When it comes to playing in bands, sometimes there are parts of songs that just need that extra oomph from backing vocals. Backing vocals are sung by members of the band, whether it's the guitarist, bassist, or even the drummer.
Singing drummers have been a trend that goes back all the way to the 70s. Just think of Phil Collins.
As a singing drummer, you’re going to need a vocal mic and here are my top recommendations for it.
Best Headset Mics for Singing Drummers
1. AKG C 520
The AKG C 520 comes in the form of a lightweight headset that is highly adjustable and easy to move around in. It’s a cardioid condenser that allows the drummers to sing and be free to play at the same time.
This mic allows you to sing both quietly and loudly, all while being heard very clearly. It has a clean sound that will reflect your voice truly. It picks up a bit of the drum sound around it, but that is to be expected from a headset mic.
It has a few adjustment settings. Once you’ve adjusted it to the right place, it’s going to stay there securely. It tends to slide a bit if you sweat. However, it only slides if you sweat a lot.
Overall, it’s a great mic for drummers who play gigs. It will work on stage and in rehearsals. I wouldn’t recommend using this mic for studio recording.
This mic is great for drummers that don’t want too much of a visual object obstructing their head. The PRO8HEx is very thin, being almost invisible when you’re playing on stage. It’s a dynamic mic with a hypercardioid pattern, meaning it’s not going to pick up much of the drums around you when you sing.
The sound that it produces is very clear and articulate. The headset is very solid, keeping the mic in place no matter how much you move. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any position adjustment options, meaning the headset may not fit some people.
This mic is fairly inexpensive, making it a great budget option for drummers. You could even buy a few of them to give to your band members.
Shure has a reputation for producing high-quality affordable microphones. The PGA31-TQG is a small headset mic that is designed for hours of comfortable use. Thin and small headsets can get seriously uncomfortable after playing drums for hours, but this mic does nothing of the sort.
It has amazing clarity and gain before feedback. Once you’ve positioned this mic properly, you’re going to get a sweet vocal sounds a bit boxy. You can get rid of the slight boxiness by changing some EQ settings.
The smooth appearance of this mic makes it quite pleasing to look at. You’re going to look aesthetic on stage while being able to engage with the audience more, thanks to the fact that it’s placed securely on your head.
You’re not going to get a better mic at this price. It’s light, easily adjustable, and doesn’t shift on your head when playing intense drum parts.
The Telefunken M80-SH is a special exception on this list in that it isn’t a headset mic. It’s a supercardioid dynamic microphone that excels in producing studio-quality audio. It can be used for both instruments and vocals.
When playing drums, you just need to attach it to a mic stand and position it comfortably somewhere near your face so that you can sing into it.
It has a capsule that is specially-designed to help in giving a clean and balanced response. This allows you to get a seriously smooth vocal sound, even when you’re playing drums at the same time.
This mic will give your voice a lot of depth by bringing it to life without having to adjust EQ settings too much. It has great rejection of outside sound sources, meaning the drums around you won’t bleed into it.
The casing is small enough to position the M80-SH quite close to your face while still being free to play the drums.
It’s a seriously high-quality microphone that is going to work great for live gigging and studio recording. It’s an expensive investment that is going to last you a long time and give you a lot of good use.
The Senheiser ME 3-II is a wireless headset mic that is designed for loud stage environments. It has a cardioid polar pattern, allowing you to play drums and sing without worrying about the mic picking up too much sound from the drums.
This mic has an incredibly high sound pressure level for a headset mic, meaning that no matter how loud the sound on stage is, it’s not going to produce feedback.
It produces a balanced tone that is clear and articulate. The output level of this mic is quite low, meaning you’ll have to adjust the sensitivity to match the levels of your band.
It’s very lightweight, allowing you to move freely without it feeling cumbersome. Although it’s light, it looks quite bulky on your head. So, if you don’t want the crowd to see that you’re wearing a headset mic, the ME 3-II is not for you.
Overall, it’s a decently priced headset mic that is going to work great for styles of music that are loud such as rock or metal.
It requires a great level of coordination to play drums and sing at the same time. It’s not easy and takes a fair bit of practice. Drummers are usually backing vocalists. There aren’t many lead singing drummers due to the massive amount of concentration it takes to do both.
A drummer will usually sing backing vocals when he’s laying down a solid beat. If you play intricate drum parts, singing just might not be on the cards.
Although it seems obvious that you should be able to sing when singing with a band. Some drummers won’t sing because they feel their voices aren’t strong enough. I used to think like this. I could play drums really well but I thought my singing voice was terrible.
When it comes to backing vocals, you don’t actually need to be able to sing that well. You just need to be able to sing in tune, which most of us can do. You’d be amazed at how much layered vocals can benefit a song.
You may need a better singing voice if you’re going to do harmonies, though!
Headsets vs Free-Standing Mics
Buying a vocal mic for drumming can leave you with a few choices to make. One of the most debatable ones is whether to get a microphone that is attached to a headset or to get a loose microphone to mount onto a stand.
Each type of mic has its benefits. Headsets eliminate the need for a stand, freeing up the space around you. They’re more convenient when drumming as you won’t need to move the microphone around and you won’t potentially have a mic stand get in your way.
However, headsets are fairly compact, meaning microphone companies can’t put their highest-quality mics on them. If you’re looking for the best possible mic to get, it will have to be a free-standing one.
These are great for recording in the studio or using in gigs where there is a lot of space around the drum set. The microphone stand will just need to be something extra to think about when setting up.
Dynamic vs Condenser Mics
Dynamic and condenser mics are the two different types of microphones that you get. Dynamic mics pick up sound from a single source.
They point at something and pick the sound up from it. Condenser mics pick sound up from a wider source, reflecting more of an overall sound.
Both types of microphones are used with vocalists. However, it’s best to use a dynamic mic as a drummer. A condenser mic will pick up too much of the sound coming from your drum kit. It will be irritating to try and eliminate that sound in the mix.
As you can see from this list, there are many suitable vocal mics for drummers. The type of mic you get should depend on the situation you’re going to play in. We’ve all sat in our practice room and sung while jamming along to our favorite songs. So, get a mic and sing along with your band.