Here in 2019 amp simulation plug-ins have come a long way towards providing realistic recorded guitar rig tones, but most people agree that there is nothing like "moving air" - recording a real electric guitar amp blasting in its full high-volume glory remains a special sonic experience. With that in mind, we cranked it up to eleven to bring you a list of the GS community's favourite microphones for recording guitar cabinets - in alphabetical order:

AEA Ribbon Mics R84A

Inspired by RCA mics from a bygone era, AEA brings vintage style and classic ribbon technology to the present day with the R84 series. These mics shine on electric guitar cabs - they are capable of taking serious punishment. AEA also offers an active version of the R84 that features a +12dB level boost to help with preamp matching - or you can go with the passive version if you’re already setup with a preamp with enough gain. Either way, both mics are high-profile choices and both will deliver top quality takes.

Audix Microphones i5

Considered by many in this community as one of the best alternatives to the SM57 (within the same price range), the Audix offers a usable and affordable choice of dynamic mic with the i5. As with the SM57, this mic is an excellent choice to pop in front of those guitar cabs if the Shure’s tone isn’t quite cutting it for you but the budget remains just as tight.


Of the many C414 models that were manufactured throughout the past few decades, the B-ULS from 1986 is arguably the reference amongst them and widely regarded as an excellent choice for both electric and acoustic guitar recordings. This famed condenser is praised by many due to its incredible flexibility thanks to its four polar patterns - something AKG extended further on future iterations with up to five choices. If buying vintage is not for you, then make sure to check out the current XLII version which has the spirit of the best of the 414s in an up-to-date design.

Beyerdynamic M 160

One of the most famous pieces coming from the boffins at Beyerdynamic is the M 160, a hypercardioid ribbon mic that gets a lot of love in our community for its warm sound and excellent success rate on numerous applications, including electric guitar recording. With its eye-catching globe the M 160 is easily confused with other mics upon first glance, but its sound is certainly unmistakable!

Mojave Audio MA-201fet

Mojave makes some of the best condenser microphones out there, and the MA-201fet is a community-favourite for micing guitar cabs for recording purposes. Designed by microphone guru/legend David Royer, this condenser mic stands out by combining premium components and craftsmanship at a price point that won't scare away the budget-conscious searching for a quality microphone to any kind of guitar part seamlessly with the utmost quality. Make sure to check out the MA-301fet if you need or prefer a multi-pattern version of same.

Neumann U 87

The hall-of-fame worthy U 87 is as relevant now as it was in the late 1960s when it was first introduced, and it's still favoured by many recording engineers when it comes to recording electric guitars with class. Neumann still makes a variant of the U 87 to this day, and even though there's always a purist's argument for the vintage examples, minimal changes over the years mean that it's pretty much the same glorious microphone it always was - and always will be!

Royer Labs R-121

Another David Royer design and perhaps the most successful product coming out of the Royer Labs factory, the R-121 might be the most commonly used ribbon mic on electric guitars in pro studios today. The R-121 deploys Royer’s patented “Offset Ribbon Technology”, which enables it to keep sonics in check and deliver a consistent sound even when battered by extremely loud cabinets, making it a perfect all-rounder for all your guitar recording needs.

Sennheiser MD 409 U3

A classic mic for electric guitar recording thanks to its neutral tone, the distinctive-looking Sennheiser MD 409 was responsible for countless iconic sounds and years after its demise many engineers are still craving for one of these to hang on their cabs. Time to dig deep into our Classifieds for one - or perhaps settle with the newer - and more affordable - versions in Sennheiser's 906 or 609 models?

Sennheiser MD 421-II

The MD 421-II is another big hit from Sennheiser, a common sight in many recording studios' mic lockers and also on stages across the globe. This dynamic cardioid mic can works wonders on guitar cabs, with plenty of versatility due to the five-position bass switched located around the cable connector. Many versions of the MD 421 were made throughout the years and all of them were highly successful, so ultimately it’s down to the one you can find and afford.

Shure SM7B

Famous in both the broadcast and music recording industries, the venerable Shure SM7B is a frequent choice for heavy music and one that is extensively used on guitar cabs, especially when recording high-gain amps for distorted guitars. This is a mic known for being able to handle extreme loudness and also for its superb bottom end, which makes it a perfect fit for the more extreme strains of metal recording as well.

Shure SM57

If there's a mic that is a genuine no-brainer for any engineer, it's the Shure SM57! Versatility, low cost and distinct tone make it one of the most successful mics ever produced, a ubiquitous piece present in nearly every recording studio or on virtually every stage from the dingiest pubs to Wembley Stadium. The SM57 has been a staple through the decades for many good reasons, one of them being the fact that it is a sonically awesome (and super affordable) choice for micing a loud guitar cab - you can't go wrong with this all-time dynamic classic.

That wraps it up for this list, and hopefully your guitar recordings will sound better than ever with something from this selection of microphones. There’s no shortage of great mics for recording speaker cabinets, so honourable mentions go to the Aston Stealth, Beyerdynamic M88, Neumann TLM 102 and Royer R-101. Please share your favourite(s) below, and if you have nice pictures of your miced-up cabs in your studio please post them as well!

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