Earthworks DK25/L Drum Kit System Review

The Earthworks DK25/L Drum Kit System is an excellent starter pack for any live drum situation (plus it works great in the studio, too).

Earthworks Audio have a built their reputation on high-quality mics, and their DK25/L kit is designed especially for live drum applications. But we found there are a lot more uses for this kit than just drums.

WHAT THE EARTHWORKS DK25/L KIT INCLUDES

The kit includes three SR25 condenser microphones and one KP1 KickPad, windscreens and case. The SR25 sports a cardioid capsule, with a frequency response of 50Hz-25Khz. In high volume applications (like live drums) there’s plenty of headroom here, and like the SR20s they work great in off-axis positioning, with accurate response across the microphone’s head. There is plenty of depth as well as musical clarity, regardless of the positioning. Just using these three mics (one on the kick drum, and the remaining two for overheads), it’s not difficult at all to get a great drum sound, live or in the studio. Earthworks even includes a great guide for optimum mic placement on the drum kit, and it made a huge difference.

Earthworks DK25L drum mic kit

Earthworks DK25L drum mic kit

[RELATED: read our review of the Earthworks Audio SR20 condenser microphone.]

Can you get by with just these three mics? Depending on the kit, room and type of music, yes, easily. Tonal and mixing options might be limited, but it’s a great start. This kit can provide a strong foundation for drums, and the condensers work just as well for other instruments, especially acoustic guitars. The “L” in the name refers to “Live,” but we found the kit is also excellent for studio applications. These could easily be any sound engineer’s “go-to” condenser microphones for tracking.

THE STAR OF THE DK25/L: The KP1 KickPad

The big MVP here is the KP1 KickPad. Place this small metal cylinder after the kick drum mic, and it instantly improves the response of the kick’s mic response. No futzing with EQ, compression or other outboard processing. It just seems to add an amazing amount of “presence” to any mic plugged into it, solving any room inconsistencies or audio quirks that usually require a work-around. It’s a passive circuit design, so there’s no added noise, and it doesn’t require phantom power. Again, even though it’s being marketed as a drum kit, our tests with guitars, bass and vocals proved it can also work wonders on almost any other live instrument.

Looking forward to reviewing these live drum mics. Thanks @earthworksaudio!

A photo posted by Performer Magazine (@performermagazine) on

[RELATED: read more live mic reviews from Performer Magazine.]

Three individual SR25s run at $600+ apiece, and the KP1 is $100, for a total of $1900. The street price for the DK25/L is $1699, so there’s a pretty significant value to getting it as a complete kit, and it even comes with a rugged carrying case. While meant for live use, it’s totally worth it for studio applications too, and goes beyond the usual “drum mic only” situation, if necessary. At the very least, anyone doing home recording or in a commercial studio should check out the KP1, the kit’s real shining star.

PROS:

excellent kit, works great for live and studio applications, KP1 kick pad is amazing, great value as opposed to buying everything individually.

CONS:

could be slightly pricey for some users.

PRICE:

$1699

What do you think of our Earthworks Audio DK25/L review? Sound off in the comments below or drop a line on the Performer Magazine Facebook page or on Twitter @Performermag.

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