I am looking to record good quality sounding acoustic guitar. I currently am using an electric acoustic. I also have a focusrite 2i2 audio interface. I have 2 electric guitars, which is what I usually use for playing and recording through my audio interface, however I only recently picked up an electric acoustic, which I am having great fun with. I currently plug my acoustic guitar and a set of headphones to my 2i2, I have okay quality headphones, but the recorded sound doesn't sound as good as I would like it.

I am looking to start recording some acoustic guitar properly and I see a lot of people use Condenser microphones with an acoustic guitar.

What I was wondering was, what is the sound difference between recording through an audio interface, and recording through a a microphone for acoustic. Do you usually get better quality using the microphone option? I was thinking of buying this microphone


Or if anyone has any tips with recording acoustic, that would be useful

  • Both. Guitar > mic > focusrite Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 21:51

4 Answers 4


I would definitely suggest recording the acoustic guitar with microphones. Focusrite makes excellent audio interfaces and you can get some great recordings with it. However, I would suggest getting a better microphone, as well as getting more than 1 microphone.

Acoustic guitars sound fuller and more authentic when you record its sound with 2 microphones. When you record it with 2 microphones you can position them at different places and pick up more of its sounds from different angles. I position the mics with one near the sound hole, and another pointing towards the frets.

Good microphones for recording acoustic guitars are the Rode Nt5 pair


If you want to take the using only 1 condenser mic route, which I would advise against then invest in a higher quality microphone. Condenser mics are one of those things that the higher you go up in price, the better the quality you get. A good mic makes all the difference in a recording. Hope this helps and good luck. Miktek makes some excellent condenser mics, but they're expensive.

  • I have to consider how much I want to spend I guess, but if I chose to go for just one microphone option, what kind would you recommend?
    – AdamM
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:48
  • Also one mic seems can sound pretty awesome, example youtube.com/watch?v=utf5aGf-VtQ, skip to 1:17, he is using the mic I linked above, added some reverb of course, but seems to sound pretty good to me
    – AdamM
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:49

Directly plugging in the guitar will give you the advantage of dialling the tone through the guitar eq. The recording will only pick up what sounds the guitar makes.

Using a mic will give a more ambient sound, as it'll pick up the room sound too. In a good acoustic room this will be better. However, if you kick something, cough, etc. it will record that as well.The proximity of the mic to the guitar will also have an effect on the sound quality, which you cannot affect if you d.i.

You need to try each, and listen to the results. Either could be better, depending on the above factors.

  • I would be recording in my bedroom, I live in uni apartment, no where else I can really record. So you think audio interface would be better in this case?
    – AdamM
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:42
  • Although even in bedroom, would microphone still not sound better than just through audio interface?
    – AdamM
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:57
  • 1
    Mic will generally give better results, but there may be extraneous noises picked up.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 17:48

In a recording studio, recording steel stringed acoustic guitars, the purpose is often to get a sound that allows the guitar to be mixed as a backing instrument. One standard setup is to use a cardoid condenser microphone, the mentioned AT-2020 above is one of many examples. You place the mic around 12th fret, about a foot in front of the guitar, business end pointing towards the guitar. About the height of the neck. You might modify to get the sound you wish for by moving the mic slightly, perhaps pointing it slightly towards the sound hole, perhaps higher or lower.

Having the mic closer to the sound hole can be quite boomy sounding.

It is a good idea to record the electrical output signal at the same time as well. It is easier to add special effects to that signal. You might elect to mix a small bit of that signal into the sound as well.

Recording classical type (nylon string) instruments and music takes a quite different technique. Usually you want to get back from the instrument something like 1 to 2 meters and record with two mics to get a good stereo sound.


I highly recommend the Audio-Technica Cardioid Condenser AT-2020 USB Microphone. In my opinion, it will be the best bang for your buck. I think that plugging the mic directly through USB is better than connecting the microphone to an audio interface and then to a USB port.

It is versatile and portable. I use it to record acoustic guitar, and vocals. I also plug it into my tablet to record rock band practices. The recordings that I obtain from this usb condenser mic is nice and crisp.

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