Audix D Pack Drum Microphone Packages

Audix, a drum mic market pioneer, has repackaged a number of its percussion mics to handle the specific needs of artists and engineers for recording and live sound reinforcement. These "D Packs" are marketed all across budget and application requirements starting with the DP 2 ($899) and running through the DP 3, ($1,299), DP 4 ($1,129), DP 5 ($1,149) and DP-Elite ($2,569) (reviewed here).
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Audix, a drum mic market pioneer, has repackaged a number of its percussion mics to handle the specific needs of artists and engineers for recording and live sound reinforcement. These "D Packs" are marketed all across budget and application requirements starting with the DP 2 ($899) and running through the DP 3, ($1,299), DP 4 ($1,129), DP 5 ($1,149) and DP-Elite ($2,569) (reviewed here).
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, studio

Key Features: Multiple percussion mics; Very Low Mass capsules; condenser elements; aluminum bodies; ship with aluminum road case and mic clips.

Price:

DP 2 - $899 DP 3 - $1,299;

DP 4 - $1,129; DP5 - $1,149; DP-ELITE $2,569.

Contact: Audix at 503-682-6933, Web Site.
Features

Each microphone in the D Pack consists of a VLM (Very Low Mass) capsule housed in a precision-machined lightweight aluminum body. These American-made microphones are fairly compact in size, and with the newly designed D-vice gooseneck clip, provide ease in setup without the clutter of multiple microphone stands on a drum or percussion riser.

My DP Elite demo kit consisted of a D-1 snare mic, two D-2 tom mics, one D-4 kick or floor tom mic, one D-6 kick mic and three SCX-1 mics for overheads and high hat. All the mics fit nicely in a very practical, durable aluminum road case and include a nylon pouch and unbreakable ABS microphone clip. Every microphone in the kit uses the same clip, which is an added benefit. The D series microphones are designed to handle over 140 dB sound pressure levels and are fitted with gold-plated XLR connectors.

The D-1 snare mic, D-2 tom mic and D-4 kick mic are all dynamic transformerless- types with a hypercardioid pickup pattern for excellent isolation. The D-6 kick mic ($349) is new to the product line and about twice the size of the other D series mics. It has a cardioid pickup pattern designed to sound good in any position in front (or inside) of the drum.

The SCX-1 microphones for overheads and high hat are quality condenser microphones designed for use with any one of three interchangeable capsules. These microphones are an excellent choice for a variety of applications and instruments when requiring an accurate natural sound. For buyers not finding the SCX-1 in their budget, Audix offers the ADX-50 cardioid condenser for reproduction of cymbals, goodie table and percussion handheld instruments. I found this mic kit extremely comprehensive with all the mics required to effectively to do a drum kit or percussion setup.

In Use

Having regularly used almost every drum mic package offered at one time or another, I must admit upon first inspection, I was very pleased to find that the Audix Drum Package is sold in the best case I have seen included in the package price. And upon opening the case, it only gets better. All the D series mics are lightweight and easily mounted with the patent pending D-Vice clip. This low profile mounting system with a spring loaded locking clip fits on any type of drum. At a retail price of $29.95, the clip is a must see for engineers and musicians looking for ease in the mounting of drum and percussion microphones. The flexible gooseneck makes positioning in the sweet spot a snap.

I used the D series microphones on Clayton Cameron's Ludwig Drum set for a series of shows with the Tony Bennett Quartet including an appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly for the live studio and broadcast mix. Because Clayton sets his kit up very tight and low, I prefer to use microphones that sound great, provide good isolation and mount easily. Audix D series drum microphones rate excellent in all categories. Right angle XLR cables are available as an option and provide a clean look.

All the Audix D series mics provide a big flattering sound. The drums sound natural and tight and do not require any EQ if you are wanting to reproduce a drum kit sound as if you were standing in front of it. Since Clayton plays a lot of brushes, I was very pleased with the ability of these microphones to pick up the most subtle sounds. The SCX-1 condensers provided such an exceptional flat response that I didn't hesitate to use them on the Steinway concert grand piano provided for Live with Regis and Kelly.

Summary

Audix has packaged a winner with the DP-drum packages. Not only is the sound quality excellent, but these quality microphones are well-built and, if stored in their cases, will look new for years. Audix's prepackaged drum kits are cost-effective, work well day-in and day-out, and provide the sound necessary for live sound or studio applications.

Second Opinion

I have been a session drummer and engineer for many years. During this time I have had the opportunity to record with many different brands of microphones from real high-end to middle of the road. My first experience with Audix mics was in a recent smooth jazz session that I did in LA. Even when setting levels, I noticed how transparent the mics were while listening through headphones. As I had expected when I listened back in the control room my first impressions were correct. The mics do not color the tone of the drum and really allow the true essence to come through. I used three SX-1 mics, two for overheads and one dedicated to the high hat. Two D-2 tom mics were used along with one D-4 for my floor tom and the D-6 on the kick drum. The D-1 snare mic was amazing due to the responsiveness and clarity that was achieved and that goes as well for all the mics. Another feature of the Audix mics that really came in handy was the size of the microphones. That worked very well when having to mic drums with very little space plus allowing you to position the mic properly without getting in the way of anything else. I would personally say that the Audix mics are not to be taken lightly, they are a serious microphone for the most demanding professional to the home enthusiast.

- Doug Stanny, drummer and engineer.