OMG!!!!!! Heil drum mics are my new BFF!!!!! Now that I’ve made myself sound like a girl from the valley…
I’ll try to compose myself and act like the audio professional that I am. HAAAAA!!!!!!!!
On a more serious note the test piece, or pieces, is the Heil HDK-8 drum mic package. Now you and I both know that one can easily get carried away and spend a small fortune on microphones, especially drum mics. All those expensive condensers, the micro tom mics, the dynamic tom mics, and the list goes on. Now this package has 8 mics in it, hence the 8 in HDK-8. The kit consists of two PR22’s, three PR28’s, two PR30B’s, one PR48, three tom mounts, and one wicked cool case. For those new to my reviews, I do audio in Las Vegas in a variety of venues for HAS Productions and runn the sound for a large church with loud worship bands.
Lets start with the kick drum mic. At the church I use an Audix D6 and Shure 91 in my kick. This should be a combo most of us have heard, so we’ll call that the control. In goes the PR48, to start I flatten the EQ to give it a fighting chance. I was pleasantly surprised. The drummer that morning has been dubbed the worst drummer that I’ve ever loved. Needless to say he needs all the help he can get. The drum had a nice even tone good body and just enough attack to keep it present in the mix. Kinda sounds like I’m at a wine tasting?
I was able to achieve with one PR48 what it took me two mics to do otherwise. And also the EQ was essentially flat which supports good gain structure. In the evening service I had a drummer that plays with baseball bats and has a foot like an anvil. I wasn’t as impressed with the mic with the second drummer as I was with the first. It seemed that the harder he kicked the drum that less low end the mic produced. I found myself having to overcompensate the low end with the second guy. Even so there was still enough attack to keep me satisfied without having to use a second mic. Overall I give the PR48 an 8 of 10.
Next the snare drum. Control in this case is a pair of SM57’s. Pretty standard. I know that Heil put two PR22’s in the package intending on one being snare drum and one for high hat. I opted to use them both on the snare drum. All I can say is….. wait, I can’t say that in writing. Let’s just put it this way, OMG!!!! My new BFF!!!!!! After hearing a pair of PR22’s on my snare I’m devastated to have to give them back. Don’t be surprised if the demo case accidentally has a pair of SM57’s in it instead. Just kidding.
All joking aside this may be one of the best snare combinations I’ve ever heard. Really smooth attack on the high end to make it nice and bright. It cut through the mix with ease. Had really present low end from the drum, and outside of a little high pass absolutely no EQ. The mic also has 40db of rear rejection so you don’t hear a lot of high hat or kick drum coming through. The PR22’s are easily the highlight of the whole package. I honestly can’t say enough about the PR22’s, in short, amazing. Overall I give the PR22’s a 43 of 10.
On to the toms. I use Sennheiser 604s so o this will be our comparison. Onto the HH1 tom clip goes a PR28. It’s shock mounted in the housing which helps to cut out unwanted noise. Bottom line is that it hangs right in there with the rest of the package. Essentially no EQ outside of high pass. It has 35db of rear rejection which helps to cut out the cymbals and the low hanging ride cymbal. It’s a nice compliment to the rest of the package. The one criticism I have is that it is a little large and seems to get in the way of the drummer ever so slightly. Overall the PR28 gets a 7 of 10.
The last two mics in the package are the PR30B’s. Our control is an SM81. With all this talk of control I feel like I’m on an episode of Mythbusters. The PR30B is a cool piece. Although it looks like a large diaphragm condenser it is a dynamic mic. It has an “end fire” capsule, so you point it at the cymbal accordingly. I’m trying to come up with a good adjective for this one so as not to sound redundant. Again kudo’s to Heil, no EQ save for the high pass. Due to the fact that it is dynamic and not condenser it isn’t picking up the entire drum kit as much as it’s picking up the cymbal it’s pointing at. And on those same lines it doesn’t have excessive high end that is present in most condensers. The tone is very full with nearly the perfect amount of presence to where you can really push the brass in the mix and no have to cotton swab your ears or have a whole drum kit coming with it. Overall the PR30B gets a 9 of 10.
In closing I believe that Heil has done a spot on job with this drum mic package. But I’ve left the best part for last. The package costs a mere $1495 straight from Heil. When I consider this package for the price that they are selling it for, it simply can’t be beat. I would gladly give a portion of my manhood to keep this demo package and not give it back. If you’re in the hunt for drum mics, look no further. Go to www.heilsound.com and buy a HDK-8. If your boss, soundco owner, pastor, wife, brother, uncle, grandpa, neighbor, friend, enemy, or postman ask why you should buy the HDK-8, tell them that I said so. Happy trails.
– Rev Bill