The 4 Best Cheap Drum Mics – Reviews 2024

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So why get a drum mic? Well, percussion can be a tricky thing to mic, especially if you want to do it on the cheap. To capture a full, realistic drum sound you need all the frequencies, from the lowest rumble to high, shimmering harmonics. The sharp articulations and high dynamics can damage more sensitive or lower-quality microphones, as well. Add to that the fact that you’re usually working with multiple instruments being played together (like the drums and cymbals on a standard kit, for example) and you’ve got a particularly challenging sonic situation.

A dynamic microphone is usually your best bet if you’re looking for a cheap drum mic. The way they capture sound is well-suited to percussion, and they’re durable enough to take high volume and hard attacks. While different styles of drum will have different ideal microphone qualities, the options below are all good options if you want to mic your drums without breaking your budget.

These are our recommendations of the 4 best cheap drum mics on the market:

Audix F2 Dynamic Microphone

A good all-purpose dynamic microphone with a cardioid pattern is the perfect choice for a variety of percussion applications. The F2 from Audix can work as a dedicated mic for floor toms or hand-drums, like congas or bongos. Positioned at a distance, it can also make a suitable mic for complete kits, capturing the full range of your sound with impressive detail.

The Audix F2 is mainly aimed at recording instruments in the mid ranges (see full specs), and is especially good for mid-bass percussion instruments. The hypercardioid pattern helps it to reduce extraneous noise from the environment, giving you a truer representation of your actual sound. Compared to a higher-priced model you might lose some of the high from the cymbals and some of the deep lows from the bass drum, but for an inexpensive microphone, it has a pretty impressive range.

Audix Fusion Drum Microphones Winter NAMM 2010 Demo

Nady DM-80 Drum Microphone

Kick drums especially can be hard to mic effectively on a budget. The particular frequencies that are put out by a kick drum aren’t captured well by a lot of cheap dynamic microphones, and the volume output in the low frequencies can damage weaker microphones over time. This impressive little mic from Nady is designed especially to cope with these challenges.

The cardioid polar pattern used by this microphone is ideal for capturing low-end frequencies. This makes it a fantastic option for use with low toms as well as kick drums. The interior components use a neodymium element and a gold-plated cable, which combine to give you a super-fast response with high signal integrity and minimal distortion.

In terms of value, you’ll definitely find it here. The build quality and sound quality are equally high. The die-cast exterior casing protects the inside from damage, and this is helped by the internal shock mounting that prevents accumulated damage from both transportation and regular use. Whether you’re using this microphone on stage or in a studio, no matter how hard or fast the style, it can handle everything you throw at it—and at a remarkably low price.

The Basement - Drum Recording Techniques You Should Know

GLS Audio ES-58 Microphone

All-purpose dynamic microphones marketed for vocals can serve your purposes well enough if you’re recording the overall drum set sound, but if you want to mic individual drums up close you’ll need something a bit more specialized. The ES-57 from GLS Audio is a uni-directional microphone designed for use with percussion instruments, making it one of your most affordable ways to reliably mic individual drums within your kit.

The ES-58 is modeled after the Shure SM-57, which has long been the industry standard for a professional dynamic microphone. The difference is you can get the ES-58 for a fraction of the price. For an at-home recording set-up, the quality of the sound reproduction is plenty high enough, and it can capture frequencies from 50 Hz to 15,000 Hz, so it will capture the full sonic envelope of your drums. The construction is also solid, with a rugged exterior casing and enough interior bracing to keep it from getting damaged by regular wear and tear. Hands down, it’s one of the best cheap drum mics around.

GLS Audio ES-57 Instrument Microphone Unboxing

CAD D19 Microphone

This is another very affordable option if you’re looking to mic individual drums within a kit. The CAD D19 is especially convenient because it comes with a mounting system, letting you easily clip it directly on to the rim of your drum. It’s compact, lightweight, and easy to adjust, all things that make it useful for a variety of different percussion recording applications.

The D19 was initially designed with a snare drum in mind, and the qualities that make it effective for snare drums are also beneficial when it comes to recording other aspects of your kit. It uses a cardioid pattern to capture the full sound of your drumhead while still minimizing interference from other pieces on your kit. The sound captured is clear and full, and they can handle high dynamics with ease without damage or loss of quality. At this price range, this is definitely among the best cheap drum mics period, and is perfect for someone who wants to record their drums well on a budget.

Hoobastank - I Don't Think I Love You (Drum Cover) -Roy PG-13

How to Choose Cheap Drum Mics

As you can see, some of the options on the list above are designed for specific drums, while others are for more all-purpose applications. If you’re recording a full drum kit, your first question should be not what kind of microphone you’re getting, but how many you can afford.

Even just using two microphones as a stereo pair can greatly improve the accuracy and depth of your recording over a single mic. If you have a limited budget, you may find it’s better spent on multiple, less costly microphones than on one pricier unit, even if you prefer the sound of the pricier microphone individually.

The genre you’re playing in can have an impact on which microphone you want to use, too. The rock drum sound, for example, tends to put a lot of emphasis on the kick drum and snare. You may find you want to get an individual mic for each of these drums, in addition to one or two to capture the entire kit sound.

With other genres where the emphasis is more on the sound of the kit as a whole, a couple overhead mics might be enough to capture the right sound. All the microphones above can qualify as the best cheap drum mic so you just need to figure out the right configuration for you. Good luck!

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

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