EDITOR’S CHOICE: In-depth research, as well as user reviews, is more than enough to hail the king of all and the best overhead drum mic. Rode M5 is versatile, durable and perfectly captures your music. It’s the one that you need to record your songs with great quality by minimizing background noise.
Many people become paranoid about getting an expensive drum set to achieve the best sound quality. However, only a few people know that the overhead drum mic can also make or break your sound recording.
Hence, in this article, I am doing my best to research, test and hear out user reviews to really help you pick out the right overhead drum mic. While some may ignore it, please take a few minutes of your time to read the seven top drum mics you can choose from. You don’t know how powerful it is to have the best overhead drum mic in your drum set up.
5 Overhead Drum Mics
After rigorous research and tests, I’ve come up with seven best overhead drum mics you can use for your next recordings or professional concert:
- Matched pair of small-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphones
- 1/2" capsules
- Heavy duty ceramic-coated bodies
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Includes two WS5 wind shields
The Rode M5 is very popular in recording studios because it’s a budget mic and useful for a variety of instruments, not just for drums. It’s perfect for small rooms and studio performances. With its low noise, full frequency response and matching capability, this is the one for many recording artists.
- Great for small room performance and studio use
- Among the most affordable, yet reliable mic
- Although it’s versatile, recording other instruments may sound boxy
- Grill is not durable as it’s made of thin material
- Cardioid Polar Pattern
- Transformerless circuitry
- Trouble-free operation even with unbalanced equipment
- Balanced output
- phantom powered (48V)
As a serious recording artist, you really want to invest in quality and premium overhead drum mics, like the Neumann KM 184. It’s lauded for its durability, great versatility with superb sound quality. It captures very crisp and clear tone, at the same time eliminating the unnecessary noise – perfect for your next studio recording.
- Exceptional in eliminating external noise in your recording
- Outstanding sound capture, with great hi-hat response
- Maybe quite expensive compared the other mics of the same capacity
- Can sound a bit harsh and loud at certain upper mid-range setting
- Engineered for highest linearity and neutral sound for beautifully detailed recording of vocals and any acoustic instrument
- Nine selectable polar patterns for the perfect setting for every application
- Three attenuation levels (-6/-12/-18dB) for close-up recording or high-output sources of up to 158dB SPL
- Three different switchable bass-cut filters to reduce wind noise, subsonic noise or proximity effect
- Overload warning with audio peak hold LED to detect shortest audio peaks
This is not just a mic for vocalists, but it’s also a perfect overhead microphone. AKG Pro C414 has a large diaphragm condenser with 9 different polar patterns for greater customization and versatility. It has a broader dynamic range to capture different sounds clearly.
- Sounds are crisp, clear and very clean
- Feels sturdy and very reliable
- Vocals could be much brighter and sharp, especially the S sound
- Can still hear the noise if you turn the amp so high
- 2 x C214
- 2 x Elastic spider suspensions
- 2 x Windscreen
- 1 x Aluminum carrying case
If you can’t afford the expensive AKG C414, then the AKG C214 is a perfect alternative. Slightly cheaper than its ‘pro’ brother, yet it’s substantially versatile, accurate in recording multiple instruments and capable of minimizing a great deal of background noise. And, unlike the Rode M5, this one is designed both for studio and live performances.
- More versatile and great for live performances
- Durable double-mesh grill, but doesn’t affect the sound quality
- Perfect for recording not just drums, but other instruments and vocals
- Heavier than other overhead microphones
- Highly consistent cardioid polar pattern
- Ultra-thin, 2.5 micron, 24 karat gold-layered, low mass Mylar diaphragm for superior transient response
- Class A, discrete, transformerless preamplifier for transparency, extremely fast transient response, no crossover distortion, and minimal harmonic and intermodulation distortion
- Premium electronic components, including gold-plated internal and external connectors
- Subsonic filter eliminates low frequency rumble (less than 17 Hz) caused by mechanical vibration
If you have been to a real recording studio, then, you might be very familiar with the brand, Shure, as recording artists and producers have trusted it over the years. Speaking of this top brand, Shure’s KSM 137 Stereo pair are the most versatile one. You can change the mic’s volume, its sensitivity, and even the filter to remove the noise and boost the real beautiful sound of your instruments.
- Reliable and quality microphone
- Great adjustability to capture the sound of different instruments
- Microphone mounts are not shockproof, can feel some vibrations
- Captured sounds might sometimes a bit flat
How to Choose the Best Overhead Drum Mics
Before jumping into buying one of the best overhead drum mics above, it’s still very important to choose wisely. What considerations should you have? And, should you just buy any, knowing that they’re really the best?
There are different microphones suited for different recording task and recording environment. So, here are the top three microphones you can use as an overhead drum mic.
They are durable, sensitive, produce great, and detail sound recordings. These are usually of high quality and perfect for recording.
It comes in two and is the best option if you really want to get the most sound you can get from your instruments. These two matched pairs are produced together, so you know they work in singularity for better recordings.
Should you need more sound detail, go for a condenser with a large diaphragm. However, if you are just doing recordings for the sake of doing so, a smaller diaphragm would do.
Now that you have a glimpse of the top seven overhead drum mics, it’s now up to you which will you choose. But, remember, it’s very important to consider where and how are you going to use these mics. In this way, you can really pick the right drum for you.
Choosing from the thousands of overhead drum mics in the market is rather tedious. But, since, I have already done all the hassle, all you need to do is to check how going to use it. Surely, whatever your needs be, one of the seven overhead drum mics will surely be the best for you.