Drum mics

Vandalay

Member
I know there are quite a few of you who gig often and probably play in large enough venues that would warrant mic-ing up your drums. So how many ics do you generally use and where?...what brands & models do you use?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Most actual venues would probably have their own sound crew and you would be subject to whatever it is they use. At least that's how it is where I work.

In less professional settings, the miking really depends on the type of sound system your band has. Lots of times when I'm singing as well, I've only had to add a bass drum mic - between those two mics I had enough coverage to compete with the amplified instruments. Other times I've used a bass drum mic, snare drum mic, and a single overhead mic.

So you really need to do some homework and figure out what your band system can handle and what actually works. In a live situation, the front mics for the vocals are also picking up a lot of band sound so you have to balance all of it at once to figure what you need. You may or may not need to mic up every single thing you have - the idea is sound reinforcement.

But if you're dead-set on getting your own mics, I'd recommend mics you can use for other things in case you don't need to mic up all the time, then you've made a better investment. You can't go wrong with Shure SM57's on all the drums, and a Electro-Voice RE20 for the bass drum, and maybe get a single AKG SE330 as on overhead (two if you want one for your hi-hat). But even that would be putting the cart before the horse - start off with a single overhead mic and a bass drum mic. You'd be surprised at how much that helps right off the bat.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I've used an AKG D112 on my kick for years. With that said, I prefer the Audix D6. As a matter of fact, I prefer Audix mics for my drums except for the snare which I like a Shure SM57. One of those Audix drum mic packs would be ideal.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I like the Audix D6 on the kick over the D-112 too. I prefer an Audix I-5 on the snare. Even though the 57 is a great all around snare and tom mic, the I-5 has a metal enclosure for the capsule, so it is better designed IMO for a snare drum. A bad stick hit can kill a 57 capsule. That plus in my experiments, I thought that the I-5 sounded more transparent and the 57 sounded more colored. So the transparency and the ruggedness tipped the scales in Audix favor.

The overheads I use 1 or 2 Rode NT-5's. Drums come out of the PA in mono, so stereo micing is unnecessary. That's what I understand to be true, but may be off.

1 or 2 small diaphragm condenser overheads, kick and snare, done.

I prefer the openness and atmosphere of a miced kit using the non close miced tom approach.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Not once in about 10 years of gigging have I brought my own drum mics.

They already either have them or don't use them.

Sometimes smaller establishments won't bother with anything other than just kick or sometimes kick and snare.
 

Ghostin one

Senior Member
I used to use the May EA internal mic. mount in the bass drum with a D112. There was an XLR mount on the side of the drum, and the sound guy just had to plug in and do what they do.

It always sounded better than it had a right to - the drums were nothing special, but a good sound guy made them sound great.

At the time I was using a reso head on the bass drum with no hole, and it had a nice painting on it, and it always irritated me putting a shorty mic boom stand in front of the bass drum. It just looks weird to me.

Unless things change drastically with the current band, I don't foresee needing mic's any time soon.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I pretty much agree with all the above comments. If you're in a place large enough to merit mikes, there's usually a sound engineer who mikes you up.

I have used a Shure boundary mike (an SM819, similar to a Beta 91A) at times to pick up the kick and a bit of the rest of the kit in some larger-than-a-pub, certainly-smaller-than-an-arena settings and it works really well.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Shure also makes a Beta 57A which is similar to a SM 57 but a little brighter and with a metal wind screen. I like em a lot. They sound great on either side of a snare.

I like the D112 of the reso side of a kick. Just got a Senn. E902 yesterday and I'm still working on getting it dialed in.

Snare, kick, and one or two over heads should cover the kit for live playing.
 

calan

Silver Member
I somewhat disagree with the premise that places where you need mics will take care of it for you. Yes, they might have mics, but they aren't necessarily in good shape, or the clamps and clips are just useless. Sometimes the sound guy is actually a sound kid and doesn't know what the hell he's doing either.

I also am not a fan of finding out that the tom mics are something like the Shure PG series, or even SM 57s, I don't want to obligate a foot of clearance over my toms to accommodate the mic body, XLR connector, and cable loop.

My primary kit has a Heil PR48 internally mounted with a Shu system, with the May vent connector. Since that was installed, I've never not been told that I didn't have the best bass drum sound on any multi band bill I've been on. Also, no stand for anybody to trip over, knock the mic out of the sweet spot, and I get way better separation from the kit. I haven't encountered a sound guy who didn't smile when I mentioned my kick mic setup.

I also have a set of Heil mics for the whole kit, but I've only taken them to about three gigs. I just don't feel comfortable lugging around that pedigree of electronics to most of the crap holes I play, especially since the sound systems generally aren't good enough to tell the difference. I mostly just use them for recording.

My workhorse mics are the EV PL series. They don't cost a bunch, are very solid performers for the price, can take abuse, and have a very usable form factor. IIRC, Andy also uses them for live work.

Also, I do multi band line ups often, and also play left handed. It's often easier for me to just put my mostly set up kit on stage with mics already attached and just tell the sound guy to plug into those. Well, I usually communicate that before doors open so they're prepared. If the venue has comparable or superior gear, I have no problem deferring, but I've yet to run into anybody who felt put upon that I took care of my own mic situation.

There's also something to be said for taking control of my sound. I know what my kit sounds like straight into a board with my mics and my placement. I know I'm providing a good source material. After that, it might be out of my hands, but at least I know the problem comes down the line.

Some of the time I'm in the bass drum only category. I really loathe the practice of miking snare and kick, because it makes toms sound pitiful. At that point I'd rather have a vocal mic over my shoulder that I never use. Generally I'm playing places that mic up all the drums and let the cymbals bleed into vocal mics.

I agree with D6, it's just a super plug and play mic that really takes away much work at the board. I've never understood why anybody thought the D112 was good for anything other than a paper weight. I suspect it's generational, and I'm just into more modern tones and gear that gets me there easier. SM57s are the standard for a reason, but there are certainly many other usable (and perhaps superior) options.

If I were to need to buy an all purpose mic pack this week, I'd get an Audix DP 5 or 7.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
I've gotten great results out of just a D6 and and ADX-51 pointed at the snare, between the rack and floor toms, under my ride. I am able to get fuller snare and tom sounds without the cymbals being too harsh. It's an easy setup if you don't have enough channels at the board or you don't want to close-mic every drum.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Funny you guys like the Audix D6 for bass drums. When I had one of those, I thought it made a great floor tom mic, but sounded kinda' thin on the bass drum.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Each of my gigging kits has a bass drum mic (PL33) mounted inside, on a home-made suspension mount. Most small gigs we plug into that + use spill from my vocal mic. I deliberately use a vocal mic with less bass rolloff (ATM41a) so the drum spill sounds OK.

I also own a PG81 condenser which can run on batteries or the lower Phantom power on cheap powered mixers. I use an overhead for maybe a third of my gigs. I also own some 57’s, and always keep one + a clamp with my drum gear, but never need it because larger gigs usually come with their own PA & mics.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Funny you guys like the Audix D6 for bass drums. When I had one of those, I thought it made a great floor tom mic, but sounded kinda' thin on the bass drum.
I do use one for a floor tom mic when I mic everything up. It's killer on floor toms. I've never had an issue with one sounding thin on any bass drum though.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I do use one for a floor tom mic when I mic everything up. It's killer on floor toms. I've never had an issue with one sounding thin on any bass drum though.
Maybe thin is the wrong word. I probably should've said something more vague, like I didn't like it on the kick ;)
 

ConcertTom

Senior Member
If I had the money and space, I would travel with my own mics for shows, mostly because I dont like the standard offerings at clubs. But my tastes are very specific. Below is what we ASK for on my hard rock band's rider, and when we get it (very rarely) it always sounds better to me.

Kick - EV re20 or sennheiser 421
Snare - sennheiser 441 or EV re16 (no one has these but they're my favorite)
Toms - sennheiser 421 or EV re16
Mono OH - AKG 414buls or EV 635a (again, no one has this)
Under the seat "heart" mic - some crappy dynamic omni (unless you have an engineer that is excited about this and knows what to do with it, there is no point)

If you cant tell, I love Electro Voice mics and would gladly mic our entire band with them. The RE series is especially great because of the lack of proximity effect, allowing you to get a very natural up close sound without it being too boomy.

If I was doing jazz or quieter music but needed to mic up, I would gladly throw an re20 on kick, 2 re20s as a Glyn Johns style OH pair, and an re16 near, but not on, the snare.

Again, my tastes are specific.


For the time being, I let whatever engineer is at the club do what I know they're going to do. I may make a suggestion or two, but I have more important and pressing things to spend my time on than FOH sound. If we're travelling with a sound guy, then I'll let them know what I'm going for, but again, it's almost always better to just let them do their job the way they see fit, whether you agree with them or not.

If you are mixing yourself for a wedding band or something that brings it's own PA, keep it simple. The Audix mics sound consistently OK to me, which is not a bad place to be. You could also be fine with a pack of those sennheiser clip ons for snare and toms, a shure Beta 52 on kick, and maybe a Large Diaphragm Condenser with switchable polar pattern (so you can use a tighter hyper/super cardioid pattern) on overhead, to balance things out and give the cymbals some presence in the mix (they dont need much) and some natural sound to the drums (which is why I like mono overhead)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
My workhorse mics are the EV PL series. They don't cost a bunch, are very solid performers for the price, can take abuse, and have a very usable form factor. IIRC, Andy also uses them for live work.
I certainly do. Nicely transparent, good off axis rejection, compact, robust. For the money, they're easily good enough for everything other than the very highest end systems, & of course by then, it's someone else's issue, not yours. I drive most of the upper kit sound with a pair of NT5's for the same reason. Not spectacular, but bombproof.

If I need to quickly record a rehearsal or something, this is how they sound, & straight from our live board settings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og2O4QEejgo&feature=youtu.be
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
My "go to" live mic preferences are:

Bass: Audio-Technica ATM25 (want to try a Telefunken M82)
Snare: Audio-Technica ATM25, Telefunken M80 or modded Shure SM57
Auxilary Snare: Audio-Technica ATM23HE
Toms: Audio-Technica ATM25 or Audio-Technica AE3000
Overheads: Audio-Technica AE3000 (possibly Schoeps cmc641 in a very controlled environment)
Hi-hat: Audio-Technica AE5100

Other: Heil PR 48 (gong bass drum), Aston Origin (rack tom or overhead)

If I only had two available channels on the board I would use two Audio-Technica AT5045 mic's: one out away from the front of the bass drum and rack tom and one overhead. This is really great sound for only using two microphones!

Having your own microphones gives you some degree of control over your drum sound in the signal path, but truth be told, the sound engineer at the board will either make you sound like a million bucks or absolutely awful.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I'm just about to give the Pyle Pro PDKM7 mics a shot, at least for home recording.

They were super cheap (under $200 CDN) and supposedly sound far better than they have a right to. The kick mic compares favourably to the Audix D6, some say.

I'll report back with observations and maybe some audio clips too.
 

dpgreek

Member
Im investigating mics right now too. I always bring my mics but then again we usually supply the PA and I run the mixer.

Im loving my Audix D6 in kick. I have the front portrd. Been reading that some of you internally mic. Did you have a front hole cut out on reso when doing so? About how close to beater did u place mic. Did you use may system or kelly shu? Also when you leave gig, do u pack mic away or leave in drum.

Those EV mics seem to be pretty good. Ive been looking at

Beta98 amp with the gooseneck and great clamp for my 10,12,14 and 16 toms.
Audix MicroD with dvice and shockmount
Audix D2 and D4 with Dvice clips
AT ATM250s

Leaning towards audix micros or betas bc of size. I hate the big old clunky mics... but many do sound good
 
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