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ELECTRO VOICE PL DK4 PLUS DRUM MICROPHONE PACK
Jul 25, 2011
Review by Dr.P
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:This microphone pack is a very good value for the money.
Cons:No major ones.
The Bottom Line: This drum microphone pack is a very good value for the money, and it sounds quite good.
ELECTRO VOICE PL DK4 PLUS DRUM MICROPHONE PACK
Recommend this product?
I have always been puzzled when I find that a person in their home studio has decided to skimp on the microphones that they have chosen to use to record the sound of drums. If the drums on a recording sound bad, i.e., if they are muddy and do not have a driving sound, the whole recording sounds bad, regardless of the proficiency of the other musicians, and the sound of their instruments. Think for a moment just how critically important the overall sound of a recording made by a group like Led Zeppelin is in large part determined by the sound of the drums. They are driving, big, and powerful. You can't get that type of sound on your recordings if you do not use the proper microphones. If you are an aspiring home recording enthusiast, you must seriously consider that the sound of the recordings that you will make in your studio will not just be determined by the sound of the guitars, bass, keyboards, or vocals alone. The sound of the drums on a recording is essential to an overall good recording. That being said, capturing a good sound on a recording of a set of drums is one of the most difficult and challenging things for any aspiring sound engineer to do, and this may be especially so for a home recording studio, especially because of the acoustics of the room the recording is being made in. Obviously, this can also be said for amplifying the sound of a set of drums in a live performance situation as well. One of the most important things is of course choosing the right set of microphones to accomplish this task. Fortunately, ElectroVoice has taken a lot of the guess work out of choosing which microphones to use for this purpose. A friend of mine uses this exact set of ElectroVoice Microphones in his home recording studio, and I have helped him to set up his studio, and to place these microphones on and around his drum kit to get the sound he was looking for. This was actually quite easy to do with the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Microphone Pack, as these drum microphones are designed to be used to capture and reproduce the sound of drums. Read on and see if the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Microphone Pack sounds like it might be a solution to your drum recording or sound reinforcement situation.
Since price is always an important consideration in making any decision to purchase something, I think that is where I will start. The ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Microphone Pack has a list price tag of $ 775.00, but it can readily be had selling at a discount for as little as $459.00. That is a real deal considering all that comes with this drum pack. The ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Microphone Pack comes equipped with just about everything you will need to make a good recording of the drums, except of course the drums and the drummer. Read on and I think that you might find that you will agree with what I am saying.
The ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Mic Pack is designed to be used with a 4 piece drum set, such as might be the case for a drum kit that contains a snare, tom tom, floor tom, and a bass drum. Of course this drum microphone set can be used with a larger drum kit, but it will perform at its best in the situation that I just described. The ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Mic Pack comes with 5 microphones and they are packed in a Denier nylon gig bag with a shoulder strap for storage and moving. The 5 ElectroVoice Microphones that make up the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Mic Pack are one PL37 Kick Drum Microphone, three PL35 snare and/or tom tom microphones, and one PL37 microphones for use as an overhead for picking up things such as cymbals.
I would now like to describe some of the features of each of these microphones. First I would like to discuss the ElectroVoice PL33. The PL33 is a microphone that was designed for live sound reinforcement of the kick drum or other very low frequency instruments, such as for floor tom toms, or for micing a bass guitar cabinet. The ElectroVoice PL33 is a balanced microphone with an impedance rating of 150 ohms, which of course means that it is a low impedance or "Low Z" microphone. The frequency response of the ElectroVoice PL33 is between 20 Hz. to 10,000 Hz. The ElectroVoice PL33 is a "Dynamic" microphone with a "Supercardioid" pickup pattern. The term "Dynamic" means that it is a microphone that captures a sound source via a moving coil, and it does not require phantom power in order for it to operate correctly, as would be the case with a condenser microphone. The term "supercardioid" means that it has a tight and very directional pickup pattern, which means that it picks up or is most sensitive to sounds that are coming directly at the front of the microphone, while being less sensitive to sounds coming at the microphone from the sides of the microphone. I am sure that you can see how advantageous it is to use a microphone with these characteristics in a live setting or in a recording studio for that matter. The ElectroVoice PL33 will be very good at rejecting sounds that are coming at it from the sides of the stage in a live situation, and its tight pickup pattern will also render it as being less susceptible to feedback from floor monitors or other speakers in the sound system. These very same polar characteristics or pickup pattern will make it a great choice in recording applications, especially in situations where the room is not ideally acoustically engineered, as might be the case in a home recording studio.
If you would like some more specific details about the ElectroVoice PL33, please feel free to read my review by clicking on the link below:
ELECTROVOICE PL33 SUPERCARDIOID DYNAMIC KICK DRUM MICROPHONE
The next microphones I would like to discuss are the three ElectroVoice PL35 Dynamic Supercardioid Snare and Tom Tom Microphones. Just like the ElectroVoice PL33 that I just described above, the ElectroVoice PL35's are dynamic supercardioid microphones, and they do not require phantom power in order to operate correctly. The ElectroVoice PL35 is also a microphone with a frequency response of 50 Hz. to 16,000 Hz. This means that it is a microphone with a relatively extended frequency response, but it is not one that has a full frequency response, which would of course be from 20 Hz. to 20,000 Hz, which also happens to the frequency range of hearing for the average normal healthy young adult. The frequency response of the ElectroVoice PL35 has been tailored to do a very good job at picking up and accentuating the sound of various drums, such as the snare, tom toms, and floor toms, but it can also do a very good job on other percussion instruments as well, such as congas, timbales, and cymbals. Because it is a microphone that has been specifically designed to be used with drums, the ElectroVoice PL35 also comes equipped with an ElectroVoice DRC-1 drum mic clip, which can be attached or clamped to the drum rim itself. The positioning of where the microphone cable is attached, in conjunction with the microphone clip, makes it easier to keep wires from interfering with and causing a clutter around the drummer, which lessens the likelihood of interference as the drummer is playing. The ElectroVoice PL35 is also a microphone that is a "Low Z" microphone, and it has a low impedance rating of 600 Ohms. Actually 600 Ohms is the top of the range for a microphone to be considered to be a low impedance microphone, but that being said, it still can be considered to be a low impedance microphone. Because the ElectroVoice PL35 uses a neodymium magnet, it also has a flatter and more linear frequency response than some other dynamic microphones that use a different type of magnet or pickup design.
If you would like some more specific details about the ElectroVoice PL35, please feel free to read my review by clicking on the link below:
ELECTROVOICE PL35 DYNAMIC SNARE AND TOM TOM MICROPHONE
The last type of microphone that comes with the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Microphone Pack is single ElectroVoice PL37 Cardioid Condenser Microphone. The PL37 is a microphone that was designed to be used as an overhead microphone to capture the sound of drums, cymbals, and/or the hi-hat, but it also does a good job on other percussion instruments as well. There are several fundamental differences between the ElectroVoice PL35 and the ElectroVoice PL33 microphones which I previously discussed above, as compared to the ElectroVoice PL37. For one, the ElectroVoice PL37 is a condenser microphone, and as such it requires phantom power in order to operate correctly. Another difference is that the PL37 is a microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, and its pickup pattern is therefore a bit less focused and a bit wider than the supercardioid microphones described above. This is of course a more desirable pickup pattern for use as an overhead microphone. The ElectroVoice PL37 also has an extended frequency response, and it has a range of 50 Hz. to 16,000 Hz. This makes the Electro-Voice suitable for recording a good range of different musical instruments. For example, it does a reasonably good job for acoustic guitar as well as for vocals. However, this microphone has a frequency response that is specifically tailored to work best as an overhead for drums, and as such the frequency response curve is not ideal for vocals, and it sounded slightly bland to my ear when it was used for this purpose. Of course, it is important to also bear in mind that the ElectroVoice PL37 is not an all purpose microphone, and that it is not a full frequency range microphone, which would typically be from 20 Hz. to 20,000 Hz. The frequency response is actually tuned to bring out the sound of cymbals, hi-hats, and other percussion type instruments, and is designed to work most effectively as an overhead for a drum kit. That is what the ElectroVoice PL37 is best suited for, and using it for other purposes will not yield the best of results in many circumstances. The ElectroVoice PL37 is also capable of handling relatively high sound pressure levels (SPL) and it has a maximum SPL of 132 dB. This is actually quite good for a condenser microphone in this price range.
If you would like to read some more specific details about the ElectroVoice PL37, please feel free to read my review by clicking on the link below:
ELECTRO VOICE PL37 SMALL DIAPHRAGM CONDENSER MICROPHONE
The bottom line is that I like the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Mic Pack The price is moderate, and the sound that one can get on a recording of the drums is actually quite good for a drum microphone pack that contains 5 microphones. Setting these microphones up around a set of drums could not be easier, and proper microphone placement is made relatively simple by virtue of the microphone drum clips. This is certainly a reasonably good microphone package for someone who is looking for a moderate level solution to recording or amplifying the sound of a drum kit.
That being said, I do find some problems with the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Microphone Pack. Not with the microphones in the pack, but with the configuration of the pack. Allow me to elaborate and explain a bit further. This microphone pack is advertised as being an all in one solution to choosing a set of microphones specifically designed to record drums, or to amplify a drum kit in a live performance situation. Yes, it can do this, and it does it relatively well, but it has a few limitations. Most drum kits in use today for rock music have at least two mounted tom toms above the bass drum. One is not going to be able to get a good sound on both drums by using one PL35 with a microphone clip. One would have to attach the PL35 to a microphone stand with a boom in order to do a reasonably good job at micing both mounted tom toms. Another issue for me is that there is no microphone focused specifically on the hi-hat. Personally, in using a drum microphone package such as this, I would want to have 5 PL35's. One for the snare, one for each mounted tom tom, one for the floor tom tom, and one for the hi-hat. Also I have an issue with the fact that only one PL37 comes with this drum microphone pack. I like to use two PL37's for overhead use, and place them above the drum kit, facing in different directions. Using two PL37's for overhead use and panning their input to either side during a mix can give the impression of movement and space that mimics what a drummer is experiencing as they are playing live.
The above criticisms should not be taken as a put down of the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Microphone Pack. There have been many hit recordings that were made with only 4 or 5 microphones, and even some that were made using only one microphone as an overhead, and some others that were made using only microphone as a room mic for all of the drums and cymbals, and one will remember that the ElectroVoice PL DK4 Plus Drum Microphone Pack comes with 5 microphones. That being said, I am a person who likes to be able to tweak the sound of each drum that is being recorded during a mix down, and I like to have a drum sound and recorded track that is one that is under my control in the studio, and that is something that is more easily accomplished with a few extra microphones. Before anyone says it, I will. Many of the best studio engineers are able to record phenomenal drum sounds with only four or five microphones. That being said, I still like to use eight microphones to achieve the level of control that I like when I record a set of drums in my studio.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will please excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.
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