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Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module – A Real-World Review

Our review team recently put the Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module system to the test while in the Virgin Islands; here's how it went.

The Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module
The Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module

A major theme on our yearly St. John recording trip is portability. We have to squeeze our entire recording rig into our suitcases, so we’re always thinking about how we can get the best sounds out of the smallest equipment. Not surprisingly, recording a full drum set with these restrictions can be tough, so when drummer Ray LeVier told us about Yamaha’s new EAD10, we knew we had to bring it with us and give it a try.

The EAD's drum mic.
The EAD’s drum mic.

EAD10 is a hybrid electronic/acoustic drum recording system that consists of a main unit, sensor unit and optional snare/tom triggers. When it came time to record drums, we clamped the sensor unit—which comprises a stereo pair of mics in an XY configuration and a bass drum trigger—onto the hoop of the kick drum. We connected it, along with the additional triggers, to the main EAD10 unit, ran two quarter-inch cables to our interface, and we were up and running. This was certainly one of the easiest drum setups we’ve ever done, but we still had to answer the most important question: How does this thing sound? The short answer? Great.

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Starting with the most basic sounds from this unit, the stereo mic gives an incredibly natural and honest picture of the drum kit. We were all impressed with how well it was able to capture a balanced picture of the drums for such a minimal setup, but we had only scratched the surface of its capabilities.

The EAD's trigger pickup.

We started flipping through some of the 50 included preset scenes, which introduce anything from subtle reverb and compression to wild distortion, flanger and more. If the presets aren’t quite to your liking, you can always tweak them or build your own sound using the 32 built-in reverbs and effects, and save it to the unit. Also included are more than 700 samples that can be blended in with the mic’s signal, opening up a whole other world of sonic possibilities. Whether you want to subtly enhance your kit’s acoustic sound with rock-style samples or completely replace your drums’ sound with 808-style electronic sounds, the EAD10 has you covered. You can also load in your own samples—meaning that the sounds you can get out of the EAD10 are literally limitless.