Q: Is it safe to use ribbon mic on kick drum or other drums?
A: Modern ribbons are much sturdier than some older models, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be damaged by a strong air burst like the one that can result from a hard drum hit. Having said that, with care, some ribbon mics can be used on kick drum and other loud, bassy, percussive sound sources.
The first key is to angle the microphone so that any airbursts travel along the length of the ribbon instead of hitting it straight on. This distributes the “impact” along the ribbon and reduces the chance of stretching it. Royer Labs, for example, recommends angling their R-121 and R-122 at 45 degrees when placing them in front of a kick drum.
The second key is to avoid placing the ribbon mic directly in front of any holes that might be cut in the front kick head or in front of holes in the shell or head of any other drum.
If you have any doubts, give us a call or contact your mic’s manufacturer for the final word.