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Best Mic for Toms?...

Discussion in 'Drums' started by audiopc, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. audiopc

    audiopc Guest

    Hi friends of Recording.org

    Ok, I know that this theme is old, but while I read yours comments in the Forum more dudes I have about the best mics for Toms.

    Kurt prefers AT Pro35

    Others: ATM 25, Sennheiser e604, MD421, Audix D2, SM57, Sennheiser MD 409, EV 468

    Is AT Pro 35 better that ATM 25 or viceverse?

    Are them good for other percusion instrument as Congas, Bongoes and Dominic Tambora?

    Last question: Any experience with Sennheiser E903 for snare?

    Thanks for all

    Edgar Puglisi
    Maracaibo - Venezuela

    Escuchar musica es un placer hacerla es el Nirvana
  2. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Well, "best" is a very subjective term, but The Sennheiser MD421 is and has been for many many years, the industry standard. It is also a great mic for many other applications including percussion, guitars (usually used in concert with sm57), Vocals, Kick, Snare, Horns, and the list goes on.
  3. iznogood

    iznogood Guest

    421 or 57.... it's as simple as that.... live or studio
  4. Dave62

    Dave62 Guest

    Didn't see the Shure beta 56, also a bit less "in the way" compared to a 57 or a 421, both proven tom mics. The Beta 52 kick mic rocks also. I usually have to high pass the 52 to get rid of excess energy below 30hz!
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I don't really "prefer" the ATM Pro 35's. They are what I use most of the time, because they sound good are pretty sturdy (I have had mine since 1995 and all six still work) and are so darned affordable and convinent.

    No mic stand is needed and often I don't even need to use another mic cable with them, again a cost saver and very convinenent. They are especially good on remotes. BTW, I like the Pro 35 on snare too. Especially on the bottom (when and if needed).

    The 421 is very good for toms. It's hypercardioid pattern is a plus for focusing in on what it's aimed at, while rejecting unwanted spill. But it is big, can be hard to place in tight set ups (don't forget to make room for the mic stands) and usually very expensive ... a set of 421's to mic 4 toms will cost well over $1200 (new). A humorous aside, they are drumstick magnets. Sooner or later some drooling drummer is going to smack them (hard) with a stick and dent the hell out of them. I prefer to keep my 421's in good condition ... and use them on guitar and bass cabs instead.

    57's are good too and much less expensive. But they don't reject as much unwanted spill.

    The way I often work is to edit out all the data between tom hits on the DAW after tracking to clean out all the spill and add definition to the snare and kick. Much of the toms sound comes from the overheads, often only the attack is what I am looking for from the individual tracks. In that case, I have found that the Pro35's are more that adaquate ... and as I said before, the things are cheap. I think they still run about $135 each. They are pretty hot, so you usually need the ATM pad too. Those cost about $35 each, so you are into them for about $170 each in the end. More than a 57 (but you don't need a stand and often cable) and much less than a 421. My .02 cents.
  6. I agree with Dave the beta 56 is a better good solution for rack toms, easy positioning because of it's size. The Sennheiser e604 is another good option as it is a clip on. The AKG C418 and Shure Beta92 are other awesome tom mics This is of course rack toms we are talking. For floor toms the mic selection can get a little more tricky depending on the level of bass response you want, as the smaller mics (Beta56,92,e604,C418,) offer less low end response.

    Or you get a 3 pack of AT Pro 25s for $300 @ Sweetwater
  7. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    not mentioned yet ... and a bit left field
    Beyer M88
    sorry the ATM25 was mentioned above
    both quite tight in pattern and a different EQ to those above
  8. Aziel

    Aziel Guest

    I´ve been reading about it...some people tell about use ELAM251 :shock: (A GOOD HIT FOR A DRUMMER) or little condensers in top with the 414 ( a favorite ) in the bottom for security......but in the real world i´m happy with my senn604 over the toms :wink:

    de todas maneras Pugli...aqui te va un link qu esta increible:


    donde tu buen amigo Fletcher es el moderador...ese BBS tambien es increible... 8)
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    All are good choices though I tend to shy away from the AT PRO25 mics....these are NOT the same mic as the ATM25 which is a seriously robust hyper cardioid with serious lowend and punch.The PRO series is a budget mic usually found at guitarbarn and other fine retailers.Not much has been said about the Audix mics.The D series is very good and yoiu can tailor the drum sounds by using the different numbers for different things.They all sound different and have different rejection and response characteristics.Not a MD421,nor ELAM251 by any means, but much better than a 57 for the application and small enough to cure placement problems on tight setups.Bulletproof is another word...ie,undentable by an animal. A lot of folks talk about this 609 Sennheiser.I personally prefer the daddy of that mic the 409.The only problem is finding one. The ATM35 is a nice setup and I've used them as triggers for a drum machine ...They work exceptionally well for this with the right gate.As for a 57....I've recently gone back to my old UnidyneIII on the snare.I went away for a long time and now its back and snare is too.I do like Beyer 201's on drums and the Beyer 422's....And I've been known to throw up Shure SM81's on all the rack toms and pad the crap out of em. A thick plexiglass plate under the kit(cutouts for the spikes and pedal) witha Crown PZM in a couple of locations(one under the hat/snare area and one under the floor tom) is an incredible drum sound to mix in with a great set of overheads and a simple micing of the kick and snare alone. Theres all kinds of ways to skin an animal.
  10. Digger

    Digger Guest

    I have been Experimenting quite a bit lately. I like E609's on higher toms and 421's on lower toms. 421's will work on any toms any time. I find dynamics work best on close mic'ing situations where isolating ecah instrument is important. I have never liked 57's on anything but snare (and guitar amps of course). I just pikced up a couple of Audix i5's and have only tried them on Snare - so far so good - I actually prefer them over my 57 for snare. I haven't tried them on Toms yet but I suspect that they will suit that application nicely. Alternatively you can get some gorgeous drum sounds by strategically placing 2 or 3 condensers around the kit (worked for Bonham) - this requires a lot of experimentation but if you hit upon the right placment the outcome can be astonishing. I have lot of different mics in various price ranges but my new workhorse are Rode NT2000's - you can find them for under $500 USD and they sound great on drums as well as many other applications - very versatile.
  11. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    I've just ended (i think) my search for tom mics for the time being. I've tried all sorts and I'm ending up with a bunch of ATM 25s. Not the pro thingies or anything. (remember if something say pro..IT's NOT.) I hit upon those thanks to Mr. Davedog. ....thanks! I tried teh D2, D4, a few clip on condensors, D112, SM57, TLM103, NT2, AT 4050, e609 etc. The R-121 is cool on toms and other spots on drums but I don't have the balls (or stupidity) to use it much because of it's fragility. Couldn't stand 57's, or anytype of small clip on condensor but each to his own. Good luck
  12. kelly644

    kelly644 Guest

    I havent had much experience, but the mics that I like on toms were (In no particular order):



    Sennheiser e604

    A 3 pack of e604s goes for around 300
  13. Auxsam

    Auxsam Guest

    I've had 57's and 421's on toms, but still i dont think i've ever achieved the sound i was able to get from using the audix D1, And D2's. Amazingly enough, i once tried using an AKG c414 on Toms: i think many people would be surprise to hear how well they do on toms, blew my mind. Of course some would say using a large diaphragm condenser is blasphemy! But it all comes back to how it sounds to you. I still think the Audix mics are the best at giving that warm tom sound.
  14. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:

    Why would anyone say that? They sound by far the best in general IMO...many big records from the 70's used U87's for toms (once they realized it sounded more present by micing them). I think they used ELAMs on the last couple No Doubt records, and those are $12K each!! I personally have 4 Neumann TLM103's dedicated to the task. They have the perfect frequency curve...lots of fat proximity effect, and a high shelf that starts in the midrange. They sound a lot better than any dynamic I've heard, and do the job better than any condenser that is lower in price (and some that are higher). I like the Soundelux U195 a bit better, but I'd rather keep those from getting smashed up, and I don't always have 4 available at any one given time (usually a pair only).

  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Nathan...I hadda cringe lookin at that picture...Its this reson I always put the 87's up in the air where the drummer couldnt ever hit them.... I love the SM81's for toms...As well as the MD409's... And as for LDC being used in such a way....Nathans right....theres a lot out there on the BIG budget records. Of course your drum tuning becomes very important as this is one of the only surefire ways to achieve separation...Sure theres gates but we're talking ones with awfully good sensors and triggers to achieve that natural sound. Let me repeat this....T-U-N-I-N-G good.

    Its a mantra not many really understand. But properly done, the tom micing becomes pretty much a no-brainer and most of the time simply put em where they fit kinda deal.
  16. twon

    twon Guest

    audix d2, d4, shure sm57, 81 in no particular order
  17. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    It actually looks worse than that now, that picture is probably 18 months old. The thing looks horrid, but hey the capsule is A-OK. :cool:
  18. AltheGatman

    AltheGatman Active Member

    Jan 14, 2006
    I really like beyer M201's, nice attack I found. - and pretty bulletproof

    I'll try anything and everything on a floortom, haven't really found anything that stands out lots for me. My D12 is nice, but generally get's promoted to kick. usually ends up being this cheapie Senn. E845 vocal mic, functional at least.

    I still love a '57 on snare, have an ATM25 that just doesn't do it for me, ends up sitting alone in the cupboard during sessions usually.

    I did quite like the sound of the little AKG micromic series , couldn't stand those little rubber bulldog clips though.

    and I've heard lots of good about the 421's, only set I've used are about 20, and have gigged live for their whole lives, run into them once every year at a music festival. they sound average, assuming they go. Not exactly a good example of them to judge on though.


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