Best Microphones For Toms (Updated for 2019)

Written By James Quinn


Are you looking for a new microphone for toms?

  1. Perhaps you have a child who has taken a keen interest to drum and now you need to buy a microphone for his or her first gig.
  2. Or maybe you need a new set of microphones for your band, and the toms on the drum set have gone unmatched for a while now
  3. You may need to replace the current microphone and you need to know which one is the best.

Do you remember the first hobby you ever picked as a kid? you thought that is what you would do for the rest of your life. Some people get to pursue such dreams. If drum playing is more your thing, then keep reading.

Whether you are an amateur or a professional musician, you want great sound output. If it is for a live show set up, then you definitely want to create the quintessential live sound experience, and what you play is only part of the input you need.

You also need great equipment to carry your music and translate it effectively.


In a Hurry? Our Top Pick Is.....

The Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid

Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid

Click to check price

Are you in a hurry and don't have time to be able to go through all the different microphones available to you today?

There is so much out there it is easy to get inundated and overwhelmed by options. If you set a clear agenda and know what you need to be on the lookout for, then half the job is done.

Consider the age of the player, the environment in which the set will be played, the purpose for mic'ing the drum kit (is it for a live performance or for recording), think about the other studio equipment that will be used in conjunction with the new mic you want to buy. Also, consider where you will position the mic.

If we had to go with just one, it would have to be the Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid. It is a reliable microphone from a top brand. Setting it up could not be any easier.

There is a more detailed review below.


These Are Our 5 Best Microphones For Toms

#1. OUR OVERALL TOP PICK

Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid

1. Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid

OUR RATING

Our first pick is from the Evolution 600/800 series by Sennheiser. The series features both vocal and instrument microphones. E600s are the instrument range, of which our pick is a part of. They are engineered to deliver clear and detailed sound which is critical when recording instruments.

There is hardly any room of distortion. When working with a live set it is key to get the recording right the very first time. This microphone picks up very little handling noise while eliminating most of the feedback.

Throughout testing we found it to be a reliable microphone. The results that you get can be replicated. There is a great degree of clarity and that of projection when capturing the recording. You have a clip and an axis that give you added versatility as to where you can place the microphone when recording.

The clip is very sturdy and can grab onto all sorts of surfaces. The axis will allow you the option of raising or lowering the microphone to aligning it to the toms that you are looking to record. There is also an option to tilt the microphone forwards or backwards as desired.

Beyond recording your toms, there is also the versatility of being able to use this to record percussion, brass, woodwind, drums and snares.

While other microphones can be bulky, this one is fairly compact in design. The body is made out of rugged reinforced fibreglass. There is no question about the durability or indeed the quality of this product. It can handle distortion levels greater than 150dB SPL.

There is not much skill required to get this setup or to use it. This is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pick up pattern. The frequency response is 40 - 18000Hz. It has a sensitivity level of 1.8mV/Pa. There is a 10-year warranty on this product. It can be purchased individually or as part of a set.

Pros

  • This is a great microphone from a great brand.
  • It is incredibly versatile.
  • It is easy to mount on all sorts of surfaces.
  • The sound quality is good.
  • There is a very low distortion level.
  • It is well-made and durable.

Cons

  • The sound can be somewhat thin.

RUNNER UP

Shure PGA56-XLR Cardioid Swivel-Mount Dynamic Snare Tom Microphone

2. Shure PGA56-XLR Cardioid Swivel-Mount Dynamic Snare/Tom Microphone

OUR RATING

Our second pick is also a cardioid microphone. Shure has gone with what they described as a cartridge design.

This design ensures that the sound is captured in its purest form. There is little to no distortion. It offers you the versatility of placement as well. 

This is down to the swivel joint on which it mounts. It has a quick-release latch mechanism. You will find it easy to mount, and to unmount. The usual limitations of where and how you can place it also fall to the wayside once this is done.

As with the e604, the cardioid polar pattern on this microphone is selective of sound. Perhaps that is not the most technical way to put it. In the simplest terms, it picks up the recording that you are looking to capture and filters out all unwanted surround/background noises that could be a hindrance to this process.

From an aesthetical point of view, not much has been revamped. It looks as you would expect a microphone to look. There is a sturdiness to it when you touch it. The finish is one that is polished off with a black metallic grille.

For those of us that will be using this to record drum, you’d be pleased to know that there is a mount specifically designed for this. It can be latched on to the rim of your drums without the need to use any additional stands or mounts. 

There are two options that you can choose from when purchasing this. You can go with or without the XLR cable. The difference in pricing is not much, so it may be worth getting the XLR.

If you already have plenty of cables that you can use instead of getting a new one, you could always save and use the money for something else that you actually need. There is a zipper wallet included with each purchase.

It provides you with a secure place to keep your microphone protect from the elements and the usual friction that comes with moving around. As with other Shure products it comes with the promise that it can take some abuse.

This microphone is designed for recording snares and toms. It has a frequency range of between 15 and 15000Hz. The sensitivity is -57 dBV/Pa (1.45 mV). Output impedance is 200 Ω. It weighs just 287 grams (10.12 oz).

Pros

  • Easy to mount on the side of toms
  • It is reasonably priced
  • It produces great sound.
  • It is clearly well-made.
  • It is durable.

Cons

  • Some versions have been reported to produce an unwanted tone.
CAD Audio Stage4 4-Piece Drum Mic Pack

3. CAD Audio Stage4 4-Piece Drum Mic Pack

OUR RATING

Perhaps one microphone is not enough for your needs. There are cases where buying these microphones individually can become quite costly. The best way around this would be to buy them as part of a set. The Cad Audio Stage 4 is a set of 4.

Most individual users will find this to be a bit of overkill. However, it you are working with various musicians at the same time or as part of a band, this would be a great option.

Each of the 4 microphones comes with a clip stand that offers you an easy way to attach it to the drums or other surfaces when recording. That takes away the usual burden of having to buy additional equipment.

CAD Audio has been around for close to a century now. Their gear is consistently improving and being innovated to new levels. This four-piece drum pack is no different.

It includes 2 D29 tom drum microphones, a Cardioid Dynamic Kick Microphone, and a D19 Snare Drum Microphone. The variation of microphones provides you with a lot of room to be versatile in what you can record as well as how you could do it.

Each of the microphone features the clip that we previously described.

To carry the microphones around, there is a hardshell case included. It is amazing just how much further they can go when they are given the protection that they deserve.

There are 3 options to choose from when purchasing this. Besides this 4-piece set, there is also one with 7 pieces and a premium version of the 7-piece set. There is no rhyme or reason that we could find to justify going with the bigger set.

Pros

  • Comes with 4 microphones.
  • Includes a hardshell carrying case.
  • There is the versatility of use.
  • The microphones have integrated clips.
  • The brand is well established.
  • They are reasonably priced.

Cons

  • Cannot be mounted onto a mic stand.
  • They don't sit well on stick saver rims.
Pyle Pro 7-Piece Wired Dynamic Drum Mic Kit

4. Pyle Pro 7-Piece Wired Dynamic Drum Mic Kit

OUR RATING

While we are still on the topic of using more than one microphone, let us introduce you to the Pyle Pro 7-Piece kit. This is a set of dynamic drum microphones.

You will find there is a great range that can be covered in recording with each of the microphones that make this set. They are able to crisply capture the lowest end of the range where the sound requires more sensitivity on the part of the microphone and the high end of the range where more bass is captured.

Whether you are looking to record your toms and snare with a small drum mic or to make use of overhead mics to capture the sound from your cymbals. This set has you covered.

It is not limited to recording drums. The condenser microphones in the set will do just as good a job when recording vocals.

There was also an emphasis on ensuring that each piece in this set was compact. This makes the microphones more versatile in terms of what drum set you can use them on.

They are also ideal for close recording. Where other microphones would have issues with compatibility when it comes to mounting. Pyle Pro has found a way around this. The solution is quite simple. They have gone with standard threads ⅜” and ⅝” for the mounts.

This means that most microphone stand drum mounts would be compatible with these microphones. They also have the standard XLR connection which is possibly the most common one. This allows you to connect the microphone to most audio equipment.

Finally, for those of us that are on the move, there is a carry case included. In all honesty, I cannot say that we expected any less. This is absolutely necessary when there are multiple microphones to be cared for. Let’s get to what the 7 pieces are.

There is a large drum mic, 4 small drum mics and 2 condenser mics. You also get 4 thread clips and inserts, 4 clamps to use with the snare/tom mics and 2 windscreens to use with the condenser mics.

The required phantom power is 24-48V. The sensitivity range is -58dB(+/-)3dB/-53dB(+/-)3dB/-45dB(+/-)3dB. The output impedance is 400Ω± 30%/500Ω± 30%/200Ω± 30%. It is a lightweight set as well. The overall weight is just shy of 7lbs. Just be aware that you will need external phantom power for the condensers.

Pros

  • This is a budget-friendly product with reasonably quality.
  • The sound quality is brilliant.
  • There is a year’s warranty included with an option to extend cover
  • There are various clips and mounts included.
  • The carry case is both sturdily built and durable.

Cons

  • The condensers are not very durable.
  • The fasteners are made entirely of plastic.
CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic Microphone

5. CAD Audio TSM411 Dynamic Microphone

OUR RATING

Our final pick is also from CAD Audio. We need not introduce the company a second time. Their microphones are designed to be cost-effective solutions for both studio and live recordings.

The TSM411 microphone is designed to be perfect for recording sound from high impact objects such as snares, toms, congas, guitars and keyboard amps. It is both rugged and compact in design.

There is not much of a learning curve to speak of when using it. Novice musician and seasoned professionals alike will derive great pleasure and results from using it. For additional isolation, you can always depend on the rubber mic clip that is included.

This is a cardioid microphone as well. The super-cardioid microphone works to eliminate the background and surrounding noises as you record. This is achieved by targeting the toms as you record them.

Ambient sounds are rejected in the process. The result is a cleaner sounding recording. There is no criticism that anyone can possibly level at this product’s cost. They have introduced what has been termed the duo-point suspension mechanism.

Their explanation of this feature is quite winded and confusing for the novice. To put it in simple terms, it reduces the mechanical noises that would have otherwise been picked up from the mic stand.

It has a frequency response rate of 100Hz to 15KHz and a sensitivity rate of -56dBV (1.6mV) @ 1 Pa. The impedance is 300 ohms. There are two options to choose from.

The cardioid dynamic kick and the super-cardioid dynamic snare. The kick version is the pricier of the two. Apparently the word “super” does not influence pricing. You will be pleased to note that this microphone uses the regular XLR connection.

Pros

  • It is a lightweight microphone.
  • It uses a regular XLR cable.
  • It is reasonably priced.
  • The cardioid is versatile and suitable for various instruments.
  • The surround and ambient noises are rejected.

Cons

  • It does not have a clamping option.

What are Toms and why you need a Toms microphone

We have reviews for the best microphones on the market for toms. The toms are often the least used part of the drum kit, but they do need to be mic'ed. If they are not, it is quite noticeable. They can be the hardest part to capture.  dynamic and condenser mics are often used on toms. You will find that these offer a more open sound. A dynamic mic will offer more pick up and tighter pick up patterns.

The way you position a microphone on the drum toms will yield different results. It is important that you find the right mics for your toms, otherwise. they can go unnoticed and it will throw off your sound and possibly ruin your performance. Think about whether you will be playing at home, for fun, as a past time or professionally, filling up concert arenas. Your mic'ing needs will be determined by these factors, amongst others.

The perfect microphone considers the age of the user, the positioning, and also where you intend to be playing. Positioning the microphone toms has to take into account, the drummers positioning of cymbals. You do not want the cymbals to be too close otherwise they may bleed.

We take a look at the different microphones available on the market, and what they can offer you. Good sound is key when you are making music. You want your audience (no matter how small it is) to be able to hear and appreciate the amount of time and effort that has gone into making the music. For example, the Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid, which is reliable and versatile. Let us take a look, shall we?

Best Microphones For Toms - Buyer Guide

If you are a first-time buyer you may be feeling overwhelmed. They are all just microphones, right? They should all do the job and amplify whatever you will be playing right? Well, the cookie does not aways crumble that way. You need to know what goes into a good microphone and what will fit the bill for your set and the way you play.

What are the basic polar pattern types of microphones?

In general, every microphone has a 3-dimensional space surrounding the part that is most sensitive to sound. These are known as polar patterns. A mics polar pattern refers to how the microphone responds to sounds from different directions. It gives you a clue as to how the microphone needs to b positioned in order to get the optimum sound. It also gives you an idea as to how to avoid feedback and unwanted sounds.

There are three basic patterns. There is the omnidirectional pattern, the figure-8 pattern and the cardioid pattern.

Omnidirectional microphone:

This microphone picks up sound from all areas around it, meaning it is equally sensitive to sound all around. It has the same 360-degree output regardless of the direction it is facing. This microphone's solar pattern looks like a perfect circle almost, and it picks up sound from every direction. This is great when you have a choir or you are trying to record a group of people or sounds. The downside with it is that because it picks up all sounds, it can not sift out feedback or unwanted sounds.

The figure-8 microphone:

This microphone is sensitive to sound from the front and back, while the sides are ignored. They have a very narrow pick up angle and this makes them a favourite for vocalists, as the isolate one voice. They are great at picking up two side by side sources. You won't get any feedback with this microphone,

Cardioid microphone:

A cardioid microphone is one of the most common unidirectional microphones on the market. The cardioid microphone is set up in such a way that the front part is most sensitive to sound, whilst they are to the sides are not as sensitive. They are behind the microphone and are totally ignored, which means it will not pick up any sound from that end.

There are other variations of the cardioid microphone you will find are the super-cardioid which is narrower than the cardioid and has a small bulb of rear sensitivity.

The hyper-cardioid is also narrow but the difference is that it has a larger bulb in the rear. If you have the budget, you can also go for a microphone that has multi patterns. These microphones allow you to switch between patterns depending on where you need to use the microphone.

You can also get a super-cardioid microphone that has a tighter pick up angle than a cardioid. However, this particular one offers more side rejection. It provides better isolation from room noise and other instruments (like cymbals). It does, however, require to need the user to remain directly behind the microphone.

Should toms be mic'd individually?

Most engineers prefer not to use a dedicated microphone for toms. This is because they get pretty decent coverage from the other microphones on the rest of the drum set, as the overhead microphone. The Sennheiser E604, for example, is great because it mounts on the rim and does not need an individual microphone stand. So you save room space.

Dynamics or Condenser microphone? Which one is better?

One of the oldest types of microphones on the market and least developed in terms of design is the dynamic microphone. Sound is created when sound hits the diaphragm in the microphone, causing it to move. This diaphragm is suspended between two magnets, when it moves, so does the coil. This produces a small AC current, which mimics the sound wave. A dynamic microphone is mainly used for loud sounds, live instruments, and drums. The great thing about it is that it is cheap, durable, doesn’t need a power source. However, it is not very sensitive to quiet or high-frequency sounds.

Condenser microphones do a much better job of capturing accurate sounds as they are more sensitive to sounds. remember that there is no one microphone that is louder than another.

When you use condenser microphones instead of dynamic microphones on toms, you get clearer sounds, more attack, and less thumping. They are more sensitive to sounds.

What frequencies does the microphone pick up?

Every microphone has a range of frequencies or pitches that it picks up, and this is sometimes called frequency response. The sound is picked up by the diaphragm of the microphone. The materials and size of the diaphragm determine the frequency response and what the end result should sound like.

What music do you play?

It may sound like a non-issue, but determining the role played by toms in your music is key in deciding what type of microphone you should be getting. Rock music, for example, uses them a lot and they are the cannons of the song. For this, a microphone with an extended low end is best. It should also have a good high end so that it can assist in cutting through the guitars.

If your music style is more mellow, like jazz, the toms are usually heavier and sound more natural. These then need a microphone with a flatter response so it can pick up more.

What do you intend to use it for? The microphones that will do the job for a live performance may not be the best for a studio recording. It is important therefore to know what you want to use the microphone for. If you are not sure, ask someone who has been at it for a while.

Reviews and recommendations

Find out what people are saying about the microphone you are considering. Most reviews tend to have the raw truth, unsolicited and unbiased (not all, some). Take your time to go through the different recommendations available and make your choice.

What space are you using the microphone in?

Think about the space that you are intending on using the microphone in. Factor in-room noise and environment ambience. How much noise is in the room or in the space, will determine which microphone you get, because they all pick up noise differently.

What brand makes it

There are brands that have been around for a while, making the sound engineering world so much better. You probably remember names that were synonymous with a sound system, and still, are. This is hardly ever a coincidence, there is a reason why certain brands have stood the test of time. Go with them.

Final Thoughts

Get your sound heard, with the right microphone. Even though some do not find the need to mic' their toms, you may need to get the clean unique sound of your music. This is when you realize that you need clarity from all the drums. The sound of toms can make all the difference in your set. So make sure they are not left out in the grand scheme of things. Find the microphone that will amplify the hard work you have put into your music. When you understand microphone patterns and what each microphone will give you, it becomes easier to make a decision and buy the right one for your toms. Happy shopping!