Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kick Drum Mic Review

In the world of audio engineering, getting a great kick drum sound for a manageable price is difficult! So today I will be giving a review of 4 kick drum mics that I feel are worth the buy!

1) AKG D 112 Bass Drum Microphone $199-$250

The ultimate bass drum microphone! This microphone was developed for clean kick drum and bass guitar performance with a powerful, punchy sound. Absolutely free of distortion even at high sound pressure levels, very low diaphragm resonance, a relatively narrow-band rising high frequency response at 4 kHz and an extremely robust construction are the outstanding features of this microphone. 

Favored by recording engineers worldwide for its faithful sonic recreation of various flavors of kick drums as well as other low-frequency instruments, the D112 is often referred to as the "best kick drum microphone ever made." This reputation is well-deserved, as it's proved itself to be one of the most versatile kick mics in production today, and a product that continues to distinguish itself from its competitors. No matter the kick drum make or drummer style, this workhorse can handle SPLs as high as 160 dB, and features a substantial and low resonance frequency below 100 Hz, where much of the "boom" from a kick drum can be found. A windscreen is included, as well as a stand adapter. Good results can be obtained by positioning this mic about 1.5" outside the drum hole, slightly off-axis. Overall a great kick drum mic for its price =)

2)  Electro-Voice PL33 Dynamic Supercardioid Kick Drum Mic $99-$140

The PL33 is a professional-grade supercardioid dynamic microphone designed to deliver the power, punctuation and snap of kick drums in any size sound reinforcement system or recording studio. With its tight low end, kick drum-modified mid-range and high frequency response, the PL33 delivers all of the percussive impact detail professional drummers and sound system engineers require. Features: Frequency contoured for “dialed-in” kick drum sound / ultra-fast transient response / supercardioid polar pattern / excellent off-axis rejection / powerful Neodymium magnet structure / fine mesh Memraflex grille.

For the price this baby is unbeatable! It captures all the highs and lows frequency of the kick drum, and sounds really nice!

3) Shure Beta 52A $150-$200

The Shure Beta 52A is a high output dynamic microphone with a tailored frequency response designed specifically for kick drums and other bass instruments. It provides superb attack and "punch, " and delivers studio quality sound even at extremely high sound pressure levels. The Beta 52A features a modified supercardioid pattern throughout its frequency range to insure high gain before feedback and excellent rejection of unwanted sound. A built-in dynamic locking stand adapter with an integral XLR connector simplifies installation, particularly if the microphone is to be placed inside a kick drum. The stand adapter keeps the microphone position fixed and resists slipping, even when subjected to sharp blows and strong vibrations. A hardened steel mesh grille protects the Beta 52A from the abuse and wear associated with touring.

Shure has been known as a workhorse of the mic industry for years, receiving tremendous market share among live musicians and sound professionals. The Beta 52A is known primarily for its durability, price, and solid sound. To be fair, there are die-hards who swear by this mic, and insist that any results less than stellar can always be traced to those unhappy users either misusing or just being plain ignorant of proper EQ settings during recording. Whatever the case, the Beta 52A remains a top choice for kick and low-frequency instruments that can be found in almost every studio's arsenal. Features include a frequency response shaped specifically for kicks and low instruments, a supercardioid pattern, and integration of a neodymium magnet for high signal-to-noise ratio output. Placement varies among engineers, with some advocating for inside-the-drum, while others prefer using it as a doubling mic outside the hole, or near the beater.  If you have the money to buy it, its the way to go.

4) Audix D6 Kick Drum Mic $199-$250

The Audix D6 is the perfect choice for solid kick drum sounds. The cardioid pickup pattern does an excellent job rejecting sound from external sound source to keep the sound of the kick drum pure and clean. The D6 boasts a VLM (Very Low Mass) diaphragm to react quickly to the attack of the beater, and the 30Hz-15kHz frequency response sports big bumps right where you need it for earth-shaking lows without sacrificing the attack. For other low-frequency instruments such as bass, the D6 fares equally well.

Audix D6 at a Glance:
  • Tuned specifically for kick drum and low-frequency instruments
  • Sounds good no matter where you place it

Tuned specifically for kick drum and low-frequency instruments
The D6 is designed specifically to tackle kick drums and other low-frequency instruments. There is 14dB of boost at 60 Hz, 15dB between 4 and 5K, and 17db between 10 and 12k. The tailored response of this microphone makes it ideal for use of 22" bass drums. The D6 capsule features the same legendary VLM technology that has made the D series percussion and instrument microphones very popular for today's live stages and recording studios. The VLM diaphragm ensures that the mic responds very quickly to transients, ensuring the attack isn't lost.

Sounds good no matter where you place it
Drums are one of the hardest instruments to record, especially when trying to replicate the sound of a previous recording. The D6 is designed to sound good in any position and it is not dependent on finding the "sweet spot" of the drum. This is great since you know that time after time, the kick will sound great!

So there you have it! My review on the best 4 kick drums worth the buy. I hope this post helped any aspiring music producer make a choice on which kick drum mic to roll with. Like always thanks for reading. 

Live, Breath, Sleep.. Music. 



  1. Hmmm... i got a friend who wants to buy one, i'll show him this post.

  2. even though I don't play the drums, this was an entertaining post :)

    Thankx :)

  3. I'll let my drummer friend read this. Thanks for the very informative post dude

  4. All of them look nice thanks for reviewing this ;)

  5. Damn, these are priiiiiiiiiiiiicey!

  6. I have a friend who's really into this and he had to spend several grand on all his equipment o-O damn this is an expensive hobby.

  7. I traded my acoustic drums for electric ones a while ago (for noise reasons) and I regret it everyday.)

  8. Fuuu the prices are kinda steep.

  9. wow very expensive parts, hope you will get one of em :)

  10. Shure Beta 52A sounds promising.