Updated: Sep 24, 2020
I've been asked multiple times for drum mic recommendations from drummers looking to up their game and start recording their covers in greater detail. Having a professional mic setup will open up many doors for you as a musician, enabling you to start recording remotely for clients anywhere in the world.
All of the mics listed below are ones I've personally used (and some I still use) and would recommend to a drummer looking for a professional setup that's also on a budget. The cheapest combination of these mics will cost you less than £850/$1250, which is nothing when you consider a Neumann U87 is over £2000/$3000!!
I've also added a couple of mic kits if you're looking for something even cheaper. You will be sacrificing quality by choosing these cheaper options though.
Sennheiser e902 - I still use this mic to this day, pair it with a nicely tuned kick and sit it inside the sound hole; this mic gives you a full, well rounded sound with all the low end you will need.
AKG D112 - This is one of the most popular industry standard kick mics. It's not my first choice as it is very 'clicky' and doesn't have as good of a low end compared to the e902. If you're a metal drummer however, this could be just right for you.
Shure SM57 - Cheap and cheerful, you can never really go wrong with an SM57 on the top and/or bottom of the snare. It says something after all these years that you will still find this as the snare mic of choice in a lot of studios.
Sennheiser e906 - Designed for use on guitar amps/cabs, I've recently tried this as a snare top mic and it sounds incredible. I would personally choose this over an SM57.
Sennheiser e604 - These little guys can be conveniently mounted to your toms. They reproduce the depth of your rack toms very well for their size and price. For more low end on a floor tom, I prefer to use another e902.
Rode NT5 matched pair - Very well priced for their quality, these pencil mics capture the brightness of your overheads extremely well and I find require very little EQing afterwards.
Rode NT1a matched pair - The NT1a is renowned for very low noise when cranked up, these will capture your overheads in even greater detail with a wide dynamic range. I personally use one for a mono room mic.
Drum Mic Kits
Shure PGA 7 - In my opinion this is best budget drum mic kit you can buy. The 7 piece kit gives you 1 kick, 1 snare, 3 tom and 2 overhead mics for just £500/$500. The PG56 in particular sounds awesome on your toms and gives the e604 a run for its money. The Shure PGA series are available in 4, 5, 6 and 7 piece kits, with/without the overhead mics and with a choice of 2 or 3 tom mics.
Samson DK707 - I've never used this kit, however I've heard many good (and bad) reviews about it. To sum it up, for the price you can't beat this mic kit however don't expect miracles from it. I'd advise you to spend more and get better mics but if you're on an extremely tight budget and a very beginner, this would be ideal for you.
My personal recommendation to you about to purchase your first professional drum mic setup would be the following mics for an 8 channel interface:
Kick: Sennheiser e902
Snare Top: Sennheiser e906
Snare Bottom: Shure SM57
Floor Tom: Sennheiser e902
Rack Tom: Sennheiser e604
Overheads: Rode NT5 Matched Pair
2nd Rack Tom: Sennheiser e604 or Room Mic: Rode NT1a
Feel free to do some more research, read reviews and ask drummers for their opinions. Everyone has their own preferences and you will always find a bad review or two, even for the best microphones out there.
Don't spend too long worrying and procrastinating about buying though. You will likely use this as a basis to figure out what you do and don't like about certain mics and brands. So make your decision, take the jump and learn from it if you have to!
Article written by Eddie at The Professional Musician Academy
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