1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Tom mics, your thoughts s'il vous plait

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Lindsay, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. I'm currently using the following to mic drums live:

    - D112 - kick
    - SM57 - snare
    - AKG C430 x 2 - overheads
    - AKG P4 x 3 - toms

    I'm moving towards recording live shows and I'm not happy with the sound I'm getting from the P4s. In a studio setting Sennheiser MD421s are used frequently for toms. I'm inclined towards MD421s because I can also use them for guitar cabs and horns when they're not being used on the drums.

    I'm also mindful that they are big, heavy mics with fiddly clips, so maybe some decent clip-on style condenser tom mics could be a better option, despite their particular downsides e.g. fragile cables, mini xlr jacks and the fact they're limited to a single application.

    Your thoughts please:

    - big, heavy MD421s that can be used in a variety of applications; or
    - small, lightweight clip-on tom mics; or
    - something else, such as other small, dynamic mics for toms - similar to the P4s?

    If clip-on condensers, which ones and why?
  2. shtik


    Jun 8, 2011
    The most popular condensers for toms would be Shure Beta 98D/S.

    I like their attack and tone, as I mostly hear them through my IEM's in live settings. They sound best when given some air between the drum and the mic.

    Actually, when positioned well, the Shure SM57 does a great job on toms (Hint: when NOT mounted on cheap clip-on stands which limit the mic positioning options). It has been done a lot with great results. If it sounds bad - it might be due to bad miking, bad drum, bad drum head, bad drum tuning or a bad drummer.
  3. Positioning may be a problem. The clips that come with the P4s don't allow for much movement.

    The main drummer concerned is a 40 year veteran (international tours with famous front people plus a member well regarded Euro bands in the 70s and 80s), so no problem there. The drums and skins are good and well tuned.

    I haven't tried SM57, but I have enough of them it give it a go.

    My prejudice against the AKG P4s came from a gig where I swapped out a P4 for an M88 on the floor tom. It sounded good, and I haven't been satisfied since.
  4. shtik


    Jun 8, 2011
    I am not familiar with the P4, but the M88 has an emphasized proximity effect, and that might have been the reason you liked it on the floor tom.

    This is a major problem most of the time, when people compromise sound quality for convenience... The Shure Beta 98D/S do have goose neck clip-on that allow better positioning options with sufficient space between the drum and the mic.

    Try the SM57, they should work very well.
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Condensers on toms will have a completely different character. It works for some drums/drummers, not for others. However they are small and easy to position for the most part and they aren't visually distracting.

    I've used the AKG D40 on toms (big brother to the P4) and it sounds slightly better than an SM57 but not as robust as a 421. However the size is good and the integrated drum clip works very well on most kits (not kits with wood hoops though).

    The M88 you used is an all around fantastic mic. Good for floor tom but impractical for the rack toms and at $400, cost prohibitive to use on every drum. You might consider the Heil PR31 for this application. It's a big mic but only 4" long and has a much bigger sound that doesn't have the steep rolloff at 65Hz that most "drum mics" exhibit.
  6. 421's for me! 57's if there are no 421's and occasionally a RE-20 on the floor tom :D. I have little experience w/ clip-ons so I'm no use there . . .
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    If you can afford a set of 421's you won't regret it. The clips are really freakin strong. Nothing diddly about the other than they are different.

    Try an Audix I5 where you would normally have a 57.

    If you have 57's you want to use outside, it is worth the dough for the shure windscreen.

    Senn E609 (I think...) the flat looking on is sweet on guitar amps, a definite step up from the old standby.

    Have a look around for a link to the mic'ing drums with 3 mic's article from Tape Op.

    1 Senn 441 as the OHD, an RE20 on the kick and something else on the hat/snare (57, I5, C1000, Rode NT3 (?). Depending on what you're going for... Can sound outrageously good if the stage volume is reasonably...

    Until I got into the Audix OM-5 & OM-7, I sang on a 421 for a long time. It is a great vocal or sax mic too! I do prefer the traditional look of the Audix mic's as vocal mic's - I get no more "Here's George Jetson jokes"...
  8. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    The 421 is a sure shot , you can use it on everything.

    I like the practical aspect of these:

    Sounds good on toms , not expensive , make the tear down a lot faster and looks better on stage without all these mike stand.

    I'll prefer an ATM25 on floor toms though.

    Ça me fait plaisir !
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
  10. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    I've got one of the original ATM25 mics and it still ranks as my favorite kick drum mic on 75% of kits I encounter. It would be killer on floor tom as well, maybe even rack toms with a thoughtfully placed HPF.

    My one complaint is that the ATM25 used to be the $100 alternative to the RE-20. Now the reissue ATM25 is $280 which puts it in the same field as a lot of great mics and within $100 of the 421 and RE-20. I guess I should have stocked up.
  11. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    I did stock up , I got 4 of 'em !!!!!

    The first one , I got it to close 300$, then when they were discontinued , got 3 for 100$ each.

    My all time kick mike and bass amp mike.

    (Everything low end that needs a dynamic mike in fact)
  12. I'm going to call that a vote for the 421s.

    The PR31 looks interesting, and versatile. A couple of these would top them off.

    421s - tick. I have an RE20 but have never tried i on the floor tom. I've used it for kick, amps and soprano sax.

    OK, another vote for the 421s. I would LOVE a Senn 441, but the price is prohibitive. Audix I5 - check. For $99 I'll get one and see how I like it.

    I often use kick, snare and two overheads for jazz gigs, but given I'd like to start to capture all of these gigs, just in case these's a magic track or two that deserves to be mixed down, I feel inclined to mic the toms - even if the signal is only captured, not sent to the FOH. Maybe the tom mics are just not necessary, because the stage volume is never high. The C430s I have don't pick up low frequencies as well as other OH condensers, that's the downside (need that 441!!)

    Another 421 endorsement. ATM25s are ~$220 on eBay. I might get one of these - that would give me a several floor tom and kick drum options.

    Given the Gearslutz views on the ATM250, I'll stick to the slightly cheaper discontinued model rather than the new model (which won't be well regarded on Gearslutz for another 15-20 years ;) )

    Je vous en prie

    OK, I'm definitely going to get a ATM25 - thanks for all your excellent tom mic suggestions testing1two! :)
  13. Thanks for those links. The PreSonus forum is becoming a useful reference.

    From the PreSonus thread:

    That's along the lines of my thinking for rock bands/high stage volume setting.

    Other good points from the thread: expanders on the gates - check - got 'em.

    Drum kit as single instrument: this is more relevant in the studio but I guess it can be applied to low stage volume gigs, particularly on a larger stage where you can position the OH stands as required.

    All good info - thanks
  14. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    421 is highly over-rated IMHO, especially for live use. Plus for live it's too big, too heavy, and too easily broken (not to mention expensive to buy and expensive to fix).

    D2, D4, E904, E604 on rack toms. I've not yet heard the new B98 - its mounting clamp is really good. Haven't heard the short Heil 30 either.

    D4 on the Floor. Again, haven't heard the new B98 or the Heil.

Share This Page