Drums are the loudest instrument in a band, so most people would reasonably assume they don’t need amplification. But in many venues, the kick drums do need a microphone and amplification. When it’s paired with the right sound module, a kick drum amplifier will give your kick drums an extra presence, especially in larger venues.
In this article, we’ll show you some of the best microphones in 2020 designed especially to amplify and enhance the sounds of your kick drum. Each of these mics will help bring out the special characteristics of your kick drum and isolate it from the other instruments in your drum kit.
Whether you’re looking for the best professional kick drum mic you can buy for the money or the best budget model for beginners, or those on the tightest budget, here are our picks to help you make the best choice possible:
Quick Comparison Table: The Best Kick Drum Microphones
Top 10 Kick Drum Microphones Detail Reviews
1. Audix D6 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone (Best Overall Kick Drum Microphone)
The Audix D6 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone is a lightweight cardioid microphone with a wide frequency response that gives instruments that require an extended low-frequency reproduction such as kick drums, large toms and bass cabinets a clear and natural sound. The cardioid pickup pattern provides isolation and feedback control, and the internal VLM diaphragm provides natural, accurate sound reproduction.
Many sound engineers say that the D6 is their first choice when miking kick drums. The microphone is handsomely machined with a black anodized aluminum body and steel mesh grill and comes with a heavy-duty clip. It’s used for many stage, studio and broadcast applications. The mic features a steel mesh grill, XLR connector, transformer-less design, low impedance and balanced output for interference-free performance even with long cable runs.
Audix tests each of their microphones before shipping them out to guarantee that you will only experience high-quality sounds and clear playback. The diaphragm gives a fantastic transient response whenever you quickly hit the kick or snare drums and it can be placed almost anywhere to help improve your kick drum sounds.
Inside the D6 you’ll find a VLM (very low mass) diaphragm that offers a wide frequency response from 30 Hz – 15 kHz The VLM diaphragm provides excellent transient response and is designed to handle high SPLs in excess of 144 dB without distortion. This enables the mic to deliver ground-shaking low-end with excellent clarity.
The Audix D6 can capture frequencies between the ranges of 30Hz to 15kHz and thus delivers a powerful and accurate response. This particular microphone does enhance higher band frequencies between 4-5kHz and 10-12kHz which allows the kick drum to cut through a wall of sound in live scenarios. These frequency boosts might not suit everyone’s tastes, but this microphone has a legion of fans that swear by it as the best kick drum mic ever.
As a drum mic, the D6 is praised mostly for the quick and clear response it gives in capturing all of the different sounds of a drumming session.
2. Shure PGA52 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
The Shure PGA52 is a professional quality cardioid kick drum microphone that is highly durable while delivering excellent low-frequency kick drum sounds.
The PGA52 was originally designed by Shure as a budget version of the Beta52. Even though the Beta52 is made of somewhat higher-quality components, the sound of the PGA52 is excellent and is well-deserving of our choice for the best budget kick drum microphone in 2020.
The mic delivers an excellent sound for your kick drums. It is designed handsomely with an attractive metallic finish and grill.. The cardioid dynamic pattern picks up sounds directly from the source and rejects unwanted sounds from the sides and back. A swivel joint mounting with quick-release latch allows for fast and flexible positioning, perfectly suited to place properly for low-frequency performance and recording applications.
Shure Microphones are legendary in delivering unmatched sound quality and durability. This makes them essential for many studio recording and stage performances. The PGA52 has a frequency response that is tailored specifically to pick up the sound of the kick drum and other bass instruments. With a hardened drum head and steel mesh, the mic can endure the constant wear and tear inflicted when you are practicing at home, on stage, in the recording studio, or on tour.
The Shure PGA52 offers drummers a professional high-quality microphone to reproduce the sounds of their kick drum at a very reasonable price. It is an outstanding microphone for the price and our top choice for the best budget kick drum microphone for 2020.
3. AKG D112 Mk II Kick Drum Microphone
The AKG D112 MK II Kick Drum Microphone was designed specifically for kick drums. It
features an egg-shaped design that distinguishes it from most of the other kick drum mics. It uses metal components and it is quite heavy. The metal build and sturdy construction help the mic to handle the vibrations of the kick drum and add some stabilization.
The D112 has an internal coil to help minimize the noises and hiss from nearby and gives you a higher sound level. Because it has a dynamic capsule, the mic does not need phantom power.
The mic will deliver a fuller and more engaging sound because of its large diaphragm by delivering an outstanding signal to noise ratio. The D112 has an exceptionally high SPL rating of up to 168 decibels. You will not hear any distortion with this microphone. The mic can handle the strongest vibrations and will give your kick drums a fuller and more engaging sound.
The AKG D112 also has a wide frequency response range from 20 to 17 kilohertz so it can also handle high frequencies and can be an excellent choice for floor toms as well as bass and kick drums.
This microphone has been known as the industry standard for kick drums for over 30 years and has earned a solid reputation for its brilliant performance and reliability. The authoritative low end of the microphone is possible thanks to the diaphragm’s exceptionally low resonance frequency that allows it to easily capture frequencies below 100Hz.
The D112 captures and delivers a punchy and accurate kick drum sound. The sound quality delivered is also very clear thanks to the integrated hum-compensation coil that is virtually silent.
It’s hard to go wrong with the AKG D112. AKG makes some of the most dynamic sounding mics on the market today The D112 is reasonably priced and has an excellent sound for a wide variety of kick drums. It can be used easily during live and studio performances and will give a punch to any recording.
4. Audio-Technica AE2500 Dual-Element Cardioid Condenser Microphone
One of the best kick-drum mics is also one of the most unusual. Audio-Technica’s Artist Elite AE2500 dual-element instrument features a cardioid condenser element along with a second dynamic capsule inside to deliver both the aggressive attack of the beater and the round tonalities of the shell.
Two layers of resistive mesh cover the dynamic element’s side-entry ports and allow the microphone to have precise control over the time at which off-axis signals arrive at the diaphragm. The condenser diaphragm is optimally tensioned and aged for long-term consistency and stability.
Choosing this mic will give you studio-quality sound for many years to come while it replicates your drum kit sounds in the most accurate manner possible. The mic also has a durable and sturdy design that makes sure you are able to endure long trips and bumps on the road when you are traveling to gigs or riding around on tour.
Audio-Technica is unique from other drum microphone manufacturers by combining both the condenser and dynamic functions into one single mic. This allows it to become the ideal drum mic for recording your kick drums and is as close as you can get to capturing the natural reproduction of the sounds that come from your drum kit.
Audio-Technica has been supplying the microphone market for drum kits for years and they have a history of selling excellent mics with quality craftsmanship. The AE2500 provides drummers with the best of both worlds: an equalized dynamic mic character combined with a flatter and more neutral output to provide the natural tonality that is required in acoustic music.
Best of all, the mic has the ability to mix and match these characters to obtain the perfect blend, without fear of phase problems. However, the mic is also priced much higher than many of its simpler competition, but the additional flexibility can easily be worth it to serious drummers.
The AE2500 provides an impressive level of flexibility and practical convenience that is unmatched by most other kick drum mics.
5. Electro-Voice PL33 Kick Drum Microphone
The Electro-Voice PL33 Kick Drum mic is a professional-grade supercardioid dynamic microphone designed to deliver the power, punctuation, and snap of your kick drums. It delivers the deepest, fattest bass sound possible when recording in a studio or when playing before a live audience.
The PL33 features a hypercardioid pickup pattern that has a tight low end, kick drum-modified mid-range, and high-frequency response. It delivers all of the percussive impact detail professional drummers and sound system engineers require. The mic is tailored to be especially compatible with outdoor and live playing, although it works just as well inside a studio.
The PL33’s tight supercardioid polar pattern minimizes off-axis information entering the capsule, allowing for a very isolated instrument sound and higher gain to reduce the distracting feedback and bleeding you can get from the outside noise of other instruments near the drum or even from the rest of your drum set.
The metal die-cast zinc frame of the body is robust and strong enough to keep the mic tightly in place while you’re in high-performance mode. This ensures that the mic is safe and protected despite all the wear and tear that kick drum mics are normally exposed to.
The audio frequency on this microphone stands at 20 Hz – 10,000 Hz to make sure you pick up all the pure sounds needed from your kick drum. There’s a mic clip included to help the mic stay in position, a Velcro cable tie, and a soft bag to store the microphone and keep it in good shape for many years to come.
Many drummers praise the PL33 for having a quick snap and attack response that you need when recording and playing drums live since even a slight delay of the quick, punch, intense sound of kick drums can ruin a performance.
6. Sennheiser e602 II Kick Drum Microphone
Sennheiser is a brand that almost everyone in the music business has come across at some point. The company is known for exceptional quality microphones in addition to high-end headphones. The e602 II dynamic mic is solidly built and it’s made to weather heavy use as a kick drum mic. The durability should assure you that it will last you for a long time no matter how long your drumming career happens to be.
The e602 slick design is nicely pleasing and very original compared to most of the other kick drum mics on today’s market. The larger than normal diaphragm incorporated in the design enhances the pickup pattern to capture even the lowest bass sounds It offers crisp and clean sound even at high volume levels and then reproduces them faithfully.
The package includes an integrated mic stand mount that helps the stability and positioning of the mic. This means you can position it exactly as you like until you get the best recording or performance that you’re looking for.you want. You can take it directly out of the box and use it immediately without needing to wrestle or make any special effort to set the mic up properly.
Sennheiser is known throughout the microphone industry as one of the most reliable brands. The frequency response is wide, from 20 – 16,000Hz. And, besides using the mic for kick drums, you can easily also use this mic for vocals, speech, stage sound, home recording, houses of worship.
The Sennheiser e602 is a fantastic bundle that is slim and quite attractive. It has a wide pickup pattern for the kick drum and many other applications. Many users say that it is the best sounding microphone for kick drums by virtue of the punch and thump that’s reproduced when you play.
The Sennheiser professionals know that when you are playing live, there can’t be any mistakes, so the e602 is tailor-made to have the best response possible. The mic is easy to use, powerful, and has a defined sound that many other drummers with different mics will probably envy. And you can be comfortable that the mic will last you a long time since it carries a full 10-year warranty.
7. Miktek PM11 Supercardioid Drum Microphone
Miktek’s PM11 is a high-quality affordable supercardioid mic that is an excellent investment for anyone who wants a good kick drum mic to include with their studio arsenal of recording equipment.
The PM11 features a custom-designed, neodymium capsule element that gives you clear and articulate sound reproduction for low toms, acoustic bass, and of course, your kick drum. Bass drum mics can often be a critical category and the PM11 distinguishes itself by using a unique labyrinth-designed capsule that provides outstanding rear rejection and maximum gain before feedback. It works well too in capturing sounds coming from an amplified bass.
Your kick drum will cut through the PA with clarity and distinction, but without any artificial explosion on the attack that a lot of other designs often create. The deep and honest response of the PM 11 faithfully reproduces your drumming sessions and makes sure that all your practice doesn’t go to waste.
It easily accepts high-pressure sound levels that playing the drums and cymbals normally produce without any noticeable distortion. And the capsule provides excellent rear rejection of unwanted sounds and gives you the purest sounds from your drum kit.
Miktek is known throughout the industry for offering microphones at affordable prices while also giving high-quality performances that shine both within and outside of the studio environment.
With outstanding high SPL capabilities, the PM11 easily accommodates even the loudest drummers and can even be used to mic loud bass guitar amps. The steel grill and die-cast body ensure durability and reliability night after night. The mic can be easily attached to a traditional mic stand using the included holder.
The ultra-sleek, silver finish along with its stainless steel and black appointments make the Miktek PM11 an attractive complement to any drum kit. It will reproduce the sounds of your bass drum faithfully and deliver a solid foundation to any live or studio performance.
Designed well, the PM 11 is a reliable, well-made and tough microphone that will withstand a lot of the abuse that can often come when you accidentally hit miss your drum and hit the mic instead.
8. Shure BETA 52A Superdynamic Kick Drum Microphone
The Shure Beta 52A is a high output dynamic microphone that features a tailored frequency response specially designed 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. It is often used by professionals thanks to its high-quality performance with drum kits.
The Shure Beta 52A is not cheap but does the job well and is extremely durable. The mic features a hardened steel mesh screen to assure you that it won’t be breaking or wearing out while touring. The stand adapter keeps the unit’s position fixed and resists slipping, even when subjected to sharp blows and strong vibrations.
The Beta 52A high-output dynamic microphone provides superb attack and “punch,” and delivers studio-quality sound even at extremely high sound pressure levels. It is a successor to the popular Shure Beta 52 but features a redesigned knob and tightening mechanism for more durability and a slightly wider mounting base that can accommodate a larger range of mic stands.
The Shure Beta 52A mic features a modified supercardioid pattern throughout its wide frequency range to insure high gain before feedback occurs and excellent rejection of unwanted sounds. A built-in dynamic locking stand adapter with an integral XLR connector simplifies installation, especially if the microphone is placed inside a kick drum.
Shure mics have always been dependable and this model is no exception. The Beta 52A is optimized for use with a kick drum, making sure you get the deep bass undertones whenever you hit against the drum. The frequency response is manufactured specifically to align with the kick drum and other bass instruments and works best when it is placed near or around the drum so that it captures the full robust sounds with accuracy. The mic also rejects unwanted sounds that could make the performance or recording less than ideal quality.
9. Sennheiser e902 Cardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Mic
The Sennheiser e902 kick drum microphone could be the perfect choice for drummers looking to combine quality sound and endurance. This is a mic that is capable of picking up your kick drum sounds within milliseconds to give you absolutely no delay.
Drummers and sound engineers alike love the sound of a deep, punchy kick drum. And that is why only an excellent kick drum mic like the e902 is the suitable choice to pick up and translate these sounds live and in the studio.
All os Sennheiser’s 900 range of microphones delivers finely calibrated and natural sounds that are highly defined and rich in detail. The e902, in particular, offers an incredibly fast attack and it has a wide frequency response of 40Hz to 18kHz for accurate sound projection that is optimized for kick drums.
The mic has the ability to withstand SPLs to a maximum of 150dB and delivers a reliable and consistently clear sound. There is even a hum-compensating coil that minimizes unwanted noise.
Sennheiser produces a number of reliable microphones that can represent you and your performance faithfully. The e902 can become is a vital part of you playing the drum and Sennheiser does exactly that by offering this mic with such an outstandingly quick response time.
The mic can also aid you with recording other bass instruments too, like the tuba, bass, etc. By investing in the mic, you will also receive a top-quality microphone carry bag to help keep your new mic safe and sound when you are not using it or when you travel. The weight is also very light. The mic weighs only 440g, less than one pound, making it the perfect traveling companion.
The e902 is part of Sennheiser’s Evolution series so you are assured that the microphone will give you the most precise sound possible. It could be the ideal choice for recording or playing on the stage thanks to its attractive features, compact size, and endurance.
Sennheiser’s e902 is the perfect mic for tours and live performances thanks to an incredible ability to focus solely on the kick drum sound source. The mic comes with a stand mount that is fully integrated into the design. And, as is common with most Sennheiser microphones, you get a full 10-year warranty.
10. AKG Pro Audio D12VR Dynamic Microphone
The AKG Pro Audio D12VR is a studio reference large-diaphragm dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern that is designed specifically for kick drum recording applications. The microphone has a thin diaphragm that enhances the low-frequency performance. Its warm sound is realized by the included C414 transformer and is especially impressive at high signal levels.
The original D12 was developed in 1953. It was the world’s first dynamic cardioid microphone and a significant milestone in the microphone industry. The mic was welcomed into radio stations, theaters, and recording studios. The mic was welcomed into radio stations, theaters, and recording studios and became an international staple in radio and television studios around the world. The D12 was the standard for voice transmission in the 1950s and ‘60s.
In 1986, AKG introduced the D112 microphone. It was a more economical design that incorporated a 4kHz presence peak that was tailored toward the greater level of attack that became prevalent in kick-drum sounds around that time.
The new descendant of the D112 is the AKG D12 VR we review here that was launched to coincide with the company’s 65th anniversary. It features three active filter presets to match its sound shape with the kick drum’s character: open kick drum, closed kick drum and vintage sound. When the filter is activated, the mic’s output level is reduced by 10 dB. The filter settings are controlled by a switch located on the microphone body. When the phantom power is turned off, the mic operates in passive mode and delivers the instruments pure sound.
The latest D12 VR embodies the original model with the quality and reliability AKG has provided the audio industry for 65 years. The new microphone gives tracked drums a vintage, yet crisp and modern sound designed to make percussion tracks shine for professionals or casual artists.
Although somewhat pricey, the AKG D12 VR offers the best industry professional performance with a stylish, unique design and extremely thin diaphragm that gives you only the most accurate sounds. The mic is one of the most quality low-frequency mics around, so if you are looking for thick robust kick drum sounds, this is the drum mic for you.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Kick Drum Microphone (Buying Guide)
A kick drum mic is designed specially to work best with your kick drums to help you record and perform live better with your drum kit. It amplifies and reproduces the sounds of your kick drum faithfully and accurately.
Kick drum mics need to have very specific specifications that make them different from most other microphones. There are numerous factors that come into play to make kick drum mics perfect when used with kick drums or bass instruments in general.
1. Frequency range
A kick drum mic needs to pick up the lower ends of the frequency spectrum since that suits the purpose you will use it for. This means that a kick drum mic needs to pick up sounds that go as low as 30 to 40 Hertz and send them to your amplifier as faithfully as possible.
2. Sound Pressure Levels
The sound pressure level (SPL) of a microphone is used to measure the maximum volume that the microphone can absorb without distortion. It is measured in decibels (dB). This is a very important specification for kick drum mics since the drums can be extremely loud instruments and pack a loud punch which some microphones cannot handle. The ideal decibel range for the sound pressure level for a kick drum is usually considered to be between 130 dB – 160 dB.
3. Why do you need a kick drum mic?
Most drummers will eventually buy a kick drum mic at some point in their career. These mics are useful tools for both recording or performing. A special kick drum mic helps isolate the sound of your drum and helps you learn and correct your mistakes.
4. Which kick drum mic is best for me?
Listening is the best way to be sure a particular kick drum mic is best for you. By experimenting with several and adjusting the positioning, you will soon learn the differences that will help you find that sweet spot you’re looking for.
How Many Mics do you need for drums?
Proper drum miking can take up to 8 mics. It depends on the size of the room you are in and how much control you want over the drums.
Are Audix mics good?
Yes. Our top Editor’s Choice mic is made by Audix. However, there are many other professional-quality microphone brands on the market today.
What is the best bass drum microphone?
A bass drum and kick drum are very similar, depending on how each one is used. Our microphone pick for the best kick drum mic is the Audix A6.
Can you mic a bass amp?
Yes. Keep in mind that the mic needs to cover a very low-frequency range and be able to handle high SPL levels.
Can you plug a mic into an amp?
Yes, in most cases, the amplifier has a specific input jack designed to accommodate an external microphone.
Why put a mic in front of an amp?
Micing an amp allows the natural tone of the amp to be spread over a larger venue and the sound technician to mix the amp’s sounds more appropriately with the rest of the band.
With this article, we’ve introduced you to some of the best kick drum mics available on the market in 2020. The kick drum is usually the loudest and instrument in a band and by using the proper mic and keeping its sound at an appropriate level are critical ingredients for helping a band or orchestra sound its best.
Our guide has been designed to help you find the best kick drum mic available in 2020, even if you are on a strict budget. Please let us know if this article has been helpful to you. Thanks so much for taking the time to read our article on the best kick drum microphones and we sincerely hope you have a great day!