Amp simulation plug-ins (or simply "amp sims") have come a long way towards providing realistic recorded guitar rig tones, but most people agree that there is nothing like "moving air" and recording a real electric guitar amp blasting in its full high-volume glory remains a special sonic experience. With that in mind, here's a list of the GS community's favourite microphones for recording guitar cabinets - in alphabetical order:

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 i5 offers an affordable but high quality choice of dynamic mic. As with the SM57, it 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.

Austrian Audio OC818

Despite being a rather new company Austrian Audio has already established itself as a major player in the industry. Their award-winning OC818 is a fully-featured large diaphragm condenser with multiple polar patterns, high-pass filter with three settings (40, 80 and 160Hz) and gain pad with two settings (-10 and -20dB). The OC818 packs some unique characteristics of its own, such as dual outputs for recording each of its two diaphragms separately and an optional bluetooth dongle for remote control of its parameters, but the big highlight here is the Polar Designer plug-in, a clever piece of softwares that enables users to craft different polar pattern responses across five frequency bands after the recording is done, which immensely enhances its flexibility and range of use.

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 mic'ing guitar cabs for recording purposes. Designed by microphone guru and 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 mic.

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 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 E906

Sennheiser’s e906 is the successor of the famous MD409 face-on close caption dynamic microphone. Its unique body design and supercardioid polar pattern makes it perfect for close miking guitar cabinets. The 906 also features a 3-position switch with options for a high-frequency boost, flat response or high-cut. Thanks to its high-SPL tolerance and mostly linear frequency response, the e906 is a great mic to record loud amps without breaking the bank.

Sennheiser MD 421-II

The MD 421-II is another big hit from Sennheiser, a common sight in many recording studios and stages across the globe. This dynamic cardioid mic can work wonders on guitar cabs, with plenty of versatility due to the five-position bass switch 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.

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