Best Room Mics for Drums

Best Room Mics for Drums

Let’s help you get the greatest drum sounds from your room with the best room mics for drums.

Quick answer:

If one product comes up over and over again for drum room mics it’s the Shure KSM32. Partly because of its low cost, but also for the great quality you get for the price tag.

But if you’re looking for a truly remarkable sound, the kind that has the smoothness punch to melt everything together, we suggest the AEA R88.

There are of course other choices in this list, so if you already have those options, not to worry, take a look at the ones we have reviewed below.

Music Production Nerds is supported by readers like you! If you buy something through our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no expense to you.

Top 10 Best Room Mics for Drums

  1. AEA R88
  2. Shure KSM 32
  3. AKG P420
  4. Audio-Technica AT4050
  5. Beyerdynamic M160
  6. Neumann KM184
  7. AEA N22
  8. AKG C414 XLS
  9. Neumann TLM107
  10. Mojave MA-1000

Best Room Mics for Drums Reviews

AEA R88

AEA R88

Pros
  • Stereo ribbon mic
  • High dynamic range
Cons
  • Some may find it a bit high-priced
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

AEA R88 is a stereo ribbon microphone with a very high dynamic range and a figure-8 polar pattern and amongst all of the mics from this list, this one would make the most sense being used as a room mic for drums from a production standpoint.

User impressions

Users like AEA R88 for always giving absolutely stunning stereo image with any instruments being recorded through this mic. This mic is especially good for recording the room as it catches even the slightest detail and everything sounds natural.

What we think

It wouldn’t make much sense to record a drum’s room in mono, which means that in most cases, you’re going to need to have at least one stereo pair of mics. This one saves you a lot of energy and effort by simply being a stereo mic already.

Bottomline

AEA R88 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a ribbon mic that offers a strong vintage flavor and the ability to record stereo signal. You may consider the price to be a bit high, but since you actually have 2 mics of the highest quality in one, it would be wise to reconsider it.

Shure KSM 32

Shure KSM 32

Pros
  • Controlled and accurate polar response
  • Smooth and extended frequency response
Cons
  • Requires 48V phantom power
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Shure KSM 32 is one of the most accurate large-diaphragm condenser mics available on the market. It offers very close to linear frequency response and exceptional clarity.

User impressions

Users like Shure KSM32 for being versatile and for its performing abilities that let you roll whether you record instruments in studio or on stage. Users note that while using this mic they always get a clear and bright tone and emphasize high frequencies. Having this mic can be a downside for some of the users who don’t own hi-fi preamps, as with all other preamps except for hi-fi ones, this mic might sound small and boxy.

What we think

The most impressive thing about Shure KSM 32 is how it handles transients. It always sounds sharp no matter what you put through it. You may think that it wouldn’t give you much benefit while recording drums room, but the result most definitely will surprise you.

Bottomline

Shure KSM 32 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a highly accurate condenser mic that handles transients like a champ and has a full frequency response curve.

AKG P420

AKG P420

Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • Variable pick up patterns
  • Full frequency response
Cons
  • Requires phantom power
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

AKG P420 is a large-diaphragm condenser mic with high sensitivity and a very impressive dynamic range. It also has 3 pick-up patterns to choose from and a very robust and durable body.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with AKG P420 as it is made to be a companion for your musical endeavors for a long time. Also, this mic is amazingly versatile and provides you with warm sound and depth. Users say that the settings on this mic are easily adjusted and clearly labeled.

What we think

The best thing about AKG P420 is, of course, its price, which is impressive considering that absolutely nothing about the quality of this mic says it’s budget-friendly.

Bottomline

AKG P420 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a reasonably priced condenser mic with stellar build quality and a very impressive sound. It also comes with an included hard-shell case and spider-style shock mount, which is even more impressive considering its price range.

Audio-Technica AT4050

Audio-Technica AT4050

Pros
  • 3 switchable polar patterns
  • Switchable high-pass filter
Cons
  • Requires phantom power
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Audio-Technica AT4050 is a low-noise affordable condenser mic with extended frequency response, very transparent highs and rich low end. Its “transformerless” circuitry eliminates low-frequency distortion, which is especially useful for drum recordings.

User impressions

Users say that Audio-Technica AT4050 has a very outstanding ability to record the sound exactly as your ears would hear it. Users also note that this microphone is versatile, dependable, and of great quality. Also, some say that this mic is specifically good for recording room, overheads, jazz ensembles, acoustic instruments, and amplified blues bands.

What we think

Although the price isn’t exactly low, Audio-Technica AT4050 still adds a lot of value to your studio with its ability to record sound accurately and with exceptional transparency. A switchable 80 Hz low-cut filter is also a very useful feature.

Bottomline

Audio-Technica AT4050 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a highly versatile and accurate condenser mic with a switchable low-cut filter. The ability to choose between 3 polar patterns will also come in handy more often than not.

Beyerdynamic M160

Beyerdynamic M160

Pros
  • Ribbon mic
  • Hyper-cardioid pattern
  • Accessories included
Cons
  • Limited frequency response
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Beyerdynamic M160 is a hyper-cardioid ribbon mic that comes with included case and a mic clip. It was designed to especially suit acoustic instruments, which includes, of course, drums.

User impressions

Users like Beyerdynamic M160 for exceptional sound quality, versatility, and amazingly warm and smooth mids. Users add that the high end is always clear and detailed while the bottom end is present and full. When you place this mic in front of the drum kit, you will have exactly the sound that you have in your mind and it is just truly remarkable.

What we think

No matter what era they were built in, ribbon microphones always give your recordings a very subtle vintage flavor and Beyerdynamic M160 is not an exception.

Bottomline

Beyerdynamic M160 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a classy ribbon mic that is very easy to fall in love with. And although it doesn’t record the low end below 40 Hz, it is still extremely hard to consider it a downside, especially when you first hear how it actually sounds.

Neumann KM184

Neumann KM184

Pros
  • Small diaphragm condenser mic
  • Full frequency range
  • Very low self-noise
Cons
  • Requires phantom power
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann KM184 is a small diaphragm condenser mic with a full frequency range and very low inherent self-noise. And as with all Neuman mics, you don’t have to worry about sound quality because they all sound exceptional.

User impressions

Users agree that Neumann KM184 is made to be with you for ages and it comes from a very trusted and reliable manufacturer. Users say that if you’re looking for a reliable, solid, essential microphone that you will get what you want with this one. This mic has it all detailed and clear articulation, bright and shimmering sound.

What we think

Small diaphragm mics are usually very good at handling high-pressure sounds, which is especially useful when it comes to recording drums. And, of course, every producer should have at least one Neumann mic. So why shouldn’t it be this one?

Bottomline

Neumann KM184 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a small condenser mic with the outstanding build quality and even more impressive heritage. Yes, it’s on the pricey side of things, but we believe it’s money well spent.

AEA N22

AEA N22

Pros
  • Increased upper-mid presence
  • Reduced proximity effect
Cons
  • Requires phantom power
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

AEA N22 is a hand-crafted American ribbon mic with a modern dynamic response and strong vintage flavor. Its increased upper-mids presence makes anything cut through the mix like a hot knife through butter.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with AEA N22 as it would never sound dull or bland when recording sound, it gives you very detailed and natural sound without any harshness. The only downside to this mic is that the proximity effect goes way over the top when compared to directional condenser and dynamic microphones. Users also add that you will get an evenly clear and great sound, without regard to the spot of where you place this mic for recording the room.

What we think

It’s not exactly a cheap microphone, but if you take into consideration that it’s hand-crafted with very exclusive components, everything becomes crystal clear. It also offers exceptional versatility, which only adds value to this mic.

Bottomline

AEA N22 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a highly versatile active ribbon mic, which is especially useful in home recording studios because of its upper-midrange boost and reduced proximity effect.

AKG C414 XLS

AKG C414 XLS

Pros
  • Wide range of pick-up patterns
  • High dynamic range
  • Variable low cut filter
Cons
  • A bit pricey
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

AKG C414 XLS is a professional large-diaphragm condenser microphone that is widely used in a number of broadcast facilities and recording studios worldwide. It’s chosen mainly because of its exceptional versatility and reliability, all while giving a very accurate and neutral sound.

User impressions

Users like AKG C414 XLS for recording sound in detail and being versatile, having 9 selectable polar patterns, 3 pads, and 3 roll-offs. Users add that this mic lets you hear every nuance as it records everything as naturally as possible due to its outstanding sensitivity.

What we think

To be completely honest, half of the features that AKG C414 XLS offers you, you may even never get to use. But it’s always good to have something extra than regret that you lack it.

Bottomline

AKG C414 XLS is a great choice for someone who is looking for a highly versatile condenser mic with an unprecedented amount of features. Considering that this mic has the ability to sound almost like any microphone that you could imagine, all of a sudden, the price doesn’t seem that high.

Neumann TLM107

Neumann TLM107

Pros
  • Flat frequency response
  • 5 polar patterns
  • High pass filter
Cons
  • Shockmount not included
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann TLM107 is a large-diaphragm condenser mic from a legendary manufacturer. It gives you the ability to choose between 5 different polar patterns and offers a variable high-pass filter and attenuation pad.

User impressions

Users like Neumann TLM 107 for providing you with the most accurate, open and pleasing sound. It comes from a very trusted manufacturer who is known for producing mics with outstanding building quality. This microphone is versatile and is remarkably easy to use and set up. Users add that this mic always gives you sonically pleasing recordings with a slight, almost unnoticeable boost in highs.

What we think

Neumann TLM107 has a very slight high-shelf boost above 8 kHz, which is somewhat of a signature trademark from Neumann. It gives you a very slight and subtle addition of presence and clarity on top of great accuracy and precision.

Bottomline

Remember when we said that every producer should have at least one Neumann mic in their collection? Well, if you consider adding a second one, this would most definitely be your perfect choice.

Mojave MA-1000

Mojave MA-1000

Pros
  • Very sleek design
  • Tube condenser mic
Cons
  • Some may find this mic overpriced
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

The only thing that could be better than a condenser mic is a tube condenser mic which exactly what a Mojave MA-1000 is. It gives you a very silky and smooth high-end with a very subtle but yet noticeable coloration, which is exactly what you would expect from a premium tube mic.

User impressions

Users agree that Mojave MA-1000 gives you truly stunning results while being versatile. This mic has an open and clear midrange, full in the bottom and just the right amount of top-end presence. Users note that this mic will do wonders if you want to use it for recording vocals as you can scream or whisper in it and it still captures everything smoothly with just the right amount of warmth, silk, and presence, as for recording any type of instrument, it does it with an amazing level of detail and gives you that desirable ‘real’ feel.

What we think

It’s always good to provide your clients with something extra. They may never appreciate the investment you’ve made with this mic, but they most definitely will be pleased with the end result, which is what matters the most.

Bottomline

Mojave MA-1000 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a high-end tube condenser mic with very posh sound quality and an extremely durable build. It also looks extremely pretty, which, on top of all other benefits, would sky-rocket the value of your studio.

Room Mics for Drums Buying Guide

Do I even need to focus on drum room mics specifically, you might ask. Well, this is a very reasonable question since recording a room isn’t exactly a priority when it comes to drums. The recorded information would be carefully placed under the sound of the overheads and the individual drums to give those sounds more depth and volume, something that you can easily emulate with a dedicated reverb plugin, but should you really? What differentiates a great recording from a simply good one is attention to details and you have to make sure that every detail is perfect.

Important features

For that reason alone, even if choosing the best room mics for drums may not be the top priority, you should definitely pay closer attention to the matter. Room mics not only give volume and depth to the recording, but they also can add some flavor, which could change how your record is perceived. How music feels can be even more important than how it sounds and the right microphone in the right place can either give your track a new dimension or subtly change it. That being said, sometimes the best flavor is its absence, so we have chosen some of the most transparent and naturally sounding mics we could think of. And it’s needless to say that each and every mic on this list will provide you with the highest sound quality possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.