Best Mic to Mic guitar amplifiers?

Can anyone recommend a microphone that is primarily used for recording off guitar and bass amps? Right now, we’re using the line outs on the amps into the recorder, but I want to mix both the line out and Mic signals and send that signal to the recorder for a better sound. I’ve got some mics but they are too “omnipresent” and pick up more sound and buzzing then I need.

Are there any descent, but not cheap Mics out there designed primarily for amps?


The Shure SM-57 is a classic choice for this application, and is reasonably priced. And if you lose your hammer, you can use it to pound in nails. It’s that rugged.

BTW, back when I was a sound engineer (a hundred years ago) I never used the amp output for recording. Always use a mike. Also, angle the mike at about 45 degrees to the speaker to avoid overloading the diaphragm.

He “hit the nail on the head” with the Shure SM-57. Excellent for micing cabinets. Of course, for the best recording, it helps to have a great source. Making sure the guitarist knows what he’s doing and making the amp sound as good as possible is key. No mic pollish a turd into a diamond.

Another vote for the 57. Perfect for guitar amps.

SM-57 for sure. I’ve used it when recording myself, and it’s been used for me when I was being recorded by a real-live pro engineer who I greatly respect.

Of course, he did it a lot better than me – which indicates there’s a lot more that goes into it that just the mic, but at least if you’re using a 57 you know you doing at least one thing right.

I’ve also experimented with mixing DI and mic sources, and gotten good results, mainly on clean tones, or sounds I was looking for more “atmospheric” tone, not so much “guitar” tone. For distortion, you want to “move air”. (I play fairly extreme metal, so my views on distortion should be taken accordingly).

The DI I had the best results from was off the back of a Line 6 Vetta HD. You really have to search around, because there are lots of factors here.

DI the bass. The Line 6 Bass Pod is nice for this. Especially when tuning down, it’s very difficult to get a good clean mic sound.

The 57 is a workhorse of a mic, and you can use it for just about anything in a pinch and get acceptable results. The exception here are very low instruments, like kick drum and bass guitar, where I could never capture that big low end with a 57.

And in the same vein as Flander mentioned, it’s very important that the original sound source is as good as possible, for whatever sound you consider good – the goal of the mic should be to “capture”, not “shape” in my opinion.

an AKG D112 kick drum mic and a Tech21 Sansamp DI make a great pair for bass recording. Can’t go wrong with an sm57 for guitar.


Agreed on the SM-57. I’ve also had good luck with large-diaphragm condensor mics like the Audio Technica AT3035. Be certain that the mic can handle the SPL, or else you’ll lunch the mic. The AT3035 will handle 136dB.

Another trick that I’ve been meaning to try but haven’t yet (YRMV)… Mic the front of the amp with a SM-57, put it about halfway between the center and edge of the cone. Then take another 57, use a phase reversal adapter inline or use the reverser built into your mixing board if it has one, then put it behind the amp. This can fatten up the sound nicely. Be certain to reverse phase on the rear mic, or else the front and rear will cancel each other out.

To make a long story short, every amp has it’s quirks, you can get good results having someone move the mic or mics around until you find the sweet spot. Generally speaking you can get a good starting point halfway between the center and edge of the cone. Also, if you can get the guitarist to turn his amp down from “Kill”, the effect on dynamic range can be useful, even if you’re going to compress the crap out of it after the fact…

Some good reading on microphone selection and use…
Also, using the line out of the amp can be OK, it can find its way into the mix, gives you something to layer some effectage onto. I’ve also had some fun with the Behringer V-Amp 2, it’s the low-budget version of the Line 6 Pod. It differs from a standard effects box in that it has the usual suite of effects, but also contains acoustic models of numerous famous amps and speaker cabinets that you can mix and match. It’s MIDI capable for sequencing and up/downloading of parameters. A lot of value for a street price around $140.00.


I’m a collector of classic amps and guitars and mics.

Here’s a brief 1:15 snippet of a 1968 Gibson ES335 doing some honky stuff through a 1967 VOX AC30 set at about 6 out of 10 volume wise. Neutral bass and treble settings on the amp.

The mic used is a genuine 1965 Neumann U67. Hmmmmm… what a mic. I set it up about 12 inches away dead center between the two 12" speakers at cone height. This particular mp3 was recorded about, oh, 6 months ago. I rarely set up a mic pointed straight at the center of the cone - too mid rangey for mine. I personally prefer a mic near the speaker’s edge - you get that nice high frequency raspiness that way.

Thank you all for your input. I think I have made my decision to go with the SM57. Cool audio Boo Boo Boo!

late as usual…

I also vote for the SM57…
it is versatile and dependable…

I am drooling over here…

Needs bass and drums man…sounds totally tubes…

Also consider the SM-58. It’s a fairly decent dynamic mike for vocals, but if you unscrew the windscreen, it functions identically to the SM-57. Thus, you’ll get a good dynamic mike with more than one purpose.