5 Best Budget Acoustic Guitar Microphones in 2024

Acoustic guitars resonate with the soulful tapestry of music, each strum telling a unique story. Capturing that authentic sound can be a quest, especially when you’re on a budget. The right microphone can make all the difference, lifting your melodies from the strings to the ears of your audience without losing the essence or breaking the bank. Whether you’re recording in a studio or amplifying at a live gig, we understand your need for quality and affordability. In our search for the best budget acoustic guitar microphones, we’re tuning into what matters most – fidelity, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness. Let’s explore the options that hit all the right notes.

When selecting the best budget acoustic guitar microphone, several key criteria come into play to ensure you get the best sound quality for your money. Here are the factors to consider:

  1. Sound Quality: The microphone should capture the natural, rich sound of your guitar without distortion. Look for a mic that offers clarity and detail.
  2. Type of Microphone: There are different types of mics – such as condenser, dynamic, and ribbon – with each offering unique sound characteristics. Condenser microphones are popular for studio recording due to their sensitivity and fidelity.
  3. Polar Patterns: This refers to how well the microphone picks up sound from different directions. Cardioid patterns are commonly used for acoustic guitars because they capture sound from the front and minimize background noise.
  4. Frequency Response: You want a microphone that can capture the full range of the guitar’s sound, from the lowest bass to the highest treble notes. A flat and wide frequency response is ideal.
  5. Ease of Use: The microphone should be easy to set up and position. Some mics also come with useful accessories like mounts or stands.
  6. Durability: A sturdy build is important for longevity, especially if you’ll be using the microphone frequently or transporting it.
  7. Compatibility: Ensure the microphone will work with your existing recording setup, whether that’s an audio interface, a computer, or a PA system.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can find a high-quality acoustic guitar microphone that won’t break the bank. Now, let’s dive into the listicle review of the top options available.

MicrophoneType (Dynamic/Condenser)Polar PatternFrequency ResponseConnectivityAccessories IncludedApprox. Price (USD)
Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic MicrophoneDynamicCardioid40Hz to 15kHzXLRNone$99
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser MicCondenserCardioid20Hz to 20kHzXLRStand mount, Pouch$99
Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser MicrophoneCondenserCardioid20Hz to 18kHzUSBUSB cable, Clip stand, Case$40
Behringer C-1 Studio Condenser MicrophoneCondenserCardioid40Hz to 20kHzXLRSwivel stand mount$50
MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with ShockmountCondenserCardioid30Hz to 20kHzXLRShock mount, Carrying case$80

When you write this table for your audience, you may want to give a brief intro to each column to ensure they understand why each spec is important and what it means for their usage.

Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

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Overview

When it comes to recording acoustic guitar, having the right microphone can make all the difference in capturing the rich, nuanced tones of the instrument. The Shure SM57-LC is a testament to functionality and durability, and while it may not be the first choice one might consider for acoustic instruments, it has a reputation for being a reliable workhorse in the music industry. Originally designed as an instrument microphone, it’s surprisingly good for acoustic guitars due to its clean and crisp sound reproduction and ability to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion.

Specs

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 40 to 15,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 150 ohms
  • Connector: XLR
  • Weight: 284 grams

Pros:

  • The microphone’s solid construction is virtually indestructible, which is great for musicians who are constantly on the move.
  • The cardioid pattern effectively rejects off-axis noise, focusing on the guitar rather than the background.
  • It delivers a balanced tone that accentuates the brighter qualities of an acoustic guitar, making it sound lively and present.

Cons:

  • It might not provide the full-bodied warmth that some dedicated acoustic guitar mics offer, which could be a drawback for those looking for a more colored sound.
  • Requires positioning experimentation to get the best sound as it is not designed specifically for acoustic guitars.
  • Lacks the additional features like an on-board pad or a low-frequency roll-off that some other mics have.

Price

The Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone is frequently found at a price point around $99 USD, which is quite a steal given its legendary status and versatility. Remember that you’ll need an XLR cable and an audio interface that can provide phantom power or a separate mic preamp to get the most out of this mic for acoustic guitar recording.

Personal Opinion:

In my experience, the Shure SM57-LC is an unexpectedly great choice for budget-conscious musicians who want a microphone that’s not just limited to recording acoustic guitar. It’s robust, consistent, and while it may not have the finesse of a high-end condenser mic, it certainly gets the job done with admirable clarity. It’s also important to note that this microphone is a favorite among live sound engineers due to its durability and reliability. The SM57-LC proves that you don’t need to break the bank to get professional-sounding recordings.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

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Overview:

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a staple in the realm of affordable recording equipment, presenting itself as an exceptional choice for budding musicians and podcasters alike. Upon first use, one quickly notices the clarity and warmth it imparts to acoustic guitar performances. Its robust build quality instills confidence, and Audio-Technica’s reputation for reliability means you’re investing in a microphone that can endure the rigors of frequent use without compromising sound quality. During my testing, I was impressed by its ability to capture the nuanced dynamics of guitar playing, from the softest fingerpicking to vigorous strumming.

Specs:

The AT2020 comes with a cardioid polar pattern, which is adept at isolating the sound source and rejecting off-axis noise. This, paired with its wide frequency response, ensures that every pluck and strum is rendered with precision. It operates with a fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser, which contributes to its excellent transient response. Additionally, despite being a condenser mic, it’s relatively tolerant to high sound pressure levels, which is a boon for recording instruments.

Pros:

  • Offers a high level of detail and sound clarity, ideal for capturing acoustic guitar nuances.
  • A solid build that promises longevity.
  • The cardioid pattern minimizes pickup of unwanted sounds.
  • Performs well above its price point, rivaling more expensive microphones.

Cons:

  • Requires a dependable source of phantom power, which may not be readily available in all setups.
  • Lacks onboard controls like pads or filters, which can be limiting for some users.
  • The basic package doesn’t include a shock mount or carrying case.

Price:

For the quality it delivers, the Audio-Technica AT2020 is exceptionally well-priced; often found at under $100, it presents itself as an economical choice without sacrificing professional-level sound capture. This positions it as an attractive offering for musicians who demand studio-quality sound on a shoestring budget.

In conclusion, the AT2020 is the microphone that embodies ‘bang for your buck.’ It’s a remarkable tool for those starting out or looking to expand their home studio without breaking the bank. The combination of fine audio capture with high durability makes it a smart purchase for anyone wanting to record acoustic guitars and a whole lot more.

Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

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Overview

The Samson Go Mic is an incredibly compact, versatile, and easy-to-use solution for recording acoustic guitar on a budget. Whether you’re a traveling musician, a podcaster, or someone just dipping their toes into home recording, this little mic packs a punch far above its weight class. Its design is clever, with a clip that can conveniently attach to your laptop or sit on your desk. The Go Mic brings a level of simplicity that’s hard to beat — it’s essentially plug-and-play with a USB connection, requiring no external power source or complicated setup.

In terms of performance, the Go Mic offers clear and accurate sound capture for your acoustic guitar. It might not rival the high-end microphones in terms of fidelity, but for its price point, the sound is impressively natural and present, capturing the warm nuances of a strummed chord or a picked melody. The fact that it offers switchable cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns is a bonus, making it adaptable for different recording situations.

Specs

  • Transducer Type: Condenser
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 18kHz
  • Resolution: 16-bit, 44.1kHz
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Accessories: Carry case, cable, mic stand adapter

Pros:

  • Extremely portable and versatile.
  • No external power or additional equipment needed.
  • Switchable pickup patterns are a plus for various recording environments.
  • Good sound quality for the money.

Cons:

  • It lacks the depth and detail of higher-end microphones.
  • Build quality feels a bit lightweight, which might not stand up to heavy-duty use.
  • Limited to USB connection, which might not fit every user’s setup or preference.

Price

The Samson Go Mic is very much a budget-friendly option, usually available around $40-$50. Considering the features it offers, this microphone is a steal for anyone looking to capture acoustic guitar without breaking the bank.

In summary, the Samson Go Mic is a smart choice if you’re on a budget and need something that will do a good job without requiring a lot of extra gear or knowledge. It won’t give you studio-quality recordings, but it will get you quite close, especially for the price, and its ease of use is exceptional. For beginners or those needing a quick and portable solution, it’s a great option to consider.

Behringer C-1 Studio Condenser Microphone

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Overview:
The Behringer C-1 Studio Condenser Microphone is a cost-effective solution for budding musicians and home recording enthusiasts who are looking for good sound quality without breaking the bank. When you receive the C-1, the first thing that strikes you is its build quality. For a budget mic, it has a pleasing heft and a metallic construction that exudes reliability.

Upon testing the C-1, my expectations were modest, but the microphone pleasantly surprised me with its clean and flat frequency response. It’s quite sensitive, and it captures nuances in acoustic guitar play with a decent level of detail, which can sometimes be a challenge at this price point. However, this sensitivity means that you need to be aware of room acoustics, as it’ll pick up reflections and background noise.

One thing to note is that the C-1 is a condenser microphone; it requires phantom power to operate, which is not an issue if you have an audio interface or mixer that provides it. This necessity is standard for condenser microphones, so it’s not a unique hurdle for the Behringer C-1.

Specs:

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 40 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: -33 dBV/Pa
  • Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Connector: Gold-plated XLR output
  • Phantom power required: Yes (48V)

Pros & Cons:
Pros:

  • The build quality is impressive for a budget microphone, giving it a sense of durability.
  • It has a balanced sound that captures the essence of an acoustic guitar quite well.
  • The cardioid pattern effectively minimizes background noise, as long as the mic is properly positioned.

Cons:

  • The C-1 can be highly sensitive to the environment; room treatment is recommended for the best sound.
  • It demands a 48V phantom power supply, which may be an extra expense for those without proper equipment.

Price:
The Behringer C-1 Studio Condenser Microphone is typically priced around $50, which is remarkably affordable given its performance. It’s one of those instances where you feel like you’re getting more than what you paid for, which is always a delight in the world of audio gear. Remember that you may need to allocate funds for additional equipment such as a stand, pop filter, and an audio interface if you don’t already have these.

In summary, the Behringer C-1 offers genuine value for those on a shoestring budget. It won’t outperform high-end microphones, of course, but it wasn’t designed to. Instead, it provides an accessible path to improved recording quality for those making their first forays into the world of home recording or looking for an inexpensive workhorse microphone.

MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount

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Overview

The MXL 990 remains one of the market’s surprises when it comes to affordability meeting quality. A condenser microphone that shines with its vintage-inspired aesthetics, it certainly doesn’t look or feel like your average budget mic. I’ve found the MXL 990 to be particularly accommodating for the aspiring musician or the home studio enthusiast. It captures acoustic guitar nuances with impressive clarity and warmth, which is not something you’d expect at this price point. The microphone demands phantom power, typically 48V, which means it’s not just plug-and-play for everyone—you’ll need an audio interface or a mixer with phantom power capabilities.

Specs

The hallmark of the MXL 990 is its large diaphragm which provides a full, rich sound. The cardioid polar pattern is quite effective in isolating your acoustic guitar from unwanted background noise. However, keep in mind this design means it’s most sensitive to sound coming directly in front of it and less so from the sides or the back.

Pros:

  • The sound quality is truly praiseworthy for the cost. The MXL 990 delivers a full-bodied, crisp sound that competes with more expensive microphones.
  • The build is sturdy and visually appealing, making it a professional-looking addition to any setup.
  • It comes with a shockmount which is an essential accessory for reducing handling noise and improving recording clarity.

Cons:

  • It requires phantom power, which could be a hurdle if you do not have an interface or mixer that supports it.
  • The included shockmount, while beneficial, can be a bit of a puzzle to mount the first time around.
  • The MXL 990 may struggle with higher sound pressure levels, which isn’t typically an issue with acoustic guitars but something to be aware of for other applications.

Price

The MXL 990 Condenser Microphone is remarkably affordable, often priced around $80 to $100. Considering the solid build and audio quality it provides, I believe it represents excellent value for anyone looking to capture acoustic guitar sounds without breaking the bank.

In conclusion, for those on a budget, the MXL 990 is a commendable choice for recording acoustic guitars. Its warm, clear sound is perfect for capturing the intricacies of strumming and fingerpicking. Despite its few limitations, it stands out in the sea of budget microphones as a robust, reliable option for both beginners and cost-conscious musicians.

Conclusion:

To wrap up, finding the best budget acoustic guitar microphone is all about striking the right balance between quality and affordability. Whether you’re recording at home or playing live, each of the mics listed offers a unique blend of features tailored for acoustic guitarists. Remember to consider factors like pickup pattern, connectivity, and durability when making your choice. With the options we’ve reviewed, you’re well on your way to capturing the pure essence of your guitar’s sound without breaking the bank.

FAQs:

Q: Do more expensive microphones significantly outperform budget ones?
A: While higher-priced microphones can offer improved sound quality and features, budget microphones nowadays also provide excellent performance, often meeting the needs of most amateur and semi-professional musicians.

Q: Can I use these microphones for live performances as well as recording?
A: Yes, many budget acoustic guitar microphones are versatile enough to be used both for live performances and home recording, although some may be better suited to one context over the other.

Q: Is a preamp necessary when using an acoustic guitar microphone?
A: A preamp can enhance the signal from your acoustic guitar microphone, providing better control over the tone and volume. While not strictly necessary, it can be beneficial, particularly for recording purposes.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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