5 Best Tom Mics (2020) for Live & Studio Drum Recording

Updated on by Brett Clur | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Playing an acoustic instrument like drums can be a simple thing when you’re just practicing at home. However, they usually need to be amplified when playing live gigs. You may also want to build a home studio where you can make drum recordings. 

This is where tom mics come in.

You’ll need some good mics to get the best sound possible. Here’s my list of the best microphones for toms.

Best Tom Microphones for Authentic Sounds

The Shure PGA56 is a cardioid dynamic microphone that is designed to pick up sound from a high impact source. This makes it great for toms, kick drums and snare drums.

The mic has a nice fat and warm tone that caters very well to toms. It has a lot of clarity and doesn’t pick up many external sounds.

The build design of it makes it easy to fit onto any tom and not get in the way. This makes it quite comfortable and you won’t have to worry about hitting the mic accidentally once it’s mounted.

This mic is fairly inexpensive, meaning you can get a few of them without breaking the bank.

One downside to it is that it can sometimes produce an unwanted tone that is caused by the vibrations on the toms.

  • Inexpensive
  • Mounts very comfortably onto toms
  • Nice fat and warm tone
  • Vibrations from toms sometimes cause unwanted tones

The cardioid mic has a high sound pressure level, meaning it can handle hard hits on toms and produce a great sound from them.

This mic expresses highs and lows very well, meaning it will work just as well for a high tom as it will for a floor tom. It’s good for getting a deep tom sound that is super quick and clean. This is thanks to its fast transient response.

The mic itself is very light. It has a hard plastic covering which could be damaged if you hit it with a stick too many times. So, make sure to place this mic way out of the way so that you don’t hit it.

  • High SPL
  • Great for deep and clean tom sound
  • Casing isn’t very durable

The Beyerdynamic M 201 TG is a low-profile dynamic microphone that is made to fit just about anywhere in a drum setup. It’s great for recording all kinds of instruments, but it’s especially good for picking up the toms of a drum kit.

This mic delivers a tight low-end and an extended high-end. The fast transient response means that very little EQ settings are required to get a great tom sound. The tones of the toms will sound punchy, clear, and balanced.

The M201 TG is built like a tank and feels very solid. This makes it a highly durable microphone that will last a long time.

It’s quite pricey, so you’ll be spending a lot of money if you get one for each one of your toms. It also doesn’t come with a mount for drums, so you’ll need to buy that separately or just connect it to a mic stand.

  • Delivers tight low-end and extended high-end
  • Little EQ settings are required to get a great sound
  • Very durable
  • Expensive

The Audix D4 is a hypercardioid low-frequency microphone that happens to be the first-choice for a lot of sound engineers in recording studios as well as live venues.

It has a good built-in EQ which makes it easy to get a great sound from your toms. It produces a fantastic clear tone with a lot of low-end and punch.

It’s sturdily built with an aluminum body and steel mesh grill. It’s also compact and quite easy to position, meaning a few of them will fit very comfortably into your drum setup.

This mic is meant for the boomy sound of toms, meaning it won’t be the best option if your toms are tuned high and resonant. You’ll find that quite a few drummers use an Audix D4 on the floor toms and then different mics on the rack toms.

  • Great built-in EQ
  • Good for boomy low-end
  • Durable
  • Not great for toms that are tuned very high

The sE Electronics V Beat is a supercardioid dynamic microphone that is designed to pick up sound from snare drums and toms. It’s meant for both, but it works especially well on toms.

It produces an extremely natural sound, allowing you to reflect a very true tone from your toms. This a great because a lot of microphones can alter the sound of your drums, stopping you from getting a real sound of your drums.

It’s pretty good at rejecting bleed from cymbals and other drums around it, which means you don’t have to worry about that when placing the mic.

This mic has a compact design that makes it very easy to position on the toms. However, it doesn’t come with a clamp. So, you’ll need to buy a tom clamp separately or put the V Beat on a mic stand.

  • Produces a very natural sound
  • Compact design makes it easy to position
  • Doesn’t come with a clamp to mount onto a drum

Things to Know When Recording Drums

Recording Interface

If you want to record your acoustic drums at home, you’re going to need a recording interface. The interface is what connects the microphones to your computer.

There are a lot of different interfaces with different qualities, but most of them generally do the same thing. I have a list of some of the best recording interfaces for drums here.

You don’t need a recording interface when playing live. A sound engineer will have a sound desk that all the mics will connect to. He’ll then mix your drums from there.

Software

Once you have an interface, you’re going to need recording software. Most interfaces come with free software. However, that software usually does the bare minimum. If you want to make some quality drum recordings, you’re going to need to get software like ProTools or Logic Pro.

You’re then going to need to learn how to mix and EQ drums on the software to get the best sound that you possibly can.

Conclusion

Recording instruments is a skill that you have to learn, just like playing drums. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. You can’t get a good recording with just drum mics. You’ll also need overheads, a snare mic, a kick mic, and sometimes even a hi-hat mic.

Remember that you’ll need a mic for each tom, meaning once you choose a mic on this list, you’ll need to get 2 or 3 of them. Some people like to mix and match microphones on different drums, but that comes down to personal preference.

So, go out and get some tom mics to create a great drum sound!

Brett Clur

About Brett Clur

Brett has been playing drums for 18+ years. He's a huge drumming gear enthusiast and also teaches drumming to his students. He's most active on Instagram (@brettclurdrums), where he regularly uploads drumming videos.

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