When it comes to mic’ing drums up, the two most important mics are the overhead and the kick mic. The overhead gives you an overall sound of the kit.
However, it doesn’t pick up the beefy punch that you need from a kick drum. The kick drum holds the foundation of a drum sound, meaning you’re going to need a great kick drum mic to show it.
Here are some of the best bass drum microphones on the market.
Best Kick Drum Mics for a Great Bass Tone
1. Audix D6
The Audix D6 is a cardioid dynamic microphone that is specifically designed for picking up low-frequency sounds. This makes it a solid kick drum mic.
It has great flavor with a wonderful EQ curve. The EQ curve is predictable, allowing you to get a consistent sound over different kick drums. This is great for environments where drum kits change.
It’s also good for mic’ing your kick in different venues. The sound of a room is always differing, so it’s good to have a consistent microphone that you’ll know what to expect with.
The D6 tends to bring a lot of attack from your kick drum. You’ll hear accented clicks with solid low end to back them. This makes the sound quite aggressive. So, the Audix D6 is great for a thick and solid drum sound. However, it’s not the best for gentle styles like jazz where you need a rounder tone from your kick drum.
It has great directionality, durability, and overall design. This makes it a great choice for drummers wanting to both record or play live.
Shure have a tendency for producing industry-standard products. When I first started recording drums, everyone would tell me that the Shure 52A kick drum mic is the way to go. It’s one of the most popular microphones on the market, producing a low boom that brings out serious depth.
This mic produces a sound that is fat and round without being too restrained. It can give a good click when needed as well as a warm thud. This makes it highly versatile. Whether it be jazz or rock, the Shure Beta 52A will do the job.
The supercardioid pattern helps in eliminating feedback and rejecting any unwanted noise from drums other than the kick. It’s a great kick drum mic for live gigging as well as studio recording.
If you don’t know much about drum tracking or microphones, the Beta 52A is a safe option to go with. It doesn’t require much EQ to get a great sound, making it an easy process when recording.
The frame of it is a bit bulky, making it difficult to position. This is just a minor inconvenience that won’t even bother most people.
The AKG D112 MKII is one of the best kick drum mics out there. When thinking of drum recording, it is always one of the mic names that come up. It has an extremely high sound pressure level that makes it great for hard hitters.
It delivers just the right balance of low end and beater attack with minimal fuss. While other kick drum mics can be quite clicky, the D112 produces a warm tone that makes you feel the kick drum without hearing too much aggressive attack.
You can get a clean dry sound by placing this mic inside of a kick drum. You can also get a full round sound by placing it just in front of the resonant head.
If you want deep clarity from your kick drum, the AKG D112 is a great choice for a microphone. It has a newly designed mount that makes it easier to calm onto a mic stand.
The thing that sets the Sennheiser e 602-II apart is the fact that you can place it really easily. You can clearly hear sonic changes as you move it across the front of your kick drum, allowing you to get a great sound with a bit of good positioning.
Senheiser has given a product that makes kick drums sound huge, no matter what their size is. The e602-II packs so much low end that it makes 16” kick drums boom. The tone is pure and natural, allowing for a true reflection of what your kick drum is built to sound like.
This mic prioritizes body over attack. It makes kick drums sound very boomy, but lacks a bit in attack. This makes it great for jazz and soft styles of music. However, it’s not the best for fast and articulate kick drum patterns.
The fast notes tend to blur into each other. Basically, the e 602-II has a lot of ‘oomph’ but not a lot of click.
It’s fairly affordable, making it a great kick drum mic option. It tends to work well on floor toms as well.
The sE Electronics V Kick is a supercardioid microphone that was made to handle the deep tones of kick drums. It’s compact and it’s versatile.
It packs a lot of warmth and punch, getting the kick drum to produce a large and effective sound. It’s pretty similar to other kick drum mics in its price range. However, it has one big difference that sets it apart.
On the back of the mic are switches that allow you to change between 4 different voices. Each one offers its own unique, style-specific sound that gives you the ability to change your kick drum sound with a flick of a switch.
Sound input switch features are usually common in higher priced kick drum mics. This makes the sE Electronics V Kick a great affordable option for versatility.
The Telefunken M82 is a large-diaphragm cardioid dynamic microphone that is designed to bring out a huge presence from your kick drum. The diaphragm is oversized and has a great low-frequency response.
There’s a switch on this mic that allows you to cut out certain frequencies, giving you a lot of control over your kick drum sound before going in to mix anything. This makes the M82 very versatile and a great studio mic.
It has a high boost switch which increases the attack from your kick drum, giving a punchier sound and a significant click.
The Telefunken M82 is a seriously high-quality microphone, making it more expensive than the other mics on this list.
While most kick drum mics are dynamic mics, it can sometimes be good to use a condenser mic. The Shure 91A is a condenser mic that specifically caters to low-frequency sound sources like kick drums.
It excels at capturing beefy kick sounds with a lot of articulation. It has all the tone, depth, and clarity you could ever need from a kick. It has a contour switch that allows you to let in more attack. This is great for someone who will play different styles of music with some songs requiring more attack than others.
It has a bit of a unique design, making it difficult to place comfortably around a kick drum. Overall, the Shure Beta 91A is a great condenser mic option for your kick drum.
Things to Know When Recording Drums
You need to have a recording interface to do home recording. It’s the piece of equipment that enables you to connect microphones to a computer. Microphones and recording interfaces go hand-in-hand when it comes to drums.
You need one for the other to function. Some interfaces tend to be better suited for different situations. So, you need to find an interface that fits what you plan to do.
When amplifying the drums for a live situation, the microphones can connect to a mixing desk. The mixing desk is the main controller of all the sounds of the band. This is where your kick drum sound will be mixed and edited.
You’re going to need software like ProTools or Logic Pro to do home recording. These two programs are industry standard. However, there are some free ones like GarageBand that have some basic recording functions.
It takes time to learn how to record drums well. You’ll constantly be making improvements. You have to think about it like you think about playing drums. It’s an art that you need to practice.
It’s important to note that you should have a decent sounding kick drum before putting a mic in front of it. How it’s tuned is more important than how it’s mic’ed. Once it’s tuned well, you can then do some EQ editing and mixing.
When it comes to kick drum mics, the quality of the mic is what makes the editing process easier. A high-quality kick drum mic won’t require a lot of EQ fiddling while a budget mic will. However, you can get a really great sound with a budget mic. It just depends on how much time you’re willing to put into tweaking various things.
If you want your drum recording to truly reflect the depth of your kick drum, get yourself one of these awesome kick drum microphones.