Micing up a drumkit is easily one of the most challenging parts of music production. How many mics do you need? Which kinds? Where should you put them for the best results? And don’t even get started on the processing and the mix.
However, after years of recording drums with different setups, I can let you in on a little secret. A full mic kit is the best thing to help you get the sound you want. Ha, some secret! The real secret is that these days mic kits are something you can consider investing in without having to be a full-blown professional recording studio.
If you want to get your live drums sounding great or are recording on an intermediate level, grab one of the best drum mic kits out there for cheap, and you’re laughing.
Top 6 Best Drum Mic Kits on the Market in 2021 Reviews
1 Pyle Pro: 7-Piece Wired Dynamic Kit – Best Budget Drum Mic Kit
- 1 large dynamic mic with mounting clip
- 4 small dynamic mics with mounting clips and clamps
- 2 condenser mics with mounting clips windscreens
Let me start by saying that if seven mics aren’t enough for your drum kit, you’re on your own. This beginner drum mic kit by Pyle Pro comes packed in a hard carrying case to protect all the pieces and keep things orderly. You’re getting one large and four small dynamic mics for your kick drum and snare/toms, respectively.
Then there are two condensers intended to capture your overheads and cymbals. These can also multi-task as vocal mics when those tracks are being put down.
What you’re getting
With the whole set costing just a bit over $100, would you be surprised if I told you this set works alright? I was surprised too. Let’s start with the bass mic. This is a uni-directional moving-coil dynamic mic with a decent frequency response of 50Hz – 15kHz. This mic does a great job pulling the low end.
The four snare/tom mics are smaller uni-directional moving-coil dynamic mics with almost the same frequency response at 50Hz – 14kHz. They also work well on their own to capture the true sounds of the drums they’re on.
However, close to the bass drum, they tend to pick up a bit too much low end. These mics clip onto your rims easily and connect to standard XLR cables (not included) for reduced line noise.
Two 48V phantom powered uni-directional condensers
They’re intended to be mounted on high booms for your overheads, but you can place them anywhere you want. However, for these and the bass drum mic, you’ll have to get your own stands. Although, 3/8” and 5/8” threaded holders are included. Or you can shell out another $20 – 30, and Pyle will throw in one stand for you.
- Very inexpensive 7-piece mic set.
- The bass drum mic does a great job on the low-end.
- The snare/tom mics can pick up too much low end from the kick drum.
- The mounting clips aren’t extremely secure.
2 Stage Right: Monoprice 7-Piece Drum Mic Kit – Best Drum Mic with Clip Mount Kit
- 1 bass drum mic with threaded mount
- 1 snare mic with clip mount
- 3 tom mics with clip mount
- 2 overhead condensers with windscreens
Stage Right wants to go head to head with the Pyle set of mics I just looked at. Fine, let’s let them square up.
All the Gear
In this 7-piece drum mic set, you’ve got a bass drum mic that’s a large-diaphragm dynamic cardioid mic. This guy has a frequency range down to 20Hz and up to 10kHz. So you’re getting all the audible low-end out of the bass drum.
It gives a robust and very full sound for some warm bass-heavy music. As a result, this is one of the best affordable drum mics for recording bass drums.
The dynamic cardioid snare and tom mics are designed for the high sound pressure levels of a drum kit. They have a frequency response of 80Hz – 13kHz, a sensitivity of -54dB, and an impedance of 250 ohms. They are decent mics that give a fairly flat, natural reproduction to your drum sound. They’re very clear and have little bleed due to a natural, high-end drop-off.
Something I really like about the mounting clips for these mics is the range of height you can set them off your drum heads. While the clips can be a bit finicky, this versatility allows you to focus on a tight sound or back off for pulling in more of the sound of the room. You can also get your snare mic quite high and close to the hi-hat if you want to group these sounds together.
Finally, the overhead condenser mics are designed for high sound pressure levels but can also pull out the tiniest sounds from your performance. They’re great to use for vocals or individual instruments as well. So you’re getting a lot of versatility out of them.
Everything comes packed in a hard case to protect your gear. You’ll still need some stands and all the XLR cables for these mics, but the set is getting you going in the right direction.
- Great low price.
- The bass mic is full and warm.
- Clips are adjustable to get the perfect distance from your drum heads.
- Clips can be tricky.
3 CAD Audio: Stage7 7 Piece Drum Mic Pack – Best Value for the Money Drum Mic Kit
- 1 D10 Bass mic
- 1 D19 Snare mic
- 3 D29 Tom mics
- 2 C9 Condenser mics
Next up in my Best Drum Mic Kits Review, we have yet another 7-piece microphone pack to deal with. This time, it’s coming from CAD Audio, a company that has been making mics for 90 years. We’ve moved up in price to slightly under the $200 mark. So let’s see the differences between these mics and their cheaper competitors.
The pack comes in a soft vinyl bag with thick foam specifically cut to fit each piece of the set. The bag might not be as protective as a hard case, but at least it’s light and convenient.
A brilliant bass drum mic
Inside, you’ll find the D10 bass drum mic. This cardioid, moving-coil, dynamic microphone captures the kick drum’s thump and crack. The frequency response has been crafted to reduce some of the dull booms of your kick (350-400 Hz). This is excellent for most kick drums and drummers because it reduces the need for equalization in the mix.
I found it great for heavy, hard bass doubles with a tight head and a firm beater. Therefore, this might be the best low cost bass drum microphone out there.
Quick and easy
The three D29 mics are cardioid dynamic mics for your toms. They come with integrated clips, so each is a single piece of gear. That makes setting up and packing these mics away a real treat. At the same time, the clips have a very thick heavy rubber lining to them.
This is designed to protect your rims, but it ends up making the mics come loose fairly frequently, especially when you’re playing hard. You’ll find yourself re-tightening them frequently during a live show.
Superb snare mic
Like the D29s, the D19 snare drum has the same integrated clip. It’s only slightly different in that it’s a super-cardioid mic. This means it’s even more focused so that nothing else comes through your all-important snare track. And it works well in comparison to the Stage Rights, and especially the Pyle’s kit, as there’s next to no bleed here at all.
The set is completed by a pair of C9 condensers. These are noticeably clearer and more detailed than the other two brands we’ve seen so far. They create zero line noise as well, which is great. They come with threaded mounts that can attach them to any mic stand and, like all the mics in this set, take XLR cables.
- Very low noise and detailed condensers.
- Great sound through the tom and snare mics with little-to-no bleed.
- Kick drum mic has a 350-400 Hz dip so that less equalization is necessary.
- Clip-ons can come loose frequently.
4 Samson: DK707 7-Piece Drum Microphone Kit – Best Drum Mic and Mic Stand Kit
- 1 Q71 Kick drum mic
- 4 Q72 snare/tom mics
- 2 C02 Condenser mics
- 2 fixed boom tripod mic stands
- 1 telescoping boom low-level mic stand
- 7 20-ft XLR cables and Strapeez cable ties
Okay, while this package from Samson also has seven microphones, it comes with a whole lot more pieces. Let’s break it down quickly to see why it’s one of the best drum mic kits available.
To start with…
You’ve got the Q71 kick drum mic. With a frequency range of 50Hz – 16kHz, it does a decent job of capturing the kick drum but does miss out on some of the deepest sounds. If you like a whole lot of boom in your kick, this mic isn’t necessarily going to get you there.
The same frequency response is found in the dynamic Q72 instrument mics meant for your snare and toms. These mics do a good job of getting the toms down, but the snare does sound a bit lowered and muffled.
Furthermore, the clips for mounting these to your rims are not great. They’re relatively cheap plastic and simply fit in and rest on the rims, rather than tightening on. Therefore, don’t expect them to work on all rims and all angles.
The condensers do the trick. From 40 – 20,000 Hz, these pencil mics can pick up cymbals well or be used farther away to take in the kit as a whole.
The mic stands are fairly low-end, but they’ll do the job if you’re not traveling with them all over the shop. The same goes for the XLR cables. Not the best, but at least they’re nice and long at 20 feet. All in all, with cables and stands included, this is one of the most versatile drum mic kits you will find.
- Great price for seven good mics, seven cables, and three stands.
- Overhead condensers are nice and clear.
- Bass mic misses out on some of the mega low-end.
- Rim-mounting clips are not of great quality.
5 Shure: DMK 57-52 4-Piece Drum Microphone Kit – Most Reliable Drum Mic Kit
- 1 Beta 52A bass drum mic
- 3 SM57 dynamic mics and mounting clips
Finally, a drum mic set that’s not a 7-piece. Not that there’s anything wrong with seven mics all feeding tracks into your mix and making setting levels that much more difficult. Nothing at all.
This package from trusted microphone manufacturer Shure gives you a very different concept on how to mic drums. And believe me, it’s one that most sound engineers are going to appreciate.
The idea is this…
You use one mic for your kick, one for the snare/hi-hat position, and two overheads to get the overall sound. This setup might not be very tweakable for recording. But for micing your drums in live shows, it’s quick, easy to set up, and a much faster and smoother mix to balance out.
Here Shure gives you their Beta 52A bass drum mic. This is a dynamic super-cardioid microphone on a pneumatic shock mounting system to minimize noise while getting a very clear focus on your kick. It’s mounted on an integrated locking stand adapter with a built-in XLR connector. I found you get a great punchy, attack-heavy sound out of this mic.
Then you get…
A set of three SM57 dynamic mics with a 40-15,000 HZ frequency range. These mics are super-durable and are used for both snare and tom mics in pro studios, as well as instruments (great for guitar cabinets) and even vocals (from Paul Rodgers to Lemmy). In fact, over 90 percent of every recorded snare drum on songs recorded in pro studios have been made with an SM57.
They’re a bit contoured to a high-end peak and a reduced low end, but this makes them great for overhead mics matched with the kick mic. They truly are the workhorse microphone, and every drummer or engineer should own at least three or four.
You also get three A56D mounting clips for these mics, so you can connect them to your drums as needed. They also come with threaded mounts for boom stands, so the choice is yours. And everything packs neatly into a durable hard plastic case. So, if you want one of the most durable drum mic kits, this is worth a closer look.
Even though this is sold as a ‘kit,’ you don’t have to use all the mics as I have described. You could actually use these four mics for your kick drum, snare and toms, then buy a pair of good condensers, such as the Shure SM81 LC for your overheads, and even another pair to use as room mics (or more SM57s if you want to save some money) for a fantastic nine microphone setup.
Obviously, this doesn’t have to be done at the same time, so you could buy this kit, then expand it as money is available, and you improve your engineering skills to really get the benefit of a more extensive recording setup.
- Great punchy bass mic.
- Durable build quality mics and mounts.
- A much higher price for only four mics.
6 Shure: PGA Drum Kit 7 7-Piece Drum Microphone Kit – Best Premium Drum Mic Kit
- 1 PGA52 Bass mic
- 3 PGA56 Snare/tom mics with rim mounts
- 1 PGA57 Instrument mic
- 2 Condenser mics
- 7 15-foot XLR cables
Now we’re back to seven mics, and you know what? I’m OK with that. In fact, I’m Shure about it. <groan> Okay, sorry. My final drum mic set is priced close to $500. And even though it’s from Shure, you want to be certain that the price is justified.
So what do you get here?
With this set of microphones, you’re getting Shure’s PGA52 bass drum mic, which normally sells for $120 by itself. This is a durable cardioid mic with a frequency response that’s got an extra bass boost and a natural, high-end fall-off. In comparison to the Beta 52a, this mic has more thump and less attack. Both sound great, so it depends on your playing style.
The PGA56 Dynamic mics are labeled as snare/tom mics, but here they’re intended for your toms. They mount on simple clips and stay in place well. Like the Samson’s, though, they may not fit all rims perfectly. But their sound is clear and strong, if a bit boomy.
Shure wants you to use their PGA57 cardioid dynamic mic for your snare. It has a bit more focus and detailed high-end to make your snare stand out. Finally, you get two great PGA81 cardioid condensers for the overhead sound. These are crystal clear mics that make your drums sound great. They can also do double duty on other instrument tracks, such as acoustic guitars and even vocals.
A few complaints…
For an expensive mic set, this one should come with longer cables. 15-feet is a bit short, considering all the snaking through the gear you’ll have to do. And the hard plastic case here is okay for the mics, but the cables don’t fit inside. Surely Shure has made a mistake here.
- Condensers are excellent.
- The bass drum mic is robust and super-durable.
- The cables are a bit short.
- The case doesn’t fit all the gear in this set.
Best Drum Mic Kits Buying Guide
If you’re in the market for a set of drum mics, whether for recording or live performances, you need to know what to look for.
These days, XLR cables are standard. Quarter-inch cables are unbalanced and will give you too much line noise. If you’re lucky, the set of drum mics you choose will include good cables that will be long enough to be useful. 20-feet is a good length.
For the bass and overhead mics, you just need standard threaded mic mounts that will fit onto any mic stand. But for your snare and toms, clips are what you’ll normally find in a drum mic set.
Look for clips that hold firmly. And make sure the clips will fit onto your rims. While most clips will fit onto any triple-flanged rim, some shallow rims – like mesh heads – might not work out.
Snare and Tom Mics
Look for good quality, great-sounding cardioid dynamic mics to get the best sound from your drums. You may want a super-cardioid for your snare to make sure you get the most focused sound. These mics should be durable and small if possible – you will hit them with your sticks sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid them.
Bass Drum Mic
For your kick, I recommend a cardioid or super-cardioid dynamic mic that can handle frequencies down to at least 40Hz (20Hz is even better). Again, you need something durable and able to take the SPL (sound pressure level) that your kick drum will put out, and turn this into a strong, punchy bass sound.
To pick up the cymbals and also just the overall sound of your kit, you need a couple of great condenser mics. It would be great if they come with their own boom stands, but these aren’t too expensive.
Many sets these days are affordable and offer 7 mics (1 snare, 3 toms, 1 kick, and 2 overheads). However, it depends on what you think you need to make your kit sound great. For recording, more mics are probably better. For live shows, you can likely get a great sound and an easier mix from just 4 mics instead.
Need Great Mics or Great Drums?
We can help you with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Kick Drum Mic, the Best Snare Mics, the Best Condenser Mics Under $200, the Best XLR Microphones, the Best Dynamic Microphones, and the Best Shure Microphones you can buy in 2021.
Plus, don’t miss our guides on How To Set Up Your Drums, How To Build Your Own Soundproof Home Studio For Drums, and How To Record a Drum Set With 2-3 Microphones for more useful information.
The Best of The Best Drum Mic Kits
It wasn’t easy to pick the best drum mic kit to recommend. But with a price comfortably under $200 and 7 great mics with integrated clips, I think the real winner is the…
For the price, these mics are durable and very clear. Plus, you can use the condensers to record all sorts of other instruments as well.
But it all depends on your budget. If you want to go cheaper or way more expensive, I’ve given you some good options both ways. Getting mics on your drums is going to be an exciting new path – enjoy it!
Until next time, let the music play.