Best Tom Mics?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by eriatarka, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. eriatarka

    eriatarka Guest

    What mics give the toms a lot of flexibility from style to style?

    Obviously won't record jazz toms the same as rock toms... what mic will give me a lot of room to move?

  2. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    Sennheiser MD421 if you have some cash. The standby of a few 57s works well for me. A lot more thought should be put into the mic placement and techniques depending on the style.

    I would say experiment instead till you find something you like
  3. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    +1 on the 421s.

    My experiences:
    I previously used 57s or CAD TSM411s, and was really happy w/ the difference in the Sennheisers. Plus I wanted to have some options if tracking the kit and amps at the same time.
    They also work as great dynamics for guitar cabs, and work nicely w/ some male vocals.
    If you can't afford 2, a single 421 placed well does the job on toms, too.

    And iamfrobs covered the best advice of all - experiment. A lot cheaper than buying a mic everyone says to, only to find out you don't like it.
  4. eriatarka

    eriatarka Guest

    Very true Fellas, I respect your advice and thanks a lot!
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    The 'best' tom mic is one thats reproducing a really well tuned and constructed tom.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    I like 421's. I also Like ATM25's, Re-20 is great on floor tom too.

    AKGC3000's, Rode NT2's I use too.
  7. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    Mar 22, 2004
    New Delhi, India
    + SM57's really do it for me.
    For rock tom's I also like the mic quite close (under 1 inch) to the outer periphery of the head.

    Would like the 421's though.

  8. Tom Fodor

    Tom Fodor Active Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    Queensland Australia
    Here's a curve ball...

    Try a couple of ATM450's and the 421's. Pop them through API 512c's and don't forget to pad the ATM's, then mix em up....Yummy
  9. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    everyone uses SM57s, but they're not the best for tom drums if you ask me. great mics, but certainly not the best.

    md421's are very nice on toms. but i've been using Sennheiser e604 mics. tiny ones that don't get in the way.

    sound WAY fuller than a 57 on ANY drum.

    good luck
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Sennheiser 421 = great on any tom and greatness is going to cost a little more.
    Sennheiser e604 = extremely good on rack toms, good on floor toms and very reasonably priced.
    E-V PL35 is also very good on rack toms, good on floor toms and very reasonably priced.
    AKG D112, or an old trusty D12e (if you can find one) can give you really nice results on a big punchy floor tom.

    I don't dislike the way an SM57 sounds on toms, but I got tired years ago of crawling around under the drumset at the end of the night looking for the windscreen(s) the drummer had knocked off my mics. The achilles' heel of the 57 is their windscreen. It is virtually spring-loaded and waiting for an excuse to launch. One errant stick and the windscreen is gone, then you can only hope he doesn't hit the now exposed diaphragm before the end of the set. And good luck finding (and reassembling) the spring-clip. I abandonned 57's on drums because I got tired of cobbling them back together. This was years before the beta57 with a mesh-screen was available.

    Yeah, yeah, in a perfect world, drummers would never hit the mics.

    *FREE TIP: Don't use tape to hold the head on your broken 57. They are designed to have that area open surrounding the black plastic grill. They will sound very muddy and muted if you wrap that with your favorite black tape. A couple carefully placed drops of super-glue will do the job very well without interfering with the mic's tone.
    audiokid likes this.
  11. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    +1 to dvdhawk.

    except , when you compare against almost any other instrument mic, sm57 doesnt sound as good on tom drums.
  12. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    My favorite tom mic is the Beyer M201. Unfortunately I only own two of those, and one of them is almost always on snare top, so I don't get to point them at toms as often as I would like... I sometimes do live sessions for BBC local radio however, and they have a bag full of them, so I get to indulge myself with 3 on toms AND one on snare top!

    Saying that, I would love to have a bag full of 414s to try out instead...

    That reminds me of a session I was on at BBC Maida Vale a few years back: we were tracking vocals with a vintage U47 FET (one of a pair). When I asked the engineer about the dents all over the mic she replied "well, if the drummer has only two toms we usually use the Neumanns. Otherwise they get 414s" !!
  13. Mauisnow13

    Mauisnow13 Active Member

    Sep 25, 2009
    Idaho, US
    I've heard that D4's can give a nice full sound on rack toms, and a D6 on the Floor tom, but haven't tried them out yet myself.

    Any input on this?
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    This is true. I still like a D2 on the rack toms and a D4 on the floor. A D6 should stay in the kick. Theres too much scoop for a tom.
  15. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    CAD M177/M179's are great tom mic
  16. RonanChrisMurphy

    RonanChrisMurphy Active Member

    Apr 21, 2009
    I would.
  17. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    It's one thing to record rock and jazz toms the same - but I wouldn't mix jazz and rock drums the same. In particular, I don't like the use of heavy gated toms in jazz, and if I mic a jazz session with a rock setup, I rarely use much if any of the tom tracks. Obviously a lot of people disagree - jazz drums sound more and more like rock drums - but it's not for me.
  18. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    Jul 18, 2006
    Itasca, Illinois
    Home Page:
    I've been borrowing a second 421 for toms since I bought my first one. Today, I'm going to go BUY a second one for some drum recordings tonight.

    I love these mics for toms.. Even bass drums on less extreme playing styles! Not to mention the hundreds of other uses on other instruments that it is great for...

    Just about the only problem with the 421 is it's cumbersome size. But make yourself some 90 degree XLR cables and move some cymbals around and they will be the best bet for even pro sound, I believe.

    Oh, and just in case the drummer hits it, the mic is near indestructible. I have heard some crazy stories...
  19. JohnSuitcase

    JohnSuitcase Guest

    I'm using Sennheiser e604s lately, especially for big rock toms. But, I've also been using a modified Glyn Johns approach, with a large diameter condenser about 6-8 inches over the tom, looking down towards the snare. One over the floor toms with the same positioning, measured to be equidistant from the snare. Basically, you have to experiment a little to get the cymbal to tom balance right, but once you get it, you get a very nice simple setup, with toms that have big body and tone, which I find is usually lacking in 3 mic setups.

    I got this idea from a film i saw of a recording session that Thelonious monk did!
  20. studio33

    studio33 Active Member

    Nov 20, 2007
    Toledo, Ohio
    Home Page:
    *FREE TIP: Don't use tape to hold the head on your broken 57. They are designed to have that area open surrounding the black plastic grill.

    Heck! Ive done this on purpose and wrapped the delay ports from the bottom of the head to just below the grill with electrical tape{several layers}. This gave me a couple of "Omni" 57s that I could stick in a leslie cabinet for B3 tracking. Muddy maybe but u sure couldnt tell on an organ! Always think outside the box. Oh and a Sennheiser E602 on floor tom and bam!! Ive even liked a 58 on floor toms on occasion.
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