Studio Gears

Best Budget Microphones for Recording Drums 2018

Recording drums is probably the most expensive and the hardest part in the studio. Unlike other instruments that normally only need one or two microphones, we need almost or even more than 10 microphones to record a full drum kit. That’s a bad news for beginners, luckily I listed the best microphones for each drum part, I’ll walk you through how to record a full drum kit on a budget, but in order to let you truly understand what those specs mean, I highly recommend you to check out the ultimate guide to studio microphones first.

 

We need to break down to different drum parts…

Kick

1. AKG D112 MKII

Probably the most popular kick microphone in the world. The frequency response is tailored for bass instruments like kick drums. The large diaphragm offers you powerful bass response and the presence boost at 4kHz let your kick drum punch through the mix. The upgraded version AKG D112 MKII is very easy for kick drum miking because of its flexible mic mount, you can now mike it in any angle you want. With its quality and its affordable price, AKG D112 MKII deserves on the top of our list.

  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20 – 17,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 210 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 160 dB
  • Sensitivity: 1.8 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

2. Sennheiser e902

Sennheiser e902 is the updated of the well-known e602 which will be covered later. Sennheiser e902 responds to the source really quick and can pick up the low end really clean, it can deliver the attack and the energy of kick drum faithfully. It has a good sound isolation and a high resistance to feedback which is very useful for drum recording and live performance. Although the max SPL doesn’t state in its official website, its Max SPL is high enough to handle any kick drum source.

  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20 – 16,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 350 Ohms
  • Max SPL: N/A
  • Sensitivity: 0.2 mV / Pa at 1kHZ, 0.6 mV /Pa at 60 Hz

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

Sennheiser e602 II sounds very similar to Sennheiser e902 but not as amazing as Sennheiser e902. It still has all the top features of Sennheiser e902 but less expensive.

Sennheiser e602 II

  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20 – 16,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 350 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 160 dB
  • Sensitivity: 0.25 mV / Pa at 1kHZ, 0.9 mV /Pa at 50 Hz

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

3. Audix D6

Audix D6 isn’t for everyone but some people will love it. The special VLM diaphragm is very light which makes it respond quicker to the attack, this results in a crisper and punchier sound, some people love it but some people think it’s too much. There is a 14dB boost at 60 Hz, a 15dB boost between 4 and 5kHz, and a 17db boost between 10 and 12kHz, this response is ideal for 22″ kick drums. Most of the time positioning is the key of capture a good sound, but Audix D6 claims it sounds good from any position, it’s a good news for beginners who don’t have much knowledge of positioning.

  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 30 – 15,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 280 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 144 dB
  • Sensitivity: 0.8 mV /Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

4. Shure Beta 52A

This is another popular kick microphone beside AKG D112 MKII, they are both tailored for bass instruments and both have a presence boost at 4kHz. Shure Beta 52A has a rich and clear low-end. The supercardioid polar pattern gives it excellent sound isolation but also make it relatively harder for positioning. Shure Beta 52A can handle any loud sound even a nuclear bomb because of its unbelievable high Max SPL of 174 dB.

  • Dynamic
  • Supercardioid
  • Frequency response: 20 – 10,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 174 dB
  • Sensitivity: 0.6 mV /Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

5. Shure Beta 91A

This may look weird but it sounds really great. Shure Beta 91A is a condenser boundary microphone with an integrated preamp. It has a special half-cardioid polar pattern (cardioid in hemisphere above mounting surface). The typical placement is put it directly in your kick drum and let it sit inside your kick drum, it will capture the sound faithfully. Unlike most condenser microphones, Shure Beta 91A has a high Max SPL to handle loud sound without damage it. It’s excel at picking up low-frequency, the attenuation switch can remove the muddy sound of the kick drum. Shure Beta 91A is widely used in professional studios, the sound quality of this microphone is definitely worth the investment.

  • Condenser
  • Half-Cardioid
  • Diaphragm size: N/A
  • Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 146 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 155 dB
  • Sensitivity: 3.8 mV / Pa
  • Self Noise: 29.5 dB-A
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 64.5 dB-A
  • 7 dB of attenuation switch at 400 kHz

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

Snare

1. Shure SM 57

best dynamic microphones

For home studios and beginners I think there is no better choice. Shure SM 57 is widely used for recording snare drum in professional studios and home studios. It’s very durable that won’t break even you accidentally hit it with a drumstick. It has no problem to handle the loud sound of snare drum due to its high Max SPL. The frequency response of Shure SM 57 is very suitable for snare drums. Plus its cheap price, there’s no reason for not choosing Shure SM 57.

  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 40 – 15,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 310 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 150 dB
  • Sensitivity: 1.88 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

2. Shure Beta 57A

If you have extra few bucks and want to invest something more decent on your snare drum, you can consider Shure Beta 57A. The biggest difference between tow microphones is Shure Beta 57A features a specially designed grille which gives it more protection but also facilitates the use of proximity effect. The biggest pain of capturing snare drum is rejecting hi-hat bleed, and this is why Shure Beta 57A is better than Shure SM 57, the supercardioid polar pattern can reject most of the hi-hat and cymbals bleed.

  • Dynamic
  • Supercardioid
  • Frequency response: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 150 dB
  • Sensitivity: 2.8 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

Toms

1. Sennheiser e604

Some people will use Shure SM 57 for their toms because it’s a nice cheap versatile microphone, but after you check out Sennheiser e604, it will become your new favorite cheap toms microphone. The price is almost the same as Shure SM 57. The high Max SPL of 160 dB can capture strong hits without distortion. It has a lightweight diaphragm which gives it extended high frequency and rapid transient response. Sennheiser e604 even comes with its own rim clamp. Overall I think Sennheiser e604 is the best choice for home studios.

  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 40 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 350 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 160 dB
  • Sensitivity: 1.8 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN AMAZON (3 PACK) THOMANN (3 PACK)

2. Audix D4

Audix D4 is designed for capturing low-frequency sounds, some people use it on kick drums, it sounds especially great on floor toms. Audix D4 gives your floor toms a full and rich low-end. The hypercardioid polar pattern eliminates all cymbals bleed and background noise, this allows it to really focus on the source. Just like Audix D6, Audix D4 also features the special VLM diaphragm which makes it respond quicker to the transient.

  • Dynamic
  • Hypercardioid
  • Frequency response: 40 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 280 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 144 dB
  • Sensitivity: 1.4 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

3. Sennheiser MD421-II

best dynamic microphones

Been widely used in professional studios, Sennheiser MD421-II is the go-to toms microphone for most people. It’s the best all-round dynamic microphone which sounds amazing at nearly everything. The flat frequency response from 30 to 17kHz and 150 dB high Max SPL let Sennheiser MD421-II reproduce the toms sound faithfully. Plus the five position bass roll-off switch keeps the overall frequency balance in check. If you want the desire fuller and rounder sound, Sennheiser MD421-II definitely worth the money.

  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 30 – 17,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 150 dB
  • Sensitivity: 2mV / Pa
  • Five position bass roll-off switch

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

Hi-Hat & Cymbals

For hi-hat and other cymbals, what we need are small diaphragm condenser microphones which have high-frequency details and the ability to reject bleed.

Overhead

Overhead microphones are used to capture the stereo image of the whole drum kit, so we need a matched pair small or large diaphragm condenser microphones.

Room

Depend on your budget and your need, you can only use one room microphone or you can have a near room and a far room microphone. Some people will also use a matched pair for stereo room recording. The best choice for room microphones are large diaphragm condenser microphones or ribbon microphones. Some people prefer ribbon microphones because ribbon microphones have a warmer sound which can reduce the harshness of the cymbals.

Bundle

Buying all drum microphones separately is very expensive and time-consuming, for those who have a relatively tight budget can consider drum microphone bundle instead. Buying a drum microphone bundle is probably the most budget and the most efficient way to record drums.


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