Mics with good background noise rejection

I thought seeing as I see so many people on here using close mic techniques with acoustic instruments, this might be a great place to ask for thoughts on a microphone specifically for recording small acoustic instruments such as glockenspiels, rain sticks, kalimba etc in a live setting that would (in non covid times) usually have the background oise of 50-100 people semi ignoring me haha… (low level chatter I guess.

Up to now I have being adding pickups to all my instruments, but I love how many of your jams revolve around grabbing “things to hand” and making live loops with them (I’m not looking to sample before the gig but during).

As well as rejecting audience noise, it would be great if the mic also was good for eliminating the feedback that often used to occur for me when live looping with microphones.

Budget wise, I am at the bottom end of the spectrum so bonus points if its in the £30 - 150 catagory.



I think you can pick a Shure SM57 that’s a standard in music industry both in recording environment and in live performances. Anyway all dynamic mics are pretty focused on the sound source they’re placed to and are pretty feedback-proof.


Agree, cardioid dynamic like an SM57 would have good rejection for surrounding noise, and less feedback. That’s for live. For recording I’d want something nicer sounding for close micing small acoustic instruments.

1 Like

Thanks… I had been looking at super and hypercardioid thinking that these would be the best options for not yet ting crowd noise etc but maybe they are overkill

Another vouch for SM7B, miracle maker in pour acoustic conditions (or room that are too reverby and you don’t want that sound). I don’t think you can go wrong here. Just think of buying it with a mic booster (you often find bundles with one) it’s got quite a low output signal otherwise.


a part (most) of the discussion in this topic: Live Sampling might give you some ideas.

1 Like

Two mics I use that have supercardiod patterns and are very tight:
EV 408 (same as 308, 468, and now ND46, all very similar)
Beyerdymamic m69

Both also have decent level-ish frequency response, and I think could be used for many things. I remember the freq range of that EV mic is like 30Hz to 22kHz

Beyerdynamic M201 is the one I am about to try out. Might be pushing your budget limit a touch, but to my ears sounds kind of like a 57 with a bit more body. At least that’s what I’m hoping for. I’ll likely start with one, see how I like it, and then if it’s good, finish out a stereo pair for looping piano stuff with my Morphagene and STS. Excited to try out my new Joranalogue Receive 2 mic pre in this context.

The more Super/Hyper Cardioid you go, the closer you get to Figure 8, the more you’ll start picking up sounds from behind the capsule. Cardioid for best off axis rejection. There’s an argument in the studio (where you can control the room and noise to a greater extent) for using Figure 8 for room sound or with a ribbon for that flavour, or Omni, again for room sound or REALLY close micing (as there’s no proximity effect), but I still think for live, a relatively insensitive cardioid dynamic would be best. The SM7b is great, but might be overkill when an SM57 would do the job well for a third of the price. There’s a reason it’s been the industry standard in that exact application for decades.


Thank you all so much for all the food for thought… I will be back with videos once I choose something. Its great to do these mental exercises whilst waiting for gigs to reopen


Used to do sound engineering for a blues club where we often had solo acoustic performers in a small wide hall with 50-100 audience members. I would often use a shotgun mic for acoustic instruments too delicate/with too much movement for sm57. The Rhode ntg2 has good side rejection and a built in battery too so no worrying about phantom power. As long as you are careful with pa replacement they would not feed back and I never noticed them picking up audience noise.
Also, if feedback is an issue, a dedicated eq can really help to isolate and remove the offending frequencies :slight_smile:


It has become clear from this thread and the one suggested above that actually a small arsenal of mics is the answer… I will be bringing some. Mics I already have back out to play and adding a couple of others to a mini mixer in a pre designed “soundtable” so I can set up pretty consistently across shows but leave the "what’s on the table? " part open ended.
Thanks alk

1 Like

For those in the know, how does a Sennheiser e609 compare to an SM57 for this kind of handheld, close mic or random stuff situation? I’ve been wanting to pick up a dynamic mic for the exact situation the OP describes and like the idea of the square form factor.

1 Like

Besides directionality, don’t forget distance. I seem to recall that doubling the distance cuts the level by 6 dB. So, if you have people in the room who are ignoring you while you’re trying to make a good recording, then find some way to separate them from the microphones as much as possible. If you can’t keep the murmurers away from the edge of the stage then move your performers back from the front edge of the stage - maybe by decorating the front of the stage and having the musicians behind that.

You might also consider some of those clear barriers that are used to isolate drums on stage. You can currently play that off as “social distancing” equipment.

1 Like

I have the EV RE-20. Pretty great bg noise rejection. Definitely need more gain like the sm7b but what’s nice is there no proximity bass boost if you’re too close.