Audix D Elite Drum Package

By Brent Handy
Contributing Writer
October 23, 2004

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Electronic drums, like Roland's V-Drums, have filled a niche in the church/ ministry band market for a few years now. They provide some diverse, arguably
great, quality sounds, without generating allot of racket on stage. Some engineers, like myself, would say that the benefits of electronic drums are also their
curse. Their silence on stage has increased the demands made on existing monitor systems. In some churches, the stage volume has not decreased
drastically, because drums are a staple in the monitor mix. Even those with In Ear Monitors (IEM's) like the conductive feedback of an acoustic kit. Church
sound systems and staff sophistication are at an all time high. Drummers are taking advantage of this. Those drummers, fortunate enough to play in good
sounding rooms, are going back to the dark ages of real, acoustic, drums. I couldn't be more happy. What makes even more happy is that now we engineers
have more choices in drum mics. Today we will look at the Audix D6 Drum Package.

Let's talk about some Audix people. Gene at Audix has been involved in music ministry for some time. He understands the trends in worship services and
facilities. Not many companies have Christians on staff to serve Christians. Their eagerness to support our sector of the market has spawned such products as
the Micro condenser mic line. Consider Audix to be ministry friendly.

Next, let's talk about technology. Audix has given their dynamic mics, condenser-like response, by using Very Low Mass (VLM) elements. The thinner the
diaphragm, the quicker the response. Their mics are going to hold up to your use and abuse, as they have machined aluminum bodies. These mics are "stray-stick
warriors." in the concert touring world.

There are many ways to mic a drum kit. The best, most cost effective way today is to use dedicated drum mics. By that I mean mics that were designed for
specific sizes and timbres of drums. Drum mics now have dedicated drum mounting hardware. Many companies have drum kit mic packages. I have used
nearly every mic available in my career. Until I used the Audix Elite kit, I thought that my set up was easy. My kit is made up of many mics from many
manufacturers, and it does sound great. But it also came in at a higher retail price than the Audix Elite. It also takes a few more minutes to set up and tweak,
due to the fact that the mics are not designed for drums specifically, and the my hardware get's in the way on tight set-ups.

The Elite package consists of three SCX-1 small diaphragm condenser mics, one D6 kick drum mic, one D4 floor tom mic, two D2 tom mics and one D1 snare
mic. I used two SCX-1's for overheads, and one on the hi-hat. One could certainly add an additional SCX-1 under the snare. I don't talk specs much in my
reviews. I talk about the practical issues of sound, built quality and service. some of the most loved mics, and other equipment for that matter, may not have the
best specs. Another reason is so that you will visit the manufacturer's sites and possibly learn something about the company, or find a product that you didn't
know that you needed. To learn more, and to read the published specs, please visit

The Elite package comes in a sturdy case. The mics sit in a foam lined shelf. Under this shelf is the mounting hardware. I could write a whole article on
hardware. There is only one kind to buy, and that is spring loaded, or resilient plastic. Why? Nearly all other types of metal C-clamps or "claw" mounts bend
the rims of drums when over tightened. Audix has taken the stick pelting out of the equation with their D-Vice clips. The D-Vice is simple. There is a spring-loaded
lip that grips under the hoop, and a lip on top that grips around the top of the hoop. The only pressure added is resistance of the internal spring. The D-Vice
can accommodate most hoops, and all mics. Attached to the clip is a small gooseneck, which has a mic clip adapter. A wing nut allows for the gooseneck
to be adjusted vertically.

I used this kit for a recording session/drum mic shoot out. The session was recorded at my studio, in Tulsa, OK. The recording system used was my mobile
Digidesign Pro Tools HD3 rig, with 24 channels of Digidesign PRE preamps. The monitors used were Mackie HR824's, Genelec 1031's and Auaratones. The
drum room is 16' x 23', correctly proportioned, acoustically. The Audix was the only package that did not require more time positioning, and/or EQ.

Once my drummer Stan was set up, it took only a couple of minutes to place the mics, hit record and listen. The snare and tom mics were placed at a 45 degree
angle, 1.5" from the head. The corner of the mic was into the drum about .5". The floor tom mic had a steeper angle of about 85 degrees. The kick drum was
placed inside, 2" off center, 6" from the head. The cymbal mic boom stands were placed at the front corners of the kit. The mics were aimed at the center of the
cymbal array, facing the drummer. The mics were angled 45 degrees, 16" from the top cymbals. The drummer played a bit. I set my gains on the PRE's, and hit
record. I made one adjustment to the kick mic ultimately, but that was it. I used no EQ. I didn't need any, PERIOD! The drummer said, "This kit had never
sounded so good, so huge." I told him, "It sounds like Stan's ideal drum kit to me." He said, "Yeah, most guys use mics that muddy up the floor tom and the kick
drum trying to get them to sound bigger. This is great. The snare doesn't sound electric." That was the best compliment for a drum mic right there.

All of the mics in the kit are great. I can't think of anything that I would change. The new D6 has a built in EQ for the kick drum. If you can't get a killer sound for
your tastes with this mic, then you need new heads or a different size of shell. While on tour, I used to use a Beta52 and a Beta91 on the kick. I wanted the
punch/attack of the 52, and the shell resonance of the 91. The Audix D6 does it all for me in one mic. Sweet. I wanted to try it on the Ampeg SVT with 4 x JBL
10's and 1 x JBL 15, but time did not allow it. Judging by the difference it made on the kick, over the Shure Beta52, I can only imagine that the D6 will be my
new bass amp mic.

The SCX-1 is the most under-rated condenser mic. I have used it on acoustic guitar, oboe, piano, etc. It does not have the jangle that some of the new budget
condensers have. It does not sound harsh to me. It is detailed. I like the fact that it is quiet for a small diaphragm condenser. There would be many
applications where this mic would benefit a church music ministry band.

The D4 was originally offered as a kick mic. I had good luck with it on smaller kicks and/or kicks that didn't need the big, hyped 40-60Hz that most guys try to
make a kick have. I like it as a floor tom mic. As with all of the D1,2,3 and 4's are very natural sounding to me. The Pearl kit, like most others, had a resonance.
This resonance was in the 225-250Hz range. It is the result of the coupling the toms with kick, and the overall resonance of the kit, as drums are hit. This was
not an issue for the Elite Kit. None of the mics enhanced that nasty region of the acoustic drum kit.

On one occassion, I took the microphones out, for a major secular engineer to use. (When I got to the venue, they had already mic'd the kits with Audix mics.
They had replaced a large portion of the Shure Beta's on the tour with the Audix mics. The Audix mics were said to be the best mics to place in a hurry, as they
didn't require as much placement tweaking. Saved time is everything to a tired stage crew on a long tour.

In summary. Acoustic drums are in again. If you do not have the sound that you desire and/or the means to obtain it, or if your touring drummers turn their nose
up at your gear, please consider the Audix Elite package. Unlike many other mics, the Audix mics require no EQ to make the drums sound great. Imagine
using the EQ as a creative tone control, or not at all, instead of a surgical corrective device. The mounts are stable and non-threatening to you and the hoops.
What else can you ask for in a drum mic package? I can't think of a thing!

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