The Top 10 Best Drumming Microphones For Your Kit

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Prep the kit – When possible, replace the drumheads a day or two before you record. That gives enough time to get them played in and ready for the session. If you can do that, you’ll get much more clarity and brightness from the kit. You should also think about the choice of sticks and beaters before recording. Anything that alters the tone is worth prepping.

James Nugent

James Nugent FOR MUSIC CRITIC

Drum Microphone Buyers Guide

What are drum Mics?

When it comes to drum kits, drummers don’t have it easy; not in the slightest. While keyboard players and guitar players have to only supply mics for their instruments alone and maybe a mic for a guitar amplifier, drummers have to go all on out and possibly supply a mic for every drum, or at least to cover each corner of the drum set – click here for electronic alternatives. This means that you may even need to get individual and specifically tailored mics for each piece of gear, since the mic you use for your snare drums may not be the mic you can use on you kick drum or on the cymbals.

The fact of the matter is that the mics are tailored to the specific drum kit parts, and it will usually say it in the title if the mic works with only a kick drum, or can tom-toms and snare drums be included within that. It’s vital to look at these seemingly minor points since many people gloss over the information and end up being dissatisfied with their product when they expect it to perform well with tom-toms when it was made to take in sounds from a kick-drum.

There are three types of drum mics: a dynamic mic, a condenser mic, and ribbon mic.

+ Dynamic Mic- a mic with an extremely thin diaphragm of foam or mylar and specializes in capturing high-frequency sounds like that of cymbals

+ Condenser Mic- a mic usually found within studios, they have a high-frequency response and are sensitive to loud noises; they can also reproduce the speed of the sounds you make best and have a loud output

+ Ribbon Mic- doesn’t pick up sounds from the sides and is fantastic with very high-frequency sounds as well as taking in fast transients

Does a good Drum mic require a big budget?

It depends on what one would consider a budge, but generally, if you are looking to spend under 50$ for a mic it’s rather impossible to get anything of any sort of quality. It’s questionable even if there are drum mics priced that low! The starting price is about 100$ for one mic, which is fair since you are expecting this little device to replicate all of the sounds you make with great accuracy.

The mic prices usually start at 100$ and go well up to 1000$ and beyond, but there are definitely the best offers you can catch that hang around the 100-500$ range. Especially if you head to the official websites of the drum mics there are often sales going on and you can quickly come into possession of a 1000$ mic that ended up costing you 500$ in the end.

If you are able to spend at least 100$ on your new mic gear you should get a high-quality product that will capture the sounds of your drum kit with the best accuracy, but going below that would probably get you something of cheap craftsmanship and questionable make.

The final answer is that yes, you can definitely get a quality mic on a budget. You definitely don’t need the thousands of dollars that some people spend to get studio sound, especially if you are intending to buy more than one drum mic- it’s vital to take that into consideration too. If you end up buying four mics, each for 100$ you will have supplied the needs of recording and reproducing sounds of all of your drum kit!

What should you look for when selecting a Drum mic?

What to look for in a Drum MicWhen looking for your first drum mic you will probably end up being a bit confused in the process. There are so many types of drum mics and the prices vary astronomically between all of them. How do you decide which mic is most suitable for you?

First of all, you should start by defining your budget, the mics range from 100-1000$, therefore if you have a price listed between any of those two marks you should be fine. Then you need to decide which part of the drum kit you need to supply with drum mics; is it the kick drum, the snares, the cymbals, the tom-toms? It’s essential to know this beforehand since you will need to choose a different type of mic for each of these pieces of equipment.

Once you have decided which drum gear you want to supply with a mic, it’s time to go out and search! Make sure to read plenty of pro and con reviews that will tell you pros and cons that the product could be suffering from. Also, you will get information about the specs and how it works with the specific gear you chose. You need to look out for bundles too, usually, the windscreens, pop filters, cables, stand clamps and the alike need to be bought separately. There are however brands like Shure that just give you bundles to choose from with a bit of an extra price and you will be good to go. It certainly comes out cheaper than buying all of the accessories separately and you should keep an eye for good bundle offers whenever you can!

Choosing a good drum mic that will be within your budget is often a long road and requires a lot of research. There are many videos on the manufacturer’s websites that demonstrate drum songs and beat recordings that were made with specific mics they are offering and you can compare them all. You don’t have to worry about buying anything that isn’t tested since you can check it for yourself most often. Usually, some of the reviewers record their own videos to show other customers how well the mics capture and reproduce sound.

All in all, as long as you are looking at reliable companies and stay within the 100-1000$ budget you should be thrilled with the quality of whatever mic you end up buying!

Top Choice

Audix D6 DynamicOur Best Choice has to be Audix’s drum mic. It surprises everyone with the clarity that shines through the recording and live performances. The way it handles high-pitched noises without adding on any distortion makes for a dependable mic that won’t be surprising you with any frustrating sounds. Whether it’s a studio session or a live performance the D6 mic will not only look stylish and professional but is also optimized to capture the tones and sounds of floor toms, kick drums and bass cabs.

It’s dead easy to set-up and you will be noticing an improvement in the kick drum right from the beginning hits you place. It’s also a durable product that will last you years if you take care of it well and don’t hit against it too hard, even by accident! You can place it in a wide range of spots (click for the study guide) to get the finest sound selection of sounds and that makes it highly portable. That is another plus if you are looking for a mic that is easy to transport and place without fussing around.

Audix’s drum mic is our Best Choice simply because it’s at just the right price that a quality mic should have, and thanks to all the best features it also allows you to get the finest performance out of your drum kits!

Premium Choice

Neumann KM184 MT Cardioid Studio CondenserOur Premium Choice has to go to Neumann’s product, simply because Neumann has been in the industry for decades and knows how to upgrade each of their mics to suit the customer with the best precision. The mic comes in a bundle with a windscreen and clamp, which is way more than the usual drum mic bundle which usually only supplies with a mic and no stand or clamps. While this is one of those mics that borders on the 1000$ mark, it’s understandable due to the professional quality. This is the kind of drum mic you can find in professional recording studios and backstage of famous performers.

It can be used either as a spot or overhead mic and the cardioid pattern will make sure that the other instruments don’t interrupt your drum kit recordings in any way. The drum mic is available in both matte black and nickel colors so you will be able to find which one of the two suits the rest of your gear. You won’t get any distortion from high-pressure sounds with Neumann, you can be sure to only achieve quality sounds with this high-quality drum mic.

Neumann’s product is our Premium Choice thanks to the bundle it offers during the purchase and the simply phenomenal sound quality that you can only get from best quality studios.

Great Value

Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Our Best Value choice has to go Shure’s product. Shure not only has a long history of existing on the market but also has a history of selling only high quality mics. The SM57 has an appealing capsule design that will make sure to block out any unwanted sounds that could come through from other instruments or background noise. It also comes in bundles with different accessories you could need when you are setting up your drum mics to hold up near your equipment. It comes with either a cable, XLR and USB adapters, a stand and windscreen.

These drum mics are an affordable and durable piece of gear that will give the finest kind of sound reproduction that you can get from an affordable brand. The mics are developed in a way to provide a good variety of materials that will help with the accuracy of the sound that will be coming through to give the most accurate representation 0f the drum kit sounds. It’s made to focus specifically on one source of sound output which makes for an ideal drum mic that will give you those crispy drum sounds that you desire.

Our Great Value choice definitely has to be Shure’s drum mic thanks to the amazing bundles it offers and the simple high-quality of the performance output, whether it’s live or in studio – read the study on what mic to use for which here!

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