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Which budget drum mics for live?

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Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:28 pm

Hi,

I'm looking to add a couple of drum mics to my live setup and would like a kick drum mic and snare mic.
My budget for these is going to be very small and I'm looking at around £30-£40 per mic.

For the snare mic I'd really like a clip on mic as we have to cram into very small spaces on the odd occasion.

I've been looking around and have seen the following :-

SNARE

Thomann T.Bone CD56
ISK TDM1 or TDM2
Proel DM1
RED5 RVD9
Samson Q-Snare
Chord TDM3
Gatt Audio M-Tom7

KICK

Thomann T.Bone BD300
AKG D11
ISK BDM1 or BDM2
Gatt Audio MKick-7
Superlux 218a
Superlux FK-2
JTS TX-2
Samson Q-Kick
Proel DM12

One thing I've learnt is that the mic can make a big difference to the FOH sound and I would like to try and make the best purchase within my small budget. Another thing I've learnt is that you don't always have to spend mega money to get a good mic. I recently bought an AKG D5 as a general utility vocal mic and found this to sound clearer, fuller and have a little output than a Shure SM58.

Does anyone have any experience with any of these mics? Which of these would you recommend as offering the best quality/performance for snare and kick?

Thanks
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Guy Johnson » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:50 pm

I've used quite a few t-bone mics and they work very well indeed, even the cheapest set here

I have found that often clip-ons do not work well with snares due to positioning on the snare—the clip/mic gets in the way of cymbals and is often too far over the snare's rim. A short stand with a small base is much better, usually. So try the clip-ons before you buy! However, they're always useful for toms, and can often be used on stands like the Thomann Sennheiser copies in my link.

Usually it's the drum tuning, style of drum and drumming that makes more difference than one or another.
Sometimes a mic can make a difference, for instance if the kick sounds like a wet cardboard box, a condenser mic and careful eq can find some bass and attack.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:58 pm

Hi Guy,

Thanks for the reply. Normally I borrow an Audix D6 for the kick drum and I find it very easy to get a good sound with this mic. However, I couldn't borrow it recently and had an old discontinued AKG dynamic vocal mic and the kick sounded horrible. It seriously lacked and bottom end weight and sounded very thin.

As a result, I would like to have a reasonable kick drum mic in my collection that can produce a nice fat weighty and punchy sound without (hopefully) costing a lot of money.

Whilst I'm at it, I would like a nice snare mic that can produce a nice full and detailed sounded without sounding thin, dull or be noisy!!

One thing I've found with some of the budget mics I've tried in the past is they can have low output, be very noisy and have a very thin sound! I want to avoid this!!
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Stef Andrews » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:07 pm

Honestly, I wouldn't bother with the lower end mics for kick and snare. The Red 5 drum mic set is OK at best, there's a SoS review on it, I'm sure. I've actually got a few of their tom mics in a rebadged set with the kick mic. I take them out *only* when I'm doing a gig gratis, and if a mic disappears or dies then I'm not fussed!

I've just recently picked up another 2 SM57s on eBay for a little over £50 each. The standard array of Kick mics often goes for anywhere between £75 and £100. I'd much rather have something like 2 57s, yes on the kick its not perfect but I reckon it'd do a better job than half of those in your list!
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:28 pm

Yup! Stef's saying what I was thinking Richard...

I know that you've got some good quality gear in the rest of your system so am a bit surprised that you're considering spending so little on mics.

Now I usually inhabit the shallower end of live gear so am well-acquainted with many of these mics or their very close cousins. They do a job and will give acceptable results - I agree with Stef's assessment of the RED5 kick - but they are average. The one exception might be the t.bone CD 55 or it's Pulse equivalent which is good on toms and sometimes on snare, depending on the drummer and kit. So I use this level of mics a lot - through necessity - but my kit is currently much more modest than yours. But when I get the opportunity to use mics like the Sennheiser e602 on kick or the Beyer M201 on snare I see that the extra money is well-spent; the difference in quality through good gear is marked. I get away with it because I encounter live drums very infrequently in the gigs I mix, but with your standard of other gear and regular gigs with a kit I'd definitely be thinking of upgrading - especially for kick.

If you really HAVE to get mics now and only have a very limited budget then I've found Superlux generally punch above their price - but I'd still like an e602!
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Dave Rowles » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:35 pm

dickiefunk wrote:Normally I borrow an Audix D6 for the kick drum and I find it very easy to get a good sound with this mic.

Realistically there isn't anything you'll get for £30/40 that'll even come close to the D6. It is a seriously good mic.

Personally, I'd buy one good mic (say a SM57 or Audix i5 snare or e602 or D6 for kick etc.) and then save up for the next one. I've always been disappointed with cheaper mics, and they are a rather critical component of the sound!
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:02 pm

I heard people say good things about Thomanns TBone mics. I know quite a few guys that use the TBone beta 58 and sm57 copies and they said they could barely tell the difference between them and the Shure originals in a/b tests.
I don't have any experience with the TBone mics though so I'm interested to find out a little more about them.

I have to admit I'm not sure if I'm going to get a lot for my money and don't want something that's going to sound poor and have excess noise!

We use Sennheiser e935, Shure beta58 and akg d5 mics for vocals and get a great foh sound.
If the TBone mics are as good as some people claim then maybe these will be good enough?
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby TSH-Tim » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:32 pm

For me you cant go wrong with the Shure Beta range for the price (very cheap on ebay 2nd hand)

Those thomman mics sound good, very good in fact but the difference is the gain before feedback which isn't as good as a real Shure Beta microphone.

Buy once buy right

Good luck !
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:22 pm

TSH-Tim wrote:For me you cant go wrong with the Shure Beta range for the price (very cheap on ebay 2nd hand)

Those thomman mics sound good, very good in fact but the difference is the gain before feedback which isn't as good as a real Shure Beta microphone.

Buy once buy right

Good luck !

Real Beta 57/8's are supercardioids which should have superior feedback rejection (given correct positioning relative to monitors), The budget clones are probably closer to a cardioid polar pattern. OTOH I don't usually find feedback an issue with drum close mics.

Buying used (or new, for that matter) big brand mics on ebay is a risky business, we were sold a batch of fake Beta 58's a couple of years ago, fortunately we got the money back from paypal.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby TSH-Tim » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:50 pm

So just use Paypal and your covered You can buy B58 / B56 / B57 for £50< if you look hard
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby seablade » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:57 pm

TSH-Tim wrote:So just use Paypal and your covered You can buy B58 / B56 / B57 for £50< if you look hard

Slightly OT but related to the current topic: No, no you aren't. Paypal does next to nothing to protect you in actuality, despite appearances. At least on my side of the pond, and I can't see it being very different over there. You get much better protection over here simply by using a credit card as at least then you have the ability to do a chargeback if needed.

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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby TSH-Tim » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:34 am

Woow well thats odd....

I brought something on ebay via Paypal in Aug, it turns up fake + i report it + money back = I am happy. Paypal is there for the buyers NOT sellers and a lot of scams go on i know. Also any money paypal use is taken off my credit card which again helps.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby seablade » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:37 am

TSH-Tim wrote:Woow well thats odd....

I brought something on ebay via Paypal in Aug, it turns up fake + i report it + money back = I am happy. Paypal is there for the buyers NOT sellers and a lot of scams go on i know. Also any money paypal use is taken off my credit card which again helps.

Yes credit card through paypal you end up with the same protections as your credit card.

But my comments were specifically about using paypal, either as a buyer or seller, it really doesn't do much over here. You may luck out in that you have much stronger consumer protection laws on your side of the pond is my understanding, so they may be forced to do more over there than they do over here. Over here your credit card provides MUCH better protection in general. This is part of the reason I refuse to buy things from eBay myself.

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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby TSH-Tim » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:34 pm

ahh i see. Well yes in the UK Paypal is very goood when buying
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:25 pm

You're wasting your money buying Chinese mics in the £30-40 region. Either go for the £15 Yoga/Pulse tom mics from CPC or else buy the well established favourites in the £70-100 region. Those Yoga tom mics work extremely well for the money and I just can't see any reason for buying the mics you list unless they're going to sound better than an SM57/MD604.

James.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:38 am

James Perrett wrote:You're wasting your money buying Chinese mics in the £30-40 region. Either go for the £15 Yoga/Pulse tom mics from CPC or else buy the well established favourites in the £70-100 region. Those Yoga tom mics work extremely well for the money and I just can't see any reason for buying the mics you list unless they're going to sound better than an SM57/MD604.

James.

Hi,

Thanks James. Yes this is what I'm talking about. Something very cheap to fill a gap when I can't use the Audix D6 etc (which isn't that often).

Where can I buy these mics in the UK?

I can find the D606 for £23 + £3 p&p here

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/120930371764?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

Where are they £15?

Also, do they have a kick drum mic in their range and how do these mics compare to the others on my list?
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:51 am

Here y'go:

PULSE MIC

This is the mic to which James was referring - and the equivalent to which I referred in my post.

As far as Kick Mics are concerned I've seen favourable comments about the Samson Q-Kick but have no direct experience. BUT as I've already said I don't think any of these budget kick-mics are anywhere near the quality of the established brands. I have bought several second-hand mics on EBay without problems - you just need to read the ad, check the feedback etc with eyes wide open. IME the longer the description and the better the pics the more confidence you can have.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:55 pm

dickiefunk wrote:
Where are they £15?

Read my last post a little more carefully

James.

(OK - so I forgot to add the VAT but they're often even cheaper if you get their regular flyers)
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:40 pm

James Perrett wrote:
dickiefunk wrote:
Where are they £15?

Read my last post a little more carefully

James.

(OK - so I forgot to add the VAT but they're often even cheaper if you get their regular flyers)

Whoops sorry. Skimmed through quickly as I'm in the middle of work!
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:53 pm

James Perrett wrote:Those Yoga tom mics work extremely well for the money and I just can't see any reason for buying the mics you list unless they're going to sound better than an SM57/MD604.

James.

Hi James,

What is the noise performance of these mics like? Are they noisy and what's their output level like? Also, how well do they cope with high spl's?

I know I can't expect a miracle at this price range and can't really ask for a lot but I'd need the mics to sound pretty good with low noise and relatively high output.

Maybe I'm asking too much within the budget I'm spending!?
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby damoore » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:17 pm

James Perrett wrote:Maybe I'm asking too much within the budget I'm spending!?

Quite possibly, but buying something that does not meet your quality standards because its cheap is ultimately throwing money away. I learned that the hard way. I'd spend the money and get an SM57. Its a mic that comes in handy in many situations whereas a cheap kick mic does one thing badly.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby DPoll » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:11 pm

+1 for an SM57. its a versatile mic that can produce suprisingly good results on Kick. I've used one for kick applications on a number of occasions when I've had nothing else. I've even took a cheap kick mic off a kick and replaced with a SM57 once becuase the cheap mic sounded so bad (cant remember what it was though). The SM57 was considerably better sounding with a bit of gentle EQ.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby AlecSp » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:35 pm

My mic set is a real mix of pricey & budget mics.

The Pulse D-606 mics are little crackers for the money and are what I use for snare & toms all the time. Many visiting band engineers have commented favourably on them - and then been stunned when I tell them the price! To me, there is no downside to them.

If you use them, then you might as well throw away the rubbish clip that they come with - I find the AT8665 is a good budget alternative. Sadly, prices have now risen. When I bought mine, I could get the mic & clip for £20. As said above, keep an eye on the fliers from CPC as they've often done offers on these mics.

Pulse D-606 snare/tom mic
Audio Technica AT8665 drum mic clip

For hat & overhead I use these cheapies from CPC, around £20. They do the job, they sound fine. Their noise floor isn't that low when I've bench tested them - but that's not a problem on a kit.

Pulse FX-501L

And then for kick, I've tried a few cheaper mics, but it's the area where I spent the money and got an Audix D6. Typically you'll find these around £150. It really was worth the money as it generally makes the kick sound pretty good from the off. Spend the money now and enjoy the mic every time you use it.

The other side benefit to having a D6 is with visiting band engineers. Once they've seen this come out first, they'll be less snooty about creative use of good budget items later on.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:46 pm

Alec Spence wrote:My mic set is a real mix of pricey & budget mics.

The Pulse D-606 mics are little crackers for the money and are what I use for snare & toms all the time. Many visiting band engineers have commented favourably on them - and then been stunned when I tell them the price! To me, there is no downside to them.

If you use them, then you might as well throw away the rubbish clip that they come with - I find the AT8665 is a good budget alternative. Sadly, prices have now risen. When I bought mine, I could get the mic & clip for £20. As said above, keep an eye on the fliers from CPC as they've often done offers on these mics.

Pulse D-606 snare/tom mic
Audio Technica AT8665 drum mic clip

For hat & overhead I use these cheapies from CPC, around £20. They do the job, they sound fine. Their noise floor isn't that low when I've bench tested them - but that's not a problem on a kit.

Pulse FX-501L

And then for kick, I've tried a few cheaper mics, but it's the area where I spent the money and got an Audix D6. Typically you'll find these around £150. It really was worth the money as it generally makes the kick sound pretty good from the off. Spend the money now and enjoy the mic every time you use it.

The other side benefit to having a D6 is with visiting band engineers. Once they've seen this come out first, they'll be less snooty about creative use of good budget items later on.

Thanks for this info. I may end up picking up a D-606 at some point but don't think I'll be able to stretch to a D6!? I know the D6 very well and it is a good bass drum mic. Are there any cheaper alternatives to the D6?
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby tacitus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:57 pm

At the risk of sounding as if I'm encouraging you to take up bank-robbing, I think the budget setting procedure is fatally flawed. I know from bitter experience that buying cheap for a 'quick fix' is quite literally only that. Yes, there are some bargains to be had and cheap mics that punch above their weight, but in general you get what you pay for.

After my first few cheapo disasters (mostly not mikes, actually) I reversed the assessment procedure to examine which items are dependable, durable products that do the job properly and make my choice from there. As James P. says, you're wasting your time buying anything that isn't the proper kit or conversely, give-away cheap.

Sure, you need to find out which of the really cheap ones do the job best, but you'll get something better eventually so spend as little as you can on anything that isn't your preferred long-term solution.

Over the years I've accumulated half a dozen Beyer M201s which are pretty good on all sorts of stuff, plus the inevitable 57s and 58s, which, love 'em or loath them, are stupidly strong and do work well, even if they're not the absolute best you can buy. I have alternatives to them, but they still get used a lot.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:36 pm

dickiefunk wrote:
What is the noise performance of these mics like? Are they noisy and what's their output level like? Also, how well do they cope with high spl's?

They're dynamic mics so the noise will be the same as any other dynamic of the same impedance. Dynamic mics also cope better with high spl's so it shouldn't be an issue. I'm not sure about output level as I used them with someone else's rig but they didn't strike me as being different from what I'd expect. I was certainly very impressed with the sound - really not far off the mics I would usually use on toms and snare.

James.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Guy Johnson » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:57 pm

I note the Pulse D 606 seem identical to the t-bone mics. If so, I can repeat that they're good little mics.

Thanks Alec for putting me onto Pulse, and Farnell, who I'd forgotten about over the last 10 years!
You make a good point about the D6 ... like it!
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby _ Six _ » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:35 pm

I've had usable sounds out of the Shure PG series drum mics. You'll want a 57 on the snare but overall they're pretty good for live use and demos considering the price.

But it stands true that if you buy cheap you'll buy twice.
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:31 pm

Guy Johnson wrote:I note the Pulse D 606 seem identical to the t-bone mics. If so, I can repeat that they're good little mics.


The Pulse D-606 looks totally different to the tBone CD56!??

http://www.thenoizeworks.co.uk/pulse-d606-clip-on-snaretom-microphone-536-p.asp

http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_cd_56_beta.htm

The tBone CD56 certainly sounds very acceptable in the clip on the thomann website! Infact it sounds as good as some of the far more expensive mics on the Thomann website. Don't know how dependable these clips are though!

The tBone MB75 (Shure SM57 clone) sounds possibly even better and is a fraction cheaper?

http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_mb75.htm

The rim mount is an extra £4

http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_srm1.htm

Does anyone know how the Pulse D-606 compares to any of these tBone mics?
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Re: Which budget drum mics for live?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:46 am

It's the Thomann CD55 that's the Yoga (Pulse) equivalent/copy/rebranding - not the 56.

As for the 'tribute mics'... many suppliers get some manufactured/badged under their own name at prices significantly below those of the mic to which they pay homage. Studiospares are another company who does this. Of course, the giveaway is the use of the numerals 5 and 7 or 5 and 8 etc in close proximity to each other.

In my limited experience, and the greater experience of those I know who've done more investigation, although they may look the same they don't sound the same. Handling noise is usually significantly worse, freq response is often different and polar pattern and tendency to feedback is often worse.

I've said it before, but with the quality of other sound-gear you have I'm still puzzled by your pursuit of bargain-basement mics. Get the Yoga/Pulse/Thomann tom mics and then shop wisely on EBay for secondhand/ex-demo etc - especially for the kick. When I got my Presonus (like what you have!) the quality of the pres and signal path immediately showed-up deficiencies in my bargain-basement selection of mics. I've been there and done it - just don't want you to unnecessarily go through the same 'buy cheap, buy twice' process!
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