Ready to take your electric guitar recording skills to the next level? Or perhaps you’re already a pro who needs to upgrade their studio equipment?
Either way, the best microphone for your guitar amp is just the thing you need.
You want a mic for your guitar amp that you can use for studio or road use, that will not modify your tone…
So here’s the question – what’s the best guitar amp mic you should buy?
There are industry-standard mic brands and dozens of models, names, features, and price tags to consider, it can be an overwhelming ordeal to pick up just one mic!
So how do you narrow it down? How do you find the top guitar amp microphone?
We’ve done the sifting, screening, and shortlisting for you, to give you 11 of the best microphones for guitar amps to choose from.
We loved the e906 for a multitude of reasons. Accessible pricing, awesome features, and a reliable, sturdy design all contributed to making it our ideal first-choice.
In This Article
- Top Pick: Sennheiser e906
- Runner-Up: Shure sm57
- Best Budget Pick: GLS ES-57
- Best for Studio Recording: Sennheiser MD 421 II
The Top Microphones for Guitar Amps
|Top Guitar Amp Microphone||Sennheiser e906 Dynamic Mic|
|Runner Up||Shure SM57|
|Best Budget Microphone for Guitar Amps||GLS ES-57|
|Best for Studio Recording||Sennheiser MD 421 II|
Top pick: Sennheiser e906 Dynamic Mic for Guitar
Sennheiser is not a stranger in the microphone industry. And the Sennheiser e906 definitely rings a bell to pro guitar players. With its rich detail, fine calibration, and versatility, what’s not to like about this mic?
It features a super cardioid pick-up pattern, making it the perfect mic for your guitar amps, snares, and percussion instruments.
Miking your amp with this bad-boy is easy, and you don’t even need to think twice about sound distortion.
Mounting it near your amp is no problem… but it is also highly rated for use with percussion instruments, drum-sets, and recordings as well.
The e900 series, in fact, has a reputation for being a highly specialized and clean instrument and vocal mic set, and there’s no doubt that the Sennheiser e906 delivers and lives-up to these claims. It has a cardioid pattern that offers impeccable isolation from multiple on-stage signals, and feedback rejection that never misses to ensure that your recordings are clean and pristine.
Sennheiser e906 Key Features:
- Unparalleled audio quality
- Defined and solid natural sound
- Versatile and dynamic
- Backed by a 10-year warranty
Runner Up: Shure SM57
Not many microphones can hold a candle to the Shure sm57’s unmatched quality performance over the last 50 years.
Since its inception in 1965, it has stood on a pedestal… and has become a benchmark to which other studio microphones are compared and rated. Whether it is in a recording studio, concert ground, sports stadium, or even in the White House, this product dominates other brands when it comes to popularity, reliability, clean sound, and amazing recordings.
Speaking of reliability, the sm57 has undergone some serious mic drop tests without any impact on its integrity or input quality.
We’re talking about dropping it 10 times from 10 feet high (not that we recommend you drop this mic too often just for the heck of it, LOL). This is the mic you want for your outdoor performance, or even for a more intimate studio recording… as it offers flawless sound isolation and zero feedback, thanks to its cardioid pickup pattern.
Throw this mic on a stand, use it for recording acoustic or clean electric sounds, use it for recording guitar amps, use it along with other accessories, like a pop filter… and you just can’t go wrong!
The Shure sm57 also offers exceptional voice projection and music presentation, no matter how close you set it up to your amps or your mouth. And did we mention its ability to take on a wide-range of frequencies? This mic takes in the rawness of your musical instrument or your voice input, which makes every recording as close as it can get to perfection.
Shure sm57 Key Features:
- Zero distortion even on high sound pressure levels
- Frequency response from 40Hz to 15KHz
- Exceptional durability and quality
- Solid reputation since 1965
Budget pick: GLS ES-57
If what you need is a mic that does not rely on a power source or powered audio interfaces, that’s what the GLS ES-57 dynamic mic is for. This is hands down the best budget mic for amplifiers.
It is that kind of mic to buy when you’re on a budget, but you want to do so without settling for the cheapest one with a crappy quality. Sure, there are better microphones out there with a higher frequency response and sensitivity… but this one does a pretty decent job at half the cost.
For its price, we can honestly say the ES-57 sounds pretty good. It lacks the ultra-high or ultra-low frequencies of a higher-end mic, but that’s something no budget microphone can offer. What this product offers, though, is a decent mic for home recording and one that you can easily take with you on the road, with the assurance that it costs less to replace than others in higher-cost categories.
Don’t get us wrong – the GLS ES-57 is anything but junk, and it even beats a cheaper ribbon microphone most of the time. It is a solid backup mic for your home studio and outdoor performances. Sure, it is a little less even and spikier than a mic with a heftier price tag. But if you’re just getting your feet wet in recording, and you want to spare yourself from an imminent heart failure from losing a mic that costs a fortune, we highly recommend this product.
The axis of this guitar mic’s polar patterns, coupled with how easy it is to use with the right accessories, makes it a definite winner!
GLS ES-57 Key Features:
- Dynamic mic with a uni-directional pattern
- Good for home recording and live performances
- Frequency response at 50Hz to 15,000Hz
- Budget-friendly and great for beginners
- Easy for use with accessories
Best for Studio Recording: Sennheiser MD 421 II
Radio broadcast announcers, group vocalists, and musicians rave about the Sennheiser MD 421 II’s outstanding sound quality, especially with guitar amps.
It features a 5-position bass switch, which allows you to select the best setting that suits the recording condition. With its cardioid pattern, perfect axis, and high-quality diaphragm, it maintains the integrity of the audio and rejects feedback for that pristine output.
This mic beats most ribbon mics any day of the week.
We are also impressed with the versatility that makes this mic a natural choice for recording all types of musical instruments, even those with high sound pressure levels. This is mostly because of its large diaphragm and pickup pattern, which also makes handling it much easier.
Throw this mic on a stand, use it with pop-filters and other accessories, and mount it in front of your guitar amp for a definite win! You can even use it with an acoustic guitar! Just mount it on a taller stand and set it right in front of you!
If what you need is a rugged, versatile, and dynamic microphone that delivers, the MD 421 II deserves a solid spot in your mic closet.
Sennheiser MD 421 II Key Features:
- Five-position bass control
- Cardioid pickup pattern
- Rugged, dust-resistant dynamic microphone
- Superior feedback rejection
Who Should Buy a Microphone for A Guitar Amp?
Do you really need a mic for your guitar amp?
If you are looking to record vocals or musical instruments (not limited to guitars) in your home studio, or you require a mic to take with you on the road for your events, then yes, you likely need a microphone for a guitar amp as well… among a few other key accessories.
The truth is, however, that you can’t just use any mic to catch great sound from an amplifier.
You need to be able to set it up as close as possible to the signal without generating a painfully-deafening output. You also need it to work well with a variety of different audio interfaces.
You need a microphone that can take on diverse recording applications, maintaining the rawness of the audio while also handling high sound pressure levels – even when set-up close to clashing cymbals or booming toms.
In simpler terms, you need this type of mic for a dozen different purposes… not just for recording musical instruments, but also for spoken vocals, broadcasting, and other applications.
Whether you are looking for a ribbon microphone, a condenser, a regular dynamic, etc… the important thing is to buy a mic that meets your needs.
Important Features to Consider
You think you’re all set up to buy a microphone for your guitar amp?
Before you pick up that unknown little devil off the shelf, you have to ask yourself if it’s got exactly what you need for the job.
This gets tricky, though, since the labels may seem confusing to an untrained eye.
Let’s get into the key features you need to look for to make sure you’ve got the finest studio gear for the job at hand.
- Polar Patterns
Polar pattern is a vital feature to look into when buying a mic for your guitar amp.
Basically, these are patterns on the mic head that determine the sound sensitivity and rejection. Cardioid is the most common polar pattern preferred by musicians who want to silence distracting background noises or ambient sound.
For a much stronger feedback rejection and narrower pickup, you’ve got your super cardioid pattern. An omnidirectional mic, on the other hand, is the opposite of the two… as there is zero rejection mechanism.
- Sound Pressure Level
The Sound Pressure Level, or SPL, refers to the mic sensitivity. Musicians find that this is an important feature when shopping for a good mic, as it determines the sounds the mic is able to pick up.
It is often measured in decibels, and the higher the number, the lower the sensitivity of the mic. You would want a decent sensitivity at about 100dB or lower… while the highest decibel rating is over 140dB.
- Frequency Responses
A decent frequency response that ranges from 80Hz to 5KHz is a reasonable number for a mic for guitar amp, which is about the same as what a professional vocalist would look for.
This is a good range if you want to get the most out of your mic. But if you are recording drums, you need about 30Hz to 40Hz that can accompany the low and deep sounds of the bass drum.
Different mics will deal with this differently. Ribbon mics, condensers, and dynamic mics are all a bit different when it comes to frequency response.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best type of mic for guitar amp?
There are two common microphone types for guitar amps – dynamic and condenser. A dynamic mic is often used during live performances because of how easy it is to carry around and hold. They have high frequencies and low sensitivity to SPL, unlike a condenser mic, which makes them perfect for recording acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and vocals during live shows and events.
A condenser microphone has a better response rate, so it can detect subtle nuances and details of sounds better than dynamic ones. They are excellent for studio use, and provide a louder output, as well as a greater sensitivity to high-frequency audio.
But condenser mics are expensive, and they rely on a power supply… usually supplied by audio interfaces.
So if you want a powerful microphone for your guitar amp that works great and is outstanding for live performance and studio recording, without a hefty price tag, the Sennheiser e906 is a brilliant product to consider.
How do you mic a guitar amp?
Miking a guitar is simple, but not as easy as some people may think. The secret is in placing the mic at an ideal distance on either side of the musical instrument to achieve the desired sound quality.
The first thing you need to do is to determine the location of the speaker in your amp. If you put the mic closer to the speaker, this will produce a deeper bass tone. Placing the mic towards the speaker’s edges will give you fewer upper-mid frequencies and less mid-range.
But if you want a more emphasized sound, you should position the mic as close to the center of the speaker as possible.
Test the mic out to see what works. This is one more reason why we love the Sennheiser e906, as it has a super cardioid pattern that offers excellent feedback rejection and sound isolation to maintain the clarity of sound… whether you are recording guitar, drums, or vocals.
How do you choose the best microphone for guitar amp?
Do your homework before you head out to pick up a mic for your guitar amp. You need to make sure the frequency response, polar pattern, and sound pressure levels match your unique requirements.
The wider the frequency response range, the better. This makes the mic versatile and great for use on live performances and studio recording, for vocals and musical instruments, which is why we recommend the Sennheiser e906.
Other Microphones For Guitar Amps We Reviewed: Mini Reviews
There are dozens of microphones for guitar amps with varied specifications and features. Luckily, there’s one for every budget range, and here are 7 more to choose from in case our top picks leave you wanting for more!
Other Condenser Mics:
The cardioid polar pattern ensures superb feedback rejection for an ultra-pristine sound. And yes, this is one good-looking microphone, too!
- Black, sleek matte finish
- Small diaphragm cardioid condenser mic
- Versatile and responsive
- Includes stand mounts and windshields
With interchangeable capsules, you can switch from one pickup pattern to another in simple, quick ways. Perfect for acoustics, woodwind, and vocals, this is a premium mic that’s well worth the money.
- One-handed quick adjustment of pickup patterns
- Great for woodwind and acoustics
- Pencil condenser mic
- A range of bonus items included
Other USB/XLR Mics
It promotes maximum isolation with its super cardioid pattern, and an impressive feedback response that makes it excellent for close-up vocals.
- Uniform supercardioid pickup pattern
- Great frequency response range for vocals and musical instruments
- Rugged build
- Shock mount system
This rugged mic over-delivers and works well for on-stage, studio, on-location, and home recording. With an added filter, it reduces low frequency audio for a crisp output.
- Highly versatile condenser mic
- Heavy duty body and shock mount
- Exceptional feedback rejection
- Mic clip, zip pouch and windshield included in the package
With impressive, Class A circuitry, balanced zero-transformer output, and low-distortion large diaphragm, this mic is absolutely golden.
- Ideal for acoustic and electric musical instruments
- Supplied with a Shock mount
- Gold-sputtered large diaphragm
- Perfect for studio recording
The bass roll-off switch minimizes background noise and distortion by decreasing the mic’s sensitivity.
- Record straight to your computer with a studio quality output
- Two switches improves distortion
- Condenser USB mic
- Mac and PC-compatible
Alternative budget options:
It has a rugged, moisture-resistant body that makes it perfect for tough environments. With a wide range frequency response, it can handle very high sound pressure levels to maintain a crisp audio quality.
- Full-metal premium quality build
- Versatile mic at a budget price
- Reduces pop and breath noises
- Perfect for live performances
It boasts a wide frequency response that captures the subtleties of sound produced by acoustic guitars, vocals, and strings.
- Cardioid pattern condenser microphone
- Full accessory kit included
- Shock mount and durable body
- Low noise and wide frequency response
Choosing the perfect microphone for your guitar amp can be a tedious task. Most microphones, by default, are not tailored for guitar amps only, which makes the search tougher when you want to use this device just for this instrument.
And let us not forget the confusing terminologies and jargons that are enough to make your head spin if you are new to this whole mic for guitar amp buying game…
Hopefully, after laying out the best options for you in our review, you were able to decide on the right mic to purchase.
When it comes to superior performance for on-location and studio recording, the Sennheiser e906 is hands down our top pick. The price is a tad steep, but you can definitely get your desired result with its stellar features.
But if you are a little tight on cash, the GLS ES-57 is not bad at all either. With its decent features and versatility, this nifty budget microphone will surely give you a run for your money when used with your guitar amp.
There are a few more you can choose from, and they’re all here in our featured products. Whether you need a microphone for your home studio recording, live shows, or concert performances, there is always a great mic for any purpose you have in mind.
So go check your options… and let the mic shopping begin!