Mixing a drum kit in either a studio or live setting is never easy. Even in the confines of a studio, cabling is still a massive headache and often requires crafty pre-planning to ensure no one trips over a cable that’s plugged into a precariously angled expensive overhead, or snare microphone perfectly placed for maximum room and impact. sE Microphones, in their endless quest to provide working class products at great prices, have begun to solve this problem.
The V Series of drum microphones are a kick and snare mic, as well as a well-designed mic clamp to save floor real estate with excessive mic stands and cabling. Both the V Kick and V Beat (designed for snare and toms) mics are small in size but large in sound - something that a lot of microphones designed specifically for drums try and fail to be. Both are dynamic supercardioid mics and sound familiar with a modern edge. The V Kick vaguely resembles the sound of a Shure Beta52 with different voicing options. The V Beat is vaguely reminiscent of a Shure SM57 or Audix i5 in a much smaller size and with a rounder sound. Both mics sound especially modern but remain dry enough to take saturation and effects well if that’s not your thing.
The V Kick and V Beat are both dynamic supercardioid mics with aluminium voice coils and are both fairly lightweight. The bandwidth for both mics ends at 19kHz and the lows at 20 & 30Hz for the V Kick and V Beat respectively. The V Clamp is a short clamp with a thread for mic clips on it, and an elastic clip to be placed on the rim of a snare or tom, instead of having a full mic stand for a snare mic and each of the 3-4 toms. The advantage of this, similar to using mic clips live, is that when the drum is struck, the mic moves with the drum so there’s no momentary phase issues or drop in level.
For other instruments that aren’t being bopped around, the V Beat is also great for guitar and bass cabinets or spot mics on horns. With an incredibly low noise floor, the V Beat is great for capturing strong dynamics in drums but also the nuances of trumpets or for emphasising the silence and pauses in modern metal. The silence is what makes things heavy and the V Series capture silence well. With a swivelling head, the V Beat can be mounted anywhere close to a cabinet either in front of or sideways and then aimed at the cone easily, i.e. when using multiple mics pointed at varying angles at the cone. Once you’ve placed your mics, and the internal windscreen has reduced unwanted pops and plosives, the audio travels through gold XLR pins to your recording or playback source.
The V Kick, designed for capturing lower frequencies, is similarly handy but in its own ways. The voicing options of the V Kick are where this mic shines. Switching between Classic and modern in either the overall sound or high frequency response leaves us with a bunch of voicing shaping options even before the mic hits a pre-amp. On the overall control, ‘Classic’ gives a much more balanced sound with little colour or EQ, and is the large kick sound with plenty of the mids that we’re accustomed to in more traditional rock or jazz and country.
The ‘Modern’ setting provides a much more scooped sound, emphasising the lows and highs without boosting them. This would be great for more modern rock, pop, hip hop and metal that needs a more aggressive, forward kick sound. The ‘Classic’ and ‘Modern’ setting on the high frequency switches toggle between a mid-range bite on ‘Classic’ or a more spanky top-end on the ‘Modern’ setting with more dynamic and clearly defined transients. The V Beat is a fairly balanced microphone with a great proximity effect that can be used to EQ the snare with a boost around 100Hz, depending on how close the mic is. With some careful placement, you can use a V Beat on snare and toms and EQ them carefully to fit into a mix before touching any faders.
The V Series of drum mics are a great solution for recording or live engineers of any level. While priced as budget mics, these can be integrated into recordings with much more expensive rooms and overheads, with the V Series handling your close mics on an entire kit. Alternatively, multiple V Beats can be your guitar cabinet sound while the V Kick handles the rumble of a bass amp.
The V Clamp does your cable management and floor space a world of good while also giving your drummer room to breathe and focus on their playing rather than avoiding mic stands or oddly placed cabling. The voicing options offer four-five mics in one, and the internal windshield and aluminium voice coils ensure the audio captured is as clear as you need it to be. The V Series are a complete solution and while they’re a great entry level mic, there’s no reason the tones you can sculpt from the different voicing options can’t end up on big-budget hit records.
Hits and Misses
V Clamp saves floor space