Best Microphones for Instruments

Guitar Cabinet, Brass Instruments –

As you may know already, MXL manufactures lots of microphones. Why? Because each one has its own character, a little something that sounds just right to your ears. “Best” is a subjective term after all. Your favorite guitar microphone might be rich and vintage-sounding whereas someone else wants complete transparency. We’ve compiled our recommendations of the best mics for certain instruments based on customer feedback. Not just what we say is the best, but what we’ve heard from countless users over the years. It’s not definitive but certainly a good place to start if you’re in the market for a new instrument microphone.

R77 Ribbon
More than just a pretty microphone, the MXL R77 is a powerful and versatile recording tool for all kinds of instruments. The R77 incorporates a Figure-8 polar pattern as well as a 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon for smooth lows and natural highs. The Figure 8 helps reject the sides while keeping focus on your source while allowing it to absorb sound from behind. Ribbons do not resonate the same way a condenser capsule does which is why they provides a much more natural response from your instrument. Given this aspect, they also handle Instruments with a higher SPL really well. This allows you to crank you guitar cab to achieve your desired tone without your mic distorting and ruining the recording.

Click here to hear the R77 on electric guitar.

R144 Ribbon
The R144 is a spectacular little thing. With the natural instinct of a Ribbon mic and a price of $99 it is hard to beat. By now we have taken our R144 to numerous mic shoot outs where it has performed favorably next to some industry standard ribbon mics. Whether it be guitar cabs, trumpets, string instruments the R144 is a mic to be taken seriously. If you have yet to try a ribbon and are uncertain whether they are suited for your studio or application, the R144 is worth giving a shot. What’s the worst that can happen other than creating different tones and experimenting with mics? After all, isn’t that what Recording Engineering is all about?

Drum Overheads, Piano –

V67N Pair
Two V67N instrument mics are a powerful combination. These pencil condenser microphones house a transformer which provides the warmth and detail only found in mics 5X its price. The frequency response is flat, which provides you with sound scape ready to sculpt to your preference.

Click here to hear the V67Ns on drum overheads

Acoustic Guitar- Single Mic’ing technique –

CR89
When you are looking for transparency and wish to reveal the true sound of your voice or instrument, look no further than the CR 89. Although many may like some “color” the CR89 provides a natural response which is often times more desirable when recording something like an acoustic guitar or a vocalist who can really hit their notes. The large 32MM capsule and thought-out design make this a must have for any home studio. Its low noise also pairs great with a preamp allowing you to get the most out of the mic without any unwanted noise. The matte black chrome finish and robust feel will compliment any studio whether amateur or professional.

Acoustic Guitar- Stereo Mic’ing technique –

CR21 Pair
For a true stereo sound, try using this pair to achieve a spacious and detailed recording. Taking some traits from the CR series, the CR21 Pair provides professionalism at a very low cost. You can reference our “How to” guides to experiment with different mic techniques such as X/Y, ORTF, and MS. Mic Placement is key to achieving a desirable tone so feel free to experiment and always be careful of phase!

Percussion –

A-55 Kicker
The Kicker is coming back! There’s nothing better to capture the thundering sound of kick drums. To go along with it, MXL is developing a snare drum and a tom drum. Look for them later this year.

Click here to hear the A-55 Kicker.