Condenser mics are one of the most popular mics in the audio industry. They are known for their ability to capture great vocals. Thus, condenser mics are typically used by vocalists and choristers during studio or live sessions. However, can a condenser mic be used to record drums as well?.
You can record drums with a condenser mic. Condenser mics are very sensitive and can capture all the subtle details in a drum performance. They also have a wide frequency response. For this reason, condenser mics can capture a clear representation of drum sounds when you record with them.
Why You Can Record Drums with a Condenser Mic
Condenser mics are very sensitive to sound. They are designed to capture all the subtle details in sound or a musical performance. And unlike other mics, condenser mics are able to capture sound from far away sources due to their high sensitivity.
Also, condenser mics have a wide frequency range. They can capture the low and mid frequencies of the kick, snare, and toms quite well. And they can also capture the bright and high frequencies from cymbals.
And this makes them excellent all-round microphones for drums.
A condenser mic may come with either a large or small diaphragm. Condenser mics with large diaphragms are great when it comes to picking up audio signals with low and mid frequencies. Those with smaller diaphragms can also capture audio signals with higher frequencies.
However, in general, condenser mics are able to handle high levels of sound pressure. Thus, any drum sound captured by condenser mics is an accurate representation of the drum.
Watch the video below to see how condenser mics compare to other mics when it comes to recording drums.
Which Parts Of A Drum Kit are Condenser Mics Ideal for?
There are three types of mics. These are condenser, ribbon, and dynamic mics. Each type of mic has its strengths and weaknesses. This means each type of mic is more suitable for a particular audio application than the other.
A drum kit is made up of different units or parts as well. Each part of a drum kit produces a distinct sound. Therefore, which part of a drum kit is more suited for being recorded with a condenser mic?
Condenser mics are ideal for recording cymbals. They are great for recording all forms of cymbals, from those mounted to hi-hat stands, as well as rides and crushes.
This is because cymbals produce high-frequency audio signals when they are struck. One of the advantages of condenser mics is their high-frequency sensitivity.
Due to this high-frequency sensitivity of condenser mics, they respond perfectly with delicate drum parts like cymbals. What this means is condenser mics are able to capture the clear and precise transparent sound generated when cymbals are struck.
As you may be aware, cymbals are delicate. Thus, if you wish to use your cymbals for long without them wearing out, read this article to learn more about how to keep your cymbals from wearing out.
Unlike the cymbals I talked about earlier, the term overhead is not a component of a drum kit. The term overhead refers to the area above a drum kit. Due to the high sensitivity of condenser mics, they are ideal for being used as overhead mics.
As I mentioned earlier, condenser mics are great for recording cymbals. Thus, when condenser mics are used as overhead mics, they can capture sound directly from cymbals and the overall sound produced by the drums.
Can You Record Drums with Just One Condenser Mic?
You can record drums with just one condenser mic. You can do this by placing the condenser mic in front of the drum or as an overhead mic.
When setting up only one condenser mic for drum recording, you should place it in a good position relative to the drum kit. This is because positioning the mic well will enable you to produce optimal recordings.
Recording drums with only one mic may seem unconventional because it is rarely seen. However, some people record their drums this way. It’s an excellent way to record your drum ideas on a budget without the need to mic the entire drum kit.
One of the ways of doing this is by placing the condenser mic in front of the drum set at a distance. The condenser mic should be placed at a distance of between 5-10 feet from the drum set when doing this.
Alternatively, the condenser mic can be hung over the drums and the head of the drummer. This is known as overhead mic placement.
When setting up a mic for this style of recording, the further the condenser mic moves from the drum, the more distant the sound captured appears.
On the other hand, the closer the condenser mic gets to the drums, the sharper and in focus the sound captured appears.
Some drummers tend to position their mic right in the middle of the drum kit in recent times. When the mic is positioned this way, the cymbals and other drum sounds tend to be more defined. Watch this video to understand exactly what I mean.
These are ways you can record drums with just one condenser mic. However, to end this, the placement of your condenser mic should ultimately be determined by how you want your drums to sound in the recording.
Best Condenser Mics for Recording Drums
There are lots of condenser mics available for the recording of drums, and they all fall within different price ranges. Due to the numerous varieties of condenser mics, deciding on which one to acquire for your drums can be quite difficult to do.
However, you shouldn’t worry your head over this any longer. I have gone through the trouble of researching this. Therefore, read on to find out about the best condenser mics for recording drums.
Rode M5 Stereo Pair
The Rode M5 Stereo Pair (on Amazon) is an ultra-low noise condenser microphone. This Rode M5 condenser mic is a matched pair of microphones with heavy ceramic-coated bodies and small diaphragms.
It has a full-range frequency response, And that makes it perfect for live performances and studio recordings. This condenser mic is typically used to record cymbals or as drum overheads.
One great thing about this mic is that, apart from recording drums, it can be used for recording singers and other instruments such as guitars, brass, woodwinds, etc.
Overall, this is a high-quality mic that produces excellent performance. Thus, you get value for your money for the price it comes at.
Behringer C2 Condenser Mic
The Behringer C2 Condenser Mic (Amazon) has a rugged metal die-cast body. This mic is actually a 2 matched condenser microphone that is sold in pairs.
The Behringer C2 condenser mic can work perfectly as a drum mic. Therefore, it can be used as an overhead drum during live or studio sound applications.
This microphone is engineered to have a low-mass diaphragm, which is responsible for its ultra-wide frequency response. Due to its wide frequency response, the Behringer C2 condenser mic can capture the vocals from a choir and that from pianos and other instruments.
The Behringer C2 is an amazing mic that produces high-quality recordings. That is why it is perfect for recording all forms of choral performances as well as sounds from all acoustic sources.
Thoughts On Recording Drums with Condenser Mic
Condenser mics are undoubtedly one of the best mics you can add to your musical setup and gear. They do a great job and can be used for different applications. That is why you can use them for recording drums as well.
However, dynamic mics are generally best suited for capturing and recording drums.
As you may already know, drums are very loud when a drummer is playing drums. And this means you don’t necessarily need a very sensitive microphone to capture them. This is why dynamic mics have become the standard for recording drums.
Dynamic mics are not as sensitive as condenser mics. But they do a good job of capturing drum performance without any problem. They can handle high sound pressure levels from the drums.
On the other hand, because condenser mics are highly sensitive, extremely loud drum performance can strain the condenser mic’s thin diaphragm.
Also, dynamic mics are much cheaper in comparison to condenser mics. So if you want to mic your entire drum kit, you’ll save a lot of cash going for dynamic mics instead of condenser mics.
That notwithstanding, if you will use your condenser mic to record drums, you should not bring it directly into contact with the sound source.
You can record drums with a condenser mic. Condenser mics are able to capture large amounts of audio details and can handle a wide range of volume levels as well. They come with a wide frequency range as well. This makes them ideal for recording drum overheads and cymbals.