Best Drum Mic Kit – 4 to 8Piece

drum mic kits


Looking to improve your acoustic drum recording sound? Get expert help and recommendations on finding the best drum mic kit for your studio setup.

One thing that gives studios their identity and recognizability is their studio “house sound”. This is primarily from the sound of the room and secondary from the engineer’s selection of microphones.

Having a desirable and signature drum sound for your studio is one of the best ways to stand out as a production hub, given that most, if not all, band recordings start with recording drums.

Getting good mics for drums – bundled in a high-quality multi-piece drum mic kit – is the best way to work your way towards establishing your own signature sound.

If you are looking to upgrade or augment your eventual mic setup, you may also want to take a look at our guide to The Best Overhead Mics For Drums which focuses on matched pairs for the best stereo imaging as well as our guide to The Best Dynamic Mics which are great at handling the high SPLs of drums.

The Best Drum Mic Kit – 4 to 8Piece

Author & Contributors

Best 8-Piece Drum Mic Kit

Audix DP7 Plus

93
GEARANK
93 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.
$999.00
Audix
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 8-Piece Drum Mic Kit.

Cons

  • Bundled cables aren't the best quality

Pros

  • Lively, hi-fi sound
  • Matched pair ensures stereo phase cohesion
  • Great quality mic clips

Compared to the Audix DP7 mic kit, the DP7 Plus features an additional ADX51s mic for capturing an additional sound source like the hi-hat or as a spot mic for the ride cymbal.

Having a matched set of overheads ensures proper imaging and placement in the mix.

The mics in the set capture drums well with a lively and Hi-Fi sounding capture quality. This set sounds best for modern sounding drums and miking techniques. The added ADX51s mic also gets used as a mono room mic for gluing tracks together or as a candidate for NY style parallel compression. The included mic clips are sturdy and of high build quality.

For the cons, the included cables leave much to be desired. If it's your first microphone set, they are decent at best but might bottleneck the quality of your setup.

For great sounding drums with definition and cohesion, a modern sounding 8 mic package like the DP7 Plus is a great choice. The DP7 Plus with its additional ADX51s mic makes it a versatile all-rounder for the modern studio.

Kit Contents

  • Mics: 1 x D6 Kick Drum Microphone, 1 x i5 Snare Mic, 2 x D2s Tom Mics, 1 x D4 Floor Tom Mic, 3 x ADX51s Overhead and Hat Mics
  • Extras: 4 x DVICE Rim Mounts, 3 x DCLIP Microphone Clips, 1 x MC1 Microphone Clip, 2 x WS81C Windscreens, Aluminum Road Case, " How to Mic Your Drums" DVD

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Paul White **96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.
**Note that this review is for the 7 mic version without the additional condenser microphone. Performance is otherwise similar.

Demo

Best Drum Mics - 7-Piece Drum Mic Kit

Shure PGADRUMKIT7

95
GEARANK
95 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.
$549.00
Shure
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 7-Piece Drum Mic Kit.

Cons

  • Kick drum mic could be better

Pros

  • Excellent frequency response
  • Lively dynamic mics and clear condensers
  • Great separation thanks to tight cardioid patterns

Shure are one of the biggest names in microphones and they've priced the PGADRUMKIT7 for the home recording market.

This kit includes their PG Alta series that have a sleek black metallic industrial design and cardioid polar patterns that reduce background noise and feedback.

It includes one PGA52 and three PGA56 drum microphones along with one PGA57 and two PGA81 instrument microphones.

The PGA52 is a dynamic kick drum mic designed mainly for the kick drum and for low-frequency recording and performing applications.

The PGA56s are dynamic snare drum and tom microphone made for close-miking percussion applications.

The PGA57 is a dynamic cardioid microphone that works best with picking up drum shells while the PGA81 pair are condenser cardioid mics that are best suited for more subtle jobs like overheads or even as room mics.

This kit also comes with stand adapters, drum mount clips and XLR cables.

For quality and price, the PGADRUMKIT7 is in a great position. The microphones in this kit have a clear and flat response. The PGA81's make great overhead mics with their neutral high end, perfect for balancing out cheap cymbals. It's a great starter kit since it's easy to set up with the provided mounts and cables that can achieve great results in both live settings and on studio recordings.

There isn't too much to fault with the kit although the kick drum mic could be better.

In the sub $600 price range this kit provides the best percussion microphones that are great for both live settings and studio recordings, and other accessories that complete your whole set up. The mics in this kit have a clear and flat response and are able to capture the subtleties of your drum kit in live performances or recording.

Kit Contents

  • Mics: 1 x PGA52 Kick Drum Mics, 3 x PGA56 Tom Mics, 1 x PGA57 Snare Drum Mics , 2 x PGA81 Overhead Mics
  • Extras: 3 x A25D Stand Adapters, 3 x AP56DM Drum Mount Clips, 7 x XLR-XLR Cables, Case

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Modern Drummer Miguel Monroy 100/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

Best microphone set for drums - 6-Piece Drum Mic Kit

sE Electronics V Pack Club

92
GEARANK
92 out of 100. Incorporating 5+ ratings and reviews.
$949.00
sE Electronics
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 6-Piece Drum Mic Kit.

Cons

  • 6 Pieces might not be enough for larger kits

Pros

  • Unique Vintage/Modern tonality
  • Great for small rock drum setups
  • Very durable

sE Electronics V Pack products mostly consist of the same set with some mics omitted.

The Club version is a 6-piece mic set that's enough to mic up a drum kit with only 2 toms: a common setup for small venues and home recordings.

Most rock drummers these days are perfectly fine with one rack tom and one floor tom as they use the space vacated by the second tom to move their ride closer and use two crash cymbals. For this setup, a 6-mic pack like the V Pack Club is perfect. The mics have a vintage-modern tonality while being durable enough to last years of accidental hits by even the most energetic of drummers.

A 6-piece drum mic kit might feel incomplete for other genres needing toms and floor toms .

If you plan to record a modern rock setup with just one rack and one floor tom, get the sE Electronics V Pack Club.

Kit Contents

  • Mics: 1 x V Kick Mic , 2 x V Beat Tom Mics, 1 x V7 X Snare/Vocal Mic, 2 x Se7 (stereo pair) Overhead Mics
  • Extras: 2 x V Clamps, Flight Case

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Pro Sound Network Rob Tavaglione 100/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

**Demo

**V Pack Arena shown but includes the mics included in the V Pack Club

Best 5-Piece Drum Mic Kit

Shure PGADRUMKIT5

95
GEARANK
95 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.
$329.00
Shure
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 5-Piece Drum Mic Kit.

Cons

  • Flat tonality might put off some that prefer more tailored sounds right out of the box

Pros

  • Neutral sound
  • Incredible durability and build
  • Good bundled accessories
  • Snare mic is a standout

Shure is well known for their road worthy dynamic vocal and instrument mics, including drum mikes.

The PGADRUMKIT5 is a bundle of five mics, first of which is a PGA52 kick mic which is fine tuned to handle the punchy sound and harsh lows of a kick drum.

There are also three PGA56 mics that are designed to better handle the frequencies of toms, and are versatile enough to work with other percussion instruments.

Last but not the least is the Shure PGA57 mic, with its ability to handle the high sound pressure levels of snares.

It also comes with the necessary tools for setup, including mounts, clips and even XLR cables - all of which are packed inside a road worthy case.

Build quality is the standout feature thanks to Shure's excellent quality control and materials. Another thing to expect from Shure mics is their sound quality. From my experience, one thing many Shure mics have in common is certain flatness at the higher frequencies. It can be heard on some of their individual mics like the SM57 and SM7b. On the PGADRUMKIT5's mics, there's just enough high frequency content to add a little sheen while still staying as neutral as possible. The snare mic specifically is a standout thanks to how it handles both soft and loud playing. Noise rejection also makes this package easier to manage on the mixing console.

Despite the slight upper treble lift, the mics in the kit might fail to impress people more accustomed to mics that sound good straight from recording. Though I usually prefer this because of how well neutral mics work with outboard gear, those that are just starting out might find that the recorded sound unimpressive especially when recording through cheaper interfaces. I recommend doing EQ adjustments or eventually upgrading your interface/preamps first before dismissing the kit as bland.

With its consistent high ratings, and big brand backing, the Shure PGADrum kit5 is highly recommended in this price range.

Kit Contents

  • Mics: 1 x Shure PGA52 Kick Drum Mics, 3 x Shure PGA56s, 1 x Shure PGA57 Snare Mic
  • Extras: Shure A25D Mic Clip, AP56DM Drum Mounts, XLR cables, Case

Demo

Best 4-Piece Drum Mic Kit

Contrary to popular belief, you can actually achieve a great drum sound with just 4 mics. The Glyn Johns Technique which usually involves four mics: 1 Snare, 1 Kick, 1 Overhead placed above the snare and one side mic beside the floor tom the same distance from the snare as the overhead. This technique results in a very natural sounding stereo capture that works well for classic rock, indie and jazz.

Shure DMK57-52

95
GEARANK
95 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.
$439.00
Shure
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 4-Piece Drum Mic Kit.

Cons

  • Does not come with a condenser mic set for overheads

Pros

  • Great set of industry standard mics
  • Tried and tested Shure durability
  • Mics can also be used for other instruments and even vocals

The Shure DMK57-52 features three SM57 dynamic mics and one Beta 52A kick mic.

The SM57 is widely acclaimed as a "do-all" dynamic microphone. Having three at your disposal allows you to not only mic up your drum kit, but also gives you more options for expanding by giving you a great starting point for your mic collection.

The Beta 52A has a frequency lift at 4khz to bring out the best modern kickdrum sounds.

This set is versatile enough to be used with other instruments like electric guitar and electric bass.

As a package, it's "the starter pack you will never get rid of" as it includes the most commonly used, microphones in the studio, namely the SM57. The Beta 52A is a good, modern sounding kick mic that blends well with shells recorded with the SM57.

The only con would be the lack of any condenser mics in the pack. Those that want mics to use with overheads need to purchase them separately.

For miking up shells, the Shure DMK57-52 is a great package that has uses beyond drums as well. Get it if you want a "foundation mic set" that you can use to expand well into the future. If you need overhead microphones, check out our selection of The Best Overhead Mics For Drums.

Kit Contents

  • Mics:1 x Beta 52A, 3 x SM57
  • Extras: 3 x SM57 Mounts, Carrying Case

Demo

Things to Consider when Choosing a Drum Mic Kit

Kick Drum Mic and Uses

It’s more affordable, to some extent, to get a drum microphone kit over buying individual drum microphones, because they include important accessories like mounting clips and cases and the mics are usually priced more competitively than buying each one separately. Drum mic bundles are available that include everything needed to mic up a drum kit along with additional accessories like mic stands and XLR cables.

Many of the mics included in a drum mic bundle can also be useful for vocals and other instruments, adding to their usefulness. While most close proximity drum mics are dynamic, there are also condenser mics used, especially those that are positioned overhead. Dynamic microphones are ideally used on the snare drums, toms, and bass drum since they offer a good mid-range frequency response and have a sturdy build to withstand occasional miss-hit. It's also much cheaper to maintain or replace a dynamic mic.

They also tend to be pre-EQ’d to make each miked drum sound better. Condenser microphones usually come in a pair and are often used as overheads or room mics to capture the wide frequency range of the cymbals and ambience of the room. You also need to know how to apply proper drum EQ to get the best sound out of your drums.

Overhead Mics and Accessories

Large diaphragm condenser mics are excellent for capturing the nuances and details of the drum sound, making them ideal for overhead and room miking. Additional accessories make drum microphone kits more convenient. Many of them come with drum mounts, which are integrated clamps that enable you to fasten the microphones directly to a drum. These mounts enable you to "close mic" a drum, and are attached to the edges, rims and other applicable surfaces. Some have stands that are useful for mounting kick or tom microphones. Another common component included in mic kits are carrying cases, which make storage and transport more convenient. There are some bundles that include XLR cables, but in case you need extra ones, you can see what we recommend in our XLR Cable Guide. Mic Stands are also needed, especially when employing overhead mics. The lower you set the overhead mics, the less of the room sound you'll get.

Studio vs Live Setting

Dynamic microphones are the go to mic used in live settings because they can handle large sound pressure levels, they have good noise background noise rejection, and are less prone to feedback. There are instances, mainly in large venues, where condenser microphones are used to achieve better detail live performances. In the studio, close miking each drum component with dynamic mics give you more control over each drum part, which is important in the production process. Some even use ribbon mics for capturing ambience.

On the other hand, overhead omni-directional condenser mics give you a complete picture of the drum sound, with minimal setup time. The downside to this setup is that it is more prone to background noise, and you don't have individual control over the sound of each drum part during mixdown.

Gaining a better understanding of the different types of microphones, each of their capabilities, strengths and restrictions will result in better quality studio recordings, or a sweeter sound on stage.

Best Drum Mic Kit Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017. The current edition was published on June 5, 2024

For this edition, we looked at all the highly rated and popular options available from major online retailers in the USA and put 40 kits from 17 brands on our short-list for closer examination. Those brands were AKG, Audix, Avantone Pro, CAD Audio, Digital Reference, Earthworks, Miktek, Monoprice, Nady, Neewer, Peavey, PreSonus, Samson, sE Electronics, Sennheiser, Shure and Telefunken. You can see them in the Music Gear Database.

Then we looked at relevant reviews, ratings and forum discussions about each mic kit and fed that data into the Gearank Algorithm to produce the rating scores out of 100 you see above. We then selected the best drum mic kit options to recommend based on. Over 4,400 sources were examined during this process.

For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Drum Mic packs are the best way to get started especially when you have an audio interface or mixer capable of recording multiple mics. My perennial favorite will always be the Shure SM57 on snares. It's familiar and I know what to expect from it when it's time for mixing. I've tried other mic packages and they're just as capable with different tonalities. If your stock kit or cymbals sound a certain way, choosing a mic set to complement it is a good thing to keep in mind.

Contributors

Jerry Boriilo: Product research.
Jason Horton: Product research, Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the Audix Studio Elite 8 and sE Electronics V Pack Arena.

The individual product images were sourced from their respective manufacturers' websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation.

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