Shure DMK57-52 Drum Microphone Kit Review

DMK57-52 is an ideal package from Shure that works wonders with any 4-piece drum set. This pack includes a Beta-52A and 3 x SM57 mics, all coming with decent quality clamps. Both models are actually dynamic. SM57 has a cardioid picking pattern and a well-tailored frequency response from lows to highs with especially stable mid-range. It works not only for toms and for snares but it is also a good all-around mic, frequently used for live vocals too. Beta-52A is designed for bass recording and it can take a mean SPL punch from your kick drum without a slightest distortion.

Sound & quality

Considering the price of the package, you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. For toms and snares, the 57s sound nothing short of amazing, clean and accurate, needing little to no EQ. These mics are unpretentious, very easy to set up and require no magic whatsoever. Just clamp them on and you are ready to go. They work great for both studio recording and live performance, so you can carry them around. Although fairly inexpensive, SM57 can deliver a sound that is very close to high end. It may not be the perfect choice for a singer, but when it comes to drums you won’t find any better without doubling or tripling your investment, which will also scale with the number of drums.

Beta-52A is not a joke either. It delivers a lively, profound bass without sacrificing the clarity of the attack. The sound has a lot of presence and it is very well balanced. According to specifications, it can also handle the sound pressure of up to 174 dB, which is an insane amount. You simply would never get it overloaded even if you wanted to. Other than that, it has an in-built pneumatic shock mount that helps eliminating extraneous vibration and mechanical noise. Aside from kick drums, it makes a fantastic mic for bass cabs with a sound ‘n kicking low-end.

Build & setup

dmk57-52Both models are very durable and using hardened steel, they are actually hard to break. There is no hype in saying those mics can work for a decade as long as you shake off the dust. This is quite common for Shure’s microphones, and I wouldn’t expect any less. Clamps that come with the kit also seem to be of high quality. They are branded and are sold $40 apiece. Just google for Shure A56D and see some actual pictures. With this mounting system, you can fasten them on any kind of stands and this gives a bit of freedom. For a kick drum, you may need a small boom stand though, but it’s also possible to improvise.

Ideally, this kit is designed for a 4-piece drum set and it requires one or two overhead mics to capture the cymbals. For an overhead, any decent condenser mic with a cardioid pattern should usually do the trick. For those who like premium, I can particularly recommend a pair of Audio-Technica ATM450. Now, if you don’t mind a little bit of bleed, it is also possible to record a 5-piece set while capturing two high toms with one of the 57s. Finally, you can even set it up without overheads so as to capture cymbals as well, but I would never recommend it as other than a temporary solution.

Conclusion

When it comes to 4-piece drum sets, unarguably, Shure DMK57-52 is a beast. With its great sound quality, it comes very close to the high end while retaining a cheap price. Think of it, if you bought those items one by one, it would cost you $100 x 3 for SM57, $200 for Beta-52A and $40 x 3 for the clamps, which is over $600. That is why for the price they sell it for, many would consider it a steal. Whether you are a professional or a beginner drummer, you’ll never get disappointed with this choice even if you do have higher standards for gear, and especially if on a budget.

Pros

  • Clean, quality sound
  • Good accuracy and presence
  • Great price for the buck
  • Works even in extreme environments
  • Easy to set up
  • Durable

Cons

  • Clamps can go loose unless tightened nicely

Review score
  • Very good! - 8/10
    8/10

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