There is much to do when it comes to the audio recording realm, especially for the drums. It can be quite hard to get the right sound from the drums.
A drum kit has many different parts, each with unique sound features. Hence, it would help if you got a microphone that fits every part specifically.
Best Tom Mics to buy in 2023
A mic that works well for one drum may not be good for another drum. Some microphones are made to capture deep sounds, while others are for brighter drums.
In this guide, we will be looking specifically at the best tom mics.
I have tried to include different products to meet different needs. In such a versatile industry, it not easy to just tell somewhat the best product is. We all have different budgets and needs. We need things to improve our drumming skills.
The studio is one place you want to ensure every sound comes out clearly. I have tried to include products for different budgets. Whether you are looking at a $500 budget or something under $100, you will find this guide very useful.
Best microphones for toms reviewed
1. Shure SM57
Shure is one of the biggest brands in the world of audio productions. And SM57 is one of the most popular mics from the company.
You will find a microphone in many lists of top microphones, especially in live setups. I have reviewed the piece before for many other things, including rap vocals and hi-hat.
The Shure SM57 could be the most versatile microphone of all time. You will find it in the studio and in live recording scenes, among many other uses in the world. It can pick up a wide range of sounds with great clarity.
Even though many users may not consider it the first choice for recording in a studio, it’s still one versatile tool for different environments. Also, it does not provide the same detail as a condenser microphone. However, for toms, this dynamic microphone is highly recommended because they are more robust like the U87 clones.
Chances of microphones getting bashed are very high, and condenser microphones cannot withstand those rigors’ performances. You want something that is strong enough to take on the punishment while delivering good performance at the same time.
Another reason you should get the SM57 is its versatility. You can use it for a wide range of applications, and it will still perform impressively. It does not have to be specifically a tom mic. This means you will have invested in one best tom mic solution for most of your needs. One limitation of the SM57 is that it does not come with a clip or clamp for the rim of the drum.
2. MXL A-5t Dynamic Tom Drum Microphone w/Mounting Clip
The best microphones for recording tops are usually very expensive. Yet, those who may not have the budget for these options still need quality sounds. Unfortunately, there are not very many budget mics out there.
I am a big fan of the MXL range in regard. They are not very expensive, but still offer good performance for the modern drummer.
It features a sturdy metal body to protect it from physical abuse and external noise. Hence, it’s a microphone you can rely on for rigorous performances. Besides, it’s a custom build for drums. Their frequency response is perfect for toms.
They come with an adjustable mount, which is set on the rim of the drum accessories. You can pivot this part to your preferences, giving you the perfect position for your toms.
It comes with high SPL, which means it can withstand large volumes without creating too many distortions.
It is not the microphone you want to use on professional performance, but it’s a great choice if you are on a budget. It’s well built and does not disappoint in sound quality.
This mic is a wonderful recommendation for beginners, small gigs, and even home studio.
3. Shure PGA56
Here is another offering from Shure that you will find very interesting. It is built only for toms and snare, which means it delivers the drums’ perfect performance.
If you have been in the recording industry for a while, you know that Shure is not a very new name. It features among the top tom mics brand in the world and could easily be regarded as the king of dynamic microphones.
This PGA576 features a cardioid pickup pattern. This means it can pick only the source of the sound, without any ambient noises. Besides this, the microphone features a rugged design.
Hence, it does not damage easily. This is a perfect feature for an aggressive drummer and one that you want to consider when connecting a microphone to any drum.
Since it is made specifically for toms, it has the swivel mount necessary for clipping nicely to the rim of your drum. It is this simplicity and ease of use that makes it a favorite choice for most drummers.
Apart from being one of the best tom mics, Shure ships it with a carry case. Some bundles come with an XLR cable.
It is not overly priced either, as it features somewhere in the mid-range. It is not as expensive as a condenser mic, but it will deliver clear vocals for you.
4. Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid for Snare and Toms
Sennheiser is another common brand in the audio industry. It is a powerhouse for a top-quality microphone, popular with a wide range of users.
In this case, their E604 microphone offers the same top quality as any of their products. When it comes to the best toms’ sounds, you can never go wrong with this option. It can easily be all the mic you will need for your tom and snare sounds.
I was impressed with this mic mostly because it comes with more features than other products in this price range. Its ruggedness, ease-of-use, and ability to withstand punishment, with exceptional sound quality, give this mic its goodness.
It features a high SPL and low-distortion design, which means it can handle the loud volume. No matter how hard a hitter you might be, this mic promises an excellent delivery.
Durability is among the main factors one should consider when choosing a microphone for toms. And the E604 has it all. It features a reinforced glass-fiber body, which makes it highly durable. It is so good that Sennheiser has given it a 10-year warranty, just so you know how reliable the product is.
The whole range of e600 products features top-quality instruments. They are designed for specific sounds, for which they do a great job.
This mic will serve you well for both studio and live setups. And although it’s a bit on the higher side in price, it’s still a worthy investment.
5. Beyerdynamic M201TG Dynamic Hypercardioid Microphone
Beyerdynamic microphones have been featuring among the best tom mics in the world for many years. And the M201TG is no different.
This is a dynamic mic that promises incredible details and crystal sounds from the drums. It has a brilliantly articulated tone and a tight polar pattern, which means it will only catch the needed sound sources.
The hyper-cardioid feature rejects bleed from other drums while drawing out immense energy from the toms. It captures lots of details, which makes it one of the best tom mics.
In terms of price, it features the most expensive options. But if you consider its features and the beautiful, robust design, you will be glad to invest. It is a rugged and versatile piece, delivering a detailed and natural sound.
This mic comes from a list of the most recommended tom and snare microphones. You should be fine if you can spend extra on the best quality.
Such a compact and easy-to-set-up microphone is the weapon you need for the perfect tom performance. Each piece is designed and manufactured in Germany by a team of highly experienced experts. It makes a wonderful investment for tom mics.
The only problem is its price, which seems too much for a mic designed specifically for toms.
6. Audix D4 Hypercardioid Drum Microphone
Audix may not be the most popular brand in the world of audio instruments. However, they build incredible solutions for different settings.
This Audix D4 Hypercardioid Dynamic Drum microphone is a premium quality mic perfect designed for the best drum sounds. It is particularly good for rack toms and floor toms.
It features a hyper-cardioid pickup pattern, which rejects unwanted ambient, leaving you only with the desired sounds. Its compact and rugged design makes it easy to position, enabling it to deliver a tight and punchy sound.
Its excellent built quality keeps it strong for a long time. It can withstand much of the punishment that comes from aggressive drumming.
Isolation, the sweet spot of your tom, leaves you with a clean sound. It’s effective both in-studio and live settings.
Generally, this could be the most effective tom drum mic any drummer can ever have. It does not surprise me that most professional drummers have found it very effective. It has been made to withstand top-impact drumming for long periods.
There are so far not any complaints I have seen about this mic. If you have the money, go on and invest in this product, it will not disappoint you.
7. Shure PGA56 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Shure is always making toph-quality solutions for audio enthusiasts. Here is one of their microphones that has received a lot of positive reviews from different users.
The PGA56 Cardioid Dynamic mic is a popular choice for toms in live setups and home studios. It is made with a mic cartridge that promises a clear sound reproduction. The cardioid pickup patterns ensure you don’t get any unwanted noises.
Shure is well known in the world of professional applications. High-quality sound production and durability are the main features that define what they do.
Use the PGA56 for live shows, and you will love its quality. It comes with an excellent built quality, designed to serve you for a long time. Metal housing on the mic ensures can stand up to shocks and bumps.
However, it’s the rock-solid sound and reliability of this product that attracts most users. No matter the application, you are always assured of good performance. And the best part is, it’s a budget microphone.
Hence, if you are low on budget and yet need a professional-level performance in a microphone, you can always count on this product. You get a clear and punchy sound from every tom. Apart from this, it’s very easy to attach and set up in position.
In summary, the Shure PGA56 cardioid dynamic microphone is an ideal workhorse for live shows, comes with a rugged design, and offers a clear sound reproduction, all at a good value for money.
On the negative side, it lacks the richness and depth of premium options. It is also bulkier than most other tom microphones. If you can look beyond these limitations, this mic is a good investment.
8. CAD Audio TSM411
For those who are buying on a budget, you still need a solution that can stand up to pressure while delivering top-end sounds. Well, the CAD Audio TSM411 could be all you need. This sub-100-dollar mic is one of the best price-for-value deals a drummer can get.
CAD Audios is not a new name in the world of microphones and other audio solutions. This piece features a specially tuned response range, optimized to pick sounds from 50 Hz to 12000 Hz.
The lows sound comes out extremely powerfully, thanks to its high sensitivity. On the other hand, the highs are clear and well pronounced.
However, it may not be the best option for the best quality sound. At this price range, you should not expect a lot.
Nevertheless, it features a super-cardioid pickup that eliminates unwanted side noises. No disturbances mean you get more clarity in its sounds.
9. Rode NT1KIT
Rode is another brand that has a good reputation with drummers. High-quality features and durability define Their products.
The Rode NT1KIT comes as a great alternative for those who need an alternative tom mic on a budget. It comes with a cardioid pickup, which eliminates unwanted noises. This is a feature found on most high-end microphones.
Included SMR shock mount makes it easy to set the mic on your toms and snares. It also comes with a dust cover to protect it from too much dust while on stage.
The product is also defined by a good frequency response curve that picks low to high frequencies with clarity.
Judging from the price tag, this microphone’s features and built quality seem to be above its class. Premium metal construction, isolating shock mounts that reduce distortion and unwanted chatter, and clear sounds are not common features at this price level.
Also, it comes with a custom-tuned frequency response, which sets it apart from the competition. Its sound is truly balanced, not too warm nor too bright.
One limitation I find with this microphone is its mediocre pop filter. But if you can look beyond this limitation, you have an amazing tom microphone.
10. Sennheiser MD 421 II
Sennheiser is a German company that is well known in the audio reproduction industry. You will find a lot of their microphones with the most professional drummers and audio producers in the world.
So, if your aim is to hammer the heads of your toms with great power, a dynamic cardioid microphone is needed. In this case, Sennheiser MD 421 II is a perfect solution.
It comes with an extra-high SPL handling capacity, which makes it ideal for hard hitters. You can go berserk with your stick without worrying about the quality of the sound reproduced.
Forget about mishits and similar errors. Don’t worry about drops and thuds either, as this mic’s solid construction handles everything for you.
And now to the most important part – the sound quality, the highs are crystal clear, with great headroom. You get the sharpest tones and a lot of brightness. Best of all is the ultra-high tones that don’t sound warped or thin. The lows are not bad either – heavy and powerful with great basses.
The only downside is that the microphone clips included are poorly designed.
Best tom mic – tips
Now that you know some of the best tom mics, you may want some specific ideas. Here are some considerations.
Best Floor Tom Mic
The Audix D4 Hypercardioid Drum Microphone is my best mic for floor tom solution. It can capture the lowest frequencies with clarity, making sure you are heard well.
Best Rack Tom Mic
Consider the Shure SM57. It is not only the most versatile tom mics on the market today, but it can pick a wide range of frequencies. It’s particularly good for rack toms.
Best Budget Tom Mic for Recording
Recording a full set of toms can be very expensive if you use industry-standard mics. Hence, you consider using Sennheiser e604. This mic delivers a compatible performance of higher-end microphones, with a good comparison to a higher-priced MD421. Your drum kit will sound expensive.
You can mic up your drum kit in different ways. Some drummers do not mic the tom individually. But if you are looking for details, it should be your best approach.
The Shure SM57 will make your kit sound expensive at a lower price. I would therefore recommend this piece, especially for its versatility in tom mics.