The main use of an overhead microphone is to capture the sounds of the percussion instruments in a drum kit whether you are using it at the stage in front of a live audience or inside a recording studio. Installing it is relatively easy but it is not easy as it sounds. Installing an overhead microphone in percussion set or drum kit needs the perfect placement of the microphones in order to achieve the equal coverage of the microphone’s ability to capture the sounds and beats of the drum as it converts it to good quality sounds.

use of an overhead microphone

Sound engineers and stage crew have to test the microphones several times after initially placing it somewhere above or below the drum kit. They have to adjust the placement of the overhead microphones until it captures the perfect sound of the drums. However, not everyone are experts in overhead drum microphone placements so Cajon Guide or CG will give you professional tips on putting the overhead microphone perfectly.

Here are some techniques that you can learn in perfectly placing the overhead drum microphones in your studio or on stage. Experts always carry first their task by placing the overhead drum microphones after they successfully set up the drum kit.

They always spend time listening to the drum kit’s sound after they placed the overhead microphones around the drum set as they are trying to figure out what are the missing sound ingredients to come up with the perfect drum beat and the perfect balance of the percussion instruments. There are different placements that sound experts carry out in placing the overhead microphones; they either use left to right or front to back depending on the room or studio size, the environment and the distance between the percussion instruments from each other. Most of them try these two placements and dimensions in order for them to figure out the perfect placement of the overhead microphones.


Try using the Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF) pair by using an X and Y pairing when placing the overhead microphones around the drums. The microphones should be used for this kind of placement is a large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone. The placement of the drums should be split down the middle in between the toms and cymbals while the kick drum should be close enough to the microphones.


Using a pair of large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphones placed above the drum kit, the pair that is spaced in terms of its configuration creates more flexibility in its placement resulting to cover more areas of the drum kit. The position of the overhead microphones should be at a higher elevation to produce a more balanced and perfect sounds from the drums. Experts say that the microphones that will be placed farther apart from each other, it will create a wider stereo imaging coming from the drum kit’s sounds.