Mics for guitar amp

favs, oddballs, and otherwise?

Dr Guitar says he uses ATM-61s and ATM-29s for micing amps. “Both have a round, clear tone with a high SPL.” I can’t say that I have ever really considered them. Beyond the venerable sm 57, what favs do folks have?

well, I don’t actually own the mic, but on my Vetta II it has a MD 421 mic sim, and I’d have to say that’s a pretty sweet mic for guitar. It’s also the king for Toms I hear. At $300 a pop, I may never know… :)

I could’nt tell you the specific model but I used an Audix mic designed for mic’ing drum toms on a Crate SS amp once. The tone we were after was like the solo in April Wines “Just Between You and Me”. Neck pick-up Les Paul, VERY saturated overdrive. That dinky little mic done a great job capturing that. Stuck it right against the grill cloth at about a 35-45 degree angle slightly off center of the cone. Laid a blanket over the amp and cut loose. Two takes later and we had it. Dude played a great solo too I might add. If I had had a 57 laying around then, it would have been the first choice. I had to use what was laying around the place and thought I’d give that cheapo Audix a shot.


Quote (guitars69 @ Nov. 03 2004,10:29)
well, I don't actually own the mic, but on my Vetta II it has a MD 421 mic sim, and I'd have to say that's a pretty sweet mic for guitar. It's also the king for Toms I hear. At $300 a pop, I may never know... :)

Ive used the 421 before and its my favourite on guitar amps and toms. Great mic! I like it better than a 57 but YMMV.

Tried Røde NT5 a coulpe of days ago. Nice.

As far as cheap mics go, I’ve used the v57m in concert with a sm57. Now, before you take my head off . . . duck . . . the v57 sounds pretty gross by itself, but mixed with the sm57, it sound really good. I rolled off the low end and had it mixed at -9dB, relative to the sm57. I just mix it in there for a little sizzle on the top.

Also, make sure you run the v57m through a VTB-1 with the tube mixture turned all the way up (you have a VTB-1, right?). It puts some grit in the guitar.

I should probably mention that the project I used these mics on was a metal project, so, sonically speaking, my needs were different.

I hear the Sennheiser e609 is a very good mic up against the grill. Anyone have any experience with it? Seems to have a better overall response than the SM57.

I’m a big fan of the Coles 4038 on a guitar cab. The Beyerdynamic M500 is also pretty sweet, as is the Sony C38. Yeah, they’re all expensive. TomS, you have those nice ribbons, use those fercryinoutloud. Really. You won’t hurt 'em. For cheaper alternatives:

The AudioTechnica ATM25 can be nice for some beef, and is good on bass cabs too. It’s also my regular kick mic.

Beyerdynamic M88 kicks the pants off a 57 regularly.

You don’t see them for sale often (they’re old…), but the Sennheiser MD406 totally rocks, and it’s the best tom mic I’ve ever heard to boot. And they put the 421 (which I generally like) to shame.

I use SM58 occassionally.

One hook up I especially enjoyed was using this chinese LD-condenser to close miking of a cranked up pignose amp (lead guitar track). I added Behringer ECM8000 metering microphone about 3 ft away and played the guitar in front of the second microphone in a way it picked up some of the acoustic ringing of the electric guitar in addition with the room and the amp.

In mixing I placed the close mic sound in the middle and the other mic to hard right. Then I recorded an acustic guitar as a rhythm guitar track and panned it hard left.

The song was MC5 - 70’s Kiss type of fast hard rock song. The song also featured a drum track recorded with an old ghetto blaster and distorted bass track…


I uses TWO sm58 like mics (cheaper copys), one I put direct to the center of a speacker and one in a 45 dec. angle to the first one.
The first mic records mostly the higher frequencies and the second records more basses. Both recorded tracks together sounding very original like I hear my amp (a fender blues deville 4x10).
Furthermore I can controll the guitar sound in the mix mostly without using an EQ (adding higy frequencies with the first track, basses with the second track).

Sounds sacrilege I know, but I’ve played around with lots of mics on my amp and generally found that you can make pretty much anything sound good if you put in the right place and if the source sounds good. The two factors seemt o far far outweigh the mic selection. Even got some pretty good sounds from a Behringer XM8500 backed off a bit (way too much proximity effect on this mic, but sounds pretty good after a good few inches).

ATM63HE is usually my go to mic, sometimes combined with my Studioprojects B3. Another alternative will be a small diaphragm condenser for more clarity and attack - ATM33 or AKG C1000.

AKG451 sounded nice on my amp in the studio - nicely highlighted the creamy/bluesy type sound.

ATM63 is also my go to live vocal mic, and also sounds great on snare. Definitely a mic you should have in your collection Tom.


Great suggestions guys, thanks!