PreSonus’ affordable DM‑7 comes with all the mics you’ll need to capture a quality drum kit sound.
Shipped in a tough camera‑style carry case with shaped insert, the PreSonus DM‑7 drum mic set comprises seven microphones selected primarily for use with drums — though they are also capable of being pressed into service for other recording duties. The microphones are all of Chinese provenance, which is not unexpected at this price, and the standard of finish is very high. The close mics are all dynamic models while the overheads are small‑diaphragm capacitor designs. Foam windscreens for the overheads are included, as are rim‑mounting clips for the snare/tom mics. All the mics are finished in matte black, and there are no pad or filter switches to worry about. Why foam windshields? If you have done an outdoor gig recently you’ll know that wind noise and microphones don’t make good companions!
For snare and toms, you’ll find four ST‑4 dynamic, cardioid‑pattern microphones, which are short and stubby with integral swivel mounts. Their spec may not look overly impressive on paper (the high end rolls off at a round 14kHz and the response isn’t ruler flat), but their voicing should suit drums well, with secondary functions that include miking guitar cabinets. They have a reasonably extended low end to maintain punch and a presence peak at around 7‑8 kHz that should also help to bring out stick attack. These mics fix directly to the adjustable rim mounts via a captive thumbscrew running in a slot, which offer some adjustment for distance and angle. The same clips are used for both snare and toms. The kick and overhead mics require stands with US threads or European stands fitted with the included thread adaptors.
The Achilles heel of many low‑cost drum mic sets is often the kick drum mic, though on paper at least the BD‑1 looks promising. A dynamic, cardioid‑pattern mic, it certainly appears to have the right kind of voicing, emphasising the 100 to 200 Hz region to help maximise punch while also scooping out the mids (around 600Hz) to avoid boxiness. A 5kHz hump at the high end helps bring out beater click and add definition. This mic’s sensitivity of ‑55dB (1V at 1Pa) is deliberately on the low side given the high‑SPL environment in which it will be asked to work, and the upper frequency limit of 15kHz is also more than adequate for kick drums and bass instruments.
Depending on the drum itself and the mic placement, some EQ may still be required but it shouldn’t take much to get a decent kick sound. For bass players who still don’t like to be DI’ed, the BD‑1 will also double as a bass cab mic. An integrated swivel mount makes it easy to position the BD‑1, which is best mounted on a short boom stand.
Overhead mics need to capture the general kit sound, but also have a particular duty in capturing a clear cymbal sound, which is why capacitor models are often used in this role. Some engineers prefer to use ribbon mics, but you won’t find those in a budget drum mic kit any time soon!
The OH‑2 is a back‑electret capacitor mic and follows the familiar ‘pencil mic’ format, offering a cardioid pattern and a modest sensitivity of ‑38dB (1V at 1Pa), again chosen to reflect the anticipated use close to a drum kit. Its 16mm capsule covers the 30Hz‑18kHz range, and there’s a maximum SPL handling of 135dB. According to the frequency response graph, this mic has a nominally flat response up to 1kHz or so, rising to give a lift of maybe 6dB between 3‑8 kHz before sloping away. The signal‑to‑noise ratio is listed as 74dB, which is fine for drum applications and for other studio uses that don’t require an ultra‑low‑noise microphone. Secondary uses would include things like miking acoustic guitar or small percussion. Phantom power is required, and this can be anything in the range of 9‑52 Volts. Standard mic clips are included.
The BD‑1 provided meaty depth and good beater definition... I didn’t even have to work at mic placement to get a good sound.
Dragging out my small Tama drum kit with its 16‑inch kick drum, I wasn’t sure what recorded sound to expect. While some more costly kick mics deliver a nice punchy sound, some of the cheaper ones I’ve tried come across like a suitcase being slapped with a partly-thawed haddock! I needn’t have worried though, as the BD‑1 provided meaty depth and good beater definition with the mic off‑centre and about level with the front rim, looking through a hole in the front head. I didn’t even have to work at mic placement to get a good sound.
The ST‑4 snare/tom mics also delivered a rounded, punchy sound and they even managed to add some welcome warmth to my Rototoms. Those clips can be a little stiff to push on, but once fitted they’re not going to fall off. Finally, the OH‑2 overheads also impressed, with no noticeable noise and no flinching from loud sounds. They capture the overall kit picture in a way that sounds detailed but very solid, while that high lift in the response curve is flattering to cymbals.
Given its super‑affordable price, I have to say that the DM‑7 puts in a very impressive performance, and I’d be quite happy to use it on a serious recording project. Moreover, the fact that it is able to make my baby Tama kit sound so big and solid merits serious kudos.
While you’ll find similarly priced drum‑mic kits from some familiar names in microphones as well as some less‑known brands, this one stands up very well, the kick mic in particular delivering real depth and definition.