Red5 Audio RVK7 Drum kit mic set
Category: Products / studio-gear + dj / dynamic mic's
Added: 19-Dec-02 | Author: admin
New price: £199.00 !! | S/H price: Not listed
Red5 Audio RVK7 Drum kit mic setMore mic's to review!... Loverly!... I just got thru doing those T-Bone mic reviews which was great fun, & it makes a change to doing the s/w or soundcard or other reviews we usualy get. It's nice to be able to do some reviews that pertain to a wider audience than the typical sort of gear many people might associate with 'dance' music creation - Sometimes I wonder that 'non-regular' visitors might think Dancetech doesn't relate to them unless they make strictly dance music, I worry about it, I wonder sometimes that mebbe we should have called 'Dancetech' by a different broader name!... But that's between me & my therapist anyways!.. heh heh....
The reality is, many of our 'regulars' DO play all types of music, many started out playing as regular band players and some still do play in other types of band... I spent a few years working on a small 3-5k rig back in my younger days and still play rock & acoustic/band style music and funk and reggea etc live and in studio-time... and does not 'dance' potentialy include live shows & bands with a real drummer?... yes indeed it does!... anyways, pre-amble over... on with the show!
The 'RVK7 Drum kit microphone set' was delivered to Dancetech by courier, courtesy of RED5 Audio up in Scotland. Angus from Red5 setup the delivery, and was interested to see what we thought.... I beleive this was an exclusive for Dancetech!... ew!
Red5 are the brand owners and sole retailers which helps keep costs low to the end punter by removing a distributor mark-up... You order direct via their website or on the dog & bone and it arrives by courier... Red5 mic's are exceedingly cheap, but well made, being of Chinese manufacture I believe...
There's been alot of interest in Chinese or Korean OEM branded mic's in the last year or so, ever since the Studio-Projects mic's got rave reviews on Pro-rec.com... one mic in particular was being compared to a U87 but at only 200 quid or so in cost!... Anyways, this is how things are going, the interest is there as people NOW know these Chinese made mic's CAN be quality too, not just rediculously cheap!!... Thus I was VERY interested to see what this new wave of eastern manufacturing would yeild. Also, our chief technician owns a RED5 large diaphragm condenser mic for his studio, which I tried and loved... So I was expecting good things from this drumset package... Did it measure up tho?
Well.. ripped open the box... The first thing I thought when I saw the case & set?...
"F**k me!.. they look bloody GREAT!!"...
Well... vernacular or otherwise, sorry, but that's what i thought!... The set costs ONLY £199.00 quid remember, and I knew that when I opened the package...
The set really does look superb!!... The same day they arrived, we had a client in to do some advertising-score work. We showed him the set.. "What do you think this set cost?", we asked him. He took a look at the set and replied, "I dunno, about a thousand quid?" - Ok, he's mebbe not up on the new low-cost of eastern-made mic's these days, but the set DOES look the biz and looks 'quality' & expensive!.. I guess he looked and thought to himself, "Well, a decent mic looking like that is about a couple of hundred each, so... a grand for the lot with a good case?" - They certainly look WAY more expensive than they cost as a starter...
So, you open up your purchase & feast your eyes!... The row of chunky and compact RVD9's, the slim sleek RV4's and slap-bang in the middle, like the rook on a chessboard, is the hefty space-age looking RVD1 Kick Drum mic, looking like it's going to just muscle any kickdrum into shape that dares cross it's path!... it looks like something Judge Dredd would use to take radar detections for speeding fines!... There are no hard edges on these RED5 drum mic's... all is smooth sweeping contours, and the whole set is finished in a dark glistening satin metallic grey for the dynamic's and satin black for the RV4's...
Also in the case is two foam popsheilds & two slim sized mounting clamps for the RV4's. This set we received was missing the additional clamps which will be included with sets for retail. The 4 tom/snare mic's, (the RVD9) each have a special clamp to fix them to the drums. Those will also be in the case therefore with 'production' sets I presume once they start sending them out.
So, great initial impressions... they look very nice, with a smooth aerodynamic casting shape, and smart compact sort of 'cam' nut to tighten the mic's up once they are fitted to stands.
The case, looks GREAT, well made, solid, cromed metal handle, chunky latches, rivetted. Inside you get the whole works...
The kit test
Ok... First up, a BIG thankyou is in order to Mr Bobby 'Sox' at Community-Music in Southwark for helping out with the live testing facilities - thanx mate! :) - We got some nice samples out of the sessions too btw, which I'll be adding to Dancetech sometime next week - The way we tested it was this... we setup the Yamaha power kit, we didn't use some echte zuper kit, we wanted to see what an average kit (of the type a pa or local studio might face regularly) would yeild.
We wanted to also try out a set of AKG's which Bobby had already, and which he uses regularly for his live gigs when he uses his acoustic kit - This set in fact:
We wanted to not only review the RED5 set, but also compare the two sets as part of the test and see how the RED5 set fared against a respected brand-name like AKG... So we setup the RED5 set, did some test recordings, tweaked the eq & relative levels slightly to arrive at a good stereo mix, then recorded some stuff... single hits and licks, plus some grooves played to a VSTi 'Junglist' bassline & metronome...
Then, leaving everything set the same on the mixer, we changed to the AKG set and did it again, re-tweaking the eq & balance a bit to suit the AKG mic's as best as we could, just as we did for the RED5 set... The comparison results were very interesting.
For both sets we applied slight eq tweaks to ONLY the snare, hat & kick drum mic's, the tom mic's were left flat. For the RED5 & AKG set audio examples, we used the same RV4's from the RED5 mic set for the hats & single overhead, as the AKG set didn't have any overheads included to use.... So when listening to the audio comparison accompanying this review, bear in mind that the difference between them is just the drum mic's, not the overhead or hats which for both audio examples is identical.
Second, the kit was set in a room of perhaps 400 sq ft. - The room was bigger than the playing/spectator area of say the Monarch or the Dublin Castle, (two well known London circuit venues)... similar/typical club/venue acoustic's too - low ceiling, carpeted, plaster walls, quite a live sound but not boomy or cavernous. So bear in mind, whatever results we got here could be improved upon of course in a more controlled studio environment playing-area and/or with the addition of more attention to EQ, gates, compressors etc... but overall, it allowed us to see how the set would sound in real-life use with a live pa setup as well as recorded to h/disk.
The audio examples resulting therefore are of a basicaly mixed STEREO kit with NO outboard added, we didnt record drums to seperate tracks on the VST laptop and then remix them afterwards, so this is as ruff as it'll get soundwise!
We fed the mic's into a Mackie 16 channel mixer and ran that out to VST on a lappy via a Midiman USB pre-amp i/o unit thing... Playback/monitor was wired both to the small pa the room was equipt with & to cans... While the pa itself wasn't huge, it was plenty loud enuff for a big loud live sound which shook the room on playback.
Although alot of people will look at this drumset for their studio, the live guys often don't get a thought. As mentioned earlier, I did the London rounds for a few years on a 3-5k rig, and I play now and again live in rock setups, and so wanted to see how this set would work with recording, AND playing back LOUD on a cabinet-based pa system in a venue-sized room!...
Let me say before we look at the set and appraise each mic, that the final sound was MONSTER!... it was a SUPERB sound for such a small pa, very 'pro' sounding, the drums having real beef and power, thumping you right in the correct area's, & with only fractional eq use & no outboard either!
The Eq we used for the test
- rolled the bottom off the hat mic (RV4) and racked it's mid eq back to 8-9 o'clock.
- The kick had a slight top rise, just a few db, and that's all...
- The snare mic (RVD9) had the bottom rolled off to around 10 o'clock, and a fraction of top boost
- Everything else flat.
On playback, the kit just was just pumping out, the kick drum really thumping you in the guts and body and the toms really clear and sweet sounding with that loverly solid 'thud' & 'after-boom' of a good full tom sound but without any nasty resonant-shell artefacts.... Overall, even tho we used NO gates or anything else at all apart from some mild eq tweaks, the kit sounded like it DID have at least a few gates on it!... a VERY well defined sound, tight, no intrusive artifacts or booming resonances & a full deep sound which had power when played hard, but also with all the right subtleties when played more gently - You didn't get only a good sound when the kit was hammered basicaly.
The RVD9 used on the snare wasn't 'pinky' or honky or whatever. Even tho the snare itself actualy DID exhibit some timbale-like 'honk', when it was mic'd with the RVD9 in the mix thumping out of the pa and on cans as part of a recording, it sounded just tight and with just enuff included overtones to make the snare sound solid & 'wooden' - No nasty after-lingering resonances or ringing sound then... tight & clear and well defined!... warm somehow too as a consequence.
By comparison, the AKG set made the snare sound very 'ringing' - the AKG set overall picked up alot of these artifacts & resonances compared to the RED5 set it has to be said... The mix using the AKG set didnt have the same solidity, cohesion, or 'mixed' quality to it as with the RED5 drumset when we swapped them around and compared recordings side by side.
Overall, we discussed this and thought possibly the AKG set, being all condensers, might be more detailed and fare well in a studio with a deader room and more dynamic control via the fx rack... I thought possibly the AKG might be better compared under certain other more 'studio' conditions.... BUT, the plain fact was, the sound of the RED5 set was so far and away, better!... it really sounded thumping and tight yet with detail, and sounded 'well mixed' with no effort at all.
Somehow i got the feeling this had something to do with the weight of the mic's... the 4 RVD9's are chunky for such a small stubby mic, and somehow this solidity seems to get a tightened sound, rather like the difference between a vinyl played on a 'tight' deck with a weighty solid plinth, or a cheap hollow boxy plinth... do you get me?.. if the weight of the mic body is solid then to my mind the vibrating foil will be more defined & tighter mebber?..
Anyways, you can judge because there is mp3's to compare further on in this review.
Right let's go thru the set with thoughts on each mic.
The complete kit includes:
1 RVD1 Kick Drum mic.
It's weighty!!... that's the first thing you notice!... I liked that... and it yeilded a really solid, full, thumping kick drum as it turns out, but which also sounded 'phat' when played gently... First off, you'll need a good stand for this one, cos it's heavy. I actualy found with this test setup the best sound was OUT-side the kick shell round at the back of the kik-drum, facing the kick-drum head by the beater.
The sound was monster!... This mic in common with the other dynamic's in the set must be hypercardiod, & seems to really reject any off-axis sound well. The kick sounded really isolated with the RVD1, despite the fact the mic was right near the floor-tom it picked up no ringing/resonance from the floor-tom, whilst the AKG D112 we compared it to picked-up from it's rear as well as it's front-facing silver-grill with green-band.. it picked up the floor tom humming away quite severly by comparison and overall, the RVD1 was tighter & way way more defined & isolated & offered WAY superior rejection of off-axis sound.
4 RVD9 Dynamic Snare / Tom Mics.
I tried these on guitar too, and they are fine, just like using any decent dynamic mic with a nice solid body. They are a gorgeous shape, tapering down to their built-in angle-clamp, small & un-obtrusive onstage, especialy useful for smaller venue work where you dont want a load of long oversized & heavy 'SM58 type/size' or bigger dynamic mic's being weilded around. And the drummers happy cos he's not concealed behind a wall of big mic's right at eye-height above his two overheads.
2 x RV4 Small Diaphragm Condenser (overhead) Mics + foam windwhields & stand adaptors.
These two are interesting... I compared one to a Calrec 1051c, recording some acoustic guitar with it back in my studio for a tester & doing a side-by-side with the 1051c.
[acoustic guitar RV4 demo here - recorded with old strings]
The RV4 has a boost around 8k-11k on the paper chart, and you can hear that little extra top-end presence to the sound but it's a little difference. The Calrec wacks out more level it seems, so the RV4 needs mebbe a few db of extra gain to match, but if you add some slight 8k eq boost to the Calrec there's little in it, if you want the RV4 to be a bit 'airy-er', knock out a few db of tight-ish 8k eq to taste - however, that slight boost i thought might be useful in it's intended role as one half of an overhead pair...
When we tested the RV4's in their 'overhead' role we indeed found that to be so... added in, the RV4 overheads just gave the kit sound all a more unified feel, and cymbals came out nice and clear... a good balance overall. That 8-11 khz hump picks up the cymbals great so that they cut thru all crispy, and you dont get any loud clutter from the rest of the kit, just and overall upper-end 'frosting' as it should be, like adding an enhancer or whatever in live situation.
after we tried the RV4's as a pair, we finaly setup with just one RV4 overhead center, 3-4ft above to get the cymbels & top-end...
We used the other RV4 on the hat, which i found sounded best on this set of hats by being placed underneath, (we finaly changed it after the image above was snapped), facing up toward the edge of the hat on the other side from the drummer, and also angled out away from the rest of the kit... It got the hats NICE and crisp... the hats weren't top quality, but they sounded good on playback thru the pa & cans for sure.
To refresh from above: I rolled the bottom EQ off the hat mic (RV4), and racked the mid back to 9 or 10 o'clock.... so that eq cut, and angling the mic out away from the snare & rest of kit, isolated the hat more & produced a nice crisp, fine & isolated hat sound.
All in all the RV4 sounds very good, not quite a fine as the Calrec but near enuff which is excellent for such a budget pair of mic's added to a budget drumset... They dont sound cheap is the thing, so they can be used for other studio tasks like acoustic or whatever, but they work well in their intened role here, especialy for live use.
Additionaly, the RV4's take batteries! - wonderful! - so you can use the whole set without having to have phantom power.
4 RVD9 mounting brackets and a solid flight-case.
Well as mentioned, the case looks superb, and certainly doesn't feel at all cheap. It got alot of 'looks' on the Tube for sure when I was travelling over to the studio where we tested them on the kit.... The set we got sent, (we were told) had not gone out to anyone else, so it is sort of a 'first edition' preview review - the '4 x RVD9 mounting brackets' were NOT in the package/case, but these will be available apparently soon according to RED5, so if you're interested in this set to purchase, (and you should be if you're currently after a drumset of mic's!), you'd best check that situation out with RED5 prior to purchase.
Is there anything I could fault... only that they use Parcelfarce for delivery, who in the best Parcelfarce tradition of 'Dennis Nordern Cock-ups', claimed that they 'tried' to deliver 2 times to an address that didnt exist because they got the 2 address lines back to front!!... Yet oddly, when applying the postcode which they had been supplied with and which was on the parcel, it yielded the address the right way round!!... The Parcelfarce depot manager had a great time being creative trying to explain how they could have 'tried to deliver' as claimed to an address that didn't exist!..... i suggested Amtrak to RED5's guy already. :)
Those balls-up's, so typical with Parcelfarce (hey, i've BEEN an office manager in the past ok!!), kinda takes the edge off things if you've paid and are eager to get the goods I'd say...
One other thing to bear in mind is that if you have a 5 piece kit to do and want stereo overheads too, then you'll also need an extra mic for your hi-hat. The rejection of off-axis sounds is so good with the RVD9's that you won't be able to use one RVD9 for BOTH the snare AND hat by placing it in the middle between the two... it just doesn't work. But as we did it, with one of the RV4's on the hat, and the other RV4 as a single overhead to get the top-end, the set worked just fine! - anyways, it's a thought to bear in mind for mic-ing bigger kits. But as I mentioned already, for larger pa companies or studio's with a touch more cash to spend, you could get two sets for 400 quid and have PLENTY of great mic selections available for any situation, even for monster RUSH style kit setups, remember these mic's will all function great on stuff like cab mic-ing duties :)
The build quality is rugged overall & they all feel hefty and chunky with nice solid thick wire pop-baskets.... with build quality like they have, I think they'd fare well under pa warfare conditions as we know they exist, and will still be pumping it out once they'd been dragged round the block a few times & were looking 'road-worn' :) - anyways, at the loopy low-price they sell for you could have two sets, with one set in reserve & for extras where you encounter bigger kits! - or frankly after my tests, I'd say that any spare RVD9's and RV4's could be used very sucessfuly on other stage mic-ing jobs like cabs or percussions etc.
Anything else?... um... nope... apart from their choice of courier, I can't find a single fault!...and er... I'll be honest... I told RED5 already they aint getting them back!.. lol!
The conversation was sorta like:
Me: "So, what do we er, do with these mic's when we're done reviewing them then?.."
Red5: "well, normaly you'd send them back to us to pass on to the next reviewers"
Me: "well look... you're not getting them back!" - etc..
Seriously... the guy said, "Well.. we could do you a deal mebbe" - They'd better!!!.. cos otherwise they'll have to use the bailiffs to get them back cos these mic's are NOT leaving, period! - no way!!
So, in conclusion, the set looks GREAT, which is good because after all, when you work your nuts off for something you want it to also look good and give you some sense of it's worth, and this whole set does just that. For any studio owner seeking a mic drumset, (especialy if they are on a budget), or for the local or even much bigger pa system owner, or for just a band who wants a good drum sound at each gig, or for a band rehearsal room etc, at the price of £199.00, they are unfaultable.
This set offers the small studio owner all the studio mic's they need in one go, (apart from a main large-diaphragm/vocal mic), & SOUNDS great too, totaly belying their budget price & offering a really balanced controlled sound without any additional outboard if you're on a total budget.. and even if you are NOT on a budget and have lots of outboard, it's still preferable to have a drumsound which from the OUTSET requires little tweaking to get a really good tight & controlled sound!... There's nothing more irritating than having to spend ages in a studio or at a gig messing about trying to get the drum-mic's to sound even half-good!... I'm frankly amazed at this price how good the set sounds!... Knockout stuff from RED5, well worth a 10/10 rating!!
Anyways, checkout the audio examples below...!
UPDATE - SEPT 2004 - We'll just wanted to add a few lines now I've had the set for a while - I used them at a few gigs - Once using a low-quality PA in a large venue/hall (about 3000 sq ft) with a VERY high ceiling... great sound! - monster kik!... I also got to use them at the playhouse in Berwick-on-Tweed, replacing their set of Sure drum mic's before the gig - That venue had a really nice PA of Hi-quality cabs/amps and a big Ghost mixer - again, GREAT sound! - Also have used the RVD9's on guitar cabs/combo's and again they work GREAT!... Good off-axis rejection and a nice full balanced sound with plenty of ability to take high levels... you can think of them as a 57/58 for use in such situations.
Also the RVD9 clamps arrived and they are well made.
I ended up buying the set from Red5, and I wouldn't part with them for anything! - The RVD9's are as good as anything you'd want from a dynamic mic, but isolate the individual drums way better than the 'usual suspects' due to their hypercardoid design & are WAY easier to position even with flimsy mic' stands due to their small size & slightly lighter weight than typical/traditional dynamics (plus you get the clamps so you save on stands & clutter!)... the RVD7's are VERY decent condensers and well worth the money, and the RVD1?... heh heh... You'd have to prise that from my dead, still-warm hands!
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Total stars: 156 | Total votes: 40