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FDP Forum / I'd Hit It! - Drums and Percussion / What Drum Mic's Do You Usef?

Contributing Member


Jun 25th, 2012 09:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

We're thinking about miking my kit. I was wondering what mic's you use and how many of each? I know some of the pro's use two SD mic's, one for the top and one for the bottom. Is this really necessary? Do you need a mic for each tom or can one mic be set between two tom's? As always, any and all help will be appreciated!



Jun 26th, 2012 04:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

If it is using our/my PA, or a rehearsal studio, I’ll just use a kick mic (AT Pro25) to add some oomph to the bass drum, not much, just a little.

The venue our original band plays, is very loud and puts a mic on every drum. 57's, 58's, etc. I think he gets plenty of spill from the cymbals anyway, so no need for overheads. I’ve heard other drummers play there and the drum sound is always good, so that mic setup seems to work well enough live, for hard rock anyway.

Contributing Member

Connecticut USA

Stompin' on the avenue by Radio City
Jun 26th, 2012 04:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

Lots of different schools of thought on this.

I don’t believe that it’s necessary to put two mics on a snare. Might be interesting in a studio situation to provide mixdown options, but for live work, a top mic is usually sufficient.

A single mic can cover multiple toms and/or cymbals, but for maximum flexibility in mixing, most sound guys prefer individual mics on toms. Depending on the number of inputs on the main mixer, it may be necessary to use a submixer in order to route all of the mics into the signal chain. I prefer condenser mics for cymbals, which require either batteries or phantom power.

These days, I rarely mic my kit unless I’m playing an outdoor gig. My preferences:

· Kick: AKG D112
· Snare: Shure SM57
· Hi-hat: Shure SM81
· Toms: Sennheiser MD421
· Overheads: Shure SM81

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jun 27th, 2012 10:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

What garp said.

I mic drums two ways. The simple mix is a SM57 as an overhead and an AKG D112 for the kick. If you get the OH in the right place this can be very effective and I like to use this set up even for small clubs as some hot sizzle can be added to the mix.

I am a huge fan of the Shure SM57. For a large venue I add them to the above on snare, toms and hat. Maybe a second OH.

How effective micing drums will be is directly related to the amount of power you have in the PA and the speaker array you choose to run. Running subs helps a ton and they don't have to be huge. When micing drums large amounts of clean power is needed.

Contributing Member


Jun 28th, 2012 09:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks everybody. This info is a great help as I know nothing about this subject, except when it's properly done, it sounds really good!.

Contributing Member

Connecticut USA

Stompin' on the avenue by Radio City
Jun 28th, 2012 08:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Let someone else whack your kit while you sit out front and tweak the P.A.



Jun 28th, 2012 11:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

I agree you can’t go wrong with SM57’s as they will work well with everything… snare, toms, hats, overheads… but I would use a dedicated kickmic.

I have also done the kickmic (in my case an AT Pro25) and a single 57 as an overhead and it works great. I also agree that your PA needs to have the oomph and headroom to do it.

Can I just ask, why do you suddenly feel the need to mic your kit? It is a lot of extra effort and the results can vary on the night, depending on how well you (or the soundman) does it. If is just because the guitar players or whoever keep turning up, then you may be better to forget the mics and just put a stop to the volume wars. Otherwise you’ll just get louder in the FOH mix and if the guitarists are doing their volume from their amps, they will turn up more to compensate, then you’ll want a monitor so you can hear everyone, so it just gets louder, so they turn up….etc, etc.

Anyway, just saying…

added later... but if your venues are bigger you will need to mic.

(This message was last edited by Lazmo at 06:48 AM, Jun 29th, 2012)

Contributing Member


Jun 30th, 2012 10:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

There are a couple of reasons:

1) We just got a new lead singer who wants them mic'd.

2)The sound guy has told me to put away the brushes and broomsticks cause he can't hear me when I use them. He also told me that when I play driving quarter notes on m crash cymbal to hit them really hard or it can't be heard. The crash is a 17" Zildjan A custom.

We're currently looking at Audix mic's. There will be a dedicated one for the kick, snare and I think 3 tom mic's. Problem is I soon will have 5 toms total, as I'm expanding my kit. (I really didn't think they were that serious about mic'ing the drums.) Now I'm wondering if a couple of 57's would work for the other two toms? Can you mix different brands of mic's and still get a good sound?



Jul 1st, 2012 07:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

57's would be fine and yes you can mix and match... unless you are a bit on the retentive side ;-)

Tony Wright

Stillwater, OK

Built for comfort, not for speed.
Mar 24th, 2013 01:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Is this a small venue? (150/175 people or less?)

Medium venue (200/350 people)?

Larger venue?

Small venues can get by with two mics. A decent kick drum mic and a decent overhead mic.

Condenser mics typically work better for over head than SM57, but I have done an entire kit with a single SM57 (center of kit, overhead) and single SM58 (SM58 should be used as a traditional kick, stick it inside the front head/port).

Three mics? Well you could split the sides of the kit and place one SM57 or condenser mics on each half, along with one kick mic. Another option might be one close mic on the hats/snare and one centered overhead along with a kick mic.

Beyond that...you can mix and match mic brand or model to your heart's content.

When I had a 4 mic drum pack, I used to put one in the kick, one for the snare, split the two mounted toms with one and the last would be on the floor tom. Cymbals are typically picked up in drum mics and nearly all vocal mics on the front line and especially the drummer's vocal mic.

The bottom line is: Nearly any mic can work for drums...and all you need is slight reinforcement because typical acoustic volume on a drum kit is most frequently louder than any guitar amp.

My current band's drummer does not mic up unless we are at a larger venue (typically 400-750). Since we use a powered mixer and two mains with no subwoofers, which means we do not push the drums at most events.

If the lead singer wants percussion miced simply because they want to hear the drums in the monitor mix...no problem, Otherwise, the lead singer needs to worry about their own performance.

Hope something in that information about micing drums helps more than it harms.

Contributing Member


May 29th, 2013 03:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond Lazmo and Tony! I had some surgery and it has taken more than 6 months for me to recover. What an ordeal!

We did buy the Audix mic's and they sound great to me! However, we still need one for the Hi-hat and one for another rack tom, bare minimum. I was thinking that the Shure mic's may be less expensive to buy than Audix, but I really don't know? I need to check that out. I have to admit, that I'm a little retentive OK OK ya caught me! I'm a lot on the retentive side but don't ask me why. I know I won't have a good answer. There's really no reason for it.

And Tony, it's a medium venue. And, your advice is very helpful! I heard a guy that appeared to be using only a couple of overhead mic's (have no idea what brand or models) and his kit sounded great! So, I guess like a lot of things, there's more than one way to mic up your kit!

Thanks again everybody! I appreciate the info so much!

Fast Lane Pablo


May 29th, 2014 04:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

My drummer has a four piece Gretsch kit. We use a Shure Beta 52 A on the kick, an SM 57 or a Yamaha mic from the '90's on the snare and a Sterling Audio ST 51 for the overhead/kit mic.

The Sterling is a GC house brand Chinese LD Condenser that I got at a pawn shop for something like $35.00. It does a great job of captueing the kit. We place the snare mic so the hi hat bleeds into it and the three do a stellar job on capturing the kit and getting us a little thump and crack. We use a pair of EV powered subs (little ones with 12" speakers) and EV top boxes with a 12" and a horn. I'm quite happy with the sounds we get for a little three piece band.

Tony Wright

Stillwater, OK

Built for comfort, not for speed.
Jul 17th, 2015 09:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

My friend (and friendly competitor for live sound...and he IS better, trust me) uses Audix drum mics and loves them. I prefer SM57 simply for the name recognition on contract riders. With that in mind...

I would pull my two SM57 to they did not make such a sonic difference on the smaller mounted toms...for example:

K-Audix kick
S-Shure SM57
T1-Audix ?
T2-Audix ?
T3-Audix ?
T4-Shure SM57
T5-Shure SM57
Overhead if needed-SM57 or your favorite condenser on phantom power.

There is another way to approach this...

Use two mics between the three mounted toms. Or to visualize it, one mic on either side of the center mounted tom...to pick up the sound from the "outside" toms equally.

While I showed a Shure SM57 on snare, you could use the Audix snare mic if there is a "dedicated" mic for snare in the kit.

OR...use either the Shure SM57 or Audix snare mic on the high hats.

We have an outdoor street festival this afternoon. (My part time job is sound and lighting tech for the City where I live, the "center" where I work not only does "indoor theater and multipurpose room production" but also the events outdoors that the City sponsors such as the recent July 4th fireworks at the lake...

Anyway, that was meant as background for the following story:

We take a Presonus StudioLive 16.0.4 digital mixer to the outdoor events...no need for other processing as everything you need is loaded into the Presonus already. But it is the "small" 12 channel unit. (We have two StudioLive 16.4.2 16 channel mixers connected by Firewire in the theater so we have the ability to split as two 16s or one 32 channel.) We take the smaller board to these street festival things simply because our supervisor tells us to.

Thus, we dedicate ONLY 4 channels for drums.

One mic for kick.
One mic split overhead for snare and hats.
One mic between the two mounted toms.
One mic positioned to cover any and all of the floor toms.

Works just fine. We are running four 1500 Watt JBL PRX718XLF subs and you can hear the THUNDER of the kick and snare just fine 2 blocks away.

Granted, the din of the generators from the vendors makes it a little difficult, but when it is just music...we are good to go. They are slowly but surely dealing with the vendor's generators.

Drums, unlike guitar amps, do not sound BAD when the sound from two or more "bleed" into one mic. At lest LIVE.

In the STUDIO, mic each drum close for better tone control in the final mix.

For a down dirty demo or rehearsal live recording...kick and an overhead or two would probably be fine.

Tony Wright

Stillwater, OK

Built for comfort, not for speed.
Jul 18th, 2015 04:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ah...other drum mics I have used with good results...

I had a 4 pack of Audio Technica KP drum mics. One of those packages that has two "snare/tom mics" and two "Tom/kick" mics.

I used to find them around $100-$150 fairly regularly on "da Bay"

I supplemented with an SM57 for the snare drum and just used the four for Kick, two mounted toms and floor tom.

Audio Technica KP drum mics.

Tony Wright

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Oct 11th, 2016 07:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

UPDATE 10/11/16:

We are using a set of Audix mics most of the time. Things moved fast this summer...we do not take the Presonus on outdoor gigs unless we are doing more than 16 channels. Normally we use the Behringer XR18 Air and an iPod for the mixer.

That lets us keep channels 1-6 dedicated from drums:
Kick D-6
Snare I-5
Hats SM-57
Tom 1 D-2
Tom 2 D-2
Floor D-4

If we need more mics, we have several SM-57 available.

And this is where I go back to the earlier comments, with some clarification: You can mic using nearly any mic as long as you set your EQ properly and as long as you get a good, clean, strong signal from the drum.

Check out the video below from Audix regarding drum mics...it is the first installment of about six video. Just follow from number 1 thru the end. They will all be posted by Audix101. Our supervisor found this online and required (and paid) all the techs to watch these video.

Granted, the "training" videos are all a long running commercial for Audix brand mics...but you know what? All of the techniques work with other brand names...positioning mics is the same brand to brand.

Finally, we avoid using condenser mics...ESPECIALLY when we are doing outdoor events. If you use a condenser mic outdoors in Oklahoma, all you will hear is "whoooooosh".

Even Rogers and Hammerstein know that Oklahoma is where "....the wind comes sweeping down the plains."

There are enough open mics on stage (vocal mics, drum mics, etc.) so you don't have to mic cymbals. On the other hand, micing the snare and high hats at the same time "can" work adequately.

I was in a "geezer band" for a couple of years and the drummer suffered a minor heart attack. (Really, minor? OK, if you say so.) I noticed that he started to tire out quite a bit when he returned to playing...he was losing his tempo on the kick...

So, I miced his kit, one mic for kick, one split between snare and hats, one split between the two mounted toms and one on the floor tom. I started with the four mics set fairly low level volume. After each set, I pushed the kick drum up a little on volume. Eventually, I started to increase the snare and mounted toms, never had to adjust the floor.

As long as the band can hear you on stage, you do not need any drums in the monitors, ever! But to help cover the venue with adequate volume levels without pushing the drummer physically is a very valid reason to mic up in small to mid sized venues.

Oh, by the way, we were using a 12 channel powered mixer and a pair of Yamaha S115IV mains. NO subwoofers.

Audix drum mic techniques video 1

FDP Forum / I'd Hit It! - Drums and Percussion / What Drum Mic's Do You Usef?

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