Some years back, it was quite rare to come across drummers who could sing whilst drumming. In fact, most people assumed that it was impossible for drummers to play the drum whilst singing simultaneously.
The truth is, though it may seem rare, there are quite a number of drummers that double as singers. These drummers can sing the main parts of a song and interact with the crowd while drumming.
Some of the famous artists who excelled at singing while behind a drum kit include legends such as Levon Helm, Grant Hart, Roger Taylor, and the more recent Anderson Paak.
If you are a drummer that is exploring ways of micing yourself for singing or a sound engineer, then you need to read this article to the end.
Factors To Consider When Setting Up a Mic for a Singing Drummer
As you may already know, the drum set is a very loud musical instrument. And because of how loud they can be when you’re playing them, a vocal mic for a drummer will pick up a lot of the drum sound.
To reduce the drum sound picked up by the drummer’s vocal mic, you may have to dampen the cymbals and drums to avoid excessive bleeding into the vocal mic.
Besides this, here are a few other things you should consider when you want to mic a singing drummer.
Type of Mic To Use
One of the main factors to consider when setting up a mic for a singing drummer is the type of microphone to use.
Most microphones are either dynamic or condenser microphones. However, apart from them falling under these two main types, there are other unique features that differentiate one microphone from the other.
Depending on how it has been manufactured, a microphone can be either unidirectional or omnidirectional. And this depends on how it picks up audio signals.
Omnidirectional microphones pick up audio signals from multiple directions, while unidirectional microphones pick up audio signals from one direction or a specific area.
Ideally, you want to use a unidirectional mic for a singing drummer instead of a omnidirectional mic. And then make sure you point the microphone’s grille or windscreen to the drummer’s lips.
This will make sure the microphone only picks up the drummer’s vocal and not sound from the drums and other external sources.
Also, you want to use microphones with on/off switches. As a drummer, having a microphone with an on-and-off switch will come in handy if you will not be singing throughout the entire performance or gig.
Apart from all these, you can choose between wired vocal microphones or wireless ones. Wireless microphones that drummers typically use are headset microphones. I will talk more about headset microphones later in this article.
Positioning of Mic
No matter the type of microphone you have at your disposal, you need to position it appropriately. The purpose of this is to control the distance of interaction between drummers and their microphones. Better positioning of your mic will help capture the drummer’s vocals.
This will ensure that the microphone directly captures the voice of the drummer.
Positioning of a vocal microphone for a drummer can be done by either attaching the microphone to a stand whose height can be adjusted to a comfortable height for the drummer to sing through the microphone or through the use of a headset microphone.
With stands, you should position them in a way that they don’t interfere with the drumming.
Best Ways to Set Up a Vocal Mic for a Drummer
The great thing about working with a microphone or sound, in general, is that there is always room for experimentation. Thus, lots of people have different ways of setting up microphones for singing drummers.
However, for this article, I will stick to the best ways you can adopt mic drummers for singing.
Using Standard Mic Stands or Boom Stands
One of the simplest and most common ways to mic a drummer for singing is by using a mic stand. This can be either a standard microphone stand or a boom stand. The microphone stand can be placed at different locations relative to the position of the drummer.
However, on most occasions, they are placed behind the drummer, with the microphone coming right over the top of the drummer’s head. At other times the stands are placed at the side of the drummer.
With either a standard mic stand or boom stand, the only modification you need to do is to attach a simple gooseneck to them.
Attaching a gooseneck to a mic stand enables the microphone to be positioned right in front of the drummer’s mouth. Doing this will leave you with a setup that is comfortable and user-friendly as well.
The beauty of a gooseneck is that; the drummer can easily push the mic away from their mouth when they are not singing. This can be done by simply spinning the microphone around.
On-Stage Microphone Gooseneck Stand (on Amazon) seems to be the choice for most people and it’s get the job done. And it will certainly well for drummers that sing. It is flexible enough to allow you bend it however you want to fit your mic setup.
However, one problem that may arise when microphone stands are used for singing drummers is that the stand and the microphone may get in the way of their drum playing. The microphone or stand may get hit by flailing drumsticks or fall over in the middle of a song.
Using Headworn Mics
A headset mic is a mic that is worn around the head or secured to either ear. The use of a headset mic is another great way of setting up a mic for a singing drummer.
This is because it gives drummers more freedom to perform and engage the audience as well. It gives drummers more room to move their heads and be free while playing the drums.
Using a headset mic to mic drummers also eliminates the problem of the microphone and mic stand getting in the way of drumming. However, this degree of freedom it offers makes the headset a relatively more expensive option than the rest.
Best Mics For Singing Drummers
Due to the peculiarities associated with miking drummers, it can be hard to find the right microphone that works for you as a drummer. However, you should not worry much because I will introduce you to some of the best vocal microphones you can use to mic yourself as a drummer.
Shure Beta 56A
Shure Beta 56A (on Amazon) is an amazing microphone that is ideal for singing drummers. It is a dynamic microphone that has a compact design.
This microphone is one of the most preferred microphones for miking drum sets and other musical instruments. The great thing about this particular microphone is that it can function effectively as a vocal microphone as well.
This is because it has a great off-axis rejection that enables it to bring out clean vocals. Its super-cardioid pickup pattern only picks out the sound that is directly in front of the grille as well. Thus, this microphone has been on the receiving end of positive reviews from lots of vocal drummers that have used it.
Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx
Audio-Technica PRO 8Ex microphone (also on Amazon) is a head-worn microphone that is solid and sturdy. As a singing drummer, this is one of the best microphones you can go in for.
This is because it comes with a handy clip that ensures that its wire does not get in the way of the drumming.
Apart from this, its cardioid feature makes it only sensitive when close to your mouth. What this means is that as you move it away from your mouth, its sensitivity decreases. This also means it is unlikely to pick up sound from the drum set, thus making it a perfect mic option when seated behind the drum.
It is also comfortable to wear and produces sound with clear vocals and great articulation. Thus, for the price it comes at, this headset microphone provides you with great value for your money.
Most drummers do not sing. However, for those who do, you can mix them for singing by using a standard mic stand, a boom stand, or a headset mic.
However, the boom stands and standard mic stands have the potential to get in the way while drumming. On the other hand, a headset mic does not get in the way of the drumming.
Due to this, among these three ways of micing vocal drummers, the headset is the most efficient method of micing a drummer.