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Buyers Guide - Acoustic Guitar Microphones

Guides

Acoustic guitar is the most common instrument we have questions on. Whether it's for a live performance or a studio recording, musicians and engineers need a way of recreating the sonic performance by using the right microphone. We created this guide to help you choose the right microphone for your situation.

Some things to keep in mind...

Frequency Response

Frequency response is a fancy expression that translates to, "the range of frequencies/pitches that a microphone can pickup." The microphone's diaphragm is what picks up the sound. The materials and size of the diaphragm determine the frequency response and ultimately what the microphone sounds like.

Depending on the style of music, you may want more mids for clarity, or more high end for some shimmer. EQ can help, but can very easily make guitars thin and "phasey" sounding. Finding a microphone with a frequency response tailored to your style of music and guitar setup will help give it the extra push it needs without adding EQ.

Polar Pattern

A microphone's polar pattern is defined by the directions in which is picks up sound. The most common patterns of microphones used for acoustic guitars are cardioid. This will pick up sound directly in front and to the sides which will ensure that the entirety of the guitar is being heard in the microphone.

Primary and Supplemental Microphones

Typically, acoustic guitars are recorded in one of two or three ways. If the mix is dense, just one microphone will do. If the song calls for a wider, more filling acoustic guitar sound, many engineers will record in stereo with two mics on the acoustic and sometimes even a room microphone or two. If you need some tips on recording acoustic guitar, check out our article 5 Secrets to a Better Acoustic Guitar Recording.

 

Recommendations

Audio-Technica AT4041 - $299 ($499/pair)

The AT4041 is one of the most widely used small diaphragm condensers in professional studios and home studios alike. It has a way of replicating the source very accurately and naturally so that it feels like the performer is in the room with you. We sell these on their own, but you get $99 savings if you purchase a pair. It's an investment you won't regret.

Lewitt 440 PURE - $269

Many engineers prefer a large diaphragm condenser to help their acoustic guitar sit in the mix. One of our favorites is the Lewitt LCT-440 PURE because of the clarity and high end sheen it adds. Lewitt microphones  have insane value because they sound a lot more expensive than they are.

Aston Spirit - $449

Aston is most known for their squeaky clean Origin microphone. We tried a Spirit on an acoustic guitar and fell in love. The Spirit is the more colorful of the two large diaphragm condensers which is very pleasing on acoustic instruments. In a digital world, the more transformer-based analogue color we can get while tracking, the better.

Blue Hummingbird - $299

The Blue Hummingbird made it on to the list for the very crisp sound and more importantly, the ability to rotate the capsule head. This function alone can dramatically alter your tone. The positioning of a microphone is just as important as the microphone itself, and the Hummingbird allows for tons of flexibility.

These are our top recommendations for recording acoustic guitar. Every situation is different, so if you need some advice on your setup, feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474! Be sure to check out our other Buyer's Guides here.

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