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  • Best Overhead Drum Microphones in 2021! – Our Personal Favorite!

June 27, 2020

Best Overhead Drum Microphones in 2021! – Our Personal Favorite!

Using overhead drum mics for drums can be somewhat critical for new and novice drummers. If you are looking forward to some guidance in this aspect, here’s all that you need to know.

Top 5 Overhead Mics for drums

Here are some of our top picks of the best drum mics you can use as overheads.

Neumann KM 184 MT

This stereo set condenser microphone is based on the company’s KM series mics that are versatile in use. This classic microphone is made up of high-quality material that ensures its long-term durability and working capacity. Because of its omnidirectional characteristic, this microphone can be moved to different directions depending on your position as you beat the drum.

This is one of the best overhead drum mics because of its sound quality, and other characteristics are perfect to meet the demands of all studio products. This miniature stereo microphone is suitable for every drum skit because of its portability and condensed size.

It would not be wrong to say that after using this microphone in the studio, you will feel a sense of satisfaction because the sound quality of this mic contributes to the quality of your acoustic recordings.

Drummers who have used this miniature mic believe that it best suits the guitar as it avoids any harshness and provides the accurate sound. On the other hand, some customers have complained about its characteristic to provide low-end sound.


Multi-directional miniature mic
High-quality construction


  • Provide too much transparent sound

Shure KSM137 Overhead Mic

Shure KSM137 Overhead Mic

This stereo condenser microphone is specially designed for studio purposes, but its capacity to handle high sound pressure makes it suitable for the live application use too. This stereo condenser mike is perfect for you to record instruments because it has an extended frequency response that records the sounds of instruments in high quality.

It is an ideal mic for all the professional drummers out here as it is a low-self noise mic that provides clear and transparent sound without any sound distortion. Even though it is a miniature overhead drum mic, but due to its high-quality construction, it is strong enough to be a part of every musical instrument.

If you are looking for a mic that can be moved to different directions, then this stereo mic is perfect because it is multi-directional. Another feature that makes it different and unique is the single cardioid polar pattern that will increase the uniqueness of your drums.

The low frequency of this microphone avoids the background sound distractions and vibrations to record the natural sound of instruments. According to the users of this product, it is very portable due to which it can be used efficiently for live performances.


  • Eliminate low-frequency vibrations
  • Multi-directional


  • Less durable than other options

Rode M5 MP Overhead Drum Mic

Overhead Drum Mic

This Rode M5-MP cardioid condenser microphone has low noise that supports clarity and preciseness of the original music produced by your drummers. Because of its high-quality sound production, this mic is considered as one of the best overhead drum mics.

This Condenser microphone is finished with a ceramic coating that gives it corrosion resistance property in order to make it more durable. This Rode’s compact microphone has a complete frequency response that helps professional musicians to record the music without any background sound interruption.

The ability of this mic to avoid the sound distractions and vibrations provides complete isolation from the outer world. This microphone is unique in itself because of its appropriate sound rand and frequency. Rode’s company mics are known for their high-quality construction.

Like other mics of this company, M5 microphone is also designed and manufactured by Australian experts. With our personal experience, it can be said that this microphone is suitable for both live stage performances and studio recordings.

This product has been praised a lot among its customers because of the sound-quality, but contrary to our experience, some users think this product is not really suitable for live performance because at certain times, it creates buzz.


  • High-quality construction
  • Price is reasonable for the product
  • Easy to set up


  • Not the best options for on-stage performances

AKG Pro C414 Drum Mic

best overhead drum microphone

This condenser microphone is designed by professionals who have made this product perfect for recording natural sounds of instruments because this mic has the ability to pick every beat no matter if it is low or high.

By using this microphone in your studio, you can record your vocals and acoustic instruments clearly with high precision. Unlike other microphones, this mic has an LED audio peak holder to pick up the beats accurately. It contains multi switchable filters that strain the sound by eliminating every background noise and provides you original and music.

One thing that the drummers have not found admiring in this product is its low-quality speaker.

There are few customers who have complained about the low-quality of the speaker that often causes distortion in case of high beats. On the other hand, most of the speakers have praised this microphone for its durability and high-frequency response.


  • Sturdy and feels like high-quality craftsmanship
  • Features a handy audio holder


  • High beats can sound a little off on this mic

Audio-Technica AT4041 Overhead

Audio-Technica overhead microphone

This Audio-Technica microphone is the best overhead drum mics ideal for the studio use because it has extended frequency response that records sound with smoothness. It has a low-mass diaphragm that helps reduce the background noise and records transparent sound by removing low-frequency distortions.

The black plate featured on this studio microphone carries the fixed charge and stabilizes the energy. Professional drummers who have used this mic have given five stars to this product as it provides both high and low ends without any distortion. Whereas, some users think that this microphone is a bit heavy in weight due to which it is less suitable for on-stage use.


  • Extended frequency response


  • It’s a bit heavy in weight, which to some might be a benefit.

What Are Drum Overhead Microphones?

Studio recording can be genuinely confusing when you don’t have the correct equipment. You should consider a few components other than just the mics to record quality sound. The drum mics that are right above the drums as you beat them are known as overhead mics or generically drum overheads.

Best Overhead Drum Mics

Some drummers also like to call the stands which hold these mics as overheads, but that is rare. Drum overheads are the part of drum kit utilized in live sound recording to get surrounding sounds and the general mix of instruments recorded better.

The coordination of all these drum overhead mics allows the finest drum sounds to be achieved in live as well as recorded sessions. Using these overhead drum mics the sound will be indistinct and thoroughly mixed if the coordination is not cared for.

Drum mics cannot be just simply set up at any place where you want to, but their assembly should be planned, and you should know about how each mic functions clearly to achieve the best results.

Getting extraordinary mics is perhaps the ideal approach to step up your recording quality. Overhead mics guarantee that your stereo picture is as exact as you expect it under controlled circumstances, so you don’t run into phase issues during altering and blending.

Make sure to invest in a drum mic and you’re all good to go.

How Do You Setup An Overhead Drum Mic?

Over heading drums is no rocket science but may be different for everyone because the drums, microphones, and studio rooms vary a lot. We will now take a look at three simplest and straightforward methods that can be applied to most arrangements for overhead drum mics, paying little heed to style.

All you need is a pair of Best Drum Overhead Mic Stands, and you’ll surely ace these arrangements.

  • Spaced Condensers. The spaced condenser setup offers adaptability. All you need to do is to position the mics low over the cymbals. Now place them at a height for an increasingly adjusted sound. Your stereo image will indeed be extensive when you position the microphones far apart. Whenever you place them, just keep in mind that the overhead mics should be the same distance apart at every point from the snare drum.
  • X-Y Configuration. The second technique X-Y configuration utilizes two cardioid condenser mics and other components placed at a 90-degree angle. This incidental course of action offers a clear, well-defined stereo picture. To keep it centered in the stereo field, all you have to do is place them legitimately over the snare. Moreover, it is essential to keep them sufficiently high over the cymbals so that they never physically go through the component.
  • ORTF Technique. The last method is the ORTF. This is another incidental pair of cardioid condenser mic situated 17 cm apart at 110 degrees from one another. This technique offers a rational stereo image like the X-Y arrangement. It has more cymbals and width as compared to the rest of the drum kit.

Can You Record Drums With Only One Overhead Microphone?

Numerous drummers indeed utilize more than one mic to record their drum kits, but that doesn’t make it the ideal approach. However, if you are new to the drumming world, the lesser mics you use, the higher is the probability of your recording sounding clear and precise as you want it.

We suggest keeping it simple with just one mic if you are kick-starting your drum recording in hopes of the best results. Here are the reasons explaining why record with one mic is an extraordinary method no matter what kind of drummer you are:

  1. Phase cancellation is a huge issue in drum recording. As your sound waves are being offset, resulting in a thin and unsatisfied sound, this issue occurs. Therefore, using one single mic stays the best option because such an assembly would have no phase cancellation.
  2. Using too many mics can lead to a very non-punchy sound. Just one mic can be a savior here as it gives an instant punchy sound by just placing it anywhere near the kit.
  3. It takes a lot of time and exertion to get the perfect equalization of recording when using various mics on a drum kit. But with one mic, balancing becomes easier as it allows you to make quick compositions resulting in incredible sound.

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