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There are many great microphones for recording acoustic guitar (or any acoustic instrument), but many of them are accompanied by a price tag that is out of reach for many recording enthusiasts. Which mic have you achieved the best results with, and what mic do you feel gives the most "bang for the buck"? (Reasonably priced and performance that's comparable to the Neumann, Audio Technica, AKG, Sennheisser, Shure, etc. microphones that are often used in studios)

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Good question Andy. The lower end mics I work with are AKG 535s. I bought them years ago and still use them from time to time. They're in the $300 range. Price is a worthy consideration since you'll need two of whatever you buy. Many less expensive mics often do something artificial at about 400k. If you're trying to record and you're not happy with the sound you're getting try a little EQ. Use EQ in small increments to see if the sound improves. Try taking notches out and putting them back at about 400 and 160 and then add a little between 10-12k and see if your recording sounds like your guitar. If not you might want to bump up in quality.
Good luck and keep us posted. It'll be interesting to read more opinions.
Thanks for the input, Marcy. The school that I go to has a pair of 535s, but I have not tried them yet. I'll be sure to keep the frequencies in mind when I do. I have had great results using a pair of Shure KSM44s in various configurations: 1.) spaced pair; 2.) blumlein - both set to figure-8 pattern and covering front/back/left/right; and 3.) mid-side - one mic set on the cardioid pattern and the other on figure-8 to pick up left and right (both about 6-10 inches away from instrument), then duplicate the figure-8 track in your Pro Tools / Logic / DAW session, flip the phase of that track and pan the 2 figure-8 tracks all the way left and right, respectively. Anyone who has never tried the mid-side technique really should give it a try. It gives the guitar an exceptionally large sound and allows you to tweak the stereo field to your liking. I have also had very good results using pairs of Neumann KM181s, AKG 451s & 414s, and Audio Technica 4033s.

The Shure KSM44 and AT 4033 are probably my favorites and both reasonably priced. The KSM44 is around $800, but it doesn't get any better in terms of versatility and recording quality. The 4033 is around $400, and I have never been unsatisfied with the performance of this mic. It doesn't allow you to switch the polar pattern (cardioid), but I think it is the best mic for the price.

I am looking forward to learning a few things from everyone, and I hope I can return the favor.
Toward the end of my first paragraph, I meant to type Neumann KM184s rather than 181s. Just wanted to clear that up so I'm not recommending a mic I've never used.
Andy, are you in a recording arts program? Do tell.
Yeah, I'm an audio production / engineering student at the Art Institute of TN-Nashville. It's a new school... only been around for 2 years. There aren't many audio students, so we have a lot of one-on-one interaction with the teachers, and the courses take a hands-on / real-world approach to learning. We have a brand new recording studio for our engineering / mixing projects, and we can reserve blocks of time for recording our own stuff. We have access to a great mic collection, top-notch hardware, and all of the best plug-ins in both the studio and post-production/editing lab. It may not be as well-known right now, but in a lot of ways I think that actually makes A.I. better than the bigger, more established schools like MTSU and Belmont. Anyway... I'm sure this sounds like a marketing pitch for the school, but I really like it. Marcy, feel free to hit me up if you have any specific questions about A.I. and/or the audio program I'm in. The same goes for all members of this network.
Best results? Probably overall, I'd say:

Neumann KM84 and U87's.

You can get more exotic, and more expensive, but these are both lovely microphones and deliver great results easily and consistently.

Lifetime keepers.

In the excellent at much lower cost category, I really like the SE Electronics Z5600. This is a tube driven, large diaphragm, multi-pattern mic that is hard to beat. Very well made. Not exactly dirt cheap, but great value as it holds its own against many others at 5X the price. The Shure KSM 44 has been mentioned and that is also outstanding in the sub 1K bracket. Nice mic.

I also have an older AT3031 which is great value in the small diaphragm range, and also a Groove Tubes GT-44 which is an endfire medium diaphragm tube condenser that is excellent with many instruments. Both of these are very nice mics to use and I'd highly recommend them.

Andy
The AKG 451's always work well for me.Looks like a matched pair is going for about $1300.00 these days.
Hi Andy - hope your search is progressing well. Thought it worth a shout for two of the best, least expensive, most used ever with best results, and widely available mics for this:
The Shure SM-57, under $100. Many, many top engineers recording acoustic guitrists say if you can't get it done with this one nothing else will either. The other, the AKG-C1000s; a pair of these has created some of the most beautiful and sonically accurate acoustic recordings of guitar made. A pair can be had for probably under $400. Read Marcy's post for some good tips on problem frequencies to watch out for, but I've never found that problem with these mics if properly placed. These mics are affordable for most, and then you can spend your money on other costly things in a guitarists life. Good luck and let us know how you fare with this.

Ken
Hi Andy,

I swear by my AKG 414's. They are great instrument mics but sound really nice on vocals as well. double duty in this mic.

adam
I have KM-184s, C-414s, C451s (old and new) , SM-81s, and a few others.

I love the 184s for most applications involving acoustic instruments. I use them live, as well, with tremendous success.
For an all around small diaphragm microphone, I think the Neumann KM-184 is my favorite. It is a go to mike for me for many different instruments. I like it on guitars. I tend to choose the KM-184 for guitar over the KM-84 simply because it has a bit more top end to my ear. But you can't go wrong with km-84's. I like most Neumann microphones. AKG 451's are nice. Schoeps are great. As far as a more reasonably priced microphone I really like the Oktava MK-012. This microphone seems to fit somewhere right in between the KM-84 and the KM-184 to my ear. But the issue with the Oktava is quality assurance. So if you buy one, or two, make sure you can try them out first.
I can't chime in on this posting without commenting on microphone preamps. There are two companies that are really great and I recommend highly. First, on the upper end of the scale is the Forrsell Technologies CS-1 and Fetcode Tube mic preamp. The CS-1 is a clean accurate preamp with EQ and a compressor limiter built in. The Fetcode is a vacuum tube preamp that is luscious in its tone. This pre can make such an incredible difference it is truly an amazing sound. http://www.forsselltech.com/products.shtml
On the more budget side of things, but still in a class a realm is the Sytek. The model is the MPX4. I have several microphone preamps but this is the one I use most on my guitar. I have had about 8 channels of these pres for about 12 years. They sound great. http://www.sytek-audio-systems.com/products/preamps/mpx4/

Jim
Hi Jim.
Have you ever tried the AEA Ribbon MicPre. We spoke briefly in Edmonton about them, and you mentioned that Forrsell designed them. They are in the price range of the Sytek you mention here.

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