Miking the kick drum is a very subjective process. A lot goes into setting up the drum making sure you don’t hit your microphone.
But most importantly, choosing the best kick drum mic requires proper research. It becomes much easier when you have the time to put together all the best features of such mics.
If you are like many drummers, the sound of a kick drum is the central aspect of your drum kit. You need the best tools to bring out those fat and deep sounds.
As much as there are many bass drum mics out there, choosing can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. There are many types and brands with various features to consider.
Don’t worry though, in this guide; I will show you how to pick the right mic for your kick. I will also be sharing reviews of the best mics on the market.
What mic should I use for a kick drum?
Truth it, choosing a microphone for the bass drum accessories is not as easy as it sounds. Well, it is if you know where to start.
Go online and search for kick mics. All sorts of models will crop up for the interview.
But you will discover that some mics are mentioned severally. And those are the products you want to be checking out.
First, you need to know the different types of microphone technologies. Condenser and dynamic microphones are the two main options.
Dynamic microphones can capture larger setups and many instruments. They are therefore used as overhead to get the general sound.
For the bass drum, a small diaphragm dynamic mic is usually the best option. They are designed to capture the mid-range and attack from the beater with clarity.
Another great aspect about these mics is that they don’t exaggerate the bleed from the floor tom, snare, or the chimes.
And because they are small, they fit well inside the bass drum. They will not affect the drum’s sound through muffling and similar effects.
What is the best kick drum?
There are many options for a top kick drum mic for live sound & recording. Not all of them will give you the sound you need, though.
I have come across several great mics, some of which are reviewed by top studio engineers. One of the most famous options is the AKG D12 Large-diaphragm mic and their recent D112. Producers like Steve Albini, Roy Thomas Baker, and Chris Thomas endorse these products.
One of the reasons for their popularity is how their tonality is specifically crafted to flatter kick drum recording. Also, they feature a tight cardioid directional character and the ability to handle any SPL feature.
Another excellent option is the Sennheiser MD421 endorsed by Joe Barres, John Leckie, and Toby Wright. It comes with a 100Hz in low-frequency roll-off that is perfect for capturing the most profound bass sound. It’s vast 5 – 8KHz sensitivity creates a perfect bass recording solution, especially when combined with another stronger mic.
Many other top producers swear by Electrovoice RE20. It’s another famous bass drum mic that will never go unnoticed. It features a frequency response that is flatter than what you would expect from a dynamic microphone.
There are many great options in dynamic microphones for recording kick drums. However, it’s the condenser mics that carry the day.
Condenser mics offer low-side responses flat and over 30Hz. They also deliver in the 2 to 5kHz range with a wide sensitivity peak of up to 10KHz. They promise excellent clarity from all the drums.
I can talk about these microphones forever, but it will not make much sense to some users. Therefore, I have listed here six of the best.
6 Best Kick Drum Mics for Live And Studio
Here are the best kick drum mics. I have chosen them based on their features and build quality.
Shure is not a name in the world of audio recording gear. It has been around for a long time, offering high-quality products to modern users.
It’s no wonder that this Shure BETA 52 dynamic mic comes top on the list. It is among the top 20 best products on Amazon and is Amazon’s Choice product.
This microphone is a high-quality piece of equipment that will make your bass drum sound professional. It assures rich bass notes, making them sound flat.
If you need a mic that is specifically designed to pick kick drum sounds and any brass instrument, look no further. Its frequency response is enhanced and with 100% compatibility.
It comes with hardened steel mesh that goes around the drum head. It will handle all types of abuse you subject it to during those intense moments.
Also, the mic produces studio-quality sound. It has an excellent elimination of unwanted noise, delivering only smooth and clean sounds.
• Studio-quality tone
• Rich performance
The Shure BETA 91a bass drum mic is an ideal solution for all your drumming needs. It’s a good investment.
Audix is another brand that does not disappoint when it comes to offering high-quality recording gear. The company has been a trustworthy supplier to all music shops and online retailers.
Audix D6 promises a clarity of sound that you will never find anywhere else. It’s a perfect solution to recording those fat low sounds.
Perhaps you have faced a hard time in the past getting that crisp, deep tone from your kick drums. Well, this microphone will take care of your trouble.
One of the best things about Audix is that they test and assemble their products in person. Every mic is taken through a series of tests to ensure the highest quality.
This microphone can handle even the highest Sound Pressure levels without those annoying distortions. It has a low mass diaphragm, which filters the sounds to present only the purest kick during a performance.
Always buy a high-quality pair of drum sticks when using a mic for drums. Otherwise, you will not like the unwanted sounds that might accompany your playing.
The Audix has got you covered if you need something that can handle your floor toms and bass cabs. It comes in handy for all bass instruments.
• Can handle sound pressure levels
• Great for all brass instruments
• Excellent low end
It’s always good to buy your gear from trusted brands, and Audix is one of such. This good-looking, robust and sturdy microphone is a good addition to your recording. Its low mass diaphragm promises the best transient response.
Anyone who has ever used a German-made product will tell you they offer the best quality. Sennheiser is a German brand specialized in manufacturing audio production gear.
This is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular names on the market. They are known for producing high-end mics and headphones.
The e602 ii dynamic mic comes with a ten-year warranty – that is how much they believe in their products.
This kick drum mic features a solid built that is present from the word for. It will serve you for a long time.
Consider the sleek design of this microphone too. It’s good to look at compared to other kick drum microphones on the market.
It comes with a large-diaphragm to enhance its pick-up. It will reproduce even the lowest bass sounds faithfully.
The package comes with, and integrated mic stand mount, assuring stability and position of the microphone.
For those who want the convenience of plug-and-play, this mic is all you will ever need.
It is very easy to set up and use this microphone. And no matter your playing style, it will give you the satisfaction of a great product.
• Slim and compact
• Integrated mount stand
• Reputable brands
Sennheiser will never disappoint in terms of quality. The 10-year warranty of this mic assures reliability and functionality. You should invest in it if you can.
Here is another product from Sennheiser that you can rely on. It’s the elder brother of then e602, which makes it an even better choice.
This bass drum mic offers finely crafted and natural sound with rich detail.
Most users love it for its fast attack and wide frequency response of 40Hz – 18 kHz. These features promise an accurate sound projection, perfect for the bass drum.
It can handle SPLs of up to 150dB. There are very few mics with such an ability.
Also, the microphone is very easy to record with, and it performs exceptionally. Think of the best kick drum sound, and this is the microphone you want to be using.
Reliability and consistently clear sound make this mic and envy any other brand. It comes with a hum-compensation coil, which takes care of unwanted noise.
You can play on any stage and in any environment; this piece will stand up to the challenge. It is made from high-quality and sturdy material that ensures a long time of service.
Like any other Sennheiser product, it comes with a ten-year warranty. That should be enough to make you trust the brand.
Every drummer likes when their investment pays back. The Sennheiser e902 kick drum microphone is one product that does just that.
• Great fast attack
• Reliability and consistency
• Studio-quality performance
• It might not be as strong as many people expect
Are you looking for a no-frills bass drum microphone that ensures you get that accurate and punchy tone of your bass drum? The Sennheiser e902 is an excellent recommendation.
So far, we have been looking at some of the most expensive kick drum mics around. What if you are a budget buyer?
The MXL A-55 Kicker is the perfect solution. It is the best definition of affordable professional sound.
This is simply a killer dynamic mic that comes with the best features you can expect from a good mic.
It might not be the most popular product or from a popular brand, but it should be. This mic comes with a personified quality, something you will not get in similar products at this price range.
This mic will sweep you off your feet. You can trust it for the best kick drum sound to compliment your setup.
If you are looking for a perfect low-end pitch and snap without spending too much, you are home.
It has a small-boy-size appearance that may fool many, don’t let it. This microphone competes favorably with bigger players on the market.
It has earned its spot rightly as a dynamic mic and a professional too. Its unique combination of warmth and clarity is everything you would expect from high end-end gear.
Besides, the mic is long-lasting, heavy-duty, and dynamic. It will great you plenty of punch in its low-end sound.
It comes with an output impedance of 300ohms – you can’t ask for anything more.
• Great frequency response
• Versatile and dynamic
• Cardioid polar pattern
• It is not the best
The MXL A-55 Kicker is an affordable kick drum mic that will get the job done. Its metallic finish makes it durable. I recommend you get it if you don’t have enough for a high-end kit for recording drums. It’s the best-sounding microphone at this price.
AKG is a famous brand for microphones and headphones. The company has been around for many years, offering high-quality products.
This is a solidifying factor for the product’s reliability.
The AKG D112 MkII kick drum mic comes with a sturdy SPL capacity of 160dB. This makes it an excellent dynamic microphone recording bass drums and instruments.
Perhaps your old microphones are losing their touch and don’t have that original punch. Add the AKG to your collection, and it will fix the issue without asking for anything in return.
AKG microphones are known for producing a very fast attack and response time. This is vital for acoustic and electronic drums for simultaneous capturing of every beat from the kick drum.
Also, the mic features a Polar Cardioid pattern that makes it a pick-focused sound from the kick alone. It rejects all other noises from the surrounding.
The mic promises a lot of kick. Those who love an intense, punchy sound will find it very attractive.
• High SPL capacity
• Best sound quality reproduction
• Some users complain about its durability.
This AKG kick drum mic is one of the most dynamic products on the market. Its versatility and reliability make it a good recommendation.
Tips for Choosing the Best Kick Drum Mic
Choosing the best kick drum mic is vital to the performance you get. But with many options, finding a good pick can be tricky.
Here are some factors to consider that will make your choice much easier.
1. Understand kick drum mics
A kick drum mic is a dedicated microphone that records or is used for live performance to capture kick drums and other bass instruments. It has particular features that make it unique.
Consider these features:
• Polar Patterns. These patterns decide which side captures the sound. Cardioid mic capture sounds from the front, rejecting all the rest. It’s important to know which direction you will be recording from.
• Frequencies. Choose mics that will pick the lowest frequencies on the Hertz scale.
• SPL. Bass drums are thunderous, and hence, you need a mic that can handle high sound pressure levels.
2. Easy to position
It would be best to go for a microphone that is easy to use. Certain mic makes it pretty hard to position inside the bass drum. Luckily, most manufacturers have put this factor into consideration.
The bass drum mic takes a lot of punishment, especially during intense moments. Don’t invest in a weak piece of equipment that will break easily. Consider mics made from steel and from reputable brands.