Best Overhead Drum Mic: These Mics Will Have Your Drums Sounding Better Than Ever

Sennheiser E835 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone

It’s not just one person that makes a great band, it’s everyone collectively. 

If you’re really looking to have your audience not just hear your music but feel it, you’ve got to make sure that every sound and vibration is being captured at the highest level possible.

The only way to achieve this is to have microphones that can capture the sound as needed, with extreme accuracy. 

Your music doesn’t deserve to be undervalued because you don’t have a good mic.

That’s why in this article we’ll be going over the top 5 best overhead drum mics and exactly what you need to be looking for when choosing one.



Rode M5-MP Matched Pair Condenser Microphone

  • Pattern: Cardioid
  • Accessories Included: Yes
  • Price: $
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Neumann KM 184 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Pattern: Cardioid
  • Accessories Included: No
  • Price: $$
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Shure Instrument Condenser Microphone
  • Pattern: Cardioid
  • Accessories Included: No
  • Price: $
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 AKG C214 Stereo Cardioid Microphone
  • Pattern: Cardioid 
  • Accessories Included: No
  • Price: $
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LyxPro SDPC-2 Stereo Condenser Microphone
  • Pattern: Cardioid
  • Accessories Included: Yes 
  • Price: $
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The 5 Best Overhead Drum Mics

If you’re looking for a set of heavy duty overhead drum microphones, the Rode M5-MP Matched Pair Cardioid Condenser Microphones are an excellent option.

Made and designed in Australia, these condenser microphones are equipped with a full frequency response while having low noise making them perfect for studio recording and live performances.

These microphones have a variation of no more than 1dB sensitivity between both microphones and a proprietary ceramic coating that offers the mic a sleek matte black finish.

These microphones are permanently polarized and the high-quality “pencil style” body makes them very portable and super easy-to-use. A solution for an artist that needs that perfect drum mic.

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The Neumann KM 184 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Satin Nickel has been used since the seventies around the world with continued success.

This mic uses a gradient transducer that gives off a smooth frequency response for lateral and the 0 axis.

The tonal balance is much fresher and livelier with the KM 184 because of the gentle 9 kHz rise.

Compared to older models, the KM 184 has increased its dynamic range by 24dB. The self-noise level has decreased to only 22dB, while the sound pressure handling has increased and is able to handle up to 138 dB.

If you’re looking for an economical, high-quality miniature microphone for your overhead drums, these will best suit you.

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The Shure Instrument Condenser Microphone is specifically designed for studio recording and sound reinforcement.

This mic is also made to withstand the rigors of regular studio and stage use.

The flat response curve allows for an accurate reproduction of sound sources while the cardioid polar pattern provides maximum rejection and minimum coloration of off-axis sounds.

The rugged steel construction not only makes this mic durable but enables it to be used over a wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions.

Even with load impedances, this microphone still maintains a low distortion level, making it a high-quality, durable and reliable overhead drum mic.

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If you’re looking for a cost effective but high-quality mic for overhead drums, the AKG C214 is a solid option.

The C214 reduces mechanical noise due to the one inch capsule being on an integrated suspension and the switchable bass-cut filter allows for close-up recording with little to no proximity effect, making it perfect for drums.

This mic has the ability to be used in sound fields that are as high as 156 dB SPL meaning it can even be used during live performances.

The rugged double mesh grill gives the C214 high RF immunity while keeping the acoustics completely unaffected. The XLR-type output ensures loss-free signals and the durable metal die-cast is completely shock and scratch resistant, so this mic can take a bit of rough housing.

An affordable mic with an outstanding performance.

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The LyxPro SDPC-2 Stereo Condenser Stick Microphones are an innovative pair of mics that come with many premium features.

Included with these microphones are three interchangeable capsules which allows you to quickly switch between pickup patterns without needing to unmount anything.

These microphones perform exceptionally well whether you are performing live or in the studio. The three interchangeable capsules, the cardioid, super cardioid and the omni all screw in easily creating six different combinations of microphones and pickup patterns.

These microphones are also excellent for brass, woodwind and acoustic instruments. With these microphones you also get two smooth tilting microphone clips, two custom-fit foam windscreens and a durable aluminium carrying case. The quality of the LyxPro plus all of the bonuses that come with it, makes this microphone a great choice for musicians.

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5 Attributes To Look For When Choosing An Overhead Drum Mic

SPL Rating

The SPL (Sound Pressure Level) is a measurement of sensitivity and how much sound your mic can pick up even with the lowest of sounds.

SPL is measured in decibels and the lower the decibel number the higher the sensitivity is from the mic.

You’ll find that the average sensitivity you’ll get from a mic is anywhere from 100dB on the low end and 140dB on the high-end.

Mic Versatility

Having a microphone that is versatile is important especially if you are doing both live and studio recorded performances.

Having a mic that excels in both areas means that you’ll not only save money but will experience much more convenience by not having to continuously switch mics between live and studio recordings.


This will vary from person to person but when looking for a mic, first consider your budget then work your way down from the features that are most important to you to the ones that are least important.

This will better help you to find that blend between budget and quality that you’re looking for.

Even if your budget is higher, keeping an eye out for specific attributes still goes a long way.

Your Specific Needs

Just basing what type of mic you’ll need off of what some source says is not enough, you must also consider exactly what you need and what applies directly to you in terms of where you’ll be recording, how often you’ll be recording and what instruments you’ll be using.

dB Pads

dB pads are extremely important when selecting a mic because they will remove distortion by cutting down the signal levels before they even have a chance to become distorted.

These external pads are most likely to be 10dB or 20dB and reduce the signal level by 20dB.

3 Frequently Asked Questions About Overhead Drum Mics

Do Drum Mics Need Phantom Power?

If you are considering using a condenser style mic for your drums, it’ll require an external power source to effectively charge the plates and raise the output signal.

If you are using a dynamic mic, it will be powered via electromagnetic induction.

This is when a circuit has a substitute current running through it, which then creates another current just by simply being close by.

Does Having A Good Drum Mic Require A Big Budget?

No. Just be mindful that when it comes to musical equipment, you get what you pay for but this doesn’t mean you can’t find a great pair of drum mics for a lower price.

There are some great quality drum mics available starting in the low 100’s.

If you’d like to get a higher priced pair of mics for cheaper, shopping on an auction site and finding mics that were previously used but are still in good condition is ideal.

How Many Mics Do I Need To Drum?

How many mics you need to record your drums is completely dependent on how many drums you have. If you have an entire drum kit you could use up to eight mics to capture the sounds. If you are really looking for acoustic balance, it’s best to just start off with one and then add more as needed.

Final Thoughts

Just like every other instrument you perform on stage with, you’ll need a mic for your drums as well. With so many to choose from it’s not hard to become overwhelmed with the options. When searching for an overhead drum mic you should keep things in mind like your budget, the mic’s SPL rating and how versatile it is. 

Keeping all of the attributes in mind, our top choice for the best overhead drum mic is the Rode M5-MP. Not only is this mic heavy duty but it’s also extremely portable and easy-to-use. Even including clips and windshields for another added layer of convenience. 

Now that you know some of the best overhead drum mics currently available, you can move forward knowing that it’s possible to find a set of mics that can capture your music in a way that can truly embody your work.


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