Complete Guide to the Best Tom Mics

Editor’s Choice

  • Lock Mode: for live-sound operation, all controls can be disabled easily
  • High sensitivity and extremely low self-noise
  • High sound pressure level capability and wide dynamic range

Best Overall

  • 7 Premium mics for drums and percussion
  • Includes 4 device gooseneck clips for rim mounting
  • Overhead condensers provide detail and dimension

Budget-Friendly

  • The drum kit has three designated mics for toms.
  • All mics accurately reproduce high-quality sound.
  • All components are sturdy and durable.

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out the best tom mics, then I’d recommend the Audix DP7 7-piece Drum Mic Package as the best one.

A standard drum set has a kick drum, a snare drum, a floor tom, rack toms, and cymbals such as the hi-hat, ride, and crash. Though tom-tom drums do not receive as much attention, they have a very distinct role in a drummer’s performance.

A tom-tom drum is a cylindrical drum that doesn’t have snare wires and usually only has one drumhead. Like all the other parts of a drum set, tom-tom drums can also be hooked to a mic to allow the drummer to record or enhance the volume of their performance. 

Here are the best Tom Mics we will be reviewing:

What are Tom Mics?

Tom mics beef up your tom-tom drum sound to not drown it out with the others. These mics are helpful during live performances in open venues. Since available platforms lack acoustic properties, tom mics enhance the sound to provide the audience with the whole experience. Mics are also used in studios where you can record your performance for sharing or simply for self-assessment. 

Are Tom Mics essential?

Ideally, you’d want to focus first on finding good-quality mics for your overheads and bass drums. These two mics are essential and give a clear overall sound for your overhead and enhance the bass drums. Once you’ve ticked those two mics off the list, you can only look for a suitable tom mic. Adding tom mics will give depth to your tom-tom drum and enhance their sound, preventing them from sounding distant and lacking.

Types of Toms Mics

Dynamic Tom Mics

Dynamic tom mics have a less sensitive response that picks up the typical spill and helps isolate the drum quickly. They are best used to capture loud and robust sounds, specifically for live performances. Dynamic tom mics are known to be cheap, durable, and don’t rely on phantom power. These features are why dynamic tom mics are best for live stage performances. 

Condenser Tom Mics

On the other hand, condenser tom mics are the complete opposite of dynamic mics. They are perfect for quiet, acoustic sounds and can handle a broader range of frequencies. Its diaphragm is more sensitive; thus, it is more capable of capturing and producing even the slightest electric current. The cons of a condenser tom mic are that it’s more expensive than dynamic mics. It can’t handle loud sounds and requires phantom power to operate.

How to Set Up Tom Mics With my Drum Set?

There is no one way to miking your tom-tom drums, and it’s all up to preference and your style of music. One way of doing it is to place the mic near the outer rim of the tom and point the head of the mic downward. This will emphasize the overtones of the tom-tom drum. Others like to aim the mic right at the center of the tom. This position will give you a more impactful sound.

How to remove cymbals and snare bleed from Tom Mics?

Every drum kit is different; the position of the drums and cymbals will all be up to preference. To avoid the cymbals and snares from bleeding into the tom mics, you have to place and aim the mic head away from the cymbals and snare. An additional trick is to place one mic on top and one on the bottom of the tom-tom drum. That way, you can turn up the volume of the bottom tom mic after you’ve recorded to lower the cymbals.

Benefits of Using Tom Mics

Critique and analyze your work easier

Listening to your recorded sessions makes it easier to critique and analyze your progress. You can isolate parts of your recording to help you determine where you lack and need improvement. And if you feel like self-assessment isn’t enough, you can quickly send your recording to a mentor or a friend for a second opinion.

Easily keep track of your progress

No one gets to be the best at something overnight, especially at playing the drums. The neat thing about having a tom mic is you can easily track your progress from your first recording to the latest. Seeing how well your drumming skills have progressed might not be evident when you critique your current work. But when you do look back and listen to your older recordings, hopefully, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.

Easily record and share your work through a mobile app

Now that sharing through the internet is convenient and accessible, sharing your recordings for the world to hear is a piece of cake. Many free mobile apps let you record and share your work with your friends and followers on social media. Some apps even allow you to cut and loop and section of the recording just so when you don’t want to upload the whole track, it’s easier to cut and share.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Tom Mics

Mic placement

Tom mics should be flexible to mic placement to allow the drummer more freedom to explore options that would fit their music style. The most common mic placement is straight down at the center of the tom-tom drum, but you can change it to see which best captures your music style.

Design and build quality

Tom mics need to be durable enough to withstand loud percussive sounds for long periods. Drummers tend to be heavy-handed when playing, so a durable tom mic is an excellent investment. When you play, it should also be small to prevent colliding with other components, such as cymbals. 

Frequency and Polar Patterns

Frequency response of 30 Hz to 50 Hz is a good range for tom mics. As for polar patterns, cardioid is the most common. They are susceptible to sounds coming from the front of the microphone but have less sensitivity coming from the sides and behind the mic.

Transient Response

Transient response refers to how the microphone’s diaphragm responds to sound wave transients. Tom mics need to have an accurate, quick reaction to capture the sudden change in the transient. 

Mounting Type

Choose a tom mic with fewer mounting requirements, preferably a mic with a clip-on or clamp. These mics are easier to mount, and the absence of a mounting stand doesn’t restrict your movement once you start playing. 

Sound quality

Tom-tom drums are loud, so tom mics need to reproduce sound in high quality so that your performance would sound clear and natural. With the right frequency and transient response, good sound quality will produce an accurate recording of your music.

Budget

According to your budget, you can get a good quality tom mic with enough research. Since the market is more prominent now, you have more options. There are also plenty of drum mic kits that are worth investing in as it includes all the mics you’ll need, plus accessories such as clips and foam windshields.

Audix DP7 7-piece Drum Mic Package

The Audix DP7 7-piece Drum Mic Package is a seven-piece microphone setup designed to track and record every beat. It’s got everything, from clips for mounting to windshields for the overhead mics. 

But the main stars of this package are the mics. The mics have a sturdy and durable build, ready for long and rigorous live performances and study recording sessions. Each mic has a cardioid polar pattern with a frequency response of 15 to 30 kHz, both great features for a tom mic. It brings out the low-mids cleanly and gives it a distinct “oomph”. 

The Audix DP7 bundle is a high-quality package worth the price you pay. You get a complete microphone set, but you also get a sturdy carrying case lined with thick foam and designated compartments for each component. It’s perfect for both studio use and live performances. 

Pros:

  • 7 Premium mics for drums and percussion
  • Includes 4 device gooseneck clips for rim mounting
  • Overhead condensers provide detail and dimension
  • Heavy-duty aluminum road case
  • Designed, assembled, and tested by Audix in the USA

Cons:

  • The whole bundle might be too much for those who only need a tom mic.

AKG C414 XLII/ST Matched Pair Microphone

The AKG C414 XLII retains the classic design its predecessors have and the exact high-quality sound reproduction. The mic has a sleek design with its black body and gold grille, though it might look best inside your studio instead of bringing it with you on tour. 

Apart from the classic design, the AKG C414 XLII has five available polar patterns to choose from. You have omnidirectional, wide-cardioid, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, and figure-8. Plus, it has a lock mode that prevents you from accidentally switching to a different polar pattern. It’s this same feature why most studios have and use the AKG C414 XLII. 

But the main takeaway from this mic is its sound quality. The C414 XLII delivers high-end clarity and excellent sound character. It is like its predecessors’ frequency range on cardioid polar mode ranges from 300Hz to 8kHz. This package includes a pair of shock mounts, a stereo bar, two foam windscreens, and a sturdy carrying case.

Pros:

  • Lock Mode: for live-sound operation, all controls can be disabled easily
  • High sensitivity and extremely low self-noise
  • High sound pressure level capability and wide dynamic range
  • Completely immune to electrostatic and electromagnetic interference
  • Three switchable basses cut filters and three pre-attenuation
  • Pop filter, windscreen, and spider-type shock mount included

Cons:

  • The gold grille detail is fragile and will expose the sensitive components if you are not careful.

Audix DP 5A 5-Piece Drum Mic Kit

An all-in-one drum mic kit that’s a definite hit with drummers everywhere, that’s what the Audix DP 5A is and here are more reasons to check it out! 

This drum kit has three tom mics included, two D-2 tom mics, and one D-4 floor tom mic. The D-2 accurately reproduces the accurate and dynamic sound of your toms. It gives a punchy percussion without muddying the sound with the cymbals and snares bleeding out. At the same time, the D-4 floor tom mic boasts a flat, linear response that perfectly captures your floor tom, kick drum, or bass amp. Also, each mic has a sound pressure level of up to 144 dB.

The 5-piece drum mic kit doesn’t only sound good; it also looks good. Each mic has a black hard-coat finish with durable scratch-resistant spring steel grilles. All components of this drum kit are built to last a lifetime.

Pros:

  • The drum kit has three designated mics for toms.
  • All mics accurately reproduce high-quality sound.
  • All components are sturdy and durable.
  • One-year parts and labor warranty (if no signs of abuse) on all mics.

Cons:

  • This package doesn’t come with foam windshields. 

Shure PGADRUMKIT7 7-Piece Drum Mic Kit

With a history of audio innovation spanning over 90 years, Shure has turned a passion for making great microphones and audio electronics into an obsession. 

The Shure PGADRUMKIT7 is an excellent alternative for premium drum mic kits if you’re under budget. Out of the seven mics in the kit, you get three PGA56 tom mics. The sound reproduction from the tom mics is natural and eliminates congested or ring distortions, unlike other tom mics. The tom mics sound best on low-range frequencies; they give better, more comprehensive, and precise results. 

If that doesn’t convince you, I’m sure the complete inclusions will. The Shure PGADRUMKIT7 not only has seven mics but also has clips, rim mounts, seven 15 ft XLR cables, and a foam insulated carrying case. A budding drummer and a seasoned professional would have fun playing around and using this drum mic set.

Pros:

  • Complete package of professional quality microphones
  • Designed to provide excellent sound for full drum kit performance and recording
  • Tailored for performers of every level
  • Features a sleek black metallic industrial design and cardioid polar patterns
  • Delivers rock-solid sound and reliability

Cons:

  • The bass on the floor tom mic might be too much for other uses

Sennheiser e 604 Microphone with Mic Clip and Pouch

Though the Sennheiser e 604 isn’t specified as a tom mic, its features can handle high sound pressure levels, which is perfect for toms. The mic can capture 40Hz to 18kHz at sound pressure levels up to 160 dB without any distortion. Its cardioid polar pattern minimizes unwanted pickup and feedback, allowing precise and natural sound to be reproduced. 

The mic has a rugged yet compact build that’s easy to set up. Each mic has an impact-resistant fiberglass-reinforced housing making it easy to handle and very flexible to any position. An integral stand mount can be screwed directly onto a mic stand, should you need it. This particular set comes with three mics to use the two extra mics for the other drums in your kit. 

Pros:

  • Rugged reinforced glass-fiber body
  • Low sensitivity to impact and handling noise
  • Very high sound pressure handling capability
  • Low distortion microphone
  • Includes drum mic clips, pouches, 3 e604 microphones

Cons:

  • It doesn’t come with a durable carrying case
  • The mic’s casing is made of plastic

Conclusion

Aside from producing high-quality sound, the best tom mics should be durable yet compact, have flexible mic placements, and have mounting types. They should accurately capture and reproduce your music to help you become a better drummer. These features are why the Audix DP7 7-piece Drum Mic Package is the best tom mic.

The Audix DP7 is a high-quality package that includes everything you’ll need to record your drumming sessions. Besides good sound quality, the mics have durable and sturdy builds capable of long rigorous drumming sessions. You also get clips for the mics, windshields for the overhead mic, and a very sturdy carrying case included in the package.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.