With the incredible proliferation of drum microphones available today, there has never been a better time to choose a drum microphone kit to fit all of your needs.
Whether you are looking for a microphone for your kick drum, snare drum, cymbals, or toms, the perfect drum microphone for you is out there.
There are lots of different types of microphones, so which one should you choose? Are you looking for the best cheap drum mics? The best drum mics for recording? Are you recording drums at home or are you playing live? You’ll have to take into consideration your budget, your desired musical application, and the type of quality microphone you’re looking for.
Regardless, there’s something out there for everyone and here is our list of the best drum mics for you!
We’ll breakdown the following:
- Best Drum Mic Kit
- Best Snare Mic
- Best Kick Mic
- Best Tom Mic
- Best Hi-Hat Mic
- Best Overhead Drum Mic
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Best Drum Mic Kit – Sennheiser e600 Drum Set Microphone Pack
Should you decide to forgo picking your drum microphone kit piecemeal and want to purchase a matching set all at once, the Sennheiser e600 drum mic kit is the way to go.
This dynamic kit comes with seven microphones including a dynamic cardioid microphone for your kick drum, two super cardioid condenser microphones for overhead drums and high hat/cymbals, and four cardioid dynamic microphones for your snare and toms.
Out-of-the-box, this kit has everything you need! If you like mixing drums post production or even recording drums with two mics, you’ll have plenty of options with this drum mic kit. Some features:
- Ideal for a variety of applications, this drum mic kit provides an incredibly wide frequency range and excellent audio reproduction in any environment. The microphones are durable and road ready, making it an excellent choice for live applications. The microphones also hold their own in the studio making them excellent drum recording mics.
- The microphone kit comes complete with mounting clips, covers for all of the mics, and a hard-shell case to make sure they’re protected and perform night in and night out.
- With a fast-transient response and a low-frequency extension, the microphones are ideal for direct use on any one of your drums or cymbals. Set these drum mics up as close as you’d like!
- Drive these drum set microphones as hard as you can, you’re sure to get a clear sound no matter where you’re at or how hard you’re playing.
Best Snare Mic – Shure SM-57 Cardioid Dynamic
Hands down, the Shure SM-57 cardioid dynamic microphone might be the most widely used microphone for recording drums and overall best mic for drums. Prolific, durable, rugged, and great sounding, this is the microphone you want to make sure you have included in your drum mic kit. You can nail a hammer with this microphone and it’ll still crank out excellent sound reproduction for your drums! The SM-57 features:
- The SM-57 dynamic cartridge and cardioid polar pattern means that you’ll pick up the sounds you want and nothing else. Great for close miking!
- Shure’s contoured frequency response delivers crystal clear instrumental reproduction. No matter which drum you use it on, or how you mic your drums, the SM-57 performs well.
- The SM-57’s construction and durability is legendary. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. You can expect these drum mics to last.
- Thousands of drummers can’t be wrong. Make sure to have a couple of these microphones on hand. Plain and simple.
Best Kick Mic – Shure BETA 52A Dynamic
The second Shure drum microphone on our best of 2021 list is the BETA 52A dynamic kick drum microphone. A stalwart among the industry, the 52A is just at home in a recording studio or on an arena stage. This kick drum microphone is the undisputed king of the kick drum mics and most definitely deserves a place in your drum mic kit. You can rely on Shure’s reputation for quality construction and solid performance with the BETA 52A. Some highlights include:
- Designed specifically for kick drums and bass instruments, the Shure BETA 52A is a one trick pony, albeit an incredibly amazing one trick pony!
- It’s locking stand adapter and easily accessible XLR connector ensures an easy set up even if you are miking inside of your bass drum.
- The super cardioid pattern is designed for high gain and accurate sound reproduction no matter how thunderous your bass drum might be!
- With a steel mesh grill and diecast metal design, the BETA 52A is a workhorse that will stand up to anything you throw at it.
Best Tom Mic – Shure PGA56
There is a reason why there are three different Shure microphones on this list (perhaps you should get them all and put together a Shure drum mic kit of your own), and the PGA56 cardioid dynamic mic is no exception. Like the other Shure mics we reviewed, this drum mic is incredibly well designed and delivers excellent sound.
It’s also incredibly adaptable, easily mountable to whichever tom you choose to mic. Night in and night out, you can expect this microphone to deliver exceptional results. Here are some of its features:
- Quick release latch with a swivel joint enabling quick and simple positioning on your drum kit. This is incredibly helpful when you’re experimenting with different drum sounds in the studio and you need to change drum recording mic positions frequently.
- The cardioid pattern ensures you pick up the sound of your drums and not unwanted noise which is helpful when miking tom drums that are close to each other on your kit.
- Legendary design and construction make this microphone almost bulletproof. Don’t sweat it when you hit these things when you’re performing your “rock star” drum solos!
- Incredible price point. Go ahead and buy one for each of your toms, even if you have a dozen or more! This microphone is sure not to break your bank.
Best Hi-Hat Mic – Audio-Technica AT4053B
Perhaps not as well-known as some of the other microphone brands on this list, Audio-Technica has been making incredible microphones for drums for decades. The AT4053B hyper-cardioid condenser microphone is no exception.
With a price point slightly higher than some other microphones, this microphone certainly delivers on your investment. It shines in multiple applications and in multiple environments making it quite possibly one of the most adaptable microphones you have in your arsenal. A swiss-army knife drum mic, you can use this mic in any position on your drum kit. Some features include:
- Highly effective microphone for both live and recording environments. There isn’t anyplace where this mic won’t perform.
- The hyper cardioid pattern means this microphone will pick up exactly what you put in front of it. No sound bleeding, external noise, or other instruments in the mix with this drum mic!
- The microphone’s balanced output means that you have an incredibly clear signal, even if you’re playing the drums like Animal from the Muppets. It’s high-technology and transformerless circuitry provides you with an incredibly clear sound, with virtually no distortion. Great for hard drummers, but also capable of picking up the subtlest of jazz strokes.
- Designed and built to withstand the rigors of the road, the AT4053B is a sturdy and very well-built microphone, ready to rock out in the studio or on stage.
Best Overhead Mic – AKG Perception 170
Another perhaps lesser known company on our list, AKG microphones are nonetheless an exceptional choice when choosing a microphone for your drum kit. The company’s line of microphones for your drums are robust, which means you’ll have a lot of options when looking for a drum mic to capture that perfect sound. Of all of AKG’s drum mics, their AKG Perception 170 is exceptional.
Perhaps the best overhead mic available today, the P170 is prolific in professional musician use on stage and in the recording studio. Not only is it one of the best drum mics for recording, it’s also one of the best overhead drum microphones available today. Featuring:
- A small diaphragm condenser makes this microphone perfect for recording overhead drum sounds, delivering both outstanding clarity and transient response.
- The all metal body and sturdy design makes this microphone stand up to day-to-day use either on the road or in the recording studio.
- The switchable attenuation pad allows this microphone to perform well for high SPL applications, meaning you can throw all the decibels you want at it and still get a clear sound!
- P170 packs all of AKG’s experience with producers, sound engineers, musicians, and music production specialists in an affordable package. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with this drum mic.
As you can see, there are some amazing drum microphones available today. Whether your brand specific, or ready to try your hand at an offering from a different company, there’s something out there for everyone when it comes to microphone drum kits, cymbal mics, snare drum microphones, and the like.
Advancements in drum microphone technology have made these drum mics not only more affordable, but better sounding as well. Whichever drum mic or drum mic set you choose, you’re getting an exceptional product that will not only last, but help you sound better.
Once you settle on a set, and your drum kit is set up properly, take look at this article to learn how to mic a drum kit and make sure you’re drum mic setup is getting the most out of your new drum microphones. Proper drum setup will ensure that your drum mics are proportionally placed and, better still, operating to their full potential. On the other hand, if your drum set is put together topsy-turvy, it’ll be difficult to set up your drum mics so they’re picking up what they’re supposed to.
Drum bleed isn’t any easy fix when mixing your drums, nor does it sound good when you’re performing live. Take a little time to find what works best for you. Your bandmates and audience will appreciate it. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
You can’t go wrong with any of these drum mics on this list of best drum mics for 2021, so have fun mixing and matching, and get out there and put together the best drum microphone set for you!