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If you want to record drums or play live on stage, you will need a reliable kick drum microphone that captures the sound of your bass drum.
There are plenty of kick drum mics and on June 1st 2022, another was added to the infinite drumming universe – the DPA 4055 kick drum microphone and here's what it can do for you:
DPA 4055 kick drum microphone review
Why would any drummer, audio-engineer or the world require another bass drum microphone like the DPA 4055?
That' was the very 1st question I asked myself when I heard of this new product from Denmark.
First, this is, what the DPA 4055 kick drum microphone looks like:
In comparison to other bass drum mics, like the AKG D-112, Shure Beta 52A and Audix D6, the DPA 4055 is quite small.
Therefore, it's easy to position it also on the batter head side of the kick drum without interfering with your knees, bass drum pedal or floor tom:
Another interesting aspect of the DPA 4055 is, that it is a condenser- and not a dynamic microphone like “all” the others available on the market.
Still, this condenser microphone is capable of dealing with crazy high sound pressure levels (SPL) – up to 164 dB, which probably no drummer on earth will ever reach.
What's the difference between a dynamic and a condenser microphone?
Why did DPA choose to create a condenser mic for bass drum recordings, whereas all other companies built dynamic kick drum mics?
That's a good question, and here's a very short answer:
The main difference between a dynamic and a condenser microphone is the way how the microphone picks up sound and converts it into an electrical signal.
Dynamic microphones are built quite simple. Therefore, these types of microphones are rather inexpensive and rugged.
Just think of the Shure SM57 snare drum microphone, for example! 🙂
Condenser microphones need to be powered by an external source (phantom power) which is provided by most audio interfaces, mixing consoles, power mixers and so on.
Due to its construction, most condenser mics come with a higher sensitivity than dynamic microphones. That's why this type of mics is often used for voice recordings, violin, guitar, and overheads for example.
You can find a more detailed comparison between condenser and dynamic microphones in the resources section.
In conclusion: DPA's main objective was to build a microphone which is capable of picking up all the tiny details of a kick drum and decided, that this can only be done by a condenser mic.
You can hear yourself, what the microphone sounds like on my bass drums here.
DPA 4055 product contents
What's inside the box?
The DPA 4055 bass drum microphone comes with a sturdy case and a second bag.
You can see both here:
The microphone clip is quite innovative and worth mentioning. I haven't seen anything like this before, and it's comparable to the conventional clips everybody knows.
You can attach the clip to the microphone and tighten it up by turning it until it is fixed to the DPA 4055.
What does the DPA 4055 bass drum microphone sound like?
I recorded both sides of my 20" x 17" Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute bass drum in different angles and distances to the batter head.
Recording the batter side
As mentioned above, positioning the DPA 4055 kick drum microphone in front of the batter head isn't any problem at all.
But why would anybody record a bass drum from the batter head side at all?
- Why not?
- Any other drum is being recorded from the “batter side” – why not the kick drum?
- If you want to get the “attach” of your kick drum, the batter head is probably the easier way to “get” it onto your hard disc.
I picked 3 distances from the head and the differences in sound are very well audible:
I made the 1st recording about 3 to 4 inches (ca. 8 to 10 cm) away from the batter head. Here's what it sounds like:
The second audio sample was recorded approximately 7 to 8 inches (ca. 20 cm) away from the batter head:
The last recording on the batter side head of my 20" x 17" kick drum was about 11 to 12 inches (ca. 30 cm) away and sounds like this:
Recording the resonance side
Of course, I also recorded my kick drum the “conventional way” at the resonance head.
Here I also chose two distances to record the audio samples.
Entrance of the resonance hole
I recorded the 1st audio sample at the very beginning of the sound hole of my bass drum.
I positioned the DPA 4055 bass drum microphone directly to the point, where the beater of my kick drum pedal hits the drum head.
2 inches (ca. 5 cm) inside the kick drum
I recorded the 2nd audio sample 1 to 2 inches (ca. 5 cm) inside the bass drum, and it sounds like this:
Recording a 16" tiny kick drum
I also recorded my 16" Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute floor tom, which I converted into a tiny bass drum using the DW DW9909 bass drum lifter.
This time I only recorded the resonance head without a sound hole:
Although the kick drum and the snare drum are very close to each other, the “bleed” of the snare drum is really quiet.
DPA 4055 polar pattern
DPA describes the DPA 4055 polar pattern as an “open” cardioid characteristic. This is another feature which differs from other kick drum mics, which usually come with a cardioid polar pattern.
You can find more about microphone specifications in the resources box below.
Frequency response of the DPA 4055
Last, not least, we need to mention the frequency response curve of the DPA 4055.
You can see it here:
As you can see, the frequency response is quite flat, but is being influenced by the angle you use when positioning the DPA 4055.
With that said, the DPA 4055 kick drum microphone is very versatile and is capable of capturing sound for any music genre from Rock to Pop, Metal, Jazz, Latin and so on.
The DPA 4055 mic is another fantastic tool to shape your audio in the studio and on stage, too. Due to its specs and size, it can be used in a variety of recording scenarios, different instruments and in all music styles.
If you are looking for a microphone which is meant to record kick drums, but can do a lot more than that, this is the mic for you!
I hope, that I was able to help with this DPA 4055 kick drum microphone review to make a buying decision.
Let me know what you think about this mic in the comments.
I am happy to help!