One of the most complex instruments to record in the home studio is a full drum kit. Recording drums requires proper technique to allow for the best overall tone as well as separation between the different drums. Not only is recording drums difficult, but it also requires a lot of equipment. Fortunately, there are many drum microphone packages available that provide all the microphones necessary to record a drum kit like a professional.
Drum microphones kits can be used for both studio recording and live sound reinforcement. Many of the microphones in these kits can also be used for different purposes. For example; some small diaphragm condenser microphones normally used as drum overheads also work great for stereo acoustic guitar recording.
The Neewer NW-7Ais a budget drum microphone kit that includes 7 microphones. There are two condenser microphones with windscreens which are used as overheads to capture sound from the entire drum kit and cymbals. Keep in mind if you’re recording with these microphones, you will require a mixing board or audio interface that is capable of supplying 48 V phantom power. There are also a 5 dynamic microphones included. There is a large dynamic microphone used for recording the low frequencies of the kick drum as well as 4 smaller dynamic microphones that are used for reinforcing the snare drum and toms.
Each of the dynamic microphones includes a clip to attach to the rim of the drum, so there’s no need to use additional microphone stands in the already crowded area around the drum kit. There is also a hard aluminum carry case to protect the microphones if they are being transported.
As an entry level drum microphone kit, there are a few issues that could be problematic in professional applications. First the kick drum microphone does not have a great frequency response, since it only covers down to 50 Hz. Some of the very low frequency sound you would expect to be picked up by a kick drum microphone may not be captured. Also, the microphone clips are made of cheap plastic and don’t hold onto the drums very well. This can be problematic in live environments if a microphone falls off. Over time, some of the microphone clips may also break, so these microphones may not be a great choice for some using them all the time.
Overall, the Neewer NW-7A is a great starting point for recording drums and is best suited for occasional live use or light home studio use.
Similar to the Neewer NW-7A, the CAD Audio Stage 7 Premium comes with 2 condenser microphones for overheads and 5 dynamic microphones for kick, toms, and snare. The tom and kick mics are cardioid, and the snare mic is supercardioid for superior off-axis sound rejection.
The CAD PRO-7 comes in a soft carrying case, which has plenty of padding and provides decent protection to the microphones, though it wouldn’t be sufficient for constant road use.
Compared to the Neewer NW-7A kit, the CAD PRO-7 kit has much more durable clamps for the tom and snare microphones that are unlikely to break even under rough conditions. One disadvantage of these microphone clips is that they can’t easily be replaced in they break, whereas many other drum microphones have removable mic clips. These microphones would be well suited for both live sound and studio applications.
Audix 4-Piece Drum Pack is a professional quality drum microphone kit. It includes two condenser microphones for overheads, one cardioid dynamic microphone for the snare and one dynamic microphone for the kick drum. The overhead and snare microphones are tuned to produce a smooth frequency response, while the kick drum microphone is optimized for low frequency response.
These microphones are intended for use in a 4 microphone drum setup. If done properly, this technique can create a well-balanced natural drum recording, but it doesn’t allow much control of the levels of individual drums after the recording has been made. These microphones will provide a clearer, more professional sounding recording than some of the other options, but we don’t recommend them for live use. Instead, these microphones are well suited for the studio environment.