My current setup for recording acoustic guitar is to use an SM-57 and, depending on the music, either mix in the input from my condenser mic for room sound (a Studio Projects C-1) or mix in the input from the pickup.

I'll be recording a solo musician in a few weeks who prefers to record live -- female vocal and steel-string guitar together -- so I'm looking at a three-mic setup. (Her guitar has no pickup or internal mic.) The audio interface I currently use have only has two inputs. She's looking for a close-miked detailed sound.

The obvious solution is to run the external mics into a mixing board then into the interface. Are there any single-mic solutions that would cost less than a couple hundred dollars? The SM-57, while a great mic, doesn't pick up anywhere near the amount of detail that a good condenser mic does, and the C-1 I have is far too wide-area a mic for this. (The SM-81 looks sweet, but a bit too pricey just now.)

The room I record in is fairly dead, but unfortunately has a little background noise, so mics with fairly tight patterns work best.

  • I hope this question is specific enough to differentiate itself from other mic-my-guitar questions! Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


I have a b3 (studio projects). It's a 1st generation, so the sound may differ. However, I've found it very nice for recording guitar because it's very bright. You'll hear the fingering details. I'm not sure if that's the sound you want, but found it very easy to mix and eq to get the sound I wanted from both classical (nylon string) and folk (steel string) guitars. It only cost about 100USD w/ some coupon at the time. I think it's more now that SP is not a startup anymore. (I remember the first Enties

I've found that using that mic, I don't need one for the finger board and one for the mouth. Though, it's not easy to fix certain things in post if you get too much detail, but eqing is your friend. Then again, if the guitarist's playing sucks that much that I need to get surgical, I don't want to record him.

Experiment with positioning. It may be that you do not need two mics for the guitar.

Another solution to your limited inputs is record two separate takes. Of course this may not sit well with the musician. "It so ruins the flow. I just can't get in the mood." [rolls eyes]

Mic reference:

The older version also has a pad switch. You can see in the Google images the silver version is the older one. Though, I can't see any with the rear showing.

I only bring this up because I don't have the newer one.

  • How is it different from the SP C1? Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 0:56
  • I don't own a C1. So I cannot do an A/B for you, but have a look at the reference material I added. From what I can see, the B3 is a better mic all round. Though it depends on what your are micing perhaps. Don't purchase something on one person's recommendation. Get some more opinions and hear the thing first. I admit, I didn't. It was so cheap, I thought it would be something to add to my collection. So I grabbed it.
    – d-_-b
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 3:54
  • @sims- what is the background noise? Also, what preamp are you using?
    – Sam Greene
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 4:35
  • @Sam- I use it with a dbx 286 and also the pres on the presonus firepod, which are quite plain. What do you mean by background noise? Of my studio? Or do you mean the noise floor?
    – d-_-b
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 1:32
  • I ended up using my C1, I couldn't justify buying another condensor mic just for this one tracking session. (Some treatment on the floor actually helped the sound quite a bit.) Assuming I still like what I hear when I mix down from that session, I think if I look for another mic, it'll be a condenser for vocals with a tight pattern and a nice pad switch. Commented May 2, 2011 at 4:31

I have a pair of rode nt5s which are good for acoustics. Maybe you'll want to look for a supercardioid condenser since you want a tight pattern - shure beta 98? I don't have any supercardioid, and can't say how well they reject, but you can see the polar patterns online - looks like good rear rejection for 6k plus.

A good preamp can make a sm57 sound much better - but probably not quite like a condenser.

  • +1 for Rode. I like their mics. I have an ancient NT1. It's a beauty.
    – d-_-b
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 1:36

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