Review: Yamaha EAD10

Could Yamaha's latest compact, multi-functional drum system really replace a whole drum mic kit? Matt Vanacoro found out when he road tested the EAD10...  

Yamaha demoed the EAD10 electric/acoustic drum system at NAMM this year, and it completely blew me away. The possibilities available for this multi-function device were numerous, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one to see if it truly delivered. I’ve had my EAD10 for about 3 weeks now and I’m in love with it.

What The Heck Is This Thing?

The EAD10 wears so many hats that it belongs in a Disney movie about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. The thing I’ve probably struggled most with when talking about the EAD10 is simply describing what it is and what it does. Although it may be a bit unconventional for a review, I’d like to simply make a bulleted list:

  • The EAD10 is a drum mic that can mic your entire kit with a single stereo microphone
  • The EAD10 is a sound module that lets you plug in 4 triggers for electronic sounds to add to your acoustic kit.
  • The EAD10 is a kick/snare trigger system that allows you to beef up your acoustic kit with drum replacement/samples.
  • The EAD10 is a practice companion that allows you to play along with a metronome and record the drums directly to the device.
  • The EAD10 is a smart musical assistant that allows you to play back tracks from your phone’s music library, change the tempo, and work on selection sections.
  • The EAD10 is a recording device that will allow you to track drums and layer them into sound files that don’t have drums.
  • The EAD10 is a live streaming companion that will allow you to live stream drum performances with direct audio from a high quality mic system that replaces your mobile device’s microphone.

See what I mean? This thing does a LOT. It’s hard to even wrap your brain around it until you see it, which is why I’ve provided some video to show it off a bit.

Does It Blend?

With all of those features on the table, the first question I had was, “Ok, it does a lot, but does the EAD10 do these things WELL?”

I’m happy to report that the EAD10 blew my expectations away in terms of functionality and sound quality. The core concept that I can take a single, compact microphone, clamp it to my kick drum, turn on the module, and be ‘done’ with my setup as a drummer performing live is just mind blowing. Is it going to replace multi-micing a kit in the studio? Probably not just yet - but this tech is incredibly promising. Does it sound better than your typical live drums multi-mic setup? No question. 

The sound quality of the EAD10 is far better than it should be for the cost and size of the device. After using the EAD10 in a variety of situations, there is absolutely no reason that I’d bring a drum mic kit that uses tons of mixer channels to a standard live event, club date, or typical gig ever again. You can have your drum set completely mic’d up and mixed within 5 minutes, send front of house a stereo feed, and it’s truly glorious. The fact that the microphone is also a kick drum trigger is a bonus, and it allows you to beef up your kick with both acoustic and electronic samples with the turn of a single knob.

 

The EAD10 module has a direct digital output for a computer or mobile device. If you want to record drum performances for social media, you can plug your mobile device directly in and record using the camera on your device and the audio from the EAD10 (as I did for a few angles of the video). 

Conclusion

The EAD10 truly held up to the promise of being the ultimate drummer’s companion. Whether you want to mic up your drums quickly and efficiently in a live situation, record yourself for practicing, live stream your drumming for social media, or augment your current drum setup with a few triggers for electronic samples, you can’t go wrong with the EAD10. It’s insane how much this device does for the modest price. If you’re a drummer, you absolutely need to pick one up. You won’t be sorry. 

Price: $499

Pros: Stellar drum sound for such a compact single microphone, great samples to augment your acoustic sounds, well designed app for recording and practicing, great expansion options with trigger inputs, automatic and manual gain settings available for the mic/triggers, deep programability on the module.

Cons: I can’t think of one. If you’re looking for more functionality out of this device at its price point, you’re kidding yourself.

Webhttps://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/drums/ea_drums/ead/ead10/product.html

Matt Vanacoro is one of New York’s premier musicans. Matt has collaborated as a keyboardist in studio and on stage with artists such as Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Mark Wood (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mark Rivera (Billy Joel Band), Aaron Carter, Amy Regan, Jay Azzolina, Marcus Ratzenboeck (Tantric), KeKe Palmer, C-Note, Jordan Knig... Read More

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