Friday, May 25, 2012

Cheap, but surprisingly good, microphones

I originally purchased this Nady DMK-5 microphone set for micing drums, but have never had an occasion to truly need them due to the type of music I play and the venues in which I play them. I have used them, but did not really need them. On the other hand, I found that they are perfect for other instruments and micing amplifiers. In fact, I will put the DM70s in this set up against a Shure SM57 Microphone - costing nearly four times the price - for micing instruments and amps.

This set consists of four Nady DM70 Drum and Instrument Microphones and a DM80. The mics are built like tanks and are reliable and capture signals that are surprisingly accurate. Both mics have unidirectional cardioid patterns, which allow you to closely mic your sound sources with little - if any - bleed between and among the mics if they are placed close to the sources. Also, they are dynamic mics, which means they require no phantom power and can be used with an XLR cable or an XLR with a 1/4" adapter for the mixer end.

The Nady DM70 Drum and Instrument Microphone is perfectly suited for snare drums, toms and cymbals as advertised, but I have found that they work well with other instruments. Specifically, they do an excellent job with alto and tenor saxophones, trumpets and other brass. They also work well for micing amplifiers such as the Fender Champion 600 Electric Guitar Amplifier. Specs: these have a frequency response of 70~16,000 Hz and sensitivity of -73dB, +/- 3dB (@ 1KHz, 74dB SPL. For horn instruments using these attached to a mic stand works perfectly. A good combination is to clamp an extension bar and a gooseneck to a stand, and attach the mic, which has an integrated mic stand adapter.

For bass drums and instruments such as baritone saxophones and trombones, the DM80 does a reasonably good job of capturing the low end with a frequency response of 30~15,000 Hz and sensitivity of -73dB, +/- 3dB (@ 1KHz, 74dB SPL. In addition, this mic is excellent for micing small bass amplifiers when playing in cramped spaces where it makes sense to use something along the lines of a Fender Rumble 30 or similar small amp to save stage space and use the PA to augment the signal.

For micing bass drums with the DM80 or amps using either the DM70 or DM80, I recommend using Samson Audio MB1 Mini Boom Microphone Stand. It's sturdy and can easily hold and position either mic.

Overall, this inexpensive set is a bargain if you are looking for an low cost set of well constructed, reliable microphones for drum kits or other instruments.

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