11 Best Kick Drum Mics For Live Sound – Ultimate Buying Guide

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If you’re looking to record or play live music, you need the best kick drum mic for live sound possible!

The kick drum is the backbone of the low end. When you practice, you likely feel it thumping and keeping the beat.

The rhythm, the sound, the vibration you feel resonating through the audience… this is most often carried by the kick drum

But when it comes to performing in a large venue, that sound isn’t going to reach the audience without amplification.

And the worst thing you can do is choose a low-quality mic that doesn’t carry the quality of that low-end ‘thud’ through the speakers.

But where do you start? You can’t just pick any microphone for this purpose!

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide of the top 11 best kick drum mics!

Whether you’re a pro looking to upgrade your gear, or a beginner who’s just getting started… we’ve got a mic for you on this list!

Let’s dive in.

Top Pick

AKG D112 MkII
The AKG D112 mic has a unique bass sound, along with awesome anti-interference tech. Complete with a versatile flex mount, it’s both our top pick and an industry standard!
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The Top 5 Best Kick Drum Mics for Live Sound

 

Our Top Pick: AKG D112

AKG D112 MkII
The AKG D112 mic has a unique bass sound, along with awesome anti-interference tech. Complete with a versatile flex mount, it’s both our top pick and an industry standard!
Check The Price on Amazon

The AKG D112 kick drum mic is industry-standard when it comes to capturing sound from a live kick drum. The cardioid polar pattern of the mic captures just the sound of the kick drum, regardless of how many other instruments or noises are competing with it.

Its bass resonance volume chamber delivers a resonant, punchy sound immediately with the drum’s impact. There is no delay, feedback, or interference. It’s known for its fast and immediate response time.

The large diaphragm of the mic captures low frequencies with resonance, and delivers a solid and powerful frequency response from the bass drum to the mic.

(Planning to go on tour? Find out why it’s important to buy high-quality cables!)

The mic’s integrated flex mount insures versatility, compatibility, and complete control of the final sound. Most importantly, the hum compensation coil reduces any noise or potential mechanical interference to the absolute minimum.

The AKG D112 is our top pick for any and all kick drum needs. The sound it delivers is both unique and full. It’s sturdy, versatile, and reliable in any live or recording situation. If you’re looking for a mic that will capture the ‘punch’ of a great performance, this is the mic for you.

AKG D112 Key Features

  • Integrated flex mount
  • Bass resonance volume chamber
  • Large diaphragm
  • Dynamic mic
  • Can tolerate high SPL
  • Hum compensation coil
  • Cardioid polar pattern

Runner-Up: Audix D6

Audix D6

The Audix D6 is a durable dynamic mic that’s portable, picks up amazing sound, performs interference-free, and does well with not only the kick drum, but also on large toms and bass cabinets.

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The Audix D6 is a strong dynamic mic with a cardioid polar pattern. Because of its cardioid pickup pattern, it gets great sound from any angle. And since it can handle high sound pressure levels, it is the ideal mic for instruments with low frequencies… like kick drums, large toms, and bass cabinets.

Kick drum mics need to be able to pick up the punch and resonance of an instrument immediately, especially when recording live sound. This mic handles high SPLs without distortion, which is a necessity.

This mic delivers excellent clarity, and carries the crisp, clear resonant tone that is unique to kick drums. It captures those clear tones and the unique reverberation from them, and because of its transformer-less design and balanced output, the Audix D6 has little to no interference when recording live sound.

(Planning to record straight to your iPad? Check out this list of iPad-friendly microphones!)

Audix is a reliable brand, known across the recording industry for sturdy and long-lasting products. Whether you’re on the road or recording live for a venue, this mic will last you years.

Audix also assembles and tests all their final products, ensuring the quality and performance of all their mics.

The Audix D6 is a great kick drum mic for live sound, hands down.

Audix D6 Key Features

  • Dynamic mic
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • VLM Diaphragm
  • Handles high SPL with no distortion
  • Lightweight, flexible build
  • Tension-fit mic clip
  • Durable design

Best Budget Pick: Nady DM-80

Nady DM-80

The Nady DM-80 has an all-metal construction, making it a durable dynamic mic. It also has an enhanced low frequency, so it’s perfect for recording kick drums on a budget!

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The Nady DM-80 is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pickup pattern. It is equipped with an all-metal construction, which ensures durability and promises longevity. This mic produces a great sound for anyone with a budget in mind.

Because of its all metal construction and the included rubber mount, it does a great job of minimizing feedback from handling, vibration, and shock. This is vital in a kick drum mic, because of the vibration a kick drum naturally produces as it interacts with the floor and the rest of the drum set.

Its small size and versatile rubber mount allow you to place it and move it around without any extra effort. The cardioid pattern also minimizes leakage and interference from other instruments that may be competing for the mic’s attention.

The Nady DM-80 is a great mic to get started with. Its price point, easy manipulation, and solid sound from its full frequency response make it a great pick for a great price.

Nady DM-80 Key Features:

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Dynamic mic
  • All metal construction
  • Rubber mount
  • Rugged build
  • Gold-plated XLR

Best Mic for Metal: Shure Beta 52A

Shure Beta 52A
The Shure 52A kick drum mic picks up a clear, crisp sound from low frequencies, even at high pressure levels. For your next metal show, pick this mic up for its durability, sound quality, and high gain.
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When looking for a kick drum mic specifically for metal music, look no further than the Shure Beta 52A. This dynamic mic picks up amazing low end sound from any live bass or kick drum. Its attack response gives the perfect resonance from any intense low frequencies or high SPLs.

With its supercardioid pickup pattern, it delivers a crisp, clear sound right on the drum’s delivery. In the realm of dynamic mics, this mic dominates because of its high gain and low feedback. It also rejects unwanted sound from both handling noise and other drum instruments nearby.

When trying to get that intense bass sound that comes with live metal music, you need a mic like the Shure Beta to pick up the rich low end of the bass drum with no distortion.

This mic’s tailored frequency response is designed specifically for kick drum and bass instruments.

If you’re looking for a simple, long-lasting mic that will deliver professional-grade sound for your next metal show, consider the Shure Beta 52A. Its steel mesh grille and durable metal body also promise that it will last through any tour or recording endeavor you throw at it.

Shure Beta 52A Key Features

  • Dynamic mic
  • Supercardioid polar pattern
  • Low sensitivity
  • Compatible with many bass instruments
  • Integrated design

Best Mic for Recording: Sennheiser e602II

Sennheiser e602II

The Sennheiser e602II has the best response time yet of any kick drum live mic on our list. It’s easy to use, and delivers rich, powerful low-end tones. ~~~The Sennheiser e602II has the best response time yet of any kick drum live mic on our list. It’s easy to use, and delivers rich, powerful low-end tones.

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The Sennheiser e602II is a great dynamic mic for recording live instruments, especially bass instruments with a lower frequency. The lower frequency is important to capture in live kick drum recordings, especially in the exact moment of delivery from the instrument.

The cardioid polar pattern of the mic ensures that the low end punch is recorded and delivered instantly. It also does a great job with instruments like tubas and electric or stand-up basses.

It’s got fast transient response and frequency-independent directivity, which both ensure a lack of interference from other on-stage signals. With its lightweight aluminum body, this mic will last and last.

We can’t get enough of the Sennheiser e602II and it’s simple, durable build. It also offers great sound quality for low frequencies. If you need a fantastic, consistent mic for live kick drum recording, consider adding this one to your sound kit.

Sennheiser e602II Key Features:

  • Dynamic mic
  • Cardioid polar pickup pattern
  • Light build
  • Large diaphragm capsule
  • Delivers at high SPLs
  • Integrated stand mount

Who Should Buy a Kick Drum Mic

A strong drum beat is one of the most important elements on any song. If you can’t hear the bass beat, you’ll barely get the feel for a song. It doesn’t matter how good a drummer is on stage, if the drums drop out because of a faulty or low-performance mic, the audience misses out on a crucial component.

If you’re looking to play live and need to mic your drum kit, then you’ll need a kick drum mic to get the best tones and sounds out of your trap kit.

So if you’re going on tour, recording for yourself, covering a band, or even just outfitting the sound equipment rack at your local bar venue, consider investing in a quality kick drum mic.

There is a difference between a ‘normal’ studio mic and a mic that was designed to capture the immediate punch of a bass drum, and you’ll see the difference when you try any of these mics out for yourself.

AKG D112 MkII
The AKG D112 mic has a unique bass sound, along with awesome anti-interference tech. Complete with a versatile flex mount, it’s both our top pick and an industry standard!
Check The Price on Amazon

Important Features to Consider

When compiling this list, a few different technical terms came up frequently. To help you know what you need to know while perusing these products’ specifications, we’ve gone ahead and defined the terms that came up most often.

Here are the technical terms and features that you will need to understand.

  • Condenser vs. Dynamic: These terms refer to different types of microphones. Condenser mics are best for capturing soft, precise sounds like the human voice. For the purposes of a kick drum mic, most are going to fall under the “dynamic” category. A dynamic mic is best for capturing loud, percussive sounds. Dynamic mics are also better for, and more commonly used in, live recording settings.
  • Sound level: Measured in units of sound pressure levels (SPL), is the pressure deviation from atmospheric sound. A kick drum contributes to the increase of SPL not only with the sound it emits, but with the vibrations coming from the drum that increase the atmospheric sound pressure. The mic responds to that increase in SPL and records it. By saying a mic has a high SPL, it means that the mic can take high SPL without distorting based on technical interference.
  • Polar Patterns: A polar pattern is a very important feature which dictates how much sound the mic can receive and from which direction.
  • Cardioid pattern: Aka the ‘unidirectional’ polar pattern, this pattern blocks sound coming from the sides and rear of the mic. This makes it so the mic only picks up sound coming from directly above or in front of it. There are other kinds of polar patterns as well, but cardioid or supercardioid patterns are most common for kick drum mics.
  • Diaphragm: Diaphragms can be either wide or small. They are based on the width of the microphone capsule. Wide mics are best for recording distinctions and fluctuations, such as for vocals and distinct instruments. Small diaphragms are better for precise recordings like piano, acoustic instruments, and choirs, whereas larger diaphragms are common for mics used for percussive instruments and their attributed “lushness.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best bass drum microphone?

Our Top Pick, the AKG D112, is considered industry-standard for kick drum mics.

Because of its bass resonance volume chamber, it delivers perfect timing along with an extremely unique, resonant final sound.

While interference is the primary difficulty when hooking up a kick drum mic, the integrated hum compensation reduces all noise… not just noise from competing instruments, but even from different components of the drum kit.

This makes it so the bass drum is all that’s heard through the kick mic, without any other interference from other instruments or even mic equipment.

Because of its immediate response and reliability, this is our top pick for the best kick drum microphone on the market!

What is the best cheap kick drum mic?
If you’re looking for a kick drum mic that won’t break the bank, that can still deliver premium sound quality, look no further than our Budget Pick: the Nady DM-80.

This mic’s rugged body makes it durable, while it’s smaller size makes it perfect for positioning in all sorts of situations, allowing it to be extremely versatile.

These are key factors for beginners testing out their kick drum mic needs.

Its full frequency response also ensures a great, interference-free sound from a generally low-maintenance mic.

Do you need 2 kick drum mics?
While using two kick drum mics might be a technique used with seasoned musicians looking to punch up their sound, this is not necessary in most cases.

The kick drum mic is used specifically to capture the thud of the bass beat. If you’re looking to flesh out the sound of a full drum ensemble, you might apply smaller mics to different parts of the set, but a kick drum mic won’t ensure that distinction because its primary purpose is the bass drum.

Other Recording Microphones We Reviewed: Mini Reviews

AKG D112 MkII
The AKG D112 mic has a unique bass sound, along with awesome anti-interference tech. Complete with a versatile flex mount, it’s both our top pick and an industry standard!
Check The Price on Amazon

Though we’ve given you our top 5 choices above, we found a lot of other qualifiers in our research. What follows is a list of contenders for the top slots we reviewed, but that didn’t quite make the cut.

Alternative Top Picks

Lewitt Bass Drum
The Lewitt Bass Drum is a dual kick drum mic, meaning it has elements of both a condenser and a dynamic mic.
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This allows it to capture both the kick drum beat and some of the other elements of the drum kit’s residual tonality. The switchable frequency response levels allow for maximum gain control and versatility, which makes this a great kick drum mic for all bass occasions.

Lewitt Bass Drum Key Product Features

  • Three position frequencies
  • Can handle high SPL due to its switchable levels
  • Galvanized steel mesh grille
  • Dual element mic
Shure SM7B
The Shure SM7B is a reliable dynamic mic from a well-renowned mic company.
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Shure produces quality products designed with certain specifications for ideal recording. The cardioid polar pattern of this mic, along with the included internal shock isolation technology, ensures minimal sound distortion or feedback from handling and movement from the drums or mic itself. The pop filter also helps to eliminate ambient noise, while the bass roll-off has a mid-range emphasis for lower frequencies.

Shure SM7B Key Features

  • Dynamic mic
  • Pop filter
  • Internal shock isolation
  • Yoke mounting and stand nut
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Bass roll-off control with graphic display
Sennheiser e901
The Sennheiser e901 mic is a small, heavy-duty condenser mic. Because its frequency response is designed specifically with bass drums in mind, it delivers a solid sound.
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It doesn’t need a stand, and is equipped with a standard XLR connector. It can handle extremely high SPL from the rest of the drums and anything else that could compete while recording live. It is most commonly used inside the kick itself.

Sennheiser e901 Key Features

  • Condenser mic
  • XLR
  • Can handle extremely high SPL

Alternate Budget Options

MXL A-55 Kicker
The MXL A-55 is an easy-to-use dynamic mic that offers quality sound in a rugged metal build.
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The cardioid polar pattern ensures minimal sound bleed-through from other instruments or sound equipment. It captures the thud of the bass in a live setting, and is excellent for recording or capturing live music. It takes no time at all to set up with any of your current sound equipment, and offers a full low-end sound for the bass instruments in your kit.

MXL A-55 Kicker Key Features

  • Dynamic mic
  • Great for low frequencies
  • Durable construction
  • Cardioid polar pattern

Alternate Recording Mics

Shure PGA52
The Shure PGA52 is a compact mic with a cardioid polar pattern. Because of this polar pattern, it rejects unwanted noise while keeping the original thud of the bass drum intact.
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The cartridge is specifically designed for the low-frequency of a kick drum, and can tolerate high SPL. With its updated design, matte finish, and compact style, this mic won’t attract attention while getting the job done.

Shure PGA52 Key Features

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Can handle high SPL
  • Swivel joint
  • XLR compatible
  • Zipper pouch included
  • Compact style
Shure Beta 91A
The Shure Beta 91A has a half cardioid polar pattern, which rejects unwanted noise and encourages bass off-axis rolloff.
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The flat design and the high SPL allow the mic to be placed inside the kick drum, reducing stage clutter and increasing the bass resonance of the final sound. Two frequency settings allow for a flat sound or the punch of the bass. With its small form, easy manipulation, and sound options, this is a great kick drum mic for live music.

Shure Beta 91A Key Features

  • Built-in pre-amp
  • Can handle high SPL
  • Can be placed inside the drum
  • Half cardioid polar pattern
  • XLR compatible

Conclusion

When looking for a kick drum mic, whether it’s your first or an additional model as an upgrade to replace a mic that’s lagging, it’s important to consider two things.

What is the kick drum mic’s purpose (are you looking to go between live recording and studio recording?), and what is your price point?

These two things will allow you to narrow down this list and get the product that best meets your recording needs.

While a lot of these mics have an economical price point for the industry, if you’re just starting out, you may not be willing to spend that much on a kick mic. For that, our budget pick is an ideal option for a great sound without spending too much… the Nady DM-80.

If you know you need quality sound, low interference, and high SPL tolerance, our Top Pick is what you need. The AKG D112 is a premium cardioid mic that is capable of producing excellent percussive tone without any interference from other drums or sound equipment. It’s response time is top-notch, making sure you or your audience never miss a beat.

While you peruse these top choices, take note of the specifications that most appeal to you and your live recording needs… and know that there isn’t a wrong answer. All of these are great mics that will enhance the punch of your kick drum or bass instrument.