Prodipe ST4 / ST8 Drum Mic Kit by Grant Hillebrand
<disclaimer - This is an edit of a more detailed review and sample set posted in Low End Theory (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6862431-post1.html) >
A local (South African) supplier was advertising a set of 4 Prodipe Drum Mic's (ST4 kit) for about R2000 - that's roughly U$285. They sell for CHF 269 on the web. For comparison, in this country, a discounted, new SM57 through the reputable channel (no Chinese wrapping paper inside ) is ~R2000. So one is getting 4 mics for the price of a 57.
I have heard positive things about Prodipe mic's, and they possibly represent a good 'bang for buck' for live and demo work. But there are very few reviews out there for this kit, and so I managed to arrange a loan of the kit for a few days from Tuerk Music (Musical instruments - Music technologies, p.a. systems & guitars - Tuerk Music) to record some samples. Paul there also threw in a pair of SE4's to keep things honest! (Or make me drool a little!) I am not affiliated with them in any way.
My 'references' were a SM57 on the snare and then kick, Samson CO2's and SE4's on the overheads. The CO2's are around R2000/ pair here, and the SE4's are R6000/ pair.
I recorded these with a Phonic Helix MkII, 44.1KHz/ 24 bits into Reaper. Nothing spectacular, but the only variables are the mic's, rather than kit/ room/ preamp/ drummer ... There is no processing other than setting the levels to be more or less equivalent.
The samples are available at the original review post https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6862431-post1.html
I also used the kit in a live gig in a bright school hall. This is a quick jam session with drums and bass. There is no processing here, just level setting to get a balance.
Basically, the kit does the job as advertised, and for amateur live work, is more than adequate - this kit will not be the limiting factor in most school/ house-of-worship situations. They are mechanically good and solid, and feel like they'll take the abuse those sorts of situations (as well as the drummers!) will hand out.
The kick seems to have a nice thick response, but still catches the mallet-on-skin edge. Translated well onto 15" Wharfdale's live.
The snare mic? Seems a little brighter than the 57, but here I'd definitely defer to those who know these things better.
The ST8 kit which I was supplied had an SD1 "snare" mic, and 3 SD "tom" mics. There are samples of both above, but I haven't really played with them enough to tell the difference between the two.
The A1 SDC's? As drum overheads, they were fine as part of the overall kit, with the sound supplemented by the snare and bass mics. In a live situation, for a drummer being drowned out by overamped guitars, this kit can give the drum kit a good show in the mix without breaking anyone's budget too badly.
I was also curious about the A1's as general purpose SDC's.
I think the CO2's were less edgy, and that the SE4 clearly better than both, with a crystal clear, smooth response across the spectrum. But then 1 SE4a costs R1000 more than the entire ST4 kit! One has to ask if the sound is 6 times better? For low end live and demo drums, certainly not. For more general purpose, higher end studio work though, I would still like to look around a bit.