Drummers are often faced with an impossible dilemma.
They need a mic for their drum kit or snare, but there’s no easy way to get the mic overhead without it getting in their way.
We all know that drummers are meticulous about their craft, and they have to be about the tools they’re using.
So if you’re a drummer, it’s important to find the best overhead drum mic.
What is a Drum Mic?
A drum microphone, as the name implies, is used to record the sounds of the drums.
Traditionally, this meant positioning a microphone in front of each piece of the kit — from the kick drum positioned in front of a bass drum to miking a snare with a mic close to the rim.
Of course, most modern drums are double-headed, and this makes mic placement essential for capturing good sounds.
Overhead mics can be placed on very convenient stands, and some models are even collapsible so they can fit in overhead cases easily.
Overhead drum mics come in three main types: the mic that’s positioned over the drummer to record sounds from overhead, a mic that’s placed on the floor and records sounds from below, and one that’s placed on an auxiliary stand above each drum.
Overhead mics are typically sensitive dynamic mics, like the Shure SM57 or Sennheiser e604.
These are omnidirectional so they can pick up a full range of sound.
There are a lot of factors to take into account when choosing the best overheads for your drum set.
It’s important to consider what types of sounds you want to capture, for example, the snare or the kick drum.
Good overhead mic placement helps you get a more accurate sound while also getting out of the drummer’s way (Source: MusicRadar.com)
This adds a lot of clarity to the sound of your kit.
Overhead drum mic placement is also essential for capturing drum fills and other subtle drum parts.
However, this mic positioning can be problematic for a drummer who is also the songwriter and lead singer.
These drums require more of an intimate sound — this is why many drummers want to record to kick drum and snare mics.
If you’re recording an album with songs that don’t rely on a lot of cymbal wash or other effects, then it’s probably best to use overhead mics rather than close-miking your kit.
Table of Contents
5 Best Overhead Drum Microphones
1. Behringer C-2 Studio
The Behringer C-2 is part of a series of products of The German company, Beringer.
This series happens to be the best-selling studio mics in the world and is the industry standard.
It has a wide frequency response that ranges from 20Hz to 20 Khz.
They also have a maximum SPL rating of 135 db and features 2 mic/line inputs that can be configured as an XLR input for a stereo connection or as two separate mono inputs.
They are dynamic microphones but they have a switch that can be used to change between the two settings. They are only 20 grams and measure at 10 centimeters in length.
The Behringer C-2 utilizes an advanced technology called “Phase Response” that eliminates feedback and provides natural, transparent sound. It has a zero-latency output which allows you to monitor your sound while recording live instruments with ease.
2. LyxPro SDPC-2 Pencil
The LyxPro SDPC-2 is a unique microphone that can be used on both instruments and vocals.
It sports a unique pencil shape design and has a frequency response of 80 hz to 20 Khz with a maximum SPL rating of 145 db.
It uses an XLR cable for connection to the mixing console and comes with a 2-year warranty.
The LyxPro SDPC-2 package comes with all the necessary equipment to get started as well as an instructional DVD.
3. Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Instrument Mic
Shure SM57 The Shure SM57 is a popular microphone with a lot of professional use.
The SM57 is a cardioid microphone and has the ability to change polar patterns from omnidirectional to cardioid, and has a frequency response ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Its maximum SPL rating is 145 db and it measures at 8 inches with an angle of 2.5 feet.
It has a switchable low-frequency roll-off switch that cuts out the lower frequencies to provide a more natural sound.
4. Rode M5-MP Matched Pair
The Rode M5-MP is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that has the ability to be used as an instrument or vocal microphone and comes in a matched pair configuration, hence the name “Matched Pair”.
It features a cardioid polar pattern, frequency response ranging in from 20Hz to 20Khz with a maximum SPL of 100db. It has a rugged design with a shock-absorbing construction and comes with a USB cable and an adapter.
5. Samson C02
The Samson C02 is a smaller and cheaper alternative to the Shure SM57.
It measures 7 inches with a 3-foot angle. It has a frequency response of 80 hz – 20 Khz, with a maximum SPL rating of 138db.
The S-microphone comes with all the necessary equipment to get started as well as an instructional DVD.
It comes in a matched pair configuration for a realistic stage recording experience.
How many overhead mics does a drum have?
It’s one or two overhead mics, usually a tom, and another mic above the cymbals – best on the snare.
What is a good overhead mic for toms?
The best toms mic is the Audix D6, SM81, and TLM 103. Other recommended great snares mics are the Shure SM55 or Beta 52. In most cases, you’ll want drum mics that are ruggedized and durable (and ideally with a built-in pop filter.
What kind of microphone is used for overhead?
Overhead microphones are generally quite large-diaphragm condenser ribbon mics. However, it ‘s not uncommon for some of the more ruggedized, durable mics like the Audix D6 or SM81 to have a “roll off” switch so that you can use them unidirectional for ambiance and it is only when you go into a “wide pattern” that you’ll get a hint of sound leaking from the front.
How do you mic overhead drums?
Get a drum mic that you like, then find the musician’s ideal mic position.
Try to duplicate that on your kit, by moving both mics back as much as possible.
If you can’t move them back, place them a few inches behind you on the drum riser and get out of the way when your drummer is playing so as not to be in their way (Source: masterclass.com)
A good drummer will make sure that they do the same thing so that every time they play, they have a similar setup.
Q: How high should I set my drum overhead mics?
A: It can be an excellent ambience adjustment. As you bring the mics lower and closer you lose a bit of the ambience; go up and you get a bit more … It can be a stereo width control. … You can vary the heights of each mic independently to compensate for differences in time arrival from different parts of the kit. …
Q: What’s the best mic for overheads?
A: How to Pick the Best Overhead Drum Microphones Small Diaphragm. Smaller pencil-shaped mics are small-diaphragm mics, and they’re generally accepted as more precise. Large Diaphragm. Large-diaphragm mics can sound more natural and less precise. … Supercardioid. These provide a focussed image, which is not suitable for larger sets of drums. … Cardioid. … Omni. …
Q: How to mix drum overheads?
A: Take your hi-hat mic (small-diaphragm condenser microphone,ex. … Plug the mic into CHANNEL 3 of your audio interface Position the mic so it’s pointing at about halfway between the edge and the bell,roughly 5 or 6 inches above the cymbal
Q: What is the best drum mic kit?
A: Shure PGA Drum Kit 7. As the manufacturer of some of the best wireless microphones of the past half century,Shure removes virtually all doubt that their PGA 7-Piece Drum … Audix DP7 Drum Mic Kit. … Samson DK707 7-Piece Drum Mic Kit. … Sennheiser E604 3-Pack. … Lewitt DTP Beat Kit Pro 7-Piece Drum Mic Kit. …