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Best Kick Drum Mic Reviewed
Whether you are running live sound on stage or building out a home studio, any experienced audio engineer will tell you that capturing smashing drum sounds is the essential place to start building the musical foundation.
For most music genres, the drum set will start laying the foundation for all the other instruments to layer onto. And within the drum and percussive sounds, the kick drum is the bedrock of it all.
Capture a killer kick drum, and you’ve started off on the right foot.
Recording a solid kick drum sound isn’t as straightforward as other instruments sometimes are. For starters, finding the best kick drum mic is essential in order to offset the high decibels, or sound pressure levels (SPL) produced by a booming kick drum.
Along with using a quality kick drum mic, positioning that kick mic will have a huge influence on which tones of the kick are emphasized.
We cover more of those details shortly, along with our review of 5 of our top bass drum microphones.
Which kick drum mic will provide optimal performance for your needs will depend on how you want to use it. Looking over the details of each kick mic and it’s setup will be a big help when you want to document a slamming kick drum.
You can check out our tips and features to consider below, and look over the quick comparison chart for fast answers to your questions.
Okay, lets dig into it!
Kick Drum Microphone Placement
Placing the mic closer to the beater will accentuate higher frequencies, like the “click” you hear in a funk or rock mix. You might find this position lacking low end, or picking up a lot of bleed from the snare.
Placement closer to the front captures more low-end, but can also makes for a dryer sound that tightens up the boomy sounds too much for some tastes. Finding the sweet spot is key.
Here is a helpful video placing your kick drum mic:
Top Bass Drum Mic Comparison Chart
Best Kick Drum Mic
1. Shure BETA 91A Kick Drum Mic
This much-beloved kick drum mic was created by renowned brand Shure – an established audio product corporation that’s been creating high-quality equipment for nearly 100 years.
Designed as an accessory to kick drums, it combines its previous models, the popular BETA SM91 and BETA 91 to create one of the best kick drum mics currently available on the market.
Featuring a state-of-the-art integrated preamplifier, XLR connection and microphone capsule, it produces a rich, crisp sound that maximizes your working gain levels prior to hitting any limitations that cause unwanted hum and feedback.
With small dimensions and a sleek half-cardioid condenser design, it’s also easy to transport and place within a drum or piano – due to its flat design that doesn’t require a stand unlike some other drum mics.
This makes it great for those consistently traveling to the studio or touring in a band.
One of the best kick drums mics for recording music and performing live, it packs a thump for studio-quality sound (even when faced with high sound pressure levels) and rejects any off-axis sound – an issue that’s commonly produced by the cheaper drum microphones available.
As a boundary mic, it also has a hemispherical polar pattern that allows it to pick up all of the tones, as well as the resonance that’s created by the drum. An important factor that drumming enthusiasts will appreciate, it will make every jam session or gig feel more professional.
Overall the Shure BETA 91A is a very impressive drum mic that has numerous applications for you to take advantage of.
With an ability to pick up both ambient sound as well as speech, it’s definitely worth exploring for those looking for the ultimate well-rounded drum mic. Although it’s not one of the most affordable on this list, the sleek design and capabilities make it well worth the money for many who want to capture that great sounding kick.
This video is a great Shure BETA 91A Review:
- Uniform half-cardioid polar pattern for maximum gain-before-feedback and rejection of off-axis sound
- Precision-engineered low-profile design features integrated preamplifier and XLR connector to maximize setup efficiency while minimizing stage clutter
- Frequency response tailored for kick drum/low frequency applications with a wide dynamic range for use in high SPL environments
- Two-position contour switch to maximize attack and clarity depending on application: select the flat response setting for natural sound in most applications or the “low-mid scoop” setting for a strong low frequency “punch” with plenty of higher frequency attack
- Requires no external mounting or accessories for ease of use and storage
2. Sennheiser e602 II Evolution Series Kick Mic
Any drum or music enthusiast knows the Sennheiser brand. A German audio company, it has been specializing in creating first-rate audio equipment since its inception in 1945. Never compromising on build, design or sound quality, Sennheiser’s kick mics are simply extraordinary and a force to be reckoned with.
The Sennheiser e602 II Evolution Series Kick Mic, that’s designed specifically for kick drums, tubas, bass guitar cabs and other low-frequency instruments features an XLR3 connector, a large diaphragm capsule which directly enhances bass response, a high SPL performance level (of over 155 dB) and a fast transient response time, enabling it to reproduce any sound with clarity and accuracy. These features are the key reasons why it’s so popular and why it’s frequently on the top ten lists.
Suitable for any application – whether you’re recording within a studio or performing a live concert, its on-axis / off-axis response guarantees perfect sound every time. Alongside producing high quality sound due to its voice coil construction, it’s rugged and lightweight stainless steel design means that it’s durable yet easy to transport as it’s very lightweight. Able to stand on a mic stand or long boom arm, it’s incredibly versatile – giving people the flexibility they need when on the move.
Overall it’s fair to say that the Sennheiser e602 II Evolution Series Kick Mic is great value for money with all the premium features you need. Also coming with a 10-warranty, it’s easily a contender for the best mic for kick drum. Ideal for drummers that want to ‘feel’ the sound as well as hear it clearly, the Sennheiser e602 II Evolution dynamic bass drum will always deliver you a reliable and versatile performance every time you want to play.
- Large diaphragm capsule enhances bass response
- Capable of greater than 155 dB SPL
- Integrated stand mount stabilizes high mass housing
- 10 year warranty
3. AKG D112 MkII Professional Bass Drum Mic
If you’re on the hunt for a diverse drum mic, then the AKG D112 MkII is the right choice for you. Created by the long-established Austrian acoustics manufacturer AKG, it features an extended frequency response of 20Hz – 17kHz, creates smooth and clear bass tones and has a large diaphragm microphone that delivers accurate low frequencies.
An ideal choice for a bass amp, its resonance volume chamber and high SPL capability of 160dB is perfect for anyone looking to produce an extraordinary, punchy sound with little added EQ– whether they are performing in the studio or live on a stage. Ready to go when you are, it’s the ultimate accessory to your drum kit.
The revamped version of the AKG D112, it retains many of the sonic strengths of its predecessor but excels with its new and innovative updates – something that is bound to excite both past and new users.
By balancing forceful impact with precise definition and a narrow band rise, the hum-compensation coil that’s integrated in the mic ensures that noise is kept to an absolute minimum. Reinforcing its ability to be used anywhere that you want.
Due to its flexible integrated mount and the fact that it doesn’t require any phantom power, the AKG D112 MkII is very versatile for those who want to plug it in and use it on the go. Not only is it easy and quick to set up, but the head of the AKG D112 is also adjustable, meaning that it can fit in even the smallest of spaces and be moved to capture every sound that you want.
Possibly the best kick drum mic for recording on this list, it’s proof that an affordable kick drum mic doesn’t always mean that you have to compromise on great sound or versatility. Earning a well-deserved international reputation with thousands of people loving what it has to offer, it has an exceptional capability to prevent audible distortion.
- Integrated flexible mount makes it even more versatile
- Bass resonance volume chamber for unique, punchy sound
- Large diaphragm dynamic microphone delivers accurate low frequencies
- Integrated hum-compensation coil keeps noise to an absolute minimum
- Industry benchmark for bass drum microphone used on stages worldwide for over 30 years
4. Shure BETA 52A Supercardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Mic
The second Shure kick drum mic on this list, the BETA 52A is a dynamic microphone that boasts a high transmission range and high output power. Optimized specially to allow for a maximum bass drum punch, as well as accommodating various other low-frequency instruments, its response is unbelievable and unlike others on this list.
Delivering studio quality sound and high feedback due to its modified supercardioid pattern while diminishing any background noise and minimizing the transmission of vibrations, this drum kick mic stands tall amongst its competitors – and for very good reason.
When you want to adjust the mic, you can do so easily with the integrated XLR connector and spring-loaded thread mount within the adjustable tripod adapter. Simplifying the positioning of the microphone, especially when it’s placed within a bass drum, you can flexibly adjust it no matter if you’re in the studio or at a live gig.
In terms of design, the BETA 52A is created with a hardened steel mesh. Surrounding the drum head, it will resist any wear and tear that could be the result of carrying the microphone to and from the studio or gigs – something that others might not withstand. Giving you the peace of mind that it will last longer than a few years, you won’t have to think about spending out on another kick drum mic.
This combination of durability and high performance levels signifies the reliability of Shure products. Rightly holding the place of one of the best brands in the music industry, it’s easy to see why so many people opt for Shure above others. Even though they are a little more expensive, these benefits arguably outweigh the initial cost.
For example, no longer will you have to feel the frustration that comes with buying a budget-friendly microphone for your drums or low-frequency instrument. You’ll now have a kick mic that you can not only rely on in terms of sound performance, but also that you know will last for many years.
As an extra level of production, as well as a dynamic and strong build, it’s good to know that the BETA 52A comes with a small leather case to transport it in. A handy accessory to have, you can then keep all of your equipment together when you’re transporting it to a concert or event.
- Frequency response shaped specifically for kick drums and bass instruments
- Built-in dynamic locking stand adapter with integral XLR connector simplifies setup, especially inside a kick drum
- Studio quality performance, even a high sound pressure levels
- Supercardioid pattern for high gain before feedback and superior rejection of unwanted noise
- Hardened steel mesh grille that resists wear and abuse
5. CAD Audio KBM412 Dynamic Cardioid Kick Microphone
Another popular brand within the music industry is CAD Audio. A business that’s been running for 85 years, over the years they have created some of the most innovative and high quality music equipment available within the industry. Ideal for professional performers and novices alike, it’s clear to see why they are constantly receiving excellent reviews across Amazon.
The CAD KBM412 is a Neodymium microphone that’s been similarly designed not only for bass drums but other low-frequency sources – as it can pick up low frequencies and record them without a fuss. With a large diaphragm delivering a rapid response (between 25Hz and 15kHz), high SPL handling and a shock mount saddle providing protection from mechanical noise, it guarantees an excellent performance.
One of the punchiest and most sensitive microphones available for drums, it’s essential that when you’re positioning it, you test it out first to ensure that it doesn’t distort the sound in any way (it can pick up frequencies around the 25Hz mark). But when the right position is found, it will allow for a great depth when you’re recording. A small niggle that can be easily adjusted, it can prove to be a mic that you love to use for many many years.
In terms of the cost, this kick drum mic is also very affordable and therefore is more accessible to novices or those wanting to save money than others on this list (such as the Sennheiser ones). Available to customers either new or used, you won’t have to worry about spending hundreds of dollars on a drum mic – whether you’re planning on using it solely to record music within a studio or in a live setting.
It’s also packaged within a rugged die-cast body with a sturdy external screen, ensuring that it has additional protection from any bumps and strikes. The build quality for the price and the performance are perhaps the key reasons why many people choose this microphone.
- Cardioid Polar Pattern
- Frequency response – 30Hz – 12KHz
- Mic Clip included
Final Thoughts On Kick Drum Mics
It’s clear that all of these brands and kick drum mics are exceptional in their own right. All from trusted and renowned brands that each have a prominent position within the music industry, it can be difficult to decide on which one is the best kick drum mic for you. However, I hope that this has helped to guide you as to which drum mic could be most suitable for your unique requirements.
There are many things that you’ll want to consider when looking at kick drum mics, including how much you want to spend on it, their build-quality, their performance, their SPL handling, their resonance, the application you’re using it for etc. Therefore, it’s a good idea to first compare and contrast the various options available before deciding on the best one for you.
You’ll also want to think about whether you want an all-in-one solution, or you’re happy to compromise on certain features for the price that you spend – something that everyone will undeniably consider at the start of the process.
For example, if you’re a novice looking for your first kick drum mic, then you may opt for the CAD Audio KBM412 Dynamic Cardioid Kick Microphone because although it’s durable and great quality, the price is quite a bit lower than others on this list.
Whereas if you’re a professional drummer or one that records in the studio more often, then one of the Sennheiser or Shure kick drum mics might be more suitable as they guarantee exceptional performance every time and are very reliable. At the end of the day, it’s your choice – and the final decision will differ greatly on personal preference. Just take a look through the reviews and the rest will become clear to you over time!