- Shure SM57
- AKG D112 MkII Professional Bass Drum Microphone
- Audix D6 Dynamic Cardioid Kick Drum Microphone
- Audix Dynamic Microphone (ADX60)
- Sennheiser e901 Boundary Layer Condenser Mic for Kick Drum
- Audix D4 Dynamic Microphone, Hyper-Cardioid
- Shure BETA 52A Supercardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Microphone
- Neumann KM 184
- Benefits Of Using A Mic For Your Cajon
- How To Position a Cajon Mic
- Finding Your Sound: Picking the Perfect Mic for Your Cajon
Hunting for the best Cajon mic in 2023? You’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re a pro musician or a hobbyist looking to boost your cajon-playing skills, the right mic can inject life into your music, making each stroke echo with rich, resonant sound.
From the industry-loved Shure SM57 to the versatile Audix D6 Dynamic Kick Drum Mic, we’ve checked out a wide range to suit any budget and need. So, kick back, relax, and enhance your cajon journey with the perfect mic match for your rhythmic beats.
The Shure SM57 is a dynamic microphone that has been a cornerstone in the recording industry for decades, renowned for its resilience, reliability, and flexibility.
Crafted with die-cast steel, with an integrated pneumatic shock mount, it is designed to resist vibration-induced movement and is built to endure the rigors of touring. Its cardioid polar pattern requires no phantom power and picks up sound from the front and sides, rejecting sound from the rear, making it an optimal choice for recording and amplifying live instruments.
- Resilient and reliable, made of durable die-cast steel.
- Its cardioid polar pattern and no requirement for phantom power make it versatile.
- Excellent at handling loud sound sources without distortion.
- It can capture a wide range of instruments and vocals with a frequency response of 40Hz to 15kHz.
- Its flat grille head and tight cardioid pattern allow for close placement to the sound source.
- Suitable for recording vocals, not limited to spoken word, rap, and female hard rock vocals.
The Shure SM57 is priced at approximately $100 USD, making it an affordable microphone with a robust set of features and benefits.
The Shure SM57 is a sturdy microphone known to hold up even under extreme test conditions, such as being run over by a tour bus or dropped from significant heights. Its robust construction is highly praised and considered a safe and worthy purchase for any recording or performance setup. The microphone has low handling noise, excellent background noise rejection, and produces a clear and natural sound, making it ideal for spoken word applications.
However, there may be some limitations when using the Shure SM57. The microphone may require a good preamp to drive it effectively and may need a windscreen to reduce plosive sounds. It may not be the best choice for recording singing and acoustic guitar due to a lack of high-end frequencies. It does not have built-in features like filters or polar pattern adjustment, which could affect its performance in certain situations. Despite these shortcomings, it’s versatility and ability to handle high-pressure sound make it a reliable choice for live performances, spoken word, and even podcasting.
The product may also require additional accessories for optimal performance in certain situations. Despite the potential need for extra gear, the microphone’s robust build, exceptional versatility, and great sound quality render it a popular choice for professional performers and musicians, sound engineers, and content creators alike.
The AKG D112 MkII is a professional bass drum microphone celebrated by sound engineers for its robust construction and custom frequency curve. This microphone builds on the success of its predecessor, the AKG D112, offering notable improvements in design and performance.
It’s an industry-standard microphone that features an egg-shaped design with a silver grille and a green flash. One of the key enhancements in the MkII version is the addition of an integrated mic-stand mount, preventing the microphone from slipping. This versatile microphone is capable of handling more than 160dB SPL without distortion, thanks to its open back design and rugged grille. It is suitable for capturing the low-end punch and clarity of bass drums, making it a popular choice for live performances and studio recording.
- Large diaphragm with a low resonance frequency that delivers response below 100Hz, providing a rich and powerful sound.
- Integrated mic-stand mount improves stability and allows easy positioning.
- Capable of handling more than 160dB SPL without distortion, due to its open back design and rugged grille.
- Tailored response curve makes it easy to achieve a good sound without extensive EQ adjustments.
- The microphone’s design allows it to cut down on ambient noise, making it ideal for live performances and untreated rooms.
The AKG D112 MkII Professional Bass Drum Microphone is priced at roughly $236 USD.
Pros & Cons
The AKG D112 MkII is a reliable and versatile microphone that delivers quality sound. It is especially effective in enhancing the sound of a drum kit. The microphone’s large diaphragm ensures accurate reproduction of frequencies and its integrated coil helps to compensate for hum, making it ideal for kick drums. The enhanced stand mount and volume chamber contribute to its ability to deliver precise and powerful bass frequencies.
However, the D112 MkII is not without its drawbacks. Like most cardioid microphones, it can experience off-axis coloration and proximity effect. Off-axis coloration refers to a decrease in sensitivity for high frequencies when the sound is moved away from the microphone’s axis. Proximity effect occurs when the microphone is placed too close to the instrument, resulting in distorted feedback. Proper mic placement is essential to avoid these issues.
Furthermore, while the D112 MkII is a versatile microphone that can be used for both instruments and vocals, it may not be the best option for mixing as it is primarily designed for capturing bass drum sounds. Despite these minor drawbacks, the microphone’s durability and performance make it a valued addition to any sound engineer’s arsenal.
The Audix D6 Dynamic Cardioid Kick Drum Microphone is a robust and versatile instrument microphone designed for stage, studio, and broadcast applications. Engineered for instruments requiring extended low-frequency reproduction like kick drums, large toms, and bass cabinets, it offers a high standard of performance.
The microphone features a cardioid pickup pattern for isolation and feedback control, and a VLM (Very Low Mass) diaphragm that ensures natural and accurate sound reproduction. With a frequency response of 30 Hz – 15 kHz, the D6 can handle sound pressure levels in excess of 144 dB. The compact, lightweight design of the D6 makes it easy to position. It is designed, machined, assembled, and tested by Audix in the USA.
- Dynamic instrument microphone suitable for stage, studio, and broadcast applications
- Cardioid pickup pattern for isolation and feedback control
- VLM diaphragm for natural and accurate sound reproduction
- Can handle sound pressure levels in excess of 144 dB
- Compact and lightweight, easy to position
- Ideal for instruments requiring extended low-frequency reproduction
- Designed, machined, assembled, and tested by Audix in the USA
The Audix D6 Dynamic Cardioid Kick Drum Microphone is recognized as a premium-quality product in its category. It has been lauded by professionals in the music industry, further indicating its high value.
The D6 effortlessly captures high-quality low-end kick drum sounds without sacrificing attack, making it an ideal choice for drummers and sound engineers alike. The microphone is known for its exceptional performance and is considered the go-to kick drum microphone worldwide. Its compact and lightweight structure makes it easy to position, providing flexibility for different recording setups.
With a frequency response of 30Hz to 15kHz and the ability to handle sound pressure levels exceeding 144 decibels, the D6 can reproduce extended low frequencies with accuracy and definition. It sports a robust black finish, a steel mesh grille, and a gold-plated XLR connector, embodying durability and quality.
The D6 shines when used with instruments that require extended low-frequency reproduction such as kick drums, large toms, and bass cabinets. Its cardioid pickup pattern ensures natural and accurate sound reproduction, providing a clean, clear low end without any unnatural resonant low boost. It is lauded for its consistency in capturing the natural sound of the kick drum without the need for EQ.
However, the microphone may not be suited for all genres. It is perfect for modern genres like rock, metal, and pop, but may not be ideal for more transparent sounds in jazz or folk. In addition, the accompanying mic clip may not always grip the microphone tightly enough, which may cause it to fall out when picked up.
The Audix Dynamic Microphone, ADX60, is a compact and robust handheld vocal microphone that is highly appreciated for its sound quality and versatility. It has an 8x6x4 inch dynamic element known for its durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels.
The microphone is suitable for a variety of applications, including live performances, studio recordings, broadcasting, and even podcasting. The ADX60 is designed to produce crisp, clear sounds, thanks to its laminate diaphragm technology. Its supercardioid pickup pattern helps minimize background noise and focus on the desired sound source.
- Compact size suitable for handheld use.
- Dynamic element is known for endurance and ability to handle high sound pressure levels.
- Supercardioid pickup pattern to minimize background noise.
- Produces crisp, clear sound through laminate diaphragm technology.
- Suitable for various applications, including live performances, studio recordings, broadcasting, and podcasting.
The Audix Dynamic Microphone, 8x6x4 inches (ADX60), is currently available for roughly $229 USD.
From my perspective, this microphone stands out for its crisp and clear sound production. The dynamic element enables the microphone to handle a high sound pressure level, making it suitable for live performances or anywhere with loud environments. Moreover, the supercardioid pickup pattern plays a crucial role in reducing the background noise and focusing on the desired sound source, which is a significant advantage.
The compact size of the microphone is quite noteworthy as well. It’s easy to handle and carry around during performances. This microphone is not just suitable for live performances but also finds a place in studio recordings, broadcasting, and podcasting. Given its versatility, I find the ADX60 a very reliable and high-quality dynamic microphone.
However, the only downside I see is the unavailability of the Audix Dynamic Microphone, ADX60, for purchase. It’s a bit disappointing as it would make a valuable asset for musicians and sound engineers.
The Sennheiser e901 is a boundary layer condenser microphone that has been specifically designed for kick drums and low-frequency instruments. Unique to this microphone is its half-cardioid polar pattern which enables an extremely precise and realistic sound reproduction.
Despite its specific design for bass drums, the microphone is versatile and can also be used for applications such as conference tables, podiums, altars, stages, pianos, and percussion instruments. The e901 boasts a full-bodied response and is impressively capable of handling high sound pressure levels up to 154 dB.
- Designed specifically for kick drums and low-frequency instruments
- Half-cardioid polar pattern for precise and realistic sound reproduction
- Can also be used for a diverse range of applications
- Handles high sound pressure levels
- Does not require a stand; easy placement on towel or pillow
- Features a standard XLR plug, eliminating the need for an adaptor cable
The Sennheiser e901 can be purchased from various retailers for roughly $249.95 USD.
The Sennheiser e901 Boundary Layer Condenser Mic is indeed a powerhouse, especially when it comes to capturing the raw energy and essence of kick drums. It flaunts a fast transient response, effectively capturing the attack of the drum kick pedal with remarkable precision. This results in a sound that is not only realistic but also full-bodied.
Positioning the microphone is a breeze. Simply place it at the bottom in the middle of your bass drum, and you’re good to go. The rubber pad underneath the microphone ensures it stays in place, preventing any slippage or movement.
The e901 outshines many of its counterparts with its integrated preamp and gold-plated XLR connector. The standard XLR plug eliminates the need for an adapter cable, making the setup even more straightforward. The microphone is known to deliver a balanced kick sound that, once set, can be left to do its job without the need for constant adjustments. This makes it extremely practical for stage environments.
However, it’s important to note that while the e901 excels in capturing kick drums, it may not be the best fit for capturing subtler sounds. The microphone’s strength lies in its ability to capture powerful, high-pressure sounds, and it shines less when it comes to softer, more nuanced audio. This highlights its specialized design for kick drums and low-frequency instruments. That said, it still holds its own when used for other applications like conference tables, podiums, altars, stages, pianos, and percussion instruments.
The Audix D4 Dynamic Microphone, Hyper-Cardioid, is a professional instrument microphone that excels in capturing precise, low-frequency reproduction. This microphone is most commonly used for miking large rack toms, floor toms, cajon, djembe, tympani, leslie bottom, bass flute, and saxophone, among other instruments.
The D4 has a wide frequency response of 40 Hz – 18 kHz and holds the capacity to handle Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) exceeding 144 dB. The compact and lightweight design, coupled with a hypercardioid pickup pattern for isolation and feedback control, makes this microphone a versatile choice for stage, studio, and broadcast applications.
- Designed for precise, low-frequency reproduction
- Wide frequency response of 40 Hz – 18 kHz
- Capable of handling SPLs in excess of 144 dB
- Compact and lightweight, making it easy to position
- Equipped with a hypercardioid pickup pattern for isolation and feedback control
- Uses VLM Type D capsule technology for natural and accurate sound reproduction
The Audix D4 Dynamic Microphone is currently available for purchase at roughly $169 USD.
The Audix D4 is lauded for its high-quality sound capture, especially in recording drums due to its ability to isolate sound sources effectively. It’s typically celebrated for its ability to capture the natural sound of drums without distortion or interference. This microphone’s design is geared towards capturing the low frequencies of drums and percussion instruments, which is well recognized among drummers and sound engineers alike. Its durability and performance are additional strengths that have contributed to its popularity.
However, being a hyper-cardioid microphone, the D4 does have a larger rear lobe of sensitivity, which can pick up unwanted sounds and cause feedback in live sound reinforcement situations. It also exhibits the proximity effect, which boosts the bass response when the microphone is close to the sound source, and can be sensitive to vocal plosives and wind noise. Therefore, precise microphone techniques are required when using it.
Despite these minor cons, the Audix D4 Dynamic Microphone remains a versatile asset that can be integrated into various recording and live sound applications. Its reliability and longevity further solidify its reputation as a worthwhile investment for musicians and audio professionals. It is compatible with most audio equipment, extending its utility and ease of integration into existing setups.
The Shure Beta 52A is a high-quality dynamic microphone specifically designed for capturing low-frequency sounds. Its primary application is kick drums recording, but it also excels with other low-end instruments such as bass guitars, double bass, and piano.
Its supercardioid polar pattern ensures minimal interruption from off-axis sounds, providing a clear and focused recording. The frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 10kHz, with a subtle boost around the 4kHz presence range. The microphone shows shining performance under high sound pressure levels, boasting a maximum SPL handling of 174dB. It is constructed with a durable metal chassis and a sturdy mount for longevity.
- Supercardioid polar pattern to minimize off-axis sound bleed
- High maximum SPL handling of 174dB
- Unique frequency response with a subtle boost in the presence range
- Durable metal construction for longevity
- Versatility in recording different low-end instruments
- Suitable for both live and studio use
The Shure Beta 52A is praised for its affordability, especially given its robust performance in capturing low frequencies. The price sits at roughly $199 USD.
As a robust, durable microphone, the Shure Beta 52A excels in recording low-frequency sounds, particularly kick drums and bass instruments. Its supercardioid polar pattern and unique frequency response make it a go-to for many recording situations involving heavier bass sounds. It’s built with a sturdy metal design and has a low sensitivity to varying load impedance, attributes that contribute to its dependability in both studio and live setups.
On the other hand, the Shure Beta 52A might not be the best choice for softer styles of music like jazz or when recording hi-hats, snares, and overheads. Its focus on low frequencies can overshadow the nuances needed in such cases. The microphone is also not the best option for recording acoustic guitars or studio vocals due to its low-frequency bias.
Despite these limitations, it’s worth noting that the Shure Beta 52A is indeed versatile and can be efficiently employed in bass-heavy styles like metal. For capturing a solid kick drum or bass sound, this microphone is a reliable choice and can be effectively used alongside a collection of other microphones. Overall, weighing the pros and cons, the Shure Beta 52A offers a fantastic performance for its intended purposes.
The Neumann KM 184 is a small diaphragm cardioid microphone, renowned for its application in capturing acoustic instruments, spoken word, singing, and acoustic guitar. Designed to capture the true essence of the source material rather than a hyper-detailed modern sound, the KM 184 presents a neutral and smooth sound signature.
As part of Neumann’s illustrious KM 184 series, this microphone is celebrated for its high-quality audio reproduction.
- Neutral and smooth sound signature, allowing the capture of natural and realistic sound.
- Small diaphragm and a cardioid polar pattern, ideal for capturing sound from a specific direction while minimizing background noise.
- Broad frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, facilitating the accurate capture of a wide range of frequencies.
- Maximum sound pressure level of 138dB, enabling the microphone to handle loud sound sources without distortion.
- Compatibility with various recording setups, including a microphone preamp or audio interface.
- Robust build quality and durability, capable of withstanding the rigors of professional use.
- Clear and detailed sound, accurately capturing the nuances of the source material.
The Neumann KM 184 microphone, with its matte black finish, is available for purchase from various retailers for roughly $849 USD.
The Neumann KM 184 shines in the studio recording environment, particularly when recording acoustic instruments. The microphone’s high-frequency lift makes it particularly suited for capturing the detail, articulation, and sweetness of steel string acoustic guitars. Moreover, it serves as an excellent choice for drum overheads, high hats, and snare drum, bringing out the detail and brightness of cymbals and attack on drums.
The cardioid pattern of the KM 184 provides excellent rejection of unwanted sounds while capturing the true sound of the instrument. This microphone does not miss a beat; it picks up even the slightest sound change without tainting the sound in any way, providing crystal clear detail.
However, it’s worth mentioning that this level of detail and clarity comes at a premium. The Neumann KM 184, while excellent at capturing the tiny details and nuances of acoustic instruments, does require a substantial investment. So, while the microphone is versatile and suitable for both stage and studio use, its pricing might be something to consider. Despite the higher price, the investment in the Neumann KM 184 can be a wise decision for those who prioritize capturing the subtle details of their recordings.
There’s a lot to gain from using a mic for your cajon. For starters, a microphone like the Shure SM57 can really boost your cajon’s sound quality. These mics are tough, resist feedback, and can handle high sound pressure levels. So, they’re able to capture top-notch sound from your cajon without any distortion.
Where you place your mic can also make a big difference in the sound you get. If you put the microphone inside the cajon, on a foam pillow, you’ll get a thicker, more focused sound. But if you place the mic outside the cajon, near the sound hole, you’ll pick up more high-end sizzle and presence. If you’re after a more versatile sound, especially for genres that need intricate ghost notes and slap sounds, using two mics, one inside and one outside the cajon, can be a smart move.
Finally, don’t be afraid to play around with mic placement and settings to get the sound you want for your cajon recording. The right EQ and compression settings can really bring out the best in your cajon’s sound when you’re using a mic. So, using a mic for your cajon doesn’t just amplify the sound, it also gives you more creative control over your sound output.
How To Position a Cajon Mic
To get the best sound quality when you’re recording or performing on stage with a cajon, you’ll need to position your microphone correctly. The first step is picking the right microphone. Both dynamic and condenser microphones can do the job, but dynamic microphones are often a better choice for miking a cajon because they can be placed closer and controlled better in close proximity.
You’ve got a few options for mic placement: inside the cajon, outside the cajon, or a mix of both. The best placement depends on the type of microphone you’re using and the sound you’re after. If you put the mic inside the cajon, you’ll capture the snare and bass tones. If you place it outside, you’ll get the overall sound of the instrument. Using a combination of inside and outside placement can give you a fuller sound.
It’s crucial to set up the microphones securely and at the right height and angle to get the sound quality you want. Make sure the microphone is stable and won’t get knocked over during the performance or recording session. After you’ve set up the microphones, you’ll need to test and adjust the sound. You might need to experiment a bit and make some adjustments to get the sound just right.
The right mic’ing can bring out the wide variety of sounds that a cajon can produce. You can enhance and distinguish the sound of a cajon by using microphones and proper placement techniques. But remember, cajons are wooden instruments that can change sonically over time, just like acoustic guitars and wooden drums. So, you might need to adjust the mic placement over time to keep capturing the best sound from the cajon.
Finding Your Sound: Picking the Perfect Mic for Your Cajon
So, we’ve given you a comprehensive guide on the best microphones for a cajon. From the Shure SM57 to the Audix D4 Dynamic Microphone, we’ve covered a variety of mics that are specially built to handle the unique sounds of this distinct percussion instrument. Each mic has its pros and cons, but they all share the ability to capture the wide range of harmonics and dynamic range your cajon produces.
Choosing the perfect mic isn’t just about the specs on a page. It’s about you listening, experimenting, and discovering what works best for your unique sound. Whether you’re recording in a studio setting or performing live, the right microphone can bring out the warm, rich tones of your cajon and boost its presence in a mix.
Don’t forget, the placement of your mic is key to capturing the best sound. You might need to try a few different spots to find the one that gives you the crisp, clear sound you’re after.
So, go ahead and choose from our top mic suggestions, plug in, and get ready to hit those beats. Your cajon is an instrument of true versatility and rich resonance, and with the right microphone, you can unlock its full potential.