Recording Toms

The Toms are cylindrical drums with no snare (a cluster of metal stretched across the bottom head of snare drum). They are usually fitted with an adjustable floor mount, or an attachment to allow them to fix to the bass drum. In today's rock and pop music the toms are primarily used for short fills.

Microphone Type

  • Dynamic microphone
    • Polar response: Cardiod
    • Example: Shure SM57, Sennheiser 421

Technique

Give each tom it’s own microphone and position it at a distance of about 2-5cm from the head, close to the rim of the drum. Point the microphone down at the area where the drummer strikes the skin to allow for the full attack of the drum to be picked up. The angle of the microphone should be between 45 and 90 degrees.

The microphones should come in from the front of the kit to minimise leakage.

Top Tips

  • When there is a shortage of microphones, it is possible to use just one microphone for the two mounted toms. Place this microphone between two toms at a distance of about 8-12cm, close to their rims
  • If the toms do not have bottom skins, it is possible to place the microphone inside to increase isolation and reduce bleed
  • To achieve a more 'live' sounding tom, increase the height of the microphone
  • If there is too much spill from the crash or ride cymbals in the tom microphone, mike the toms from underneath
  • Be aware of the effects of the proximity effect when miking up at close distances