Skip to main content

Entry Level MIC for Recording Acoustic Guitar

Hi Guys 8-)

any advice for an entry level mic to rec a really stunning (handcrafted Guild...) acoustic guitar?
I wish I could preserve most of it's flavour without selling my soul to Uncle Lou...

thanks :)


RemyRAD Tue, 08/15/2006 - 09:50
An entry-level microphone will sound just as bad through an entry-level microphone preamplifier, to your entry-level computer audio blaster card, manipulated with your entry-level free software. So your guitar will sound like an entry-level guitar and not be quite stunning.

Now if you have a reasonable soundcard, you might want to look into a reasonable microphone preamplifier along with a reasonable condenser microphone?

What kind of reasonable entry-level budget do you have?

Entry-level smart ass
Ms. Remy Ann David

moonbaby Tue, 08/15/2006 - 13:14
Exactly. Everything is relative. I have had good results with a Shure SM57 ($100, not bad, not "stellar"), a Rode NT5 (1 or both of a $400 pair), a venerable Shure SM81 (very good for For "professional results", I'd say get a Grace 101 preamp and a Shure SM81, this will set you back about $1K, by the time you add a good quality cable and a stable boom stand. I would suggest that you stick with a small-diaphragm condenser mic. These tend to be less boomy on acoustic guitars. And "boomy" is something that Guilds are pretty well known for being. That makes a great sounding acoustic guitar in an acoustical environment , but not always great when trying to record them.
I have a 1978 D37 that is mostly blonde maple, with an arched back. Micing that puppy with a LARGE diaphragm just doesn't cut it, because the LDC is too sensitive to the low's. A SDC is much more balanced in that regard. And the 101 is just plain CLEAN for anything.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 08/15/2006 - 16:28
How about the cheapest cigar shaped condensor availiable through an el cheapo joe meek. Stick the mic in the right place and get that meek giving a subtle compression to start with as your learning. Have a fiddle on a parametric e.q. mmm ok good ones aint cheap but just try and roll off the bass a bit + maybe a little brightening up in the 7K or above range if the sound is a bit dull. etc.
Point is that a few years ago you would have had to make do with a lot less on a budget. Quality control on todays cheap capacitor mic's is not much so they vary a lot. Some are duff some aint. That is down to each individual micrpophone. But with some carefull eq it is a huge improvement on what was once availiable. I've done great recordings with a 57 into a decent cassette deck with a mate sitting up in bed playing.
Any powered mic is fine just loose (eq) the bass if it is a large diaphram jobby.

Davedog Tue, 08/15/2006 - 17:11
LOVE the SM81. It will work for ANYTHING you put in front of it.Including vocals.(Yeah thats right! Try it sometime when you're pressed and nothing is working...)

Another of Davedog's picks for do-anything-mic-choices would be the Audio Technica 4033. This will sound GREAT on that big ole box guitar. The lows will be there but will act civil to the other frequencies.

One thing about either of these won't need a lot of preamp gain to get em up where they need to be. This cuts down drastically on the noisefloor, improves the available headroom of the pre, and allows for a cleaner recording regardless of the pres' tone stack.

Cresta Wed, 08/16/2006 - 04:17
lot of thanks to you all :shock: , you truly are a neverending source of knowledge.
Btw, may you suggest a "good cable"? wich is good and wich is not? and why?

I am assuming you are suggesting me something really pro, however I am not a professional, it is just an hobby, but I love to enjoy it fully :P

moonbaby Wed, 08/16/2006 - 06:35
Mogami cable. Atlas MS-25 stand ('cuz it has a bigass heavy cast base that won't transmit rumble or jiggle like Pamela Lee). Whirlwind's better cables are also good, and many tout Monster. I find Monster to be a crapshoot, but I have a longtime peeve with them, so...
BTW, Dawg mentioned the AT mics. Very good, and I would add that their SDC model AT 4041 makes a great geetar mic. I've bought a couple on e-Bay for around $200.00 ea. And with any SDC mic, I strongly recommend a spider shock mount that AT makes- the model AT8415. Figure $50.00 each (it works with practically any SDC). Good luck!

Scoobie Wed, 09/06/2006 - 15:53
I think everybody needs to re-read his post. He ask for a entry level mic. Sure I love the Sure SM81 , but i wouldn't call that entry level.
A real work horse in any studio, just like the 57.

That being said.......For entry level i would say get a pair of Oktava MC-012. They are small diaphram condenser and for the price are very good.(IMHP :wink:) They also work well for drum overheads too!

I have some old recordings made with those mic's , coupled with a ENTRY level mic pre. The DMP3(also made by M-Audio as your interface) .
It's a good mic pre in the entry level department. Clean with little coloration.


P.S. Frist time post.....but been a long time reader.

Hello everbody!!!!!!!!

moonbaby Thu, 09/07/2006 - 07:19
I read his post and fully understood the question. I have read other posts on this site, too, including the multitudes who have been RIPPED OFF by purchasing the "wrong" Oktavas. Too many posts have complained about the CHINESE knock-offs of that mic. You may very well have the "real" Russian versions that are available in the States, but a pair of them isn't that much cheaper than an SM81. The Chinese ones, of course are, and the complaints about them are rampant.

Alexrkstr Tue, 08/29/2006 - 09:51

Hi Cresta,

Some people will disagree with me on this, however, After a year of homerecording I think I am still "entry-level".

I own a pair of MXL 990/991 the Large Diaphragm and Cigar condenser mics. I love how they sound with my Larrive LV-03e. Use a little compression here and there and mic them correctly and you will be on your way. I've seen them for under $100 in many places.

That's my recommendation. Hope it helps.

Cresta Fri, 09/08/2006 - 06:50
hey hey, there is really no need to let the temperature raise :)
since I am really entering for the fist time into the "acoustic field" I just thought that an SM81 was "too much" for me, and it is not a matter of money (since I spent anyway the same amount of $$$), and then purchased a (for me) wonderful SM57. For many years I've played with just synthesized sounds (and I wish to continue, of course), but now it's time to add that "warmt" possible only with acoustic instruments/voice/noises :P
At least, I purchased SM57 with Neutrik cables and I am highly satisfied; with the difference in $$$ between SM57 and SM81 I bought Pro Tools M-Powered, since it is time to start becoming serious :)

uh, not too much serious :)