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Bass drum microphone comparison

Red Dog Music sent their resident recording experts – Gavin Wiltshire and Guy Perchard – to The Sound Cafe recording studio to record, analyse and compare some popular bass drum microphone choices.

The audio clips in the video below are entirely unprocessed. No compression, EQ or limiting have been applied by us, but depending on what quality you watch this video at there may be some noticeable artefacts. We recommend you watch this video in an HD setting.

The shootout

AKG D112 – Nice, girthy low-end with smooth mid-range punch but a lack of high frequency detail. An excellent contender for those wanting a natural sound for Jazz or Blues recordings but you might not get the tight, bright sound required for modern Rock or Metal.

Shure Beta 57a – Quite a tight low-end without too much sub, the 57a has a nice clarity without sounding too muddy. The 57a is famous for sounding great in front of pretty much any sound source, but if you’re wanting a really big sub-punch from your bass drum you’ll need to look elsewhere.

ElectroVoice RE20 – Clear, smooth and warm. The RE20 gives an excellent combination of attack detail, sub power but also gives a clarity to the mid-range detail that other microphones turn into muddiness. An excellent all-rounder for most genres.

Shure Beta 91a – The streamlined 91a gives a massively tight, clear and powerful sound when placed in the shell of the bass drum. Because this microphone is a condenser, it picks up much more of the attack detail from the beater and skin but retains all the lovely low end too. An excellent choice for bright, modern sounding drums.

Røde NT5 – We’re not pretending this little guy is going to give you the “ULTIMATE BASS DRUM SOUND” that you lust after, but placed on the beater side it can add a nice transient attack to any other microphone setup you use. Worth thinking about. Maybe.

Gavin’s choice: ElectroVoice RE20

Guy’s choice: Shure Beta 91a

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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