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Kick drum mic placement

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#1
Grooovepig

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Hello all,

 

I thought it would be interesting to read people's thoughts on ideal bass drum mic placement for optimal sound. I usually run a reso-ported 22" Gretsch RN 2 kick with an AKG D112 mounted on a Kelly Shu, either pointed dead ahead toward the point of beater impact or toward the edge of the shell to capture more tone.

 

We usually run our own sound at fairly small clubs. I have not gotten any significant feedback as to which approach sounds better.

 

Please feel free to weigh in on your particulars and any insights you may have.

 

Cheers!

Joe


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#2
Redbeard77

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Pro sound guys often set a mic inside my bass drum on the Evans EQ pad because they say it gives a more solid thump (shorter note, I assume). But when we do our own sound I put the mic on a stand in front of the reso port and kinda point it toward the beater. I think it gives a good mix of fullness and articulation, but then again our PA speakers are fairly small and we don't carry separate subs, so that's probably a factor as well.


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#3
Barden

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It all depends on the sound you want and the relation with the system in question (everything).

 

Are you asking specifically for live settings?

 

I was recording once and doing a take playing a mid level premier kit with a ported resonant head. Shure 52 hovered in the port and a yamaha subkick running parallel to the rest of the resonant head.

I must have played a bit too exuberantly and slid the bass drum slightly away from me because the guys at the sound board chirped into my headphones right away and said "what did you just do to the bass drum?!??"  Apparently that small move changed the drum from passable, but thin to a HUGE sound!

 

All that to say, play with it a little in every situation. Small changes can have big effects.


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#4
Hater

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I just went through this very thing. Literally 6-7 months ago. Here’s my story.
 
My primary gigging kick drum is a 22” dia x 15” deep custom GMS SE. My band plays 70s through 90’s country and Americana covers with a mix of original material in the same vein. I currently run a coated Powerstroke 3 batter head and a ported custom head on the resonant head. My bass drum beater is a Pearl Quad beater, with one of the felt sides as the striking surface. (I forget which one specifically.)
 
I put a composite Kelly Shu in the drum and I first tried out the AKG D112. (The only bass drum mic I had at that point.) I first pointed the mic directly at the beater impact point, but I wasn’t getting as much boom as I was hoping for. The sound was disproportionally all attack, no beef. I also realized that my personal tastes have changes since I first purchased that AKG bass drum mic many years ago. Literally that same night I received a brand new EV ND68 kick drum mic as payment from a previous debt I was owed.
 
I was looking forward to trying that EV bass drum mic out, and when I installed it and started testing it out, I absolutely fell in love with what I was getting. THAT was the sound I was hearing in my head for this band. My band mates were absolutely astounded at what that set up gave to the overall band sound. When I looked at everything after testing, I realized that I inadvertently pointed the mic halfway between beater impact point and the edge of the shell. I’ve left it there ever since. We always do our own sound, so I have no feedback from other sound guys, but I’ve had dozens of compliments from other drummers and patrons of wherever we are playing on the sound of my bass drum.
 
It’s not really like a modern, metal music bass drum sound. It gives a very full bass drum sound with more of a balance of boom and attack. 
 
If you like the AKG mic, awesome. The point of my story is that maybe don’t point whatever bass drum mic you like directly at the beater impact point, unless you are going for pure attack with very little else. Lots of variables involved here, so maybe different mics work differently depending on where it's pointed, EEQ settings, etc. Also, there are no hard and fast rules here. What works for some may not work for others. Prepare to spend a lot of time futzing with it and being down on your hands and knees adjusting things!

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#5
jptrickster

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22 ported reso
Beta52 on the pillow aimed towards the beater
Thumpin and a pumpin through the subs
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#6
Grooovepig

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Great response Hater. Thanks. I had a similar experience recently that's why I brought it up. A sound guy noticed where I was pointing the mic and he suggested pointing more towards the edge of the head vs. pointing straight at the center.


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#7
Seb77

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I put a composite Kelly Shu in the drum and I first tried out the AKG D112. (The only bass drum mic I had at that point.) I first pointed the mic directly at the beater impact point, but I wasn’t getting as much boom as I was hoping for. The sound was disproportionally all attack, no beef. I also realized that my personal tastes have changes since I first purchased that AKG bass drum mic many years ago. Literally that same night I received a brand new EV ND68 kick drum mic as payment from a previous debt I was owed.

 

 

Could this be a ND 868? That's a nice mic for a darker, less clicky sound. edit: just saw there is a nd68 as well.

 

I think there's no rule other than try what sounds best. With a boomy drum you might need to get closer to the beater, with a flat sounding drum, you might need something like a subkick to balance things out.

 

I have a "pop" bass drum set up with no port, but with an ATM25 inside pointing diagonally at the beater, mid-drum (22x16). At first it didn't sound too great until I noticed the mic was so "hot" I had to reduce the gain with a pad. Now it's great mix of deep tone and all the in-your-face click you want (which you could also dial out, I guess). Not really adjustable, though, that might be a downside if you're used to adjusting to acoustics by means of mic position.


Edited by Seb77, 13 June 2018 - 04:57 PM.

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