Drum overhead condenser question

What to buy ?

Hi there !

We have (again) a question about the drum set in our church environment.

As you might be aware we did the whole ‘buy/upgrade/absorb/screen’ cycle through the past year.

We have a SM57 on the snare and a Beta52 on the kick.
We are (for now) gonna use some other dynamics that we have on the 3 toms.

For the final step we need to get a pair of overheads for the kit.

As always we have narrowed it down to a) what is available in SA and b) what we can afford.

The finalists are (in no particular order):

Berry C2
M-Audio Pulsar
Samson C02
Samson c03
Rode NT5
Shure PG81

What do you guys think ?

We are partial towards the Rode, but they are also the most expensive (in the range that we can afford) and we need to know that we are spending the money wisely.

Thank you !


Hi Wihan,

If this primarily for sound reinforcement, have you considered just one GOOD large diaprhagm condenser? That’s what they use at the church I attend now and the drum kit sounds fantastic through the PA. Sound dude said by playing around with the placement overhead to find the best spot he can get a nice full kit sound. Also, you don’t have to worry about funky phase problems as with two overheads. Just a thought…

I don’t have any personal experience with any of those on your list. You can’t go wrong with the Rode or Shures though. (IMO) I DO have a couple of SDC’s in the Samson and Berry class though. I did not like them on a drum kit recording I did once. The cymbals were brash and harsh sounding and I was always moving them around trying to get rid of the swishy, phase-y thang going on. I’m bo expert on this though… Maybe Bubba will chime in. He does full kit mic’ing all the time.


Thanks, Tim - interesting you should mention that about the LDC.

I’ve got a berry B1 LDC that we’ve run for testing (to the delight of the sound guy) as a single overhead since the screen was up.

The sound guys did say that they got quite a nice sound (after rolling off the lows - the kick was rather loud through the overhead).

Careful placement did the trick.
Of course having a Berry B1 overhead is better than having a cheap berry dynamic as an overhead, so it was waaaaay better, but I don’t know how good it really is.

We thought that having two would give more control over the sound, but then again we didn’t consider the downsides either.

Can you run SDC as a single overhead as well, or does it have to be a LDC ?

The other option is of course to get one LDC for the overhead and then one SDC on the Hihat (we currently catch it with clever placing of the sm57 and the overhead - works nice, but not too much control)

Thanks !



Can you run SDC as a single overhead as well, or does it have to be a LDC ?

Sure. I don’t think there any hard and fast rules here. If it sounds good, it is good. I just know you’ll have less placement issues and phase problems with one mic versus two. There is a thread kicking around here somewhere concerning mic’ing a kit with the old “triangle” method of two overheads and one kick mic at a bit of distance. Many fantastic recordings were made that way. In your case though, it will be hard to get the distance on the bottom mic.


What about Röde NT3? It’s 3/4" capsule, sound is somewhat between small and large diaphrm condenser

I have both an NT3 and a pair of NT5 mics, and I would without hesitation recommend the NT5 pair. The NT3 is surprising good on kick drum, BTW. I can say that by comparison, the berrys sound “cardboard-y”.

I’ve heard of guys using a pair of APEX small diaphragm mics… There are a couple versions to choose from… Apex Mics

We used the 170’s (I think that was the models) on several choir sessions and for acoustic guitar. The choir was done with the mics set in an “X-Y” pattern…They are worth looking at… And… they wouldn’t drain your pocketbook… I have an APEX 420 dual diaphragm mic… It works great… I’m looking for their “Tube” version now…

Something to behold…


Thanks all !

We picked up a pair of Rode NT5’s over the weekend. They do look awesome. Now we just need to get those 90 degree XLR connection cables for the finishing touches.

We didn’t have that much time to test it, but we ran a quick one with one NT5 as an overhead, sm57 on the snare and beta52 on the kick. Sound guy says you can hear the ‘sizzle’ of the cymbals way clearer, and the overall sound opened up.

Will test more extensively this week.

Thanks for everyone helping out here.


You are going to enjoy those mics, I think. I have. :)

Bit late for this topic, but I’d say the Rodes too. I’ve had great results just using an NT1 as a single overhead for live gigs.