9 Best Bass Mics: Capturing Low-End Brilliance (2024)

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Discover the best Bass Mics of today, the indispensable tools in capturing the depth, resonance, and power of bass guitar and kick drums. The challenge of recording these fundamental instruments is significant, as they provide the rhythmic backbone and depth to most music genres. It’s crucial to choose microphones that can faithfully reproduce their low-frequency richness while capturing every nuance.

This guide explores the top 9 microphones specifically designed for recording bass guitar and kick drums. We provide detailed insights into their specifications, benefits, and the unique sonic qualities they offer. Tailored for studio professionals, home recording enthusiasts, and live sound engineers alike, our curated list aims to assist you in making a well-informed decision for your low-end recording requirements.

Join us as we delve into the world of the best Bass Mics, enabling you to achieve that thunderous punch and warm, round bass tones in your recordings.

Our Top Picks
  • AKG D12 VR
  • AKG D112 MKII
  • beyerdynamic TG D71
  • Audio-Technica ATM 250
  • Audix D6
  • Sennheiser E602 II
  • Shure Beta 52A
  • Electro-Voice RE20
  • Shure SM57
Best Bass Mics: AKG D12 VR Dynamic Bass Kickdrum Mic
(Image Credit: AKG)

AKG D12 VR

Revered Legacy Meets Modern Enhancement

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Renowned for capturing the natural essence of bass guitars and kick drums.
  • Vintage-inspired design, boasting modern enhancements for versatility.
  • Active mode offers three filter presets for tailoring the sound to specific needs.
  • High SPL handling ensures accurate capturing of powerful bass frequencies without distortion.
  • Durable build ensures longevity, making it a staple in studios around the world.

Overview:

The AKG D12 VR is a testament to AKG’s storied history in the world of professional audio. A contemporary take on the legendary D12 microphone, the D12 VR retains the signature sound that made its predecessor a favorite for bass-heavy instruments while introducing new features for the modern era.

At the heart of the D12 VR is its dynamic cardioid capsule, designed specifically to pick up the deep resonances of bass guitars and kick drums. The microphone’s extended frequency response ensures that every nuance, from the sub-bass frequencies to the overtones, is captured with clarity and precision.

One of the standout features of the D12 VR is its active mode, which, when powered via phantom power, activates three switchable sound-shaping filters. These filters allow engineers to tailor the microphone’s response to different bass guitar and kick drum characteristics, making it an incredibly versatile tool in the studio.

Build quality is another area where the D12 VR shines.

Constructed from robust materials, this microphone is built to withstand the rigors of both studio and stage applications, ensuring that it remains a reliable part of any audio arsenal for years to come.

Final Thoughts:

The AKG D12 VR blends vintage charm with modern functionality, offering a sonic quality that is both warm and precise. Its versatile sound-shaping capabilities ensure that it can be tailored to fit any bass guitar or kick drum sound, from jazz to rock to electronic genres. If you’re seeking a microphone that brings together decades of audio expertise with contemporary enhancements, the D12 VR stands as a compelling choice. It captures the depth and punch of low-frequency instruments with unparalleled precision, making it an invaluable asset for anyone serious about their bass recordings.

Best Bass Mics: AKG D112 MKII
(Image Credit: AKG)

AKG D112 MKII

A Staple for Bass Intensity

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Highly regarded for its punch and clarity when capturing bass frequencies.
  • Integral stand mount simplifies setup, particularly inside bass drums.
  • Large diaphragm ensures accurate capture of deep resonances.
  • Recognized for its capability to handle extremely high SPLs without distortion.
  • Rugged construction makes it fit for both studio and live stage applications.

Overview:

The AKG D112 MKII is often the first name that springs to mind when discussing kick drum miking. Building upon the legacy of the original D112, this microphone has become synonymous with deep, punchy bass. Whether it’s for a bass guitar cabinet or the intense thump of a kick drum, the D112 MKII has secured its place in countless recordings across various genres.

Central to the D112 MKII’s appeal is its large-diaphragm dynamic capsule. Specifically tailored for bass-heavy applications, this microphone provides a clear, well-defined low-end response while ensuring that the mids remain articulate. This combination gives both kick drums and bass guitars a sense of presence and clarity in a mix.

Another highlight of the D112 MKII is its integrated stand mount. This feature simplifies the setup process, especially when placing the microphone inside a kick drum. The mount’s flexibility ensures that the microphone can be positioned at the optimal angle for sound capture.

Final Thoughts:

The AKG D112 MKII continues to be a trusted choice for professionals worldwide, and for good reason. With its unmistakable bass reproduction, resilience to high sound pressure levels, and robust build, it’s a microphone that guarantees reliability and quality. Whether you’re tracking a rock album, jazz session, or setting up for a live gig, the D112 MKII promises to deliver the bass intensity and clarity that both engineers and musicians have come to love.

Best Bass Mics: beyerdynamic TG D71
(Image Credit: beyerdynamic)

beyerdynamic TG D71

Boundary Microphone Mastery for Low Frequencies

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Condenser, Boundary
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Half-cardioid

Benefits:

  • Tailored frequency response to capture deep bass tones with clarity and punch.
  • Boundary design ensures optimal sound pickup from a surface, like a kick drum skin.
  • Built-in pre-amp to deliver strong and clear signal without the need for external hardware.
  • Can handle high sound pressure levels, making it suitable for powerful kick drums.
  • The half-cardioid pattern focuses on the sound source while minimizing unwanted noise.

Overview:

The beyerdynamic TG D71 is not your conventional microphone. Designed as a boundary microphone, it is specifically tailored for use with cajons, grand pianos, and especially kick drums. The boundary design ensures that it picks up sound waves reflected off a surface, like the skin of a drum, thereby capturing the resonances and tonal qualities of the instrument with exceptional clarity.

With its tailored frequency response, the TG D71 emphasizes the low frequencies, ensuring that the punch and depth of bass instruments are well-represented in the mix. The half-cardioid pattern ensures a focused sound pickup from the instrument while effectively minimizing off-axis noise and reflections. Moreover, the built-in pre-amp means that the signal is robust and clear, eliminating the need for external hardware.

Its ability to handle high sound pressure levels makes the TG D71 a solid choice for powerful kick drums or any bass instrument with a potent output. Given its unique design and functionality, it simplifies the miking process, especially in situations where placing a conventional microphone could be challenging.

Final Thoughts:

beyerdynamic’s TG D71 stands out in the world of bass and kick drum miking. Its boundary design and tailored frequency response make it an exceptional tool for capturing the deep resonances of low-frequency instruments. For those seeking an innovative solution to bass miking challenges, the TG D71 is undoubtedly a top contender, offering both convenience and premium sound quality.

Best Bass Mics: Audio-Technica ATM 250
(Image Credit: Audio-Technica)

Audio-Technica ATM 250

Deep Low-Frequency Pickup in a Compact Form

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Hypercardioid

Benefits:

  • Designed specifically for musical instruments, with an emphasis on low frequencies.
  • Hypercardioid polar pattern ensures maximum isolation of the sound source, minimizing off-axis noise.
  • Durable build quality, making it suitable for both studio and live performance settings.
  • High SPL handling to capture the power and depth of kick drums without distortion.
  • Versatile application, suitable for bass guitar cabinets, toms, and other percussions.

Overview:

Audio-Technica’s ATM 250 is a dynamic microphone crafted with musical instruments in mind, particularly those that generate deep, resonant tones like kick drums and bass guitars. With a frequency response tailored for such instruments, this mic captures the punch and warmth of these tones with exceptional clarity and fidelity.

The hypercardioid polar pattern plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the sound captured is focused and free from unwanted ambient noise. It’s especially beneficial in live settings where other instruments or external noises might interfere. The ATM 250’s ability to handle high sound pressure levels is crucial for instruments like kick drums, ensuring that even the most forceful beats are reproduced without distortion.

Durability is another standout feature of the ATM 250. It’s designed to withstand the rigors of both studio recording and live performances. Its compact form factor is a bonus, allowing for easy placement and positioning, especially in tight drum setups or congested stage setups.

Final Thoughts:

For those in search of a microphone that can truly do justice to low-frequency instruments, the Audio-Technica ATM 250 is a compelling option. It offers a combination of focused sound capture, durability, and versatility. Whether you’re recording in a studio or performing live on stage, the ATM 250 promises to deliver the depth and punch of your bass instruments with accuracy and richness.

Best Bass Mics: Audix D6
(Image Credit: Audix)

Audix D6

Tailored Dynamics for the Punch and Clarity of Kick Drums

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Specific frequency response tailored to accurately reproduce kick drums and bass cabinets.
  • Cardioid pattern helps isolate the instrument's sound from other on-stage sounds.
  • Durable build, ideal for touring and rigorous studio sessions.
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy positioning and setup.
  • Capable of handling high SPL, ensuring clarity even with loud sound sources.

Overview:

The Audix D6 stands as a testament to specialized microphone design. Crafted with kick drums and bass guitars in mind, it ensures that the low-end punch and resonance of these instruments are captured with utmost fidelity. The mic’s frequency response is tailored in such a way that it accentuates the depths of a kick drum while maintaining the clarity of its beater attack.

A cardioid polar pattern ensures that the D6 is adept at focusing on the instrument it’s miking. This characteristic is particularly beneficial in live settings, where potential interference from other instruments or ambient stage noises is a concern. The microphone’s ability to handle high sound pressure levels is essential for capturing the full dynamic range of powerful instruments like bass guitars and kick drums without any hint of distortion.

The D6 isn’t just about sound quality; it’s also built to last. Its robust construction can handle the demands of touring, frequent setups, and tear-downs, making it a favorite among professionals. Additionally, its compact design ensures it can be positioned in tight drum setups or challenging stage environments with ease.

Final Thoughts:

When it comes to reproducing the nuances of kick drums and bass guitars, the Audix D6 is a formidable contender in the market. Its combination of tailored sound capture, durability, and ease of use makes it a sought-after choice for professionals and enthusiasts alike. If you’re on the hunt for a microphone that can capture the heart and soul of your bass instrument, the Audix D6 is well worth considering.

Best Bass Mics: Sennheiser E602 II
(Image Credit: Sennheiser)

Sennheiser E602 II

Rugged Design with a Focus on Low Frequencies

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Designed specifically for deep bass frequencies, making it ideal for kick drums and bass amps.
  • Cardioid polar pattern ensures focused sound capture, minimizing bleed from other instruments.
  • Lightweight, yet rugged construction for prolonged durability.
  • High SPL tolerance ensures distortion-free capture of loud sources.
  • Integrated stand mount offers easy positioning.

Overview:

The Sennheiser E602 II is a testament to Sennheiser’s commitment to quality and precision in audio capture. Specifically tuned to pick up deep bass frequencies, this microphone is a top pick for drummers and bassists looking for a dynamic mic that delivers accurate and punchy sound.

The E602 II’s cardioid polar pattern is a boon for both studio recording and live performances. It ensures that the microphone captures what’s directly in front of it while rejecting sounds from the side and rear. This focus minimizes the bleed from neighboring instruments, which is especially vital when miking a drum kit surrounded by various other sound sources.

Durability is another strong point for the E602 II. Its rugged design can handle the rigors of touring, ensuring consistent performance night after night. Despite its robust build, the mic is relatively lightweight, aiding in its versatility of placement, especially in tight drum setups.

The microphone’s frequency response is tailored to emphasize the punchy characteristics of a kick drum while retaining the clarity of the beater’s attack. Its ability to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion means that even the most aggressive drumming or amplified bass performances are captured with precision.

Final Thoughts:

For those in the market for a reliable and high-performing microphone tailored for the nuances of bass-heavy instruments, the Sennheiser E602 II is a standout option. Its combination of sound clarity, build quality, and focused audio capture makes it a valuable addition to any professional or amateur setup. In the realm of bass and kick drum miking, the E602 II solidifies Sennheiser’s reputation for excellence.

Best Bass Mics: Shure Beta 52A
(Image Credit: Shure)

Shure Beta 52A

The Industry Standard for Kick Drum Miking

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid

Benefits:

  • Custom tailored frequency response for kick drums, delivering a punchy and tight sound.
  • Supercardioid polar pattern provides maximum isolation from other on-stage sounds.
  • Built-in dynamic locking stand adapter with integrated XLR connector for easy setup.
  • Pneumatic shock mount system minimizes handling noise.
  • Rugged die-cast housing ensures durability.

Overview:

The Shure Beta 52A is an iconic name in the world of kick drum microphones. Built with Shure’s renowned durability and precision, this microphone has found its place on countless stages and studios worldwide. Designed explicitly for kick drums, it emphasizes the low-end punch while providing clarity to the beater’s attack, resulting in a full, rich sound.

The Beta 52A’s supercardioid polar pattern is designed to capture sound directly from where it’s pointed while efficiently rejecting off-axis sounds. This ensures that, even in a crowded mix, the kick drum remains distinct and free from other instrument bleed.

One of the standout features of the Beta 52A is its built-in stand adapter, which integrates seamlessly with the XLR connector. This design choice simplifies the setup process, reducing clutter and ensuring a secure connection. Moreover, its pneumatic shock mount system minimizes handling and stage noise, making sure the sound source remains uninterrupted.

The microphone’s rugged construction is another testament to Shure’s commitment to quality. The die-cast housing can withstand the rigors of touring, ensuring the microphone delivers consistent results in various settings.

Final Thoughts:

The Shure Beta 52A is more than just a microphone; it’s a standard in kick drum miking. Its reputation speaks volumes about its performance, making it a staple in many professionals’ kits. With its focused sound capture, easy setup, and robust build, the Beta 52A continues to be a trusted choice for those seeking the best kick drum sound. Whether you’re recording in a studio or performing live, the Shure Beta 52A promises reliability and excellence in every beat.

Best Bass Mics: Electro-Voice RE20 Dynamic Bass Kickdrum Mic
(Image Credit: Electro-Voice)

Electro-Voice RE20

A Broadcast Classic Excelling in Bass Capture

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Offers a wide frequency response suitable for both bass guitar and kick drums.
  • Cardioid polar pattern ensures focused sound capture, minimizing ambient noise.
  • Variable-D design minimizes the proximity effect, allowing for consistent tonal performance.
  • Recognized for its application in radio broadcast studios, ensuring clear voiceovers.
  • Rugged and durable construction suitable for studio and on-stage use.

Overview:

The Electro-Voice RE20 is a legendary microphone that has carved a significant niche in the broadcasting world due to its impeccable voice reproduction. However, its prowess doesn’t end there. The RE20 is equally competent when it comes to capturing low-frequency instruments like bass guitars and kick drums, showcasing its versatility and adaptability.

One of the defining features of the RE20 is its Variable-D design, which drastically reduces the proximity effect. This means that even when the sound source is close to the microphone, there is minimal bass boost, resulting in a more natural and consistent sound. This trait makes it especially useful for close-miking applications, such as with kick drums.

The cardioid polar pattern of the RE20 ensures that it focuses primarily on the sound directly in front of it. This selective sound capture helps to reduce the amount of ambient noise and room reflections, ensuring a cleaner recording or performance.

Its robust build and steel case construction make the RE20 a durable choice, able to withstand the demands of regular use, whether in a studio or live setting. Moreover, its internal pop filter effectively reduces plosive sounds, making it even more suitable for vocal applications.

Final Thoughts:

The Electro-Voice RE20 is not just a microphone; it’s a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality and performance. While it’s a household name in broadcasting studios, its adeptness in capturing low frequencies makes it a valuable tool for musicians and sound engineers alike. Its consistency, clarity, and versatility make the RE20 a worthy investment for anyone seeking top-tier sound reproduction.

Best Bass Mics: Shure SM57 Dynamic Bass Kickdrum Mic
(Image Credit: Shure)

Shure SM57

Legendary Versatility for Instruments and Vocals

Specifications:

  • Type of Microphone: Dynamic
  • Diaphragm:
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Benefits:

  • Highly versatile, suitable for both vocals and a wide range of instruments.
  • Cardioid polar pattern offers focused sound capture, reducing background noise.
  • Renowned for its ability to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion.
  • Durable and robust design, making it ideal for both studio and live environments.
  • Offers clarity and precision, especially for close-miking applications.

Overview:

The Shure SM57 is one of the most recognizable and revered microphones in the audio world. Its reputation spans decades, and it’s known for its durability, reliability, and the ability to deliver top-notch sound quality across various applications. While it’s often lauded for capturing vocals, its prowess extends to instruments, particularly guitar amplifiers and snare drums. In the context of bass guitars and kick drums, the SM57 delivers with precision and clarity.

A notable trait of the SM57 is its cardioid polar pattern, which focuses on sound directly in front of the microphone. This ensures that the primary sound source is captured while minimizing background noise and room reflections. This selective sound capture is especially crucial when recording in environments with potential ambient noise.

Its robust build ensures longevity, and many sound engineers and musicians testify to the SM57’s resilience through rigorous touring and recording sessions. The contoured frequency response of this microphone, with its presence rise, aids in instrument clarity and ensures that each note or beat is accurately reproduced.

Final Thoughts:

The Shure SM57 is a staple in the audio industry for a reason. Its adaptability, combined with its consistent performance, makes it a go-to for many professionals. Whether you’re recording a bass guitar, kick drum, snare, or a guitar amplifier, the SM57 stands ready to capture the essence of the sound source with fidelity and clarity. For those seeking a microphone that offers both quality and reliability, the SM57 remains an evergreen choice.

FAQ Buying Guide: Best Bass Mics

Recording the deep and resonant tones of bass guitars and kick drums demands a microphone capable of capturing their full essence. These instruments carry the rhythm and backbone of many tracks, so getting their sound right is crucial. This guide is here to assist you in navigating the options and finding the microphone that suits your recording needs.

  • Why can't I use any microphone for recording bass and kick drums?

    Bass guitar and kick drums produce low frequencies that not all microphones can handle. A mic tailored for these instruments will have a frequency response that accurately captures these lows.

  • Dynamic vs. Condenser mics for bass and kick drum – which is better?

    Dynamic mics, due to their robustness and ability to handle high SPL (Sound Pressure Levels), are commonly used. However, some large-diaphragm condensers are also employed, especially when a detailed sound is desired.

  • What is the importance of the polar pattern in these mics?

    A cardioid or supercardioid pattern is preferred as they focus on the sound source and reduce ambient noise. This ensures that only the direct sound of the bass or kick drum is captured.

  • How does microphone placement affect the sound?

    Placement is essential. For kick drums, placing the mic inside provides attack, while a mic outside captures more boominess. For bass amps, mic positioning affects how much of the room sound is incorporated. Experiment for best results!

  • Are there mics specifically designed for kick drums and bass guitars?

    Yes, certain mics are tailored for these instruments, with frequency responses that emphasize the lows and low-mids that characterize their sound.

  • Can I use one microphone for both bass guitar and kick drum?

    While some mics can handle both adequately, specialized mics might offer better results. However, many engineers use a trusted mic interchangeably between the two.

  • How do I ensure minimal bleed from other instruments?

    Using mics with narrow polar patterns, like cardioid or supercardioid, helps. Also, employing baffles or isolation techniques can reduce sound from other instruments.

  • What brands are recommended for bass and kick drum mics?

    Brands such as AKG, Shure, Audix, Sennheiser, and Electro-Voice have been celebrated for producing mics that excel in capturing bass guitars and kick drums.

  • What's the importance of the mic's max SPL?

    A high max SPL means the mic can handle louder sounds without distorting. Since kick drums can produce high sound pressure, a mic with a high max SPL is recommended.

  • Can I use these mics for live performances?

    Absolutely! Many of the mics suitable for studio recording of bass guitar and kick drums are also rugged enough for live stage use.

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