Sabian Sound Kit - Drum Mic and Mixer Kit
By Dendy Jarrett |
Sabian Sound Kit
The K.I.S.S. drum mic and mixer kit
by Dendy Jarrett
I’m a drummer, not a sound engineer, so when I play, that’s exactly what I want to do. I don’t want to fuss with microphones, attach clips to my drums, or run cables everywhere. I just want to make music and need something in keeping with the K.I.S.S. theory (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Enter Sabian’s Sound Kit. Now, you might be thinking - doesn't Sabian just make cymbals? Yes, same company. But because they deal with drummers all day, they also heard the same thing over and over: “I just want to play drums.”
So they created the Sabian Sound Kit, a simple four-piece kit that consists of two cymbal-optimized, matched overhead mics, an SK1 kick mic, and an SSK mixer/monitor/on-board recorder.
Sabian Sound Kit – What’s Included:
The two cymbal-optimized, matched overhead mics are the OHR and OHL (overhead right and overhead left). These are two small (literally, three inches long) diaphragm cardioid condenser mics. They are so small that they weigh only a little over three ounces.
The mic specifications are:
Type: Condenser microphone
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Frequency Response: 50 Hz~15,000 Hz
Impedance: 6.8 KΩ + 30% (at 1,000 Hz)
Sensitivity: -65 dB + 3 dB (SPL=74 dB, 0 dB=1V/µ bar; at 1,000 Hz indicated by open circuit)
Power Source: 48V DC phantom power
Dimensions: 21.5 X 90 (mm)
Weight: 81g (without battery and cable)
Application: Drum overhead microphones
And in layman terms: These are the overhead drum mics. You place them overhead and they do their job – and quite well. They are called ‘cymbal optimized’ because the frequency response is dialed in to give you optimal cymbal sound while not having the cymbals “kill” the sound of your drums.
— DOWN LOW
The SK1 Kick drum mic is a dynamic microphone that resembles other kick drum mics, although the design is a little more “sexy” and sleek. The attached mic clip has two receivers – one for the mic stand and the other for the cable. It allows for a great degree of tilt adjustment.
Specifications on this mic:
Type: Dynamic microphone
Polar Pattern: Bi-directional
Frequency Response: 30 Hz~12,000 Hz
Impedance: 300 Ω + 30% (at 1,000 Hz)
Sensitivity: -75 dB + 3 dB (SPL=74 dB, 0 dB=1V/µ bar; at 1,000 Hz indicated by open circuit)
Cartidge: CSM-173 (copper voice coil)
Dimensions: 60 X 130mm
Weight: 525g (without cable)
Application: Kick Drum Mic
All that means simply is that it performs as a great low frequency response microphone, and compares very favorably to most other well-known kick drum mics.
— PERSONAL MIXER – PDMr (SSK)
OK, I confess – aside from the simplicity, this personal three-channel mixer (with an aux in and a master out) is my favorite part of this entire kit. It kills so many ills in one simple box. It takes care of being a mixer for the drums. It allows you to record and play back what you’ve played, which is great for both practice (by yourself) and rehearsal (with a band). There are preset audio equalizers that are designed to take the guesswork out of getting great sound from your drums. It also has a line in for a device for playing music or a click (metronome) app. With this, you can add the click into your ear mix.
Additionally, it lets you send the drums to your in-ear monitors or headphones. This is fantastic because (at least for me) I used a string of devices that performed this task until this little magic box came along.
And finally, the mixer is so intuitive, thanks to the well-marked identifiers.
Specifications on the mixer:
Power Input: 18V, 500 mA DC Center Negative
Headphone Amp Power: 2W @ 16 Ω
Frequency Response: 20 Hz-20 kHz
Outputs: 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, ¼” stereo headphone jack, (2) XLR output
Phantom Power: +18V
Inputs: (3) XLR, (2) ¼” mono jack, (1) 3.5mm stereo jack
Weight: 2.75 lbs.
Dimensions: 6” X 9” X 2.5”
Short of supplying the SD card or mic cables, you're ready to rock right out of the box.
Sabian does a great job of providing you placement schematics. Certainly, you could choose your own placement, but if you want this to work as simply as it's designed, you’ll follow their setup protocol. (We’ll call it "best practice" placement.) The recommended placement, and what I found works best as well, is to place the OHL about 32 inches over the top of your snare drum pointing directly down. You’ll get snare, high-hat, mount tom and any left hand cymbals from this microphone. OHR should go behind the player and point over the player’s right hand shoulder pointing down at the bass drum beater. This will pick up bass drum batter impact, and all right-hand side drums and cymbals.
For the bass drum, Sabian recommends any traditional or typical bass drum mic placement. I don’t keep a hole in my front head, so I placed it as close to the front head as I could get it in about the 5 o’clock position. Because the OHR is pointed at the bass drum beater, you get plenty of attack between the two mics.
And if it couldn’t get any easier, Sabian provides an online set up video to help guide you along the way.
Whether you’re playing at home in your drum room in a practice or rehearsal setting, or playing out...the Sabian Sound Kit will become your best friend, and the drum-specific mixer will become a necessary tool for your practice and development as a drummer. For home recording the line out feature lets you control the sound of your drums going into the mix. And for playing out, this kit is the ultimate for small clubs, coffee house gigs, and even slightly larger halls where you want a true “live” sound coming from the stage.
I also did some experimenting with my percussion setup: three congas, two timbales, and overhead cymbals. I followed the same best practice placement recommendations; the only difference is I positioned the kick drum mic slightly in front of all three congas near the floor. There were the same simple, yet amazing results as with using the Sound Kit for the drum set. I suspect the same would be true if you were using this for a cajon and assorted percussion accessories in a small coffee house setting.
Sabian’s Sound Kit is so simple, you won’t need to call one of your sound system-savvy friends to help mic your drums. For a drummer, it doesn’t get any better. Sabian followed the K.I.S.S. theory to the letter of the law; it’s not intimidating in any way. And the even better news: it’s affordable. Additionally, your entire mic setup including the mixer is around 3lbs. and fits in the accessory pocket on your Sabian cymbal bag.
What did I like best about the Sabian Sound Kit? It’s simple. Let me reiterate—it's simple!
Join the discussion on HC's Drums & Percussion Forum
Sabian’s Official Sound Kit Website (http://sabiansoundkit.com)
Street Price: $299.00
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Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.