Recording a Kick Drum

Learn how to record a kick drum. The kick is one of the most challenging, yet essential drums to achieve a good sound with.

Microphone Type

  • Large-diaphragm, dynamic microphone
    • Polar response: Cardioid
    • Example: AKG D112, Shure SM 7


Mount the microphone on a stand and position it inside the drum at a distance of about 5-10cm from the inside head. Bring the microphone in from the right-hand side to help avoid leakage from the snare. Make sure the microphone is slightly off-center, nearer the inner edge of the drum as this helps achieve a fuller sound.

The actual head of the microphone should face towards the beater to allow the full attack of the drum to be picked up. The attack frequency tends to be around the 2-4 kHz.

Top Tips

  • If the drum sounds too boomy, try placing a paper towel over the area where the head of the beater hits the drum
  • If there is a lot of resonance, try placing masking tape over the drum skin to dampen the unwanted sound
  • A dull kick sound can be tightening by placing a pillow or blanket inside the drum shell, firmly against the beater head
  • It can be a good idea to reverse the phase of the kick microphone, as the set-up may place it out of phase to the rest of the kit's microphones
  • If a roomier sound is desired, pull the microphone out of the drum slightly
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