Are you an aspiring drummer recording their songs and performing in front of audiences? Are you in the learning phase and want to test the sound of your drums? Whether you’re experienced or not, one thing is for sure, adding new music gear to your collection is always an exciting process. Slightly tedious, but fascinating.
As you go along your journey of music, you will find that the sound of your kick drums, although best, is inadequate on its own when trying to record or play for an audience. This is exactly why you need a kick mic. To make those rich bassy sounds spread out through the room.
There are hundreds of kick drum mics in the market, each with their qualities. Choosing one that suits you the best and serves you the most purpose is a bit too confusing and challenging. How are you ever going to come to a decision? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. In this article, we’ll help you decide by reviewing and analyzing five products that we think are ideal for any drummer out there. Not only that, but well also guide you on how to set and record a kick drum mic.
What is the best kick drum mic?
Now that we have covered the Best Drum Mics lets come to the mics that we recommend. The very first question that you need to answer before choosing a microphone is, what purpose do you want it for? Do you want to record in-studio with your Recording Interface? Do you want one for live performances? Or do you want a mic that can function as both?
Although, the market for kick drum microphones is strong. The sheer amount of products that everyone claims are the “best” can be baffling. To help you find the right one, we’ve listed down the five products that are favourite amongst drummers.
Audix D6 Sub Impulse Kick Drum Mic
The first microphone on our list is this sleek mic by Audix, one of the best microphone manufacturers around the world. The Audix D6 Sub Impulse Kick Drum Mic is a dual purpose mic, with specs that work amazing for both in-studio and live performances. Characterized with a cardioid pick-up pattern and a frequency response of 30Hz-15kHz, the D6 instrument mic is an ideal choice for kick drum.
Audix D6 Sub Impulse Key Features
- Live Stage – Coffeehouse to the stadium
- Kick drum, floor tom, djembe, Cajon acoustic bass, electric bass cabs
- Studio – any instrument requiring precise low frequency
Audix D6 Sub Impulse Pros:
- Almost everyone that owns this mic is super impressed by it, which doesn’t come as a shock as Audix is one of the top brands when it comes to quality microphones. According to more than one review, the Impulse D6 gives a clear and crisp sound quality. It captures the attack, tone and low end with ease. The mic can handle high sound levels without making it come out distorted. Another plus point, many agreed was that it gives exceptional results whether it is used in recordings or for live sound. Its also not too specific or picky, and can be also be used for other instruments.
Audix D6 Sub Impulse Cons:
- There are no complaints related to the sound quality of the mic. One user said that it was slightly tricky for them to set up.
Good sound quality, great catching as well as amplifying frequency, and a sleek, stunning body! What’s not to love about this kick mic? For sure, one of the best music gear you can get for yourself.
Shure Beta 52A Kick Drum Mic
Shure has been around in the market for producing top-notch mikes since 1925. They launch new products every few years, with features that are better than the last. There is one thing that doesn’t change, though, and it’s their exceptional sound quality. If you’re a professional, Shure Beta 52 is the way to go.
Shure Beta 52A Key Features
- Frequency response shaped specifically for kick drums and bass instruments
- Built-in dynamic locking stand adapter with integral XLR connector simplifies setup, especially inside a kick drum
- Studio-quality performance, even at extremely high sound-pressure levels
- Supercardioid pattern for high gain-before-feedback and superior rejection of unwanted noise
- Hardened steel mesh grille resists wear and abuse
- The advanced pneumatic shock mount system minimizes the transmission of mechanical noise and vibration
- Neodymium magnet for high signal-to-noise ratio output
- Low sensitivity to the varying load impedance
Shure Beta 52A Pros:
- The reviewers are more than pleased with this mic. They claim that it is one of the best microphones they’ve ever come across, considering the price range. It’s compact, durable and easy to use. Not only does this mic give your kick drum a better sound throw, but it would also give it a throaty punch. According to one reviewer, “kick drum sounds 1000 times better with this mic. It produces the deep, deep round kick drum sound that you only hear in night clubs that you can feel in your chest”. Well, what can we say? People just love this mic.
Shure Beta 52A Cons:
- A review raised a point that they didn’t like the sound quality without compression, but once they adjusted the EQ and the compressions, it worked perfectly. So you may have to set it up a little.
Shure Beta 52A is the ideal choice for your kick mic, for Shure (as in “sure”, get it!?).
Shure Beta 91A Kick-Drum Microphone
Considerin Shure’s class and standard for producing top quality products, its no shock that it hs made it to our list twice. By innovating a dynamic microphone that is structured to capture sounds from a bass drum specifically, Shure has given the proof of their creative and intelligent engineering. Combining the best features from their two previous microphones, the Beta 91 and SM91, they gave us the Shure Beta 91A Kick-Drum Microphone. This may easily be the most sought after products in the music industry.
Shure Beta 91A Key Features
- A uniform half-cardioid polar pattern for maximum gain-before-feedback and rejection of off-axis sound
- Precision-engineered low-profile design features an integrated preamplifier and XLR connector to maximize setup efficiency while minimizing stage clutter
- Frequency response tailored for kick drum/low-frequency applications
- A wide dynamic range for use in high SPL environments
- Two-position contour switch to maximize attack and clarity
- Requires no external mounting or accessories for ease of use and storage
- Furnished with zipper pouch
Shure Beta 91A Pros:
- This is the kick drum mic that you were searching for. According to reviews, this mic is everything that their owners needed. The mic preamps can be placed within or outside your kick drum. The sound quality produced is crisp and clear. According to a reviewer, “If you’re wondering why your kick mix doesn’t sound like all the other kicks out there it’s because you aren’t using this mic”. Well, we agree with them. It gives a great punch to your bass drum.
Shure Beta 91A Cons:
- The design is a half-cardioid polar pattern and, therefore, needs to be placed close to your kick drum, or it will record sounds from your entire drum kit.
Give your kick drum’s sound a kick with this microphone!
Shure PGA52-XLR Frequencies Microphone
Purpose-built for studio recordings and live performances, the Shure PGA52-XLR is the top kick drum microphone that you can go for. The Shure PGA52-XLR mic is lightweight, compact, and easy to position. The best part? It can be used for other frequency instruments as well. It has a wide frequency response of 40Hz-16kHz and the ability to handle sound pressure levels of 140dB.
Shure PGA52-XLR Key Features
- Compact, lightweight
- Cast zinc-alloy body
- LM (low mass) type A diaphragm
- Studio-quality sound
- Excellent mid-bass punch
- Handles high SPL without distortion
- Great for both studio and stage
- Roadworthy construction
Shure PGA52-XLR Pros:
- This is the product that you were looking for your kick drums. The sound quality and performance from are top-notch. This microphone is ideal for catching the low-end frequencies of kick drums, bass cabs, & more. Since it’s a dynamic mic, it works well in both live and studio applications.
Shure PGA52-XLR Cons:
- Some people say that the audio power for low bass sounds isn’t enough.
This is the answer to your search for a budgeted mic with the best audio.
Nady DM-90 Dynamic Kick Drum Mic
For over 40 years, Nady has been making rounds in the Pro Audio/MI industry as the best manufacturers. It has been recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with an Emmy for Outstanding Technical Achievement. Their gadgets are applauded for having great audio quality while also having a sleek design. The DM-90 is the latest feature in the “DM” Series. It has the good qualities of previous editions, while also having its special qualities.
Nady DM-90 Key Feature
- Accurate reproduction of the extended low frequencies
- Dynamic element
- Large-diaphragm for capturing the attack, punch under high SPLs of bass drums
- Supercardioid pattern for ultimate feedback rejection
- Rugged die-cast body
- Internal shock mount
- Hardened steel grille
Nady DM-90 Pros:
This kick drum mic has been winning hearts all over. Many reviewers are pleased with the sound quality. Not only does it give a high-end sound, but it also has a nominal price range. Safe to say, now you can have a pleasant, rich, low-end sound without having to spend a fortune. A user shared their point of view, saying that the best thing about this mic for them is, “that it screws onto the end of the mic stand and you don’t need a mic clip”. The majority of the reviewers were also satisfied with the sturdy build of the mic.
Nady DM-90 Cons:
Some of the reviewers were not quite pleased with the compressing qualities of the Nady Dm-90 mic.
If “bang for a buck” had a name, it would be Nady DM-90 Kick Drum Mic. Perfect kick mic.
What Is A Kick Drum Mic?
As the name suggests, the mic or microphone is a sound amplifier. Similarly, a kick drum microphone is a mic that is attached to your kick drums to give you a better sound quality. When recording in the studio or playing in front of a crowd, the sound of the drums may not be clear enough.
Why Do I Need A Kick Drum Mic?
A mic solves that problem by converting sound waves into electrical energy variations which may then be amplified, transmitted, or recorded. Hence, it not only boosts the volume but also increases the sound level by tenfold, which is exactly why you need a mic, to boost your sound quality.
What Frequency Is Kick Drum Punch?
In simplest terms, a force with which the kick drum is hit and the spread of the sound is known as the punch. Inherently, a kick drum is a low pitch instrument. The sound of your bass drums and the frequency depends on the mix that you’re trying to produce.
A bass drum attack presents sound quality at 3000-4000Hz. Usually, the more compressions you use, the more your kick drum’s sound would be punchy.
How To Use A Kick Drum Mic
Now that we’ve hopefully helped you decide what product you want to invest your money in let’s get on to the next concern. Have you also been wondering how to mic a kick drum? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Like any other instrument, a kick drum also requires to be taken care of, tuned and miked correctly.
But before you start to mic your kick drum, there are some basics that you need to keep in mind. There are different ways to mic a kick drum depending on its diameter, style of pedal, batter head, resonant head, etc.
Additionally, different kicks are likely to have different sounds depending on the size, wood, and head. A beater head also makes a huge difference, for example, a clear beater head tends to make a more open sound, whereas a coated beater head will make a warmer tone.
Now that we know what causes variations in the sound of a kick drum lets come to the main idea that tells us the positioning of the mic. The most recommended position to place the mic is inside the kick drum, and this would help to make the beat near the batter head more clear and will isolate the rest of the kit.
Moreover, the mic can be moved back and forth between the batter head and the front head to adjust the audio of the mic. A second mic can also be placed in front of the resonant head. However, if you plan on using just a single mic, another position to place your mic is right outside the bass drum.
This positioning will require some trial and error for you to find the exact spot where the audio is the best and the clearest.
Having said all that, there is no right way. It will all depend on the placement and type of the mic, the music, and of course, the player. So now is the time to start with the process of tuning it, but do not forget to perform trial and error until you reach the sweet spot where you like it the best.
Here can can find a tutorial on how to use a kick drum mic:
How To Record Using a Kick Drum Mic?
The technique that you used to record a bass drums audio depends upon the type of beat you want.
For example, for a prominent “slap” you must take the resonant head off entirely or use one with a mic-access hole.
Similarly, the angle of your mic makes a vast difference in the timbre and beater of your bass drum. Mic positioning can also be used to separate the ‘beater’ and ‘tone’ characteristics to different tracks for more control at mixdown. On the other hand, usually, if the inside of the drum is not accessible, a microphone can be placed on the outside.
Although, there won’t be any real beater definition as it’ll pick up the spill from the rest of the kit. Adjusting a mic on the outside isn’t only done when the inside of the drum is inaccessible, though. Combining the signals from internal and external mics is a pretty common pro technique.
The two mics produce vastly different timbers that can be adjusted to give the preferred final result.
Final Thoughts On Kick Drum Mics
In this article, we’ve done what we set out to do. We’ve given you a brief of our favourite products, how to set them, and how to get them to work on their max potential. From what suits your audio preference the best, to how to milk a bass drum properly, we’ve given you a complete information guide.
Everything that you’ll need to decide on a microphone is here in this guide. We’ve analyzed products to make your decision less complicated. Now make sure you can belt out your favourite beats without any hindrances!