Lewitt's DTP Beat Kit Pro 7 is an all-in-one set of drum microphones suitable for both recording and live work.
Though a new brand in the mic world (launching its first products as recently as 2010), Lewitt has no shortage of professional audio expertise within its ranks. Notable Lewitt endorsees include Adele's drummer Derrick Wright and Keith Harris of the Black Eyed Peas.
The DTP Beat Kit Pro 7 consists of seven microphones - four dynamics for snare and toms, two overhead condensers and a dual capsule bass drum mic. Also included are five threaded stand mounts (to attach to the top of mic stands), four clip mounts that snap onto a drum's rim, and an aluminium flight case. While being the most expensive of Lewitt's drum mic kits, the Pro 7 still represents a huge saving over buying the component mics individually.
The most innovative microphone in the kit is the DTP 640 REX bass drum mic, which has two capsules (one dynamic and one condenser) housed side by side within its mesh grille. While it is possible to double-mic a bass drum with conventional mics (ie: individual dynamic and condenser mics), miking a single instrument from two separate sources runs the risk of the signals being 'out of phase' - a scenario which requires considerable sound engineering experience to remedy.
Lewitt's solution of putting both dynamic and condenser capsules in the same mic effectively eliminates any phasing issues before they occur. Both the capsules can also be used individually as well as together and a bespoke lead which runs from the single socket in the DTP 640 REX before splitting into two output sockets makes it possible to isolate each signal.
Three stubby dynamic DTP 340 TTS mics cater for toms and floor toms while the longer dynamic MTP 440 DM takes snare duties. The pair of matched LCT 340 condenser overheads is supplied with cardioid capsules as standard. With the top of the range review kit an extra pair of omni-directional capsules is also included.
We tested the mics at Antenna Studios where we began by close-miking a four-piece kit. Trying the dynamic capsule of the DTP 640 REX alone found it producing a more desirable sound than the industry-standard control mic alongside it. There was a greater degree of solidity and beefiness on tap and the drum just sounded that little bit bigger. Trying the condenser capsule on its own gave a warmer and understandably less saturated response, one more suited to lighter, acoustic-orientated music.
Dialling in both capsules found the dynamic capsule prevailing with the condenser embellishing the sound with shell timbre and air movement. The MTP 440 DM positioned over the snare impressed from the off, capturing the drum's crispness, body and power well. Snare drums can be difficult to record and can easily be rendered either tinny and flimsy or too flat and boxy. This mic avoided either extreme, taming some of the drum's natural aggression without making it sound impotent; if anything it made it more palatable.
Two DTP 340 TTS mics accounted for the toms and reproduced pretty much all of the frequencies generated faithfully. The initial impact came through assertively, while the ensuing note and decay followed on with similar accuracy. Mixing in the two LCT 340 overheads fleshed out the toms further still, giving them a favourable presence in the mix.
The LCT 340s are clearly up there with some of the best condenser mics on the market, picking up every tiny nuance in quiet passages whilst coping smoothly with barrages of equally challenging flat-out drum and cymbal fury. It wasn't just the fact that they dealt with spectrum-wide shifts in dynamics, it was the quality of the sound that they gave while doing so.
The next obvious test was to re-rig the mics in the classic Glyn Johns four mic method (kick and snare close-miked plus the two overheads). Here they excelled again, producing a natural, live-sounding kit with each element easily discernible and yet balanced and homogeneous as a whole.