Buy this mic for kick, toms and bass and stop fucking around with broken D12s and overpriced M380s.
Drum mic selection is a pretty subjective field. Each engineer will have their go to pieces, their substitutes, and a small pile of mics that they wouldn’t personally place anywhere near a damn drum kit. Like, I wouldn’t put one of those eggy, clicky numbers anywhere near a kick drum, but then there’s a whole heap of people out there that can’t stand a classic D12 thud either.
So when someone brings a new mic along to the drum circle, there’s gonna be some conjecture. What’s it based on, what does it kinda sound near to, and what will it replace?
Today I’ve been handed a DrAlienSmith Capsule8 mic, a figure 8 dynamic that kinda resembles an industrial-chic Beyerdynamic M380, but speeds off into its own distinct atmosphere.
Al ‘DrAlien’ Smith is a studio engineer and mic builder from the hills outside Perth, Western Australia, or ‘over West’, in one of the most isolated cities in the world. But from isolation comes a unique eco-system, where creativity can thrive, and the Dr has always embraced the marginal and wonderful, and proudly forges forward beyond the realms of ‘boring’ audio.
As far as I know, DrAlienSmith first appeared in 2018 with the DirtMic-01, a phantom-powered distortion circuit inside a harmonica mic, perfect for use on all sorts of creative sources. From out ‘over West’ his range has expanded and found its way into studios around the globe, even seeing his Dirtbox on the stage-setup for Billie Eilish.
But today, let’s have a squiz at the Capsule8; give it a try on kick drum, toms, and bass and see how it fares against a couple ‘classic’ pieces
Up against an EV RE20, the Capsule 8 not only stands its ground on both kick drum and bass, but DESTROYS its competition. I recorded both mics, played the recordings to a few nerds, and no one selected the RE20. Sorry industry megalith, you’ve been toppled in the low-end department. The Capsule8 has all the definition, thud, and low end I could crave, with a nice little push up around 2-5kHz. Honestly I’m surprised and amazed by the tone and hot output of this mic.
Next, up against a so-called ‘classic’ tom mic, the Sennheiser MD421 the Capsule 8 shines, with a nice, round low mid range detail, and a cut around 300Hz that I’d usually EQ out anyway. Cool, save me some time twisting knobs/dragging a mouse around the screen. Niiiiice.
The literature claims they haven’t measured frequency response, so we can’t blast you with frequency graphs. But who cares?! This thing sounds great. It’s got all the thump of a well-maintained AKG D12 or Beyer M380, with none of the hassle, and a nice taste of top end splat, but no sign of click (apologies and RIP Vinnie Paul).
I’ve got no idea what’s inside this unit – it’s glued shut, and will apparently void my warranty when I prise it open, but apparently it’s a figure 8 nanofiber capsule, is transformerless, and shoots out 300 ohms.
I haven’t had the chance to fool around with his larger Alien8 mic yet, but if it’s as great as this thing it probably makes sense to get ahold of one and string it up. I’m intrigued.
Now, I love supporting locally designed and manufactured pieces, but there was no way I needed to ‘soften’ my review to make it complimentary; this mic is fantastic and easily competes with any worldwide heavies.
The DrAlienSmith Capsule8 figure 8 dynamic microphone is out August 18, retails for $330, comes with a 2 year warranty, and can be picked up from https://www.draliensmith.com/