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  #1  
Old 11-24-2009, 10:53 PM
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Default microphone packs

I searched first, and found some good info, but my question is more specific... I'm looking for the best quality mic pack for under $400 USD. I play mostly small/medium clubs and an occasional outdoor gig, so I don't need studio quality but I do need overheads. I've been using a borrowed CAD pack shown here. It sounds ok.I like that the condensers have a high-pass switch. I thought about upgrading to the CAD Premium pack shown here but I don't think the condensers have the high-pass. I also like the Audix pack shown here but it may not come with a case, which I need since it will be tranported in my hardware bag. It's shown with a case on the Audix website, where it's listed as discontinued, seemingly replaced with the pack shown here. Can anyone recommend/review any of these, or other 7-piece packs [5 dynamics w/two overheads] that are similar in price/quality? What's the best bang-for-the-buck? Thanks!
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: microphone packs

i have the digital reference 7 pack, 4 instrument mics, 1 bass mic, two over heads. They work great, and are really reliable, comes with a case too. I think they are perfect for live sound. I cannot tell the difference between the instrument mics and an sm 57. I tried and they sound the same. Unbelievable for the price.

I have used the audix mics at various venues and they do sound great, if I was going to upgrade I would probably get the audix. I've played probably 150 shows on my digital reference mics and they are still holding up, I guess if they ever die I will replace/upgrade. I only use them with my bands p.a., usually when I play bigger gigs and festivals they provide their own mics.
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:57 AM
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Default Re: microphone packs

I have the 1st CAD pack that you referenced. They are of decent quality. I use them for live gigs and for PA use they are fine. I have a few SM57s and in my music room where I practice through my board and in my headphones I can hear a difference between the CAD and the SM57 on my snare. On the toms, comparing with the SM57, I can't really tell a big difference, except that similar to the snare comparison, I think the CADs lack a more "full body" kind of sound.

Live, with all the ambient noise and varied mixes this subtlety is lost. My guess is that the CADs capture the mids and highs well and are probably lacking in bottom end. For the money, not a big compromise.

The all in one mic-and-mount on the dynamic mics makes them small and quick to set up and I don't have any issues adjusting them for all the toms. The snare mic positions well on 14 inch drums. When I use a 13" snare, it get's a little crowded and I'll bump the mic every once in a while with my right stick picking up to go to a tom or left side crash. If you set it back more to compensate, you'll pick up a little more bleed from the hats.

You might not find this a problem but I mentioned this because I think these CADs perform better very close to the drum heads as opposed to a more conventional position of 2 to 3 inches away. I seem to get better results around 1".

The kick mic is OK. Nothing special, but for $28, I would have to say it's pretty good. I have a D112 that puts it to shame. Unfortunately, I had a cup of beer kicked into that mic and that's why I bought the CADs. So, if you play in smoky clubs, outdoors or with a reckless bunch, these mics are great because you won't worry about ruining them. The CAD kick mic doesn't scoop out the mids as well as more expensive mics and so I use mine with an Earthworks Kick Pad and it through a PA it sounds as good as my D112 (used to) or my Audix D6.

Picture of the CAD kick mic with the Earthworks Kick Pad - my instant kick drum sound secret weapon.


The condensor pencil mics are pretty good. The pad roll off gives you a 10db cut and it's noticeable. They're pretty well matched and my only criticism is that they are little bright. If you've ever used an SM81 which has that full range, clean and almost warm kind of sound, the CADs will sound bright and thinner. Any sound guy worth his salt can warm them up a bit and in all fairness, through a PA they're fine.

These mics are similar to some other inexpensive mic packs. The Samson mic pack comes to mind. If you've already got better mics in your tool box then these are great because they are gig friendly and you're not putting more sensitive and expensive mics at risk. I bought an MXL91 pencil mic to use for my high hats but you can certainly use one of the CAD overheads for your hats and the other as a single overhead. Just as effective in most live situations.

If these are going to be your only mics, I would probably spend a little more and get a better set. In the studio all their shortcomings are much more apparent.

I hope this review helps you.
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Old 11-25-2009, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: microphone packs

Live, I use just 3 mics, an Audix D6 for the kick, an Audix I5 on the snare, and I have an inexpensive MMX condenser as my one overhead. These are good quality mics all for around 400.00 (no case, you can improvise)

The D6 is 199.00
The I5 is 99.00
I forget the condenser price but it wasn't over 100

Buy it once, buy it right. I'd skip the Samsons and CAD's
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Old 11-27-2009, 07:04 AM
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Default Re: microphone packs

Thanks for the opinions, folks- keep 'em coming! Noting Larryace's setup, which I've seen others mention kick/snare/overhead setups, which I do believe lends it some validity- but how do you get an even snare/tom volume level when the overhead[s] is/are obviously gonna pick up, and therefore send out the PA, the loudest drum on the kit [snare]...?

I don't wanna derail the thread though; like I said, they'll be in small to medium venues or casual outdoor gigs, so I don't need anything super-nice. I just don't want junk or something that requires heavy eq-ing, since I'm not gonna want to use any eq on any particular piece other than the eq on the mixer channel it's plugged into... plus, I need a 5-dynamic, 2-overhead package.
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Old 11-27-2009, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: microphone packs

Quote:
Originally Posted by timmdrum View Post
Thanks for the opinions, folks- keep 'em coming! Noting Larryace's setup, which I've seen others mention kick/snare/overhead setups, which I do believe lends it some validity- but how do you get an even snare/tom volume level when the overhead[s] is/are obviously gonna pick up, and therefore send out the PA, the loudest drum on the kit [snare]...?
When you only have a few microphones to mic an entire kit, you do what we did a few decades ago, you mix with the microphones not the mixer. Microphone placement is critical when it comes down to just using a handful of microphones when trying to encompass a more or less even level throughout the kit. A lot of older recordings used just one microphone for drum pick-up, again placement was critical. A lot of classical recordings only use a stereo pair for the entire orchestra. There are many, many ways. Use your ears and a set of headphones to get the balance you desire.

Dennis
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Old 11-27-2009, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: microphone packs

Timm think of it like this....if your ear was the condenser mic up top, and you played a 16th note drum fill starting on the snare and using all the toms, the snare would not be so much louder that it created a situation where everyone notices, unless you purposefully played it that way. The mic just recreates what you play. (sorry for stating the obvious) If you have a balanced sound between drums, then that's what it will send to the speakers.
The overhead mic will pick up what it sounds like from your perspective, basically speaking. And using 5 dynamics and 2 overheads is just a lot of work (bad ROI, IMO) and I don't believe you will be able to hear a whole lot of difference.

You'd be surprised how much 1 overhead mic picks up. It really hears it all, and if you boost the low frequencies w/ an equalizer, your toms will be picked up nicely. The principle of Occams Razor: All things being equal, the simplest way is usually the right way.

Plus, the more mics, the more possibilities of phase cancellation.
Audiotech is spot on about mic placement, but really w/ one overhead, it's hard to mess up. I just hang mine so it is pointing down at about mid thigh and like 2 feet over my head.
I used to use 2 overheads, then went to one.

Recording is different. That's when I mic everything. Live is much easier.
Better to buy 3 good mics than 7 so so mics.
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Old 11-27-2009, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: microphone packs

Quote:
Originally Posted by timmdrum View Post
Thanks for the opinions, folks- keep 'em coming! Noting Larryace's setup, which I've seen others mention kick/snare/overhead setups, which I do believe lends it some validity- but how do you get an even snare/tom volume level when the overhead[s] is/are obviously gonna pick up, and therefore send out the PA, the loudest drum on the kit [snare]...?

I don't wanna derail the thread though; like I said, they'll be in small to medium venues or casual outdoor gigs, so I don't need anything super-nice. I just don't want junk or something that requires heavy eq-ing, since I'm not gonna want to use any eq on any particular piece other than the eq on the mixer channel it's plugged into... plus, I need a 5-dynamic, 2-overhead package.
Tim, I hear you saying you really want "mic everydrum" package. Snare/tom levels vary. There are several more related issues to your sound reinforcement tasks. When I first started putting my drums into a PA, I did it from the point of view that I needed to get my volume level in the room picture. The louder the guitars were in my ambient mix the more I needed to get some of my volume in the PA mix.

Larry and Denis bring up the issues of weighing the merits of buying fewer better mics and getting a good kit sound picture versus what most room conditions will be the ones to overcome while boosting you in the PA mix.

The first few times I put mics on every drum in my kit through a PA I got feedback that my toms were too loud compared to my snare. Later I would question myself on my "approach" to levels when someone would say they couldn't hear my high hats. I chose a kick, snare, one c-mic hats, one c-mic overhead package and I went with that for a while.

Then I realized that a lot of my issues with being able to hear myself (ambient, monitor and in-ear monitor) were hugely influenced by where my kit is positioned in relation to the bass amps, guitar amps and the front left and right mains of the PA.

The farther back the better for not having to close mic everything and put up one overhead, kick and snare. Drummers that play their hats loudly as a part of their normal style will skip mic'ing the hats altogether sometimes. Larry, do you do this?

Even though I feel like a moose behind my bop sizes kit, I don't play my hats really hard as a part of my normal style and sense of dynamics. I like playing my hats into a condensor mic as regular way to get my levels right through a PA.

On small stages in very reflective rooms, I like mic'ing everything so everybody else doesn't bleed into my 4 mic scenario so easily. I still only use one overhead though. Using two became a pain in the ass for several reasons. The first of which that a stereo capture of the kit wasn't necessary for the PA sound to feel balanced. Then there's the issue of phase. When you factor in set up time, simplicity starts to become the order of the day.

On a small stage where everybody is very close together, I enjoy playing my drums softer and close mic'ing everything. I don't beat the snot out of my drums and I can hear myself in a cranked monitor and even through the PA. Also the bounce of the ceiling and walls if there are not a bunch of people partying and making noise.

When I can be behind the guitars, I like to play my kit harder in a more all-out style. It's easy for me to get a great drum sound by only reinforcing the kick and snare, boosting my hats and getting a more wide open overhead level from above. Especially in a room that is a kick drum and floor tom sound swallower, I can hit my toms harder and play sloshier hats. I feel the kit sound projects better.

AND I CAN HEAR MYSELF!!!!!!!!!

Most of the time I don't have to turn a monitor up very loud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
When you only have a few microphones to mic an entire kit, you do what we did a few decades ago, you mix with the microphones not the mixer. Microphone placement is critical when it comes down to just using a handful of microphones when trying to encompass a more or less even level throughout the kit. A lot of older recordings used just one microphone for drum pick-up, again placement was critical. A lot of classical recordings only use a stereo pair for the entire orchestra. There are many, many ways. Use your ears and a set of headphones to get the balance you desire.

Dennis
I guess you have to ask yourself here, how often will you play with a ear bud or headphone monitor mix. Most of the time I am adjusting my ambient mix by how tightly I wear foam ear plugs and I'm balancing my kit sound beneath me with one wedge and or how much of the guitar sounds I can hear from their amps.

Most of the time for me, a sound check ends like this, "Am I playing to loud?"

Helpful listener out front (maybe sound guy if I'm lucky), "No, why can't you hear yourself?"

or

Annoyed guy at mixing board, "Put down your purse and hit that thing!"

Surprised me, "Oh, I can't hear anybody else. Is my monitor on?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Timm think of it like this....if your ear was the condenser mic up top, and you played a 16th note drum fill starting on the snare and using all the toms, the snare would not be so much louder that it created a situation where everyone notices, unless you purposefully played it that way. The mic just recreates what you play. (sorry for stating the obvious) If you have a balanced sound between drums, then that's what it will send to the speakers.
The overhead mic will pick up what it sounds like from your perspective, basically speaking. And using 5 dynamics and 2 overheads is just a lot of work (bad ROI, IMO) and I don't believe you will be able to hear a whole lot of difference.

You'd be surprised how much 1 overhead mic picks up. It really hears it all, and if you boost the low frequencies w/ an equalizer, your toms will be picked up nicely. The principle of Occams Razor: All things being equal, the simplest way is usually the right way.

Plus, the more mics, the more possibilities of phase cancellation.
Audiotech is spot on about mic placement, but really w/ one overhead, it's hard to mess up. I just hang mine so it is pointing down at about mid thigh and like 2 feet over my head.
I used to use 2 overheads, then went to one.

Recording is different. That's when I mic everything. Live is much easier.
Better to buy 3 good mics than 7 so so mics.
So once again this is really good advice.

If you add the issues:

1. Will they do double duty live and in the studio?
2. How much fiddle factor you can tolerate for live set ups?
3. Do you need 7 mics to get the right sound live?

When I bought my D112 kick mic, I wasn't willing to spend money (what I could afford) on lesser quality mics. Then the mic risk factor became an issue. So I bought a 7 mic pack to go along with my slower acquisition of nicer microphones.

In my practice room which is 14x32 with an 8' ceiling, I like the way my kit sounds in earphones with everything mic'd.

Are you heavy on the toms and rock your hats most of the time? You might want to go with the "less is more" method on sound reinforcement. If all your kit sounds seem to project evenly according to "those" listening and you're willing to fight the mushy mix syndrome, go that way.

On the 7 mic package offerings, I favor the Audix 7 mic kit. They're better quality mics than the CADs and they're super rugged. They are made to emulate the patterns of their higher quality cousins like the i5 and the D4 and D6. The overheads are good. You still have money left over for an Earthworks Kick Pad.

The $99 I spent on that thing has saved me so much time when trying to get a good kick sound live. You can hook it up to a SM57 and turn it into a decent kick mic. It sends a passively EQ'd sound straight to the board. Sometimes a sound guy will say that he thinks it's because the drum sounds so good, but I think it's more that the all the mid range frequencies are instantly scooped out and right away you are starting with a punchy thumpy sound.
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Last edited by TTNW; 11-27-2009 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 11-27-2009, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: microphone packs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TTNW View Post
The farther back the better for not having to close mic everything and put up one overhead, kick and snare. Drummers that play their hats loudly as a part of their normal style will skip mic'ing the hats altogether sometimes. Larry, do you do this?
I don't mic my hats seperately. I place the one OH mic not too far away as to pick up unwanted sounds, but far enough to be out of my way, like 6 feet to 2 meters from the floor. I rely on my own touch as far as balancing the volume levels between the individual components of the kit. (Something we all do involuntarily, for better or for worse)

I don't like overpowering hats volumewise either, so I'll place their volume in my "mix" to whatever's appropriate to the room, the song, and the rest of the musicians. If it sounds balanced to me, I just trust that's what the mic will hear.

Condensers pick up cymbals really well, so I don't worry about them being heard. The hats come through just fine. I do like to give the condensers a little extra boost in the lower EQ so the toms have adequate low end. Plus, in the room sizes Timm mentioned that he plays in, the acoustic sound of the kit without mics is substantial.

Also in live sound reinforcement, it's normally a mono mix, so dual overheads (for stereo panning and/or seperation) are unnecessary. (just my opinion) Less mics are a simpler, less likely to give you sound issues, method of micing. I think it gives you a truer representation of what your kit really sounds like, as a whole.

Another way of looking at it is...If you had 8 ears, would you hear things that much differently? The sound waves haven't changed.
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: microphone packs

Sorry for the delayed reply...

TTNW- I'm also leaning toward Audix' new Fusion series pack that's replacing the current one soon. To answer your questions, 1- no, they won't, 'cause usually studios have much nicer mic's than what I'd have, 2 and 3- I won't always use the overheads [only for outdoor venues], so 5 mic's isn't too much "fiddling" for me. Only some minor tweaking of each channel's levels & EQ will be necessary from room to room.

Larryace- I hear what you're saying, but personally, I'd rather do this minor tweaking on 5 mixer channels [like I said, overheads are only used when outdoors] than have to fiddle with placing & positioning an overhead just right for each place. Been there. ["ok, try moving it about 2 inches to the left. No, my left, not yours. ok, swivel the diaphram a little more downward. No, that's not good, go back to where it was..."] Plus, yes, when I play a 16th note drum fill starting on the snare and using all the toms, the snare IS much louder than the others to my ears, when I make sure I hit everything with equal stroke height & force. So, I don't want to have to hit them differently to adjust. I've used both scenarios and found that I prefer the 5 mic method. [Usually the snare mic' is on the 10" aux snare rather than my main one, 'cause again, the main snare dwarfs the little one in acoustic volume.]

So even though I think I've found my winner with the upcoming new Audix pack [approx. $479 street price], keep the opinions & reviews coming, but let's stick to budget mic' packs rather than methods. :)
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: microphone packs

I also have the same mic pack you have been borrowing and I honestly like the way it sounds. I have also used the Audix D6 and D4's that a local sound guy owns and prefers to use when he runs sound for my band. I will run the D6 for kick and D4 on snare and the CAD's on toms and over heads. Like other posters, I only use one overhead with good results.

I submix my mics on a 6 channel mixer and add EQ to make up where the CAD's lack. I consistently get a good sound and have had good luck with my CAD mic pack exclusively.
For $139 I have no complaints.
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