Best Microphones for Recording Bass Guitar (updated 2021) –> When recording your bass guitar you have two main options:
- Through direct input (DI, Direct Inject, DI Box, etc.)
- Use a microphone to record your bass guitar amplifier
Advantages of Using a Microphone
Using direct input, and using a microphone to record your bass, both have their advantages. However, the consensus among music professionals is to record bass guitar using a microphone. Simply put, micing your amp allows you to capture the best sound from your bass. You capture a fuller, richer, truer sound by using a microphone to record what is emitting from your amplifier.
Getting a good sound by miking your amplifier is dependent on the sound your amp produces. Using an amp means you have more versatility and control over your ability to tweak and shape your desired sound. This also means that any problematic sound emitting from your amp – static, humming, cracking, any noise you don’t want – will of course be captured and recorded by a microphone. So if you choose to record your amplifier using a microphone, it’s important for it to be capable of producing the sound you want.
The Criteria Used to Choose these Microphones
It’s critical to use a microphone designed specifically for capturing and recording low-end bass guitar sounds. Choosing a microphone that is not designed for bass guitar could end up turning your sound into a grainy, toneless, and distorted noise most commonly caused as a result of your mic being clipped. Clipping occurs when a microphone cannot handle and process the signal level coming from the source it’s capturing – for various reasons.
In order for a microphone to be capable of capturing and processing sounds emitted from your bass and amplifier, it should meet the criteria we’ve listed below:
Strong Low Frequency Response
Frequency response is perhaps the most important specification of any given microphone. Frequency is the speed of vibration a sound produces. In general terms, the higher the frequency the higher the pitch of a sound. Frequency is measured by the number of Hertz (Hz). For example, an electric guitar has a frequency range starting at around 80Hz. The frequency range of a human voice starts on average at around 85Hz. The frequency range of a 4-string bass guitar starts at around 40Hz. The range of a 5-string bass with a low B string starts at around 30Hz.
The frequency response of a microphone is the range of frequencies that it’s capable of capturing and processing. In order for a microphone to capture bass guitar sounds, it must have a lower frequency response range. As we said above, the lowest frequency of a 4-string bass guitar starts at about 40Hz…for 5-string basses with a low B string, around 30Hz. Therefore, a microphone used for bass guitar must have a frequency range capable of capturing and processing these lower frequencies. All of the microphones we have listed meet this criteria and are capable of capturing and processing the low frequencies produced by bass guitar.
Strong Sound Pressure Level (SPL)
The Sound Pressure Level (SPL) that a microphone can handle is another critical factor when choosing a microphone to record your bass guitar. The maximum SPL is the maximum volume that a mic can handle before it begins to clip, distort, crack, etc.. SPL’s are measured in Decibels (dB). On average, a human singing voice produces around 70 dB. The averaged decibels produced by an electric guitar amplified at 50% volume is around 100 dB. The average decibel level of a bass guitar amplified at 50% is around 125 dB. In order for a microphone to handle the volume of an amplified bass guitar, it needs to have a higher maximum SPL. All of the microphones we list have high maximum SPL’s of at least 130dB.
Simply put, a dynamic microphone is better at capturing and processing louder, stronger sounds. This is in contrast to most condenser microphones that are better suited for capturing more delicate, higher frequency sounds. Dynamic microphones in general have higher maximum SPL’s which are suitable to louder and lower frequency instruments. Dynamic microphones in nature are more rugged and durable than condenser microphones. All of the microphones we recommend are dynamic microphones.
Microphones with a cardioid polar pattern are best at capturing sound emitting from directly in front of them – while cancelling sound from the sides and rear. The name “cardiod” comes from the heart-shaped (cardio) sound pattern the mic captures – see the “Cardiod Microphone Polar Plot” image below. As you can see from the polar plot graphic, the sound rejection is most significant at the sides and rear. This makes the cardiod mic ideal for picking up sounds from the specific source that it’s aimed at capturing. These mics are also suitable for both recording in live situations, as well as recording in the studio and/or at home. All of the microphones we recommend are cardiod microphones.
Best Microphones for Recording Bass Guitar
All Microphones Are Versatile & Multipurpose
All of the mics we’ve chosen are ideal for recording bass guitar, and can also be used to capture, amplify, and record other instruments and vocals. The frequency response levels are capable of capturing a wide range of sounds, while their maximum SPL’s are strong enough to handle the loudest instruments – including drums. All of the microphones can be used in a variety of settings and situations – from recording YouTube cover videos in your home, to capturing and recording your bass at a live gig. The versatility of these mics also make them excellent choices for playing any style and genre of music.
Below is Our List of the Best Microphones for Recording Bass Guitar – in alphabetic order…
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AKG Perception P2 High-Performance Dynamic Bass Microphone
The Perception P2 high-performance dynamic bass microphone delivers a profound, high-energy sound. It’s ideal for use with low-end instruments such as bass amps, kick drums, and trombones. Its cardioid polar pattern reduces feedback and crosstalk coming from other instruments behind the microphone. The Perception P2 comes in a rugged, all-metal housing to withstand tough on-the-road conditions. An integrated stand adapter makes the microphone very easy to use. It comes with a carrying case for safe transport and storage.
- Frequency Response – 20 Hz to 16000 Hz
- Maximum SPL 157 dB
- Powerful sound with profound bass range especially tuned for low-pitched instruments
- High-performance capsule withstands extreme sound pressure levels (SPLs)
- Built-in hum compensation coil rejects EMC noise for the cleanest sound
- Rugged wire-mesh cap and sturdy die-cast metal body withstand tough day-to-day stage use
- Integrated stand adapter for easy mounting on mic stands
Audix f6 Dynamic Instrument Microphone
Designed, assembled and tested by Audix in the USA, the f6 is a dynamic instrument microphone used for live sound, stage, home and studio. The f6 is characterized with a hypercardioid pickup pattern for isolation and feedback control and equipped with LM™Type A (Low Mass) diaphragm for natural, accurate sound reproduction. The f6 is compact and easy to position. It is an excellent choice for miking instruments requiring extended low frequency reproduction such bass cabinets, kick drums, and large toms. The f6 is manufactured with a precision cast zinc alloy body, durable black E-coat finish, dent resistant steel mesh grill, and gold plated XLR connector. Transformerless
design, low impedance and balanced output allow for interference-free performance even with long cable runs.
- Frequency Response – 40 Hz – 16000 Hz
- Maximum SPL – 140 dB
- Affordable dynamic instrument microphone for live sound or home studio
- Punchy low end with excellent attack
- Ideally suited for bass cabs, kick drum, floor toms
- Durable zinc alloy body with steel mesh grill
- Designed, assembled and tested by Audix in the USA
CAD Audio KBM412 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone
The KBM412 is a large diameter, Neodymium dynamic microphone, specifically designed for bass guitar and other low frequency sources. Packaged in a rugged die-cast body with a hardened external screen providing additional protection from incidental striking. The KBM412 was designed to provide extended low-end frequency response, along with high SPL handling capability. The KBM412
delivers exceptional performance as a kick and large tom microphone and will deliver excellent performance when used to mic bass and large diameter percussive instruments and other similar applications. Shock Isolating swivel mount included.
- Frequency response – 25 Hz – 15000 Hz
- Maximum SPL – 144 dB
- Specifically designed for bass and other low-frequency sources
- Large diaphragm delivers response down to 25 Hz
- High SPL handling
- Rugged die-cast body
- Hardened external screen retainer
- Shockmount saddle provides isolation and excellent protection from mechanical noise
- Ideal for large-diameter percussive instruments and bass and guitar amps
MXL A-55 Kicker Dynamic Microphone
The MXL A-55 Kicker is a killer dynamic mic made for any lower frequency instrument. Built for abuse with durable metal construction, the MXL A-55 captures deep bass and low-end punch. It has a clean and clear pick-up for fast attacks. This mic will move effortlessly between all styles and genres of music – from straight-ahead jazz, to rock and funk. Suitable for studio and home recording, as well as live gigs.
- Frequency Response – 30 Hz – 15000 Hz
- Maximum SPL – 132 dB
- Perfect for bass cabinets, kick drums, floor toms, and tubas
- Durable metal construction that can take heavy-duty use
- Robust low-end sound that has plenty of punch
- Excellent sound that’s great for all styles of music
Sennheiser e602 II Evolution Series Dynamic Bass Microphone
The Sennheiser e602 II Evolution is a cardioid instrument microphone especially suitable for use with bass guitar cabinets, bass drums, tubas, and other low frequency instruments. Solid, lightweight, and easy to position. For studios, clubs, rehearsal rooms, live gigs, or for home recording.
- Frequency Response – 20 Hz – 16000 Hz
- Maximum SPL – 138 dB
- Rugged, lightweight aluminium body for stable positioning on long microphone boom arms
- Lightweight high-performance voice coil construction
- Fast transient response
- Low frequency extension
- Ideal for direct use on the most problematic bass signal
- Frequency-independent directivity provides isolation from other on-stage signals
- Humbucking coil
- Integral stand mount
Shure BETA 52A Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone
The Shure Beta 52A is a precision-engineered dynamic microphone with a tailored frequency response and integrated swivel-mount with XLR connector designed specifically for bass instruments. It provides superb attack and “punch,” and delivers studio quality sound even at extremely high sound pressure levels.
- Frequency Response 20 Hz to 10,000 Hz
- Maximum SPL – 174 dB
- Premier live performance microphone with Shure quality, ruggedness, and reliability
- Modified supercardioid pick-up pattern for maximum gain before feedback and superior rejection of off-axis sound
- Tailored frequency response specifically shaped for bass instruments
- Neodymium magnet for greater sensitivity and higher output
- Advanced pneumatic shock mount system that minimizes transmission of mechanical noise and vibration
- Dent-resistant, steel mesh grille and enamel coated die-cast metal construction resist wear and abuse
- Studio quality performance, even at high SPL
- Built-in stand adapter with dynamic locking system and XLR connector simplifies setup and provides greater flexibility
Best Microphones for Recording Bass Guitar (updated 2021)