Best Kick Drum Mic for Live Sound Reviewed 2019 + Buying Guide

If you’re looking to mic up your kick-drum for live performances, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve reviewed some of the multitudinous mic options out there and have some recommendations to help you choose the one that’s right for you.

With so many choices, finding the right kick drum mic for live performances can be laborious, and while your final decision truly depends on your specific needs, a general one-size-fits-all kick drum mic does exist! Others are available based on type, genre, and hertz range of the drumline you want to play. Other variants include convenience and sound quality. Read on for details!

Our Top Pick

Our top pick is the AKG D12 VR. This mic is best with low-end frequencies, fast attacks, and response times. It’s reliable, faithfully relaying the beats from your kick-drum relay. If you want the best and are up to shelling out for its hefty price tag, this is for you.

For the rest of the Top Kick-Drum Microphones and tips about how to purchase one for your needs, read ahead.

 

 

Top 6 Kick Drum Mics for Live Sound

Sennheiser e902 Cardioid Dynamic Mic for Kick Drum

This award-winning microphone is the perfect choice for drummers who want to combine quality sound and endurance. E902 can pick up kick-drum sounds within milliseconds – virtually no delay. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.

 

Key Features

  • The microphone is light, sturdy, compact, reliable, and perfect for live performances
  • Delivers a perfect mix of highs and lows
  • Optimized frequency response
  • Integrated stand mount
  • Hum-compensating coil
  • Shock-mounted capsule
  • Robust metal body
  • Rarely needs an equalizer or effects

 

What We Like About It

This Sennheiser mic is perfect for tours and other live performances because it focuses entirely on the kick-drum sound source. Frequency response ranges from 20 to 18,000 hertz.

 

What We Don’t Like About It

We are not fans of the need for cable management. We found that the mic assembly also can require adjustments to maintain sound quality.

 

Pros

  • Deep lows and cut-through kick on solid all-around sound
  • Great one-mic option for live shows
  • Integrated stand mount
  • 10-year warranty
  • Fast attack

 

Cons

  • Cable management is slightly messy because the XLR comes out of the back instead of near the stand thread
  • The mounting apparatus is a bit off; the screw-and-nut configuration makes it inconvenient to adjust vs. just grabbing and twisting the microphone

 

If you’re into quality sound, endurance, and immediate response, then Sennheiser e902 is perfect for you! Plus, its 10-year warranty guarantee ensures that you get the best for the long haul. It is light, sturdy, compact, and reliable — perfect for live performances. It rarely needs an equalizer or effects to maintain sound quality, and it offers a wide range of sounds. If you can withstand the slightly messy cable set-up in exchange for high-quality sound, go for the Sennheiser e902.

 

Overall Rating – 3.5 of 5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Shure BETA 52A Super-cardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Mic—BEST VALUE FOR LIVE KICK DRUM MIC

Shure has been in the drum-mic industry for a long time. It delivers a quality piece of equipment that will kick up your beat and won’t make your bass notes sound flat.

 

Key Features

  • Shure 52A’s super-cardioid pattern rejects unwanted noise
  • The features (hardened steel mesh grill) resist wear, tear, and abuse
  • Reliability lies in the brand’s longtime presence in the market
  • Frequency response is customized specifically for kick drums and bass instruments
  • A simplified set-up configuration with an integral XLR Connector
  • 100% compatible with kick drums and bass instruments

 

What We Like About It

The 52A is from Shure’s affordable selection of mics. It is the latest in the company’s products to perform live kick sound with minimum set-up, EQ, and hassle and is explicitly tailored to pick up kick-drum and bass instruments. The mic is also made to endure wear and tear during practice sessions and tours.

Shure’s kick-drum microphone is among the best at capturing the low frequencies that come from a kick drum. This plug-and-play device is excellent for anyone who is looking for deep, rich bass tones and is ideal for stage work and studio recordings alike. Shure products are renowned for quality and ease of use, and a leather case ensures that your mic is protected from scratches or other accidents.

 

What We Don’t Like About It

The microphone can be difficult to position due to its unique structure, and the sound quality can be somewhat affected by its environment.

 

Pros

  • Studio-quality sound
  • Rich and clear sound
  • Compatible with various bass instruments

 

Cons

  • Sounds too “EQ’d” for some environments
  • A bit bulky and awkward to position

 

If you want an affordable microphone from a reputable brand, the Shure BETA 52A might be the one for you. The hardened steel mesh grill means it endures extensive wear-and-tear from practice sessions and tours. It also does well at rejecting unwanted noise, and it has simple plug-and-play functionality. If you can deal with the rather bulky and somewhat awkward-to-position kick-drum mic, you’ll get your money’s worth with this affordable option.

 

Overall Rating – 4 of 5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Audix D6—BEST FOR LIVE METAL AND HARD ROCK

Audix is a brand that supplies you, music shops, and online retailers with genuine and reliable products that last a lifetime. The D6 is the latest in a long line of quality products from Audix.

 

Key Features

  • Phenomenal clarity in reproducing and recording sounds
  • Specializes in capturing crisp, deep tones

 

What We Like About It

Audix tests and assembles its products directly, churning out high-quality products that last. The D6 can handle high sound-pressure levels without distortion, as well as recording and reproducing bass instruments, with easy positioning.

 

What We Don’t Like About It

The Audix does not respond well to old drumsticks, and it needs to be combined with a condenser to provide its best sound quality.

 

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact and easy to position
  • Can handle high sound-pressure levels (SPL’s)
  • Delivers powerful low-end sound
  • Perfect for low-frequency instruments

 

Cons

  • You need to use newer drumsticks to avoid unwanted and dull tones
  • Best combined with an adequate condenser-room mic

 

This model provides phenomenal clarity in reproducing and recording sounds – capturing a crisp, deep tone. The D6 can handle high SPL’s from the sounds of metal and rock, and you’ll never have a problem positioning this mic. On the downside, you’ll have to use new drumsticks to avoid dull, unwanted sounds.

 

Overall Rating – 3.5 of 5 stars

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AKG D12 VR—MOST FAMILIAR AND DURABLE LIVE KICK-DRUM MIC

The AKG D12 VR is possibly the first kick-drum mic that comes to mind for many music folks. It is a staple for the industry – and for good reason.

 

Key Features

  • Large-diaphragm microphone that captures low-end frequencies
  • Rugged build, so it isn’t easily damaged

 

What We Like About It

The AKG D12 VR is a fantastic, dynamic microphone for kick drums and bass instruments. The brand produces microphones with fast attacks and response times, so you capture every beat and kick simultaneously. The polar cardioid pattern also ensures that the mic will focus on the kick drum itself. It rejects every sound not coming directly from your kick drum.

 

What We Don’t Like About It

The price is on the high side, and the mic’s awkward position might make it difficult for some people to use.

 

Pros

  • 160-decibel SPL capacity
  • Faithfully reproduces dynamic sounds
  • Familiar, widely known and available
  • Great for vintage, less EQ’d sound

 

Cons

  • Awkward positioning
  • Problematic XLR location
  • A bit costly

 

The AKG D12 VR is better with low-end frequencies, fast attacks, and response times. It faithfully relays the sound from your kick drum to your sound system. So, if you’re able to shell out the price tag, you’ll get an excellent product.

 

Overall Rating – 4 of 5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Electro-Voice PL33 Kick-Drum Microphone

The Electro-Voice PL33 reproduces the deepest, fattest bass sounds possible. This mic is ideally suited for metal and brass instruments.

 

Key Features

  • Hyper-cardioid pickup pattern around the head of the microphone reduces bleeding and feedback
  • Includes a mic clip, a Velcro cable tie, and a bag for storing it
  • Quick attack response essential for live performances

 

What We Like About It

The Electro-Voice microphone is customized to work any live performance, including its robust design, quick response time, and protective zippered bag. Many customers also have testified to its tremendous on-stage performance!

 

What We Don’t Like About It

It is not suited for internal mounting. For some reason, it doesn’t handle the inner vibrations, so you have to mount it externally.

 

Pros

  • Comes with a zippered gig bag
  • Velcro cable in a bundle
  • Quick response time

 

Cons

  • Not suited to internal mounting
  • The mic cannot withstand shocks

 

This mic is most suitable for metal and bass instruments, and there is no delay in the beat. It is still a quality kick drum mic, provided that you use it externally.

 

Overall Rating – 4 of 5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Shure PGA52-LC

The Shure PGA52-LC is one of Shure’s best kick-drum mics. The cardioid, cartridge design was explicitly made for low-frequency sounds and proximity effects.

 

Key Features

  • Includes a zipper pouch to protect your microphone
  • It’s easy to set up
  • The cardioid pattern rejects all unwanted surrounding noise, making it ideal for live performances
  • Focuses on single-sound source with high intensity and accuracy
  • Great color combination

 

What We Like About It

The Shure microphone comes with a lot of options, including a zipper pouch and a new technology drum mount with an adjustable swivel joint that stays in place.

 

What We Don’t Like About It

The Shure is a bit large and bulky; it may be hard to place correctly. The size also may rule out the internal mounting.

 

Pros

  • Swivel joint for easy set-up
  • Comes with a zipper pouch
  • Quality design and construction
  • Rejects proximity noises

 

Cons

  • A bit bulky
  • Not suited for internal mounting

 

The Shure PGA52-LC was explicitly made for its low-frequency sounds and masking of proximity effects. It is also easy to set up. If you’re looking for build quality, then this might be the mic for you.

 

Overall Rating – 3.5 of 5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Buying Guide

Kick-Drum Mic? What is it?

A kick-drum mic is a special microphone designed to help you record and perform live with your drum kit. It amplifies and reproduces the sounds you play accurately and faithfully.

 

Polar Patterns

Microphones are grouped according to their polar patterns. You’ll find a cardioid microphone classification and a super-cardioid one.

 

A cardioid microphone is a unidirectional microphone and is most commonly used for bass drums.

 

The super-cardioid is similar to a cardioid microphone, though it does not have as much sensitivity on the sides.

 

You can also find hyper-cardioid and multi-pattern microphones.

 

Frequencies

The recommended frequency for kick-drum microphones is 30-40 hertz.

 

 

SPL’s (Sound Pressure Levels)

SPL’s are used to measure the maximum volume, in decibels, that a microphone can handle. The ideal SPL for a kick drum is about 130-160 decibels.

 

Why a Kick-Drum Mic? How do you use it?

A kick-drum mic is useful for both recording songs and performing live. It also helps you identify your mistakes if you’re a hobbyist or a drummer-in-training. The kick-drum mic will also provide an expanded sound experience, especially in live performances.

Just set up your kick drum mics outside or inside the kick drum, and you’re ready to go!

 

Benefits of a Kick Drum Mic

When playing live, people love both the deep and bass sound of the kick drum, and your fellow group members will depend on the timing of the beats that you make. A mic ensures your beats are heard loud and clear.

 

Final Thoughts

Many established brands deliver phenomenal kick-drum microphones, including Sennheiser, Shure, AKG, and many more. Try to pick a kick-drum microphone by matching the specifications of the mic to your needs. Each mic has a frequency range (from 20-18,000 hertz), a particular genre of sound (e.g., vintage music, rock/pop, metal, and more), as well as tone (punchy, excited, and neutral), and price range.

Look at the combination of these specifications to determine which microphone fits your preferences and your budget. Remember, the best kick drum mic for live sound will complement your music!

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