Snare drum mics are one of the most important tools for recording drums. They’re usually placed on or near the drum to capture the sound in its purest form. 

Before we dive into a list of some of the best snare drum mics for drum recording, let’s discuss a few things you should pay attention to while choosing a snare drum microphone.

Here is our short buying guide:

Mic type

The proximity of other drums can make ribbon mics difficult to use on snare drums. However, the intimacy provided by this mic makes up for this.

A dynamic mics will usually pick up less ambiance and leakage than more sensitive condenser microphones because they don’t have so much metal inside them; their delicate capsules also mean these things are fragile.

Condenser mics are usually more expensive than dynamic mics; however, there are some situations where you’ll prefer having a mic with softer qualities.

You want to use condenser microphones because they’re incredibly sensitive which is why the sound of your snare is captured very prominently by them.

Headroom

A snare drum is a very loud instrument. However, when you stand right next to it and try not only hearing but feeling what the drummer is playing, it can be hard to understand how they can do such high levels of sound without distorting or clipping in on themselves! 

That’s where headroom comes into play – this measure tells us how much room there is between our mic input level (the amount we hear) and what actually makes sense when played through an audio system at home.

Directional pattern

Cardioid pickup pattern mics produce the least amount of leakage when capturing live sound. 

At the same time, Omni types provide an overall natural sound as well without any off-putting coloration that might ruin mixdown quality.

Mic placement

To get your drum sound just right, you must understand what mic will work well and where. 

The position of the snare drum, in particular, can make all of the difference between having a strong percussive attack or being muffled by other instruments on stage such as kick drum and cymbals

So, be sure not only to choose one with enough low-end response but also consider mic placement relative both distances from other performers’ kits as well any factors like wind interference before making this decision final!

Budget

As with most types of studio recording, the price range for snare mics is quite expensive. There are many great options to choose from no matter your budget.

However, it’s important to consider more than just the initial cost as some more expensive units will certainly outlast their cheaper counterparts!

Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good snare drum microphone. For instance, the legendary Shure SM 57 cost a little under $100.

We wouldn’t suggest going any lower because there is not much in the lower price range.

If you decide to go higher, you need to prepare your wallet for a hit up to $500.

Ok, now when you know what to look for and what to expect, let’s jump into our picks for the best snare mics for drum recording.

Shure SM 57 – the best snare mic overall

Photo from www.mitrosmusic.com

1. Shure SM 57 – the best snare mic overall

A true legend right there and, as many think, the best snare microphone. This mic is used on almost every snare drum, and it does a really good job for the price. 

You can’t go wrong with SM 57 as your first choice if you’re trying to keep things simple.

This workhorse will last you forever and will deliver excellent results time after time. The only downside is that it is very sensitive, so if you drop it a few times, it’s done.

For $100, you’re getting a reliable and durable mic that will last throughout your career. In addition, it’s got an adjustable steel-made shock mount with built-in pneumatic support for when things get hectic on stage or near large crowds!

Within the budget under $100, this is the best snare drum microphone.

Who is it for?

This mic can be found in an amateur musician’s bag but also in professional studios. 

In 2001, Shure released this mic and to be honest, we are not sure they realized what they made. 

They could charge double, and people would still buy it. It’s an unbelievable opportunity to capture exactly what you hear live. 

That’s why musicians and producers love this mic. It wouldn’t change a thing, and it’s just like a photo camera that captures what you see with your bare eye. 

The bottom line – it’s for everybody.

Most important facts

  • You don’t need a phantom power
  • It connects with an XLR cable
  • It is a dynamic mic, so it registers the sounds in front
  • Besides drums, it’s used for recording, vocals, guitars, and other instruments
  • It has die-cast steel construction
  • Great background noise reduction

Should you buy it?

Hell yeah, you won’t regret it! Unless you are constantly on the road, this mic will last for years. Besides that, it will capture clear sound without background noise. 

It’s a great entry-level option but doesn’t forget producers or musicians who can buy any mic; go for the famous Shure SM57.

2. Audix i5 – the best alternative to SM57

Photo from musik-produktiv.com

Many say Audix i5 is the most similar mic to the Shure SM57. This mic is perfect for snare drum tracking. 

It has an open and clear sound, which some musicians prefer over the 57, making it one of the most popular drum microphones nowadays.

The best quality of this mic is the construction. Although drummers use this mic very often for live performances, it is not the first choice for recording snare drums.

Audix i5 is there to challenge Shure SM57 with a durable zinc alloy body and tight cardioid pattern. The frequency response has slight boosts in the lower mid-range as well as greater emphasis around 5khz.

Who is it for?

If you’re looking for a mic that can sound great on just about anything, then the i5 might be what your ears are craving.

This little guy has been said to have zinc alloy construction which means it will last longer than most other mics of its kind without any durability issues whatsoever! 

Plus, with an output tone as friendly and casual sounding, there isn’t much reason not to take one home today!

Most important facts

  • It’s a dynamic microphone
  • Has hypercardioid polar pattern that measures 7 inches long by 2.5 inches wide
  • Includes an XLR cable, stand clamp, and storage bag
  • Has a high-frequency bump that makes the top and bottom snare harsh
  • It features a durable zinc alloy body

3. Beyerdynamic M88TG – cost-effective mic for studio

Photo from thomannmusic.com

The Beyerdynamic M88TG is one of the most popular and highest-rated snare mics that money can buy

If you see it on eBay, expect to pay around $300 for a used one.

Beyerdynamic has discontinued the mic. However, there are still thousands upon thousands of these in circulation, so good luck finding one.

The M88TG is a fantastic tool for musicians looking to create soundscapes. Its open, natural tone will catch your audience’s ear with every note you play!

Who is it for?

The truth is that the mic was originally intended for vocal use, but Beyerdynamic created a versatile monster.

The Beyerdynamic M88TG is perfect for project studio work as well as high-end establishments. 

With its 300 dollar price tag, it’s a great deal! If you are looking for a mic with a rich and full-bodied sound from the deepest notes to higher, this is a microphone for you.

Most important facts

  • It is a hyper-cardioid, unidirectional, dynamic microphone
  • It has the upper range clarity of a large-diaphragm condenser that sounds like it could cut through any mix
  • Can be used for any instrument recording
  • Natural and open sound with a little tonality color
  • Very popular in studios and one of the best microphones in the $300-$400 price range

4. Earthworks DM-20 – a new addition to pure, clear sound

Photo from studiocare.com

Don’t let this small mic fool you. It is very powerful.

If you are looking for a precise sound with no coloration; you can go wrong with Earthworks.

They can pick up even the slightest touch of the skin and do it with high definition. The result is an extremely accurate recording that will give you what your drum set sounds like in its pureness.

If you watch Drumeo videos on YouTube, you can hear it at work because they started using Earthworks a couple of years ago.

Who is it for?

Drummers and sound engineers who want an extremely accurate recording of their drums.

It’s the reason why producers love them. The whole idea of a microphone is to pick up the sound like it is without changing anything. Earthworks can do exactly that.

The price can be a little intimidating, but the investment is worth it if you want to get into it.

Most important facts

  • Small-diaphragm mic
  • Fast transient response
  • Wide and flat frequency range
  • Cardioid condenser
  • Included mounting hardware

5. Sennheiser MD 441-U – legendary studio snare drum mic

Photo from musicstore.com

It’s a well-known and reputable brand in the music industry. Their microphones are especially good for drum recording, but their MD 441-U is also great for vocals and other acoustic instruments.

The mic was introduced to the world in 1966 and continues to be manufactured today. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive for a dynamic microphone at retail – but luckily, you can sometimes find them on sale!

If your budget allows it, we would recommend buying one of these mics because they sound good when used correctly with an amplifier or PA system (and even better if both are set up).

Who is it for?

This mic is perfect for anyone who wants to get professional results from any source.

It has the excellent rejection of bleed from other sources and provides crisp, clear mids with tight lows that give off a warm sound in your vocals or instrument recordings alike!

The transparent and uncolored character of this piece allows it to be both accurate and pleasing.

Most important facts

  • Extremely well built
  • Hyper-cardioid microphone
  • Reduces bleed
  • Great sensitive that doesn’t require lots of gain
  • Full and rich sound

6. Shure SM81-LC – known for its durability

Photo from kraftmusic.com

The Shure SM81 is an extremely well-built, versatile microphone that many people turn to when they want to get the job done right. 

It has a very clean and clear sound which can be used on almost any source without adding much processing afterward.

SM81 offers excellent definition, very consistent highs and lows with little distortion. In addition, the instrument’s frequency response is incredibly flat until 15 kHz, where it reaches almost zero coloration.

The Shure SM-LC stands for “loudspeaker microphone” because you can use this condenser mic as an acoustic guitar amplifier!

Who is it for?

Because of its flat frequency response, this mic is excellent on most kinds of sources.

It’s commonly used for vocals and spoken word but works equally well on acoustic guitars, cymbals, and a snare drum microphone.

If you’re not too concerned with the price tag, it’s also one of the best choices for close mics.

Shure is known to make durable mics, the build is rock-solid, and it will last for years.

Most important facts

  • It’s the industry standard
  • The mic is a very neutral
  • Well-defined low end
  • It has rich and defined bass
  • Beautifully detailed sound
  • It comes with a plastic case

7. Shure Beta 57A – a gentle boost of mid-range frequencies

Photo from akustik-projekt.at

It is an industry standard for live sound applications. It is also known as the “Swiss army knife” of limited applications that do not require condenser characteristics like vocals or acoustic instruments.

It works great on drums too, but the Beta 57A is one of those microphones you can put anywhere, and they will sound awesome! 

A lot of people love it on snare drums, but some do not. A Beta 57A has a brighter sound and a tougher mid-range that can be harsh to amateur ears. It is also more prone to popping – which is great if you want the rock n’ roll touch for your recordings.

Who is it for?

The mic is a great choice for instruments and amplifiers on stage. The sound quality is clear, with little distortion even at high volumes. In addition, it has an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to use over extended periods despite its small size!

If you are chasing the SM 57 sound, well, you aren’t going to get it. 

SM 57 can capture more natural sound. But, if the boosted mid-range sound is your thing, then go for it. If you are using some cheap snare drum, Shure Beta 57A will mask it while SM 57 won’t.

It is a great choice if you play rock music.

Most important facts

  • Inexpensive
  • Unidirectional (super-cardioid) dynamic mic
  • Mostly for miking instruments and amplifiers on stage
  • Well built mic, very durable
  • The tone is not too harsh but not in-depth either

8. Sennheiser MD 421 II – built for studio use due to its sensitivity

Photo from psp.rs

This is one of the world’s most well-known and recognizable microphones. It has been a staple in studios since first introduced to sound reinforcement more than fifty years ago.

During that time, thousands have fallen head over heels for its warmth as they record artists like The Beatles or Bob Dylan, who wanted their vocals to shine through even when backed by instruments at full volume!

It’s a well-known fact that the mic has an SPL tolerance of more than 100dB and can handle some abuse.

It also works wonders on electric instrument cabinets, especially if you’re looking to get clear sound from your guitar amp or synth plugin without any distortion! 

The best thing about this? 

You don’t even need phantom power for it-use one straight cable between the input jack (or preamp) and an output terminal (headphones).

Who is it for?

For users who like proximity dynamic drumming, microphones such as SM57s will suffice, but if a higher volume is required, they would not recommend it since its max sound pressure level rating falls below 150.

It is very sensitive soo if you do not plan to use it in the studio, only you better skip it.

Suppose you are not ready to deal with unnecessary clipping that this mic might also produce; skip it because it will. There are several complaints we were able to find online, and they all mention clipping.

Most important facts

  • Well known for recording drums, guitar amps
  • Super cardioid dynamic microphone
  • Frequency range: 30 – 17000 Hz
  • Very rugged design and good build quality
  • Tonal balance is slightly more trebly than SM 57 or Beta 57A
  • Heavier than all the models mentioned in this list so far