As a drummer, you’ll need a microphone kit to be able to record yourself. Whether that’s for a band recording, YouTube videos, or even a live performance, a microphone is what you need to capture the useful sounds that your drum creates.
You can’t rely on the reverberating sound of the drums when playing, you need to capture the sound created when you first strike the drums, not when it’s traveling and echoing around the room.
You can buy drum microphones individually but a kit is often easier on your bank account. By bundling products together, you can often get them at a discount and it’s more convenient than sourcing everything independently.
We’ve gathered some useful drum microphone kits here, check them out below. They span a variety of skill levels and price points, so you should be able to find one that matches your needs while remaining affordable.
OUR TOP PICK
Let’s start with the most affordable microphone kit out of today’s suggestions, the CAD Audio Stage7. This is a seven-piece microphone kit that’s great for those learning the drums and drum recording, especially given its lower price point that students can afford.
The microphones that come with this purchase are capable of recording your typical five-piece drum kit. There are microphones included for the kick (the best one of the kit), snare, multiple toms, and stereo overheads. Some drummers may want all-encompassing room ambiance mics, in which case you can buy those separately.
If you’re serious about recording your drum kit, there’s a chance you’ll outgrow these once your recording operation becomes more sophisticated. That said, you move at your own pace, and at this reduced price, you can get your money worth from this kit while learning the fundamentals of drum recording.
The kit also comes with the requisite accessories to fit the mics to your drum sets, like stands, cables, and clips.
- A standard mic kit that’s perfect for capturing five-piece drum setups.
- Is affordable, making it ideal for beginners and those on a budget.
- Comes with all the needed accessories to secure the mics to your drums.
- As an introductory set, you may outgrow these if you’re serious about sound recording.
Next, we have the Shure DMK57, a versatile microphone kit that goes further than any other setup when it comes to recording flexibility and functional longevity.
If you expect to record music in the future and you want a setup that can keep up with equipment changes and won’t fail through prolonged use, this is the kit for you.
One of these kits, if well maintained, can last a whole career. If you move in audio circles, you may have heard of the SM57s and how they’re impressive for audio capture. These are the backbone of this kit; you get three of them with this purchase.
The fourth and final microphone is the Beta 52A, a powerful kick drum mic. This kit also comes with its own setup peripherals in the A56D mounting system.
- A very versatile kit that can last a whole career.
- Three of the four mics are highly popular SM57s.
- Comes with A56D mounting systems to set up the kit.
- Lacks drum overhead microphones.
Sennheiser is a reputable brand that provides microphones for a variety of uses, so it makes sense that they also offer instrumental mic kits too.
That would be their Drum Kit 600, one of the best options for drummers who want to conduct live performances with their set. The mics that come with this kit are super portable and ideal for touring drummers.
As a seven-piece set, you get four Sennheiser e604 microphones to be used on the toms and snares, two e614 overhead microphones, and a single e602-II kick drum microphone.
he e604 in particular is a favorite of sound engineers that are constantly packing and unpacking audio equipment as they’re small yet durable and easy to clip onto drum kits.
This kit isn’t the best for a studio and studio recording. They can get the job done if recording your music is secondary to live performances but they’re not the best on this list. Any shortcomings this kit may have when recording in a studio can also be patched up using plugins.
- The ideal portable mic kit for live recordings, from a known brand you can trust.
- Comes with four e604 mics, known for their durability, small size, ease of setup, and still guaranteeing good sound quality.
- Can be used for studio recording if cleaned up with plugins and audio engineering.
- Not the best kit for studio recording.
Sabian is primarily a cymbal-making company, so keep that in mind when looking over their microphone sound kit. The kit itself is made up of three different microphones, one kick microphone, and two overhead mics.
Those microphones plug into a Sabian mixing board that comes with the kit, where you can then capture and process audio from your drums. That mixing board only has three XLR inputs, however.
Given Sabian’s cymbal specialty, the overhead mics have been optimized to work with crashing cymbals. If you find yourself using them often, you may find some use from this mic kit. The mixing board has two sizes of headphone jacks, so any headphones you own should be automatically compatible with the kit.
- A smaller mic kit that comes with its own mixing board.
- The overhead mics are optimized for cymbal sounds.
- Features both 3.5mm and ¼” headphone jacks in its mixing board.
- The mixing board only has three XLR inputs.
Last but certainly not least, here’s the most expensive drum microphone kit we’re suggesting today, the Audix Studio Elite 8.
Audix is known in the microphone world for offering high-quality equipment, so it’s no surprise they’ve found themselves as one of the more sophisticated kits we’re recommending today.
If you have the cash for it, buying the Studio Elite 8 nets you eight microphones to properly capture your drum’s sound. Here’s a short rundown of each microphone:
- Two Audix D2 – A pair of microphones ideal for racked toms.
- Audix D4 – A microphone that’s great for floor toms.
- Audix D6 – Useful for kick drums or floor toms.
- Audix SCX1 – For capturing the sounds of hi-hat drums.
- Two Audix SCX25A – For capturing the sound of overheads.
- Audix i5 – Perfect for recording snare audio.
Along with getting the most microphones, they’re also very versatile and can tackle problem styles like metal music. The D6 is probably the most controversial of the set since some think it creates a processed sound.
Proponents argue that the D6 works well when it’s recording kick drums. The i5 microphone, on the other hand, is generally well-received and often compared favorably to the SM57 mics from Shure.
All eight of the microphones are easy to secure thanks to rim clips that stay in place once deployed. If you have a metal set to record and you’re worried that the mics will fall off, the clips that come with this mic kit won’t let you down.
- The largest and most sophisticated mic kit is made from eight different mics.
- D6 and i5 are versatile and capable of delivering high-quality sound.
- Comes with sturdy rim clips that can attach all eight of these microphones to where they need to be.
- It’s the most expensive drum mic kit.
Home Recording Studio Microphone Kits
The best microphone kits for a home recording studio may not be the same as the microphones you want for a live performance.
This is because there are so many factors that play into an instrument’s sound, especially one that produces percussive sounds, like the drums. Assuming a typical setup, at least seven different factors are affecting your sound at any given time.
- The room you’re in.
- The drum kit you’re using.
- The microphones you’re using.
- The state of your drum heads.
- Your skill as a drummer.
- Your skill as an audio engineer.
- Any additional preamps or audio interfaces.
Making sure all of these factors are working in your favor can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. Fortunately, you can find many guides and tutorials online about how to handle audio engineering equipment.
To record drums properly, you’ll need to have all the right equipment. Take stock of your recording area and see if you have all of the following:
- Your drum kit, naturally.
- Your microphones.
- Your PC.
- A physical audio interface.
- A digital audio workstation.
- Time to hone your skills!
Drum Quality Matters
You can take every single precaution possible and invest in the latest microphone and audio engineering technology but, if your drums don’t sound great, then it won’t mean a thing. Instead, all that expensive tech will capture the embarrassing sound of your poor-quality drum kit. It will make a recording that you won’t want to keep, let alone share with your friends or interested parties.
Make sure you have a good drum kit that produces the sound you want, is equipped for the musical styles that you want to play, and hasn’t lost its resonance. Drum heads lose their resonance after being played on for an amount of time.
After a while, they produce a dead sound that can be helped. Remember to always change your drum heads before recording anything, so keep spares on standby.
The microphones that you choose matter, hence why we’ve focused on great drum mic examples above.
Maybe you’re a seasoned pro reading this, in which case we’re not telling you anything you don’t already know. If you’re a beginner, you should stick to a basic microphone setup. That includes the following:
- Kick microphones.
- Tom microphones.
- Snare microphones.
- Overhead microphones.
Those last microphones, the overheads, aren’t always necessary. We’d suggest you get them as they help when creating a professional sound. This is especially the case if you’re using cymbals, which aren’t picked up through the use of close mics by themselves.
Overheads also capture the entire stereo image of your set, resulting in a more complete sound. If using overheads, the spaced pair stereo technique is easiest for beginners to comprehend and set up.
Professional sound varies depending on who is producing that sound. For example, the big recording studios don’t even use microphone kits, so when a mic is said to have a professional sound capture, that just means it sounds like what the big studios record.
The real pros reject pre-packaged mic kits but they’re perfect for beginners and individual musicians looking to capture their sound and share their music with the world.
With the right positioning, it’s possible to make a poor recording setting better. This is achieved through overhead mics and close miking.
In whichever room your drum kit is set up, try and position it in a place where it sounds the best. A handy tip to find this is to use a floor tom and find the best low-end resonance point.
If you can cover up walls and other hard surfaces so that sound doesn’t bounce around the room so much, that can also help sound quality. Covering solid walls with blankets and other softer, sound-dampening materials makes it easier to get productive sounds from your drums.
First, you need to know the difference between close and distant miking. It’s quite simple, a close-miking refers to where the mics are positioned closer to the sound system.
A popular closed miking example is where a mic may be above the snare drum to capture its noise. Distant miking is where sensitive mics are placed away from the sound source instead. Note that the typical microphone won’t be placed more than twelve inches away.
Through close miking, you can isolate the sound of a single drum from other noises in the room and even from other instruments that are around it.