The Best Mics for Guitar Amps
Shure SM57 and SM58
- Found in most every live and studio situation, the SM57 is known for its durability, ability to handle high sound levels and provide natural, unaltered tone. The SM57 is a dynamic-style mic, meaning that it does not require external "phantom" power and uses a shock-mounted diaphragm rather than a free-floating unit common to more delicate condenser-design studio microphones. The SM58 is also commonly used for guitar amplifiers, but offers a slightly different sound. Both models boast the cardioid pickup pattern design, which picks up sound from the front and sides of the microphone but rejects sounds from the rear.
- Sennheiser's MD421U is also a dynamic microphone especially suited for guitar amplifier use. Although more expensive than the Shure SM57 and SM58, the Sennheiser MD421U offers a five-position frequency switch to alter the tone to suit the application and user preference. Its super-cardioid pickup pattern offers more frontal sound pickup and less side sound rejection than standard cardioid mics.
- A standard in radio and other broadcast applications, the Electro-Voice RE20 is also widely used to mic acoustic and electric guitar amps. A dynamic microphone with a cardioid pattern, the RE20 features a large diaphragm element for sound pickup, resulting in natural sound quality without the undue coloration common to some smaller-diaphragm microphones.
- More compact than the company's MD421U, Sennheiser's e609 has a super-cardioid, dynamic diaphragm and flat-body design that are engineered for the close guitar amp placement necessary for loud performance stages. The e609 also boasts a large diaphragm for picking up the natural sound of the guitar amp and other instruments.