Audix Drum Mics
The Audix FP7 Fusion Series drum mic package is a complete mid-level package designed for both studio and stage use that offers working drummers and project studios a worthy solution to all their drum and percussion micing needs.
I’ll be honest – I’m not a drummer, and as an engineer, I’m pretty much loathe to purchase package anything, more often choosing to buy mixed and match in order to get the best value for my particular needs. So I turned to gigging drummer Luke Thatcher, a doctoral candidate in drumming at UNLV and all around badass dude with sticks to help me assess the Fusion series package from the viewpoint of a performing drummer.
What You Get:
Three Fusion f2s – a dynamic, hypercardioid, frequency response 52 Hz to 15 kHz, Max SPL 139, that is voiced for rack and floor toms, congas, djembe, timbales, bass cabs and brass.
One Fusion f5 – an all purpose dynamic mic, hypercardioid, frequency response 55 Hz to 15 kHz, Max SPL 137, voiced for snare, bongos, timbales, guitar cabs and acoustic instruments.
One Fusion f6 – a dynamic hypercardioid, frequency response 40 Hz to 16 kHz, Max SPL 140, voiced for kick drum, cajon, and low-end instruments.
Two Fusion f9s – a condenser, cardioid, frequency response 50 Hz to 16 kHz, Max SPL 138, for use on cymbals, high hat, overheads or a room/audience mic.
Aluminum custom foam equipped carrying case
6 high-impact plastic Dclips
1 high-impact plastic MC-1 clip
How It Measures Up
All the mics feature sturdy zinc bodies. The dynamics all include roadworthy steel grills that stood up to basic rough stage handling and stick hits. The aluminum case is your typical included case lately – not flimsy, but nowhere close to being indestructible. Harcore road warriors would definitely want to resettle the package into something a little more rough and tumble, as the case is really designed for basic studio/weekend warrior movement.
Maybe it’s the vocalist in me and the fact that I’ve never seen a single one last for long unless they are handled with kid gloves, but I personally detest high-impact mic clips, and the FP7’s set of them are no exception. They lock in nicely on the mics and come with good quality threaded adaptors on the base, but are obviously not going to last for the life of the mics, and since they aren’t easily replaceable by walking into your nearest corner music store, they seem a bit stingy. Something in rubber would have been more appreciated, particularly since the set is touted primarily as a tool for live use. But it’s likely that Audix expects its users to want to invest in the D vice gooseneck clips anyway at some point. But if I was gigging with the set, they would be the first thing I either get extras of or replace altogether.
Soundwise, Luke and I decided to start with the f6 on his DW kit. It was clear looking at the frequency response specs, that the low end drop off was a little higher on the spectrum than we expected, so we started in with some thumping, but weren’t particularly enamored of the sound coming off of it at plug and play, which had that classic cardboard-ey feel that many cheap mics deliver. Designed with a huge mid-range scoop and upper end boost, there was plenty of 2-5 k attack clarity with a noticeable absence of any mid-range mud. But the f6 was massively thin on the low end (at least to our young hip hop/rap/hard rock influenced ears), and delivered nowhere close to the kind of full round bottom that some might be expecting based on the buzz of the D6. We weren’t sure if the the f6 was just the weak horse in the stable, or whether this was an indication of the overall package, so we plugged on.
Things started looking up a lot when we shifted to the f5 on snare, which weighed in with a clear present quiet gain with low feedback drama and really nice response on both dynamic and outright loud playing. Clean and tight, the f5 delivered excellent mid range pop and solid ring in the upper ranges. No complaints from the listening point of view. As a multi-purpose mic, the f5 has been designed with a longer body than expected, which we found stuck out a lot further than we would have liked. There’s no doubt you’ll want to upgrade to a rim clip, because the size of the f5 body once its connected doesn’t leave much space to work with between toms or hat.
We were also very pleased with the f2. On floor and rack toms, it delivered round upper range with clean resonance on midtones in the 3 kHz range. Good bread and butter tom sound with a nice tight fit for getting them out of your way.
The two f9s presented us with another dilemma. Condensor mics typically fall into one of two categories: really great all purpose overheads/acoustic mics or voiced primarily for cymbals, and the f9s definitely fall into the latter category. They were clear and present on crash and ride, hats and tambo, but it’s hard to imagine using them for anything outside of that spectrum since they do lack a bit of warmth. Phantom powered, so for live applications, drummers should be aware they might need to also purchase power boxes if you intend to use them as part of your gigging rig.
Luke and I agreed that the overall sound of the FP7 package is best voiced for drumming in either acoustic, jazz, fusion and small kit situations, and is perfect for the working percussionist. Based on the overall lack of round low-end though, drummers in heavier styles like rock, metal, hardcore, or even R&B and rappers, aren’t going to find much use for the f6, in studio or out. They could, of course, buy a separate D6, and save the f6 for use on cajon or floor tom, where it might better find its true calling.
Given the Fusion FP7’s cost, it’s a great value and worthy tool for the gigging drummer or small project studio looking for a mid-range set of drum mics that won’t destroy their bank account, but delivers solid clean signal and ease of use right out of the box.
Audix Fusion FP7 Drum Package
PROS: Great value, good bread and butter kit sound, durable
CONS: Weak bass mic, flimsy clips, overheads lack warmth
STREET PRICE: $479