Earthworks is one of the most respected microphone manufacturers not only in the USA but also across the globe. While they offer a comprehensive range of options, this review takes a closer look at the SR25mp, one of the best overhead drum mics on the market.
The Earthworks SR25mp features a dazzlingly authentic sound profile that captures all the subtle details of your drums. This small, unassuming microphone offers exceptional capturing capability and would make an excellent addition to any microphone locker.
Selecting the right microphone for your needs can be challenging, especially when dealing with a microphone for a specific purpose. But while the SR25mp shines as a drum mic, it’s also a good choice for some other applications. Let’s dive into the details.
I’ll dive into the nitty-gritty shortly, but I’ll cut straight to the chase if you are looking for a rapid response. The SR25mp is a superb microphone with excellent tonality that will help elevate your drum recordings.
This slim pencil microphone with a distinctive tip offers an exceptionally natural and accurate frequency response that ensures no detail is lost. When it comes to drum recording, I always strive to retain as much authenticity as possible to showcase both the gear and the drummer’s skill, and this microphone delivers in spades.
Superb drum recording performance.
The Earthworks SR25mp is ideal for overhead mic placement to fully capture the whole ambiance of the performance with a near-perfect cardioid polar pattern that retains remarkable consistency.
The wide 140-degree sweet spot captures the entire experience, and as part of a matched pair, you’ll experience unparalleled stereo resolution. But one of the things that truly stood out was the excellent off-axis rejection, resulting in pure bleed-free recordings.
I’ve tested several overhead pencil microphones, and the SR25mp is easily among my favorites. The shimmer and sizzle on the cymbals are superb. No hype, no distortion, just pure and clean captures.
So, for its intended purpose, the SR25mp is a rock star through and through, but it also does an excellent job for other recording tasks. Its clean and focused response delivers accurate results with acoustic instruments. I’ve also got great results using this microphone for piano recordings.
As with all small-diaphragm pencil microphones, the SR25mp is not an ideal choice for vocal recordings. Leave this microphone in the locker and reach for a large diaphragm option. But I would have no hesitation in using the Earthworks SR25mp when it comes to nearly every other instrument.
People can overhype the quality of products, and I’ve seen it happen many times. But after running the SR25mp through multiple situations and tests, this is one microphone that indeed lives up to the hype. If you demand accuracy, rich tonality, and intricate detail, the Earthworks SR25mp is a superb choice.
The Earthworks SR25mp is a small diaphragm condenser microphone with a 0.55″ (14mm) diaphragm with superb accuracy across its frequency response of 20Hz-25kHz frequency response.
High Max SPL ensures no distortion when recording loud sources.
Despite its small size, the Earthworks SR25mp packs plenty of power and can easily handle loud sources. The Max SPL of 145dB should cover even the most aggressive sources without a hint of distortion or color.
Self-noise is also low at 20dB, ensuring you can achieve clean recordings without unwanted intrusions. Since this is a high-quality condenser microphone, you’ll need 24-48v Phantom Power to run this little beast.
Every manufacturer has its own approach to aesthetic design, but there are some limitations inherently present for pencil microphones. They are generally relatively slim, and the Earthworks SR25mp is no exception.
The stainless steel finish is extremely hard-wearing.
The handcrafted nature of the SR25mp is on full display with the precision machined stainless steel housing that ensures longevity. This housing also gives the Earthworks SR25mp an industrial feel that fits perfectly into the aesthetics of most drum kits.
The tapered tip is also a departure from other small-diaphragm overhead microphones. It gives it a unique shape and character when compared to the competition. I’ll admit the rather plain appearance might not instantly catch the eye, but in a studio or live setting, I want the performer to shine, not the microphones.
Earthworks has an exceptional reputation in the microphone industry, and for good reason. Its range of microphones is among the best in terms of quality. It is a small diaphragm microphone, so inherently, the internals are fragile, but the housing is superb and does an excellent job of protecting the delicate insides.
Top-shelf quality from one of the world’s leading brands.
Founded in 1995 by audio engineer David Blackmer, Earthworks has maintained an exceptionally high level of consistency across its expansive range of microphones. An excellent combination of design philosophy and manufacturing prowess results in a high level of trust.
I also appreciate that in a world of mass manufacturing, there are still manufacturers out there that take immense pride in keeping things in-house. Innovative and forward-thinking design, master craftsmanship from a talented team of machinists, and exceptional support on the odd chance something is not right.
As with many other small-diaphragm microphones, the Earthworks SR25mp retains a slimline and discreet profile that ensures easy placement both in a studio setting and on stage. There are some shorter options on the market, but at 0.86″ (22mm), the SR25mp is among the slimest.
The Earthworks SR25mp features a slimline profile.
The weight is also perfectly balanced. At 0.35 lbs. (160g), there is a good level of heft that gives the microphone a premium feel while not feeling cumbersome. You should have no hassle setting these up.
The Earthworks SR25mp is a premium small-diaphragm microphone, and as a result, it does come with a hefty price tag. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer good value. I’ll admit if you are a beginner starting your journey in drum recording, you can look at cheaper alternatives.
The Earthworks SR25mp comes with two mic clips.
On the flip side, if you are a professional or an enthusiast with money to spend, the Earthworks SR25mp is a fantastic investment in sound quality and longevity. The matched pair comes with a set of mic clips, but unlike other brands, the SR25mp doesn’t come with a case. The SR25mp is a true example of “you get what you pay for.” It is an expensive microphone, but the quality is hard to beat.
The Earthworks SR25mp has an excellent reputation both among customers and industry veterans. High ratings across the board, and after having had the chance to test it myself, I’m honestly not surprised. As previously mentioned, this is one microphone that lives up to the hype.
The ORTF Technique
The ORTF is a stereo recording technique commonly used to capture drum sets. It involves placing two cardioid microphones spaced 17 cm apart and angled 110 degrees above the drum kit.
The SR25mp is a perfect choice for the ORTF technique.
This technique creates a realistic stereo image by capturing the drum sound with excellent stereo width and depth. It is popular because it accurately reproduces the natural sound of the drums, giving a sense of space and dimension to the recording.
The ORTF technique is also popular since it is easy to set up and captures a balanced mix of the drum kit. The Earthworks SR25mp is a perfect set of small-diaphragm cardioid microphones for using the ORTF technique.
If you want to spend this much on some small-diaphragm microphones, you’ll want to explore all your options before handing over your hard-earned cash. Below, I take a quick look at some of the competition so you can make an informed choice.
DPA 2015 Review
The DPA 2015 is another popular drum mic thanks to its fantastic sound quality and discreet size. It also offers a few extras that the SR25mp doesn’t feature.
- Accurate frequency response for true-to-life recording.
- Comes with an excellent case, easy-to-use clips, and windscreens.
- Even more expensive than the SR25mp.
Telefunken M60 FET Review
Telefunken is another leading brand in the microphone market, and the M60 FET is among the most popular small-diaphragm microphones due to its airy highs.
- Superb performance for drums and acoustic instruments with a slight 8kHz peak.
- Outstanding build quality and extensive included accessories.
- Some people don’t like the top-end boost.
Telefunken M60 FET
Shure SM81 Review
The Shure SM81 is a highly versatile microphone with impressive performance with acoustic instruments. It also features a pad and a low-frequency response switch.
- High precision with impressive off-axis rejection.
- Low-frequency switches help minimize noise and proximity effect.
- While a solid choice as a drum overhead, it is better suited to acoustic instruments.
Should You Buy?
It is not every day that I can end a review with nearly 100% confidence in recommending a product. If you look hard enough, every product has some flaws, but the Earthworks SR25mp really tested my critical skills. It passed every test I threw at it with flying colors.
It is hard to beat as an overhead drum microphone, but it also holds up very well in a range of other applications. Add to this exceptional craftsmanship and the backing of a well-respected brand, and it becomes difficult to find any faults.
The only minor gripe I have is the price. I wish quality like this was more accessible, but I also understand why it costs this much. If you are serious about high-quality recording and have the funds, the SR25mp is a leading candidate you can’t look past.