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Best Guitar Amp Mics: Capture The Perfect Tone

November 4, 2023 
Last Updated on January 9, 2024

Guitarists are always on the chase for the perfect tone. Just like selecting the ideal pedal or tuning your strings to perfection, choosing the best guitar amp mics can make all the difference. Yet, it can be confusing with all the options in the market.

In this guide, we provide you with a list of competitive guitar amp mics. So, whether you're an experienced musician or a sound engineer, this is the place to be. We’ll help you find the mic that best suits your style.

Let’s have a close look at the contenders.

Included in this guide:

Best Overall
Shure SM57 Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone

Shure SM57 Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone

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Royer R-121 Ribbon Microphone

Royer R-121 Ribbon Microphone

  • Durable build with delicate ribbon element
  • Neodymium magnets
  • Flat frequency response
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Top Pick
Sennheiser E 609 Supercardioid Dynamic Guitar Microphone

Sennheiser E 609 Supercardioid Dynamic Guitar Microphone

  • High SPL handling
  • Supercardioid polar pattern
  • XLR connectors compatibility
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Top Pick
Neumann M 149 Tube Dual-diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Neumann M 149 Tube Dual-diaphragm Condenser Microphone

  • High-quality components
  • Dual-diaphragm design
  • Detailed sound reproduction
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Lowest Price
Audix i5 Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone

Audix i5 Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Amazing transient response
  • Durable construction and compact design
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Related Article: 2024 Best Guitar Cleaning Kits: Keep Your Instrument Looking New!

The Top 5 Best Guitar Amp Mics

The Shure SM57 is an outstanding instrumental microphone. Such a dynamic mic sounds amazing on almost all sources, providing exceptional clarity (thanks to the Unidyne III capsule). Generally, it’s one of the most popular mic choices out there for both durability and affordability.

Primarily, the Shure SM57 features a cardioid polar pattern. This makes it excellent for isolating sounds and eliminating background noises. Plus, it’s known for its ability to handle high sound pressure levels without noticeable distortion.

For many years, the Shure SM57 has proved its trustworthiness in the audio industry. Using it, you don’t notice much difference from its higher-priced counterparts.

  • Incredible versatility, capturing a vast range of sound sources.
  • The rugged, durable build (die-cast steel) can withstand the demands of live performance and studio use.
  • Providing effective sound isolation and background noise reduction.
  • It may not be the best choice for recording vocals.
  • Low sensitivity that requires the use of a quite decedent preamp.
  • Picking up annoying plosives without the use of a windscreen.

The Royer R-121 is a highly regarded ribbon microphone used in both audio recording and live applications. Made by Royer Labs, this mic produces clear sounds and spectacular dynamics with no acoustic feedback.

Moreover, the Royer R-121’s ability to provide vintage sound character with detailed transient response makes it one of the best. It features a bidirectional pickup pattern, making it ideal for focused source isolation.

Due to its high sound pressure level (SPL) handling, the Royer R-121 can capture loud sound sources excellently. While it’s well-constructed, it can be a bit more delicate than dynamic microphones.

  • Producing warm and natural sound quality for authentic audio capture.
  • High SPL handling, making it perfect for recording instruments like guitar amplifiers and percussion instruments.
  • The figure-eight pickup pattern is amazing at minimizing off-axis noise and room reflections.
  • The high price makes it less accessible for budget-conscious users.
  • Ribbon microphones are sensitive and can be damaged more easily than dynamic types.

The Sennheiser E 609 is a popular dynamic mic designed specifically for miking guitar amps. It features a hypercardioid polar pattern, providing outstanding off-axis rejection. Moreover, it performs quite well when it comes to isolating sound and minimizing background noise.

What’s also great about the Sennheiser E 609 is its flat, low-profile design. This allows it to drape over the guitar cabinet and be right on its grill. Even if you attach it to a clip, it’s not easy to knock over.

That said, the Sennheiser E 609 is built to handle high SPL. That’s why it’s a super convenient choice for close-miking loud guitar amps. It can capture the intense volume and dynamics without distortion.

  • Suitable design for easy placement over the guitar amp for close-miking applications.
  • The supercardioid polar pattern helps with rejecting other instruments in the same place.
  • Outstanding sound reproduction, especially on the electric guitar.
  • The build quality might not be the best, regarding the use of plastic in some parts.
  • The frequency response may limit the mic’s versatility for other recording tasks.
  • Handling noise may be an issue, especially during live performances.

The Neumann M 149 is a high-end condenser mic known for its phenomenal audio quality and versatile capabilities. It performs amazingly in a huge range of applications, including vocals, instruments, percussion, and more.

This outstanding mic features a dual-diaphragm condenser, allowing users to switch between different polar patterns. It also utilizes vacuum tube technology to deliver a rich, vintage sound character.

The build for the Neumann M 149 reflects high precision and care. When it comes to high SPL, it can handle all situations without distortion. Overall, it’s a favorite among professional audio engineers and recording artists for capturing audio with superb details and transparency.

  • It contains nine polar patterns to choose from, including cardioid, omnidirectional, figure eight, etc.
  • Allowing the option to switch between seven low-cut settings to help exclude unwanted low-frequency content.
  • Capability of handling high SPL, making it super convenient for recording loud instruments and vocals perfectly.
  • The high price point makes it less accessible for those on a tight budget.
  • It’s relatively large and heavy compared to some other mics, affecting ease of placement and portability.
  • Tube technology mics require more careful handling and maintenance than other types, not to mention the sensitivity to environmental conditions.

The Audix i5 is a dynamic mic specifically manufactured for capturing the sound of musical instruments. Due to the high SPL handling, it performs greatly when it comes to guitar cab miking, drum miking, and other applications.

This spectacular mic features a cardioid polar pattern that focuses on the sounds coming only from the front. Such a pattern is excellent for isolating the sound source while reducing the pickup of off-axis noise and minimizing feedback.

The Audix i5 provides outstanding sensitivity and clarity in capturing sound. Moreover, its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to position and handle. All in all, this mic is built to withstand the wear and tear of use.

  • It comes at a great price point compared to the features it provides, making it accessible for almost all users.
  • Suitability for miking various instruments, making it a flexible option for both musicians and engineers.
  • Detailed and clear sound reproduction with a compact, lightweight design.
  • It may not deliver the same performance when it comes to capturing sound on some types of acoustic instruments.
  • Depending on your needs, it may require some additional accessories, adding to the overall cost.
  • Its use is limited to the cardioid polar pattern, which may not be ideal for situations where you need more directional flexibility.

Related Article: Best Mini Guitar Amps: Compact Powerhouses With Amazing Tone

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the frequency response range of the Shure SM57?

The Shure SM57 has a frequency response range that extends from 40 Hz to 15,000 Hz. Such a range makes it suitable for a variety of instruments and other sound sources.

Is the Royer R-121 a passive or active ribbon microphone?

The Royer R-121 is a passive ribbon mic. This means it doesn’t require phantom power to operate. Instead, it generates its signals through electromagnetic induction, making it less reliant on external power sources.

Can I use the Sennheiser E 609 on drums?

Yes, you can. In fact, the Sennheiser E 609 is a popular choice for miking drum kits. That’s because its versatile design allows for capturing the sound of many instruments, including drums.

How do I decide between a dynamic and a condenser mic for my applications?

It’s essential to consider the type of sound source and the SPL. In general, dynamic mics are better suited for high SPL, while condenser mics offer higher sensitivity.

What are the primary differences between cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure eight polar patterns?

Basically, these patterns affect how the microphone captures sound. Cardioid mics are directional, while omnidirectional mics capture sound from all directions. As for figure-eight mics, they capture sound from the front and back only.

Product Recap

After exploring five of the best guitar amp mics, you’re now equipped to step up your audio recordings game. The Shure SM57 stands out as our top choice for its versatility and fantastic sound quality.

Similarly, the Royer R-121 impresses with its vintage sound character and high SPL handling. That said, for those who are looking for a budget-friendly option, the Audix i5 offers excellent value.

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"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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