Of all the quality microphone brands out there today, EarthWorks has managed to stand out as a high-quality premium choice. It is a trusted name amongst professional musicians purely because of its audio production capabilities. Natural and transparent.
One of EarthWorks’ top-level products is the DK7 drum kit system. It’s a 7-piece microphone set that is a very nice choice to get the best drum sound possible. Aimed at pro drummers, it sits in the high-end market for drum mics.
Today, I’m going to uncover the DK7 mic kit and see if they’re worth a buy or not. Stay with me and decide for yourself.
Do Earthworks Drum Mics Live Up to the Hype?
With Earthworks’ reputation and the price this kit carries, there are a lot of expectations to live up to. And honestly, the DK7 really does warrant the hype.
The pack consists of one SR20LS, two SR25, and four DM20 mics. All seven mics drip with luxury. They’re constructed very well with all-metal bodies. You will hardly find any plastic on them.
The mics are sleek, simple, and ergonomically designed. They have the full hardware to support mounting on the drums which can be done with ease, as well as the teardown. They’re also quite small, when you’re sitting behind the kit, you won’t notice them too much except for a small mic head peeking from behind the drum.
While the build quality is excellent, the sound quality is even better. Your drums tend to sound exactly how you intend them to be. I know complete transparency through mics is improbable,
but these mics are as close as it gets.
While most closely mounted mics are dynamic, all of these EarthWorks mics are condenser with the cardioid polar pattern. You get a brilliant front pickup and almost total rear noise rejection. Although, if you like a little variation in your mic setup, this might be irksome.
The clarity on these mics is so good that you could do away with just the overheads. But if you want to bring out the entirety of your drum kit, then use the DK7 kit to its full potential.
Why are EarthWorks Drum Mics So Expensive?
EarthWorks is based in the USA. It prides itself on making its products in its home country. So naturally, the production and manufacturing cost is higher. Also, the hardware and the material used on the mics are of high quality. From the design to all nitty-gritty, they’re very drummer-friendly.
This is one of the most common questions around EarthWorks products and one can’t help but wonder about it since there are a lot of great, more affordable brands out there.
The mics in the DK7 kit, in particular, are fairly lightweight and offer transient response. You will have an easier time carrying them around. And the weight does not compromise on the durability either. You don’t have to worry about purchasing another mic or kit for a long time.
Apart from that, you also get well-made accessories vis-a-vis your mic windscreens and a heavy-duty protective case. Put all that with brilliant mic clarity and you kind of understand why EarthWorks puts such an expensive price tag on its mics.
EarthWorks DK7 Drum Mic Kit – What’s Included?
Let’s start from the outside here. The kit comes in a solid hardshell case, which has a lock on it to prevent it from opening when you don’t want it to.
Inside, there is a user guide to help you get to know these mics better as well as a recommended mic placement. And nestled in dense foam are seven mics and three SRW3 foam windscreens. The mics are four DM20, two SR25, and one SR20LS. All of which are small-diaphragm cardioid condensers and can be stored with the included mic clips.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each mic and where it fits.
The DM20 precision drummic is supposed to be EarthWorks’ snare and tom mic. With the kit containing four of these, it becomes a huge and very important part of your mic setup.
This mic is a cardioid condenser that is excellent at picking up what you want it to. Its rear rejection is what most mics could only dream of with its off-axis leakage being almost zero.
Its performance is pretty incredible as well. The frequency response of 50Hz – 20kHz allows it to capture your toms very nicely while a small diaphragm and maximum input of 150dB SPL lets it handle the loudest drummers without distortion.
The best part about the DM20 tom mic is its design, though. It comes with an rm1 rimmount, making it easy for you to install them. It also has a long-ish and flexible gooseneck, which holds its position with great zeal. You don’t see much of the mic except the small diaphragm peeking behind the tom.
Next is the SR25, EarthWorks’ best-selling mic. This is an overhead mic and comes in a pair of two. And honestly, it’s straight-up brilliant.
It’s, again, a cardioid condenser mic with an incredible frequency response of 50Hz – 25kHz. With a 10mV/Pa low sensitivity and a 140-degree sweet spot, it captures audio with next-level clarity. Add to that 30 dB of off-axis rejection and you’ll hear your drums in all their glory.
The SR25 cardioids can handle heavy inputs with a maximum being 145dB SPL. This is great as it works for almost every preamp on the market.
You could just use two SR25 overheads to record your drums with the additional kickpad Adaptor and get incredible detail and sound.
The SR20LS mic is a solid but lightweight kick drum mic. This cardioid condenser microphone works nicely for your bass drum purely because of its polar pattern and high input handling.
It can take an SPL load of up to 145dB, making it ideal for the loudest drum in your arsenal. You won’t hear any distortion, no matter how loud you play.
The condenser capsule with a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz captures the highs and the lows of the bass tone without disrupting its essence. And the subtle proximity effect rejects any unwanted boom.
Pros of the DK7 Drum Mic Kit
The biggest pro of the DK7 mic kit is its sound clarity. There are, really, no two ways about it. If you want the best possible sound out of your drums and don’t have a budget problem, then it hardly gets better.
With audio production capturing subtle nuances, not only are these mics an excellent option for recording in the studio, but they are great for live performances as well. Save for a few touch-ups like EQ, you really won’t have to tamper with them too much to get sonic brilliance.
The built quality on each mic is exceptional. All of them are made of stainless steel with no plastic whatsoever. The design is lightweight but very durable. Also, it’s quite ergonomic and easy to install with built-in clipping. You can also choose the angle at which you want it set up.
Cons of the DK7 Drum Mic Kit
Despite all its pros, there are a couple of cons with the DK7 kit. Especially if you look hard enough.
The biggest and the most obvious flaw is its hefty price. It’s just too much for most drummers. Also, when you look at many other mic kits that are available for much cheaper or with more mics, you kinda wish that the DK7 was more accessible.
Another thing to look out for is the fact that all mics are cardioid condensers. With a mic kit, you expect some variety between condenser and dynamic mics. However, you do not get that option with this kit. Also, you’re going to need 24-48V Phantom to plug these in, so keep that in mind.
The SR20LS, which is the kick drum mic, is a bit of a letdown. While it does handle the loudness very well, users report a lack of sharp attacks.
For whatever reason you feel the EarthWorks DK7 does not work for you, don’t fret. There are plenty of other fish in the sea. And very good ones at that. Here are a couple of other options you can go for.
The Audix DP7 is a reasonably priced mic kit for everyone from beginners to hobbyists. The kit features seven nice mics including a D6 for the kick drum, an i5 for the snare, two D2s for toms, a D4 for the floor tom, and two overhead ADX51s.
The great thing about this DP7 kit is that the mics are specific to each instrument and capture a variety of sounds. A mix of dynamic and condenser mics with cardioid or hypercardioid polar patterns brings a new life to your kit. The mics can handle decent SPL gain so you can play freely, particularly in home studio recording environments.
Sure, you may not get a truly professional experience with this kit. But if you’re new to recording or simply do it for the fun of it, then it’s a very nice mic kit at a much more affordable price than the EarthWorks DK7.
This AKG Drum Set Premium 8-piece mic kit is another pack that comes in the high-end, professional market. However, it is more affordable than EarthWorks DK7 and has one more mic. Also, the set is a mix of dynamic and condenser mics.
The D12 VR captures the kick drum while four D40s capture your toms and snare. Among the condenser microphones, the C451 B picks up the high-hats nicely while two C214 overheads deliver great feedback.
It’s a very nice kit that records the softest dynamics of your playing. So, whether you’re in a studio or you’re playing a live set, this AKG mic kit will do your drums justice.
The EarthWorks DK7 is one of the best-sounding mic sets that money can buy. It records the tiniest details emerging from your drum kit and delivers a natural, pristine sound no matter if you’re in the studio or on the stage.
Being a pro microphone kit, the DK7 is a costly affair. But given its recording prowess and excellent built quality, you can consider it an investment as you won’t worry about buying another set for life. You won’t be disappointed.