Top Kick Drum Mic for Live Sound & Recording

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Finding the right position – If the kick drum microphone isn’t in a good position, you’ll end up with a recording that you’ll struggle to fix in mixing. Before you record, experiment with different positions, and find the one that suits your desired sound. A good starting point is always placing the microphone inside the head pointing at the beater.

James Nugent

James Nugent FOR MUSIC CRITIC

Kick Drum Mic Buyers Guide

What is a Kick Drum Mic?

What is a Kick Drum MicA kick drum mic is a special microphone that is designed by various brands with bass amps to help you record and perform live with your drum kit by amplifying and reproducing the sounds you play faithfully and accurately. Kick drum mics have very specific specs that make them different from other microphones and have a lot of factors that make them tailor-made to being used with kick drums or bass instruments in general.

Polar Patterns

Every mic has a different polar pattern, but usually, they can be grouped into sub-categories. For example, a polar pattern decides from which side the mic captures sound. If it is a cardioid pattern, it captures sound from the front and from the sides and rejects and bounces off any sounds that may come from the back or at 180 degrees.

A cardioid microphone belongs to the Unidirectional microphone family, and that is the most common type of mic used when looking at bass drums.

A super-cardioid microphone is a bit like the cardioid mic with only minor differences. It can pick up more sound around the 180-degree angles but does not have as much sensitivity on the sides. The hypercardioid pattern captures even more sound from the 180-degree angles than both the cardioid and super cardioid mics but rejects more sound from 90 and 270-degree angles. There are also multi-pattern microphones, where you can interchange all of the aforementioned patterns thanks to the capsules provided in the bundle, another great option!

If you are going to be playing in a noisy environment, it is vital to know which polar pattern will be most efficient to choose.

Frequencies

Since we are talking about kick drum mics, it is best to choose a microphone that will pick up the lower ends of the Hertz scale since that will suit the purpose you will be using it for. This means that for a kick drum mic you want to look at mics that pick up sounds that go as low as 30Hz-40Hz. Usually, these specs are stated directly under the product in a bullet-point format.

SPLs (Sound Pressure Levels)

SPL stands for Sound Pressure Level and is used to measure (in decibels) the maximum volume that the microphone can take. This is an important spec to kick drums since they are very loud instruments and pack a really loud punch which some microphone cannot handle. The ideal decibel for the sound pressure level for a kick drum is around 130dB-160 dB.

Why do you need a Kick Drum Mic and how do you use it?

Do you need a Kick Drum MicMany drummers eventually turn to buy a kick drum mic at some point in their career because it is a useful tool if you want to start recording songs or performing live. Even if you are a hobbyist or a drummer in training, it is very useful to have kick drum mic since it will help isolate the sound of the particular drum and help you see where you make your mistakes.

If you are going to be playing live, many people in the audience love the oomph that a separate kick drum mic can provide, making the band come more alive with the music they play and the sounds will be more rounded since the crowd will be able to heart the whole drum kit properly.

Kick drum mics are very easy to use and set-up, you have to plug them in, and either place it outside or within the kick drum, depending on what your preference is!

What are the benefits of a Kick Drum Mic?

There are many benefits to buying a kick drum mic. For example, for personal use, you will be able to see what mistakes you are making that occur primarily when playing the kick drum. This will help you sort out your mistakes and arrange a new training plan so that you can fix that, and the crisp and clear recording of a good kick drum mic can be invaluable for practice sessions.

When playing live, people simply love the deep, bass sound of the kick drum, and it is really worth it to supply your drum kit with a kick drum mic so that you can have a full, rich range of live sound when playing live with the rest of your band, since that is usually the beat that the rest of the band bases their timing on!
When you are playing in the studio and need to record a few quick demos or a professional track, you will need to have a mic attached to all of your acoustic drums (bass, snares and cymbals) so that you can get a full range of all the drum kit sounds that you are making, and that includes the kick drum!

Where is the best positioning for a Kick Drum Mic?

Best position for Kick Drum micThere is no single way to set up a kick drum mic, but the two options available are either placing it inside the kick drum, which will give a warmer tone, or placing it outside of the kick drum, which will provide you with the big, deep, rich bass drum thump that many people seem to love.

 

The best idea is to start experimenting with what you like and what kind of positioning works best, sometimes you will have to fiddle with the mic stand for a while to see which position best fits the style of playing you need, but more often than not you will quickly find that sweet spot your looking for within a few hours!

Top Choice

Shure BETA 52A Our Top Choice spot has to go one of Shure’s products, and that’s the BETA 52A. The cardioid design here is made to specifically suit low-frequency instruments, such as the kick drum. You will be able to achieve high-gain thanks to the pattern and the sound rejection here is one of the best. Every drummer surely knows the frustration that comes with buying a cheap microphone and then realizing that instead of a single sound source, the whole drum set can be heard. That’s definitely not the case with any of Shure’s products, and certainly not with the BETA 52A.

You will get studio-quality sound with this microphone, and if you are looking to up your skill level, whether it’s by recording or playing live, you need only the best equipment to do so, and Shure is the best candidate to provide you with such reliability. The customers praise this product wholeheartedly for the great performance it gives and not only that, Shure also supplies every purchase of the BETA 52A with a small leather case to help keep the product safe.

Shure’s Beta 52A has to be our Top Choice thanks to the fantastic features and service that it offers. The sound is crisp and clear and reproduces the thump and punch of the bass drums perfectly.

Premium Choice

Sennheiser e901 Our Premium Choice product has to be one of Sennheiser’s mics, specifically the E901 kick drum mic! Sennheiser has introduced a new way of thinking into the kick drum mic world: a microphone that can lay on the ground within or outside of the drum. This reduces the amount of fiddling that drummers usually need to endure when trying to position the mic stands in a way that best represents the sound of the kick drum, and this can take up to half an hour depending on how bendy and flexible the stand is! Sennheiser decided to strip the drummers of having to go through that process, and instead introduced a microphone that can lay down on the floor and still record as effectively as if it was supported by a stand.

Another great option is the Sennheiser Evolution, but it is, of course, all down to the user themselves.

Coming with a 10-year warranty, it’s hard to attribute any fault to this powerful little device. The frequency response is tailored to specifically pick up bass tone sounds and to do so effortlessly and reliably. Another great thing about this product is that it doesn’t need an adaptor cable, which is great for those that like to have minimalistic gear sets where they don’t need to worry about losing all kinds of cables!

Sennheiser’s e901 kick drum mic has to be our Premium Choice product thanks to the originality of its design and fantastic functions that it comes with!

Great Value

Sennheiser e602 Our Great Value product has to be another one of Sennheiser’s mics, and that’s the E602! It’s a fantastic bundle for the price, and the slim design is extremely attractive and should suit anyone that is looking to have an original looking piece of gear recording their kick drum. Many customers state that this mic is the best sounding microphone for kick drums in the world thanks to the punch and thump that it manages to reproduce when you play. It also comes with a 10-year warranty, therefore if something should happen your microphone you can quickly get the problem sorted. The integrated stand mount is also a useful addition that will prove to be useful for many.

Sennheiser knows that when you are playing live, there can be no mistakes, and that’s why they tailor-made this microphone to have the best response time yet. It’s easy to use, powerful and has a defined sound that other drummers who have different mics will surely envy. If you need a dynamic microphone that will represent your kick drum faithfully, Sennheiser has got you covered with the E602!

Our Great Value choice has to be the E602 kick drum mic thanks to the fantastic price it has and the rich detail and recording abilities that it provides!

Conclusion

There are many industry giants that make kick drum microphones of phenomenal quality, like Sennheiser, AKG, Shure, MXL and many more. Trying to choose a mic when you are offered so many fantastic options can be difficult and overwhelming, however, we still hope that we helped you take a step forward towards the right direction. If you still remain unsure about which product to purchase, we recommend watching and listening to samples of the microphone you are interested in and we wish you the best of luck in finding your new mic as soon as possible!

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