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 MD421U

    • 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.

    Electro-Voice RE20

    • 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.

    Sennheiser e609

    • 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.

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