Acoustic Guitar Under $100:
AKG P170

PROS

  • Lots of gain room
  • Clear, crisp sounds
  • High-quality condenser mic
  • Stylish metal design with a blue finish
  • Wide frequency response from 20 Hz to 20kHz
  • Cardioid polar pattern eliminates unwanted noise

CONS

  • No high-pass filter
  • Requires a phantom power source
  • Does not have interchangeable capsules

What Recent Buyers Report

Users report that the mic has a tremendous overall build quality, made of metal, which is resistant to shocks and unfavorable conditions. It is highly versatile and affordable, thus, they can use it in different activities without compromising on sound quality. Unfortunately, it needs an additional phantom power source and a high-pass filter would also come in handy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The AKG P170 is a great-quality, affordable mic which delivers consistent clean and accurate sounds, both on stage and in the studio. The all-metal body is great for rough handling and long-lasting experience. It is highly efficient when paired with acoustic guitars, but other instruments, as well.

Who Will Use This Most 

This mic is highly affordable, yet it minimizes distortions and eliminates unwanted rumble and feedback. It is excellent for both beginners and more experienced musicians and performs great both on stage and in the studio. It is lightweight, easy to transport, and a must-have accessory for any acoustic guitarist.

Bottom Line

Overall, the AKG P170 is an excellent microphone with a wide range of frequency response. It is compact, lightweight, and ideal for a plethora of applications, all of these at a surprisingly affordable price range. It is certainly ideal for any starter or more experienced musician.

Best Mic for Live Acoustic Guitar:
Rode NT1-A

PROS

  • High-tech electric circuitry
  • Has a cardioid polar pattern
  • Sturdily built with high-quality materials
  • Quiet mic with noise-reducing capabilities
  • Large capsule with gold-plated diaphragm

CONS

  • Quite bulky
  • Not suitable for beginners

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, this exceptional mic has nothing average about it – high-quality sounds, great design, and all components are well crafted. Since it is a professional quality mic, it is best used only with professional, high-quality instruments in order to reap all the benefits, so it is not so suitable for beginner-level guitarists.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Rode Microphone is a revised instrument with a 5 dB SPL. It is one of the most popular condenser microphones around the world due to its premium-quality recording abilities. The product is best used with high-quality instruments and is great for professional use.

Who Will Use This Most

One of the world’s quieter microphones, NT1-A, is perfect for vocals, voice-over, and is best for acoustic guitars. It is highly versatile and delivers the best quality with all your possible applications. It is great for professionals who need a high-tech mic to help them out, both on stage and in the studio.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Rode NT1-A is a high-quality, quiet condenser microphone with large versatility and flexibility. It is durable and extremely reliable in all recording tasks. The extended dynamic range, clarity, and warmth of the sound are all combined to deliver the best experience.

Best Small Condenser Mic for Acoustic Guitar:
AKG C 451 B Small-Diaphragm

PROS

  • Attractive design
  • Small, compact size
  • Uses phantom power
  • Accurate, bright sounds
  • Has transformerless output stage
  • Includes switchable high-pass filter

CONS

  • High ends are quite sharp
  • Might be too bright for some
  • The switches are spongy and difficult to adjust

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers report that this is a great, all-purpose affordable mic and has a great, tiny, and functional design. It is suitable for any acoustic guitar and many other instruments and the high ends are cutting, especially on overheads. It lacks the smooth top ends but might be quite functional for any acoustic guitarist.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Our last recommendation is the AKG C 451 B, a functional microphone with modern specifications. It has a highly precise cardioid pattern, features a transformerless output stage, and you can easily select between the two 10dB and 20dB pre-attention pads. The switchable high-pass filter is also a great addition to AKG C451.

Who Will Use This Most

This microphone is a remastered version of a late 1960s mic. It has improved electronics, sound quality, and features, which makes it functional for any acoustic guitar player. The cardioid pickup pattern allows you to maintain the high quality and clarity of all your tunes.

Bottom Line

All in all, AKG works relentlessly to provide us with high-quality, functional, and affordable mics and the C 451 B is no exception to this rule. If you are looking for clarity and precision, this mic is exactly what you need – what are you waiting for?

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind

Before going for your new acoustic guitar mic, check out the below list of the most important considerations you should keep in mind:

Diaphragm

Diaphragm determines the functionality of the mic. Considering that acoustic guitar sounds are quite similar in frequency to vocals, a larger diaphragm condenser might work better than a small one. They are quite versatile, widely available, and we have presented you with some high-quality recommendations, too.

Polar Patterns

Although some mics have three different polar patterns, acoustic guitars, in fact, only need the cardioid. Variety never hurts, but you might find little use to other polar patterns, which are best suited to other instruments. The cardioid is, therefore, the most popular polar pattern. It is simple and effective – all you need for your acoustic guitar!

Reliability and Durability

Although most mics are extremely durable nowadays, it is always a great idea to check the construction materials and its build quality. This is most relevant for frequent gigging musicians or if you travel a lot – this is because you will most likely adjust the mic a lot, so there is a high chance of dropping it or knocking it off. 

How Do I Mic My Acoustic Guitar?

Here are some useful tips and guidelines:

  1. Place the mic about nine inches away from the guitar.

  2. Point the mic towards the area where the fretboard meets the body – this will help you get balanced string sounds. Do not place it right at the soundhole or you will have too many low ends.

  3. If you have an omni-directional mic, place it in line with the soundhole, but around one foot away. If you move it closer or further away, you can change the tone and balance the sounds against the room sounds – if you have an omni-directional mic, there will be no increased low end.

  4. A small-diaphragm condenser mic should be placed towards the 12th fret in order to capture a bright sound. 

Overall, the best you can do is just practice until you find your favorite mic position. The guidelines are some of the most common placements, but there are also some less common ones – such as having two small diaphragm condensers where one is at the 12th fret and the second is toward the body. Whatever rocks your boat!

Conclusion

All in all, when it comes to recordings, and also in stage performing, mics are necessary for acoustic guitars, given their limited volumes. We presented you with the best mics for acoustic guitars, which allow you to preserve the natural sounds of your instrument, without feedback or unwanted noise and feature great price tags for all pockets!