Bass drum sounds / tuning

tris66

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Everyone who says they have no muffling in their bass drum, please post links to your released recordings which demonstrate your sound.
Yeah. Muffled bass is pretty much the reality in recording mainstream,non jazz since.... ?
I've been at events where heavy metal drummers were using unported resos. If there is a hell I'm sure that 40hz rumble is playing there intermixed with (your favorite dead jazz guy here) playing a "Japanese firewood" set with a piece of wet cardboard for a bass batter and no reso.
I'm not a drummer. I'll try anything. That is my alibi. Currently, I have a Super Kick II with a beater patch on a 22" tuned to about 65hz. Front head? Completely cut out and only there to hold the hoop in place. Various laundry inside plus my hill billy version of Bruce Swedien's contraption that he used on Michael Jackson's Billy Jean. Picture is the original. (Somebody is making them, but I'm not paying $410 plus shipping for a glorified packing blanket.) If Bruce Swedien did it why not give it a try?Interesting results. Not for everything.
 

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MrDrums2112

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I usually have a ported reso head, Ambassador or similar with a felt strip. For batter heads, I like either a coated PS3 or the SK2 (very different heads). No muffling inside the bass drum. I usually tune the batter a bit higher than most people. I find JUW is too floppy for me - I like a little more rebound than that. That gets me a good, deep tone and the feel I like. This approach works for me on my 14x20, 16x20, and evening my 14x22.
 

REF

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Yeah. Muffled bass is pretty much the reality in recording mainstream,non jazz since.... ?
I've been at events where heavy metal drummers were using unported resos. If there is a hell I'm sure that 40hz rumble is playing there intermixed with (your favorite dead jazz guy here) playing a "Japanese firewood" set with a piece of wet cardboard for a bass batter and no reso.
I'm not a drummer. I'll try anything. That is my alibi. Currently, I have a Super Kick II with a beater patch on a 22" tuned to about 65hz. Front head? Completely cut out and only there to hold the hoop in place. Various laundry inside plus my hill billy version of Bruce Swedien's contraption that he used on Michael Jackson's Billy Jean. Picture is the original. (Somebody is making them, but I'm not paying $410 plus shipping for a glorified packing blanket.) If Bruce Swedien did it why not give it a try?Interesting results. Not for everything.
The guy I recorded with, a guitarist, tried that one day and I absolutely revolted. He tried all kinds of things to isolate the kick but, every one of them made the bass drum sound like it was not a part of the set. It sounded like a separate instrument off by itself. I guess I just see a drum set as a set, and really don't go in for micing individual drums. A couple overheads with Jecklin disk, and kicks mics and I love the natural sound you get, even on my big rig. Everything is easily distinguishable and transient response is gorgeous with my Earthworks mics, which he suggested I get.

I do port the reso heads with a 6" bass port tube affixed to the heads, my own version of those manufactured things, and place the mics about 1" outside the holes but, nothing inside the drums.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I set my bass drums up for pop music, of which 99% has the heavily-muffled sound. Specifically, I’m after late ‘70’s to mid ‘80’s bass drum sounds like Porcaro (as OP mentioned), Ndugu, Gadd, JR, etc,... I’m able to achieve that sound with my early ‘80’s Yamaha 9000 bass drums quite easily. Mic’d at every gig, btw.
Right on...I was going to say that JR is another reference for me as well. I bought my DW set because of him.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I think Chris Whitten is a forum member. Hoping that he will chime in. He has a good perspective with regards to drum tuning / prep for both live and recording situations. In my case, I only play live gigs...I'm not a studio guy so I could care less what works in the studio.
 
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jaymandude

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I think a lot of it depends on styles, and how dynamically you want to play. Speaking for myself, I grew up playing padded 22's in club bands, dance and rock. As Ihve gotten older, I've found myself in avariety of situations that require a different drum and a different set up. If I'm playing more soul and dance music, and I'm miked. Yeah, put the padding in and lets go. But I do a lot of shuffles and blues and I don't like that dead sound playing 4 to the bar.

So it depends.. We had a interesting thread on the Austin Drummers group, and I agreed with a guy. We are both using ported 22's, with PS3's. But no muffling. It's controllable but not dead. Nice in between..
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I've been playing at churches for a long time, and I don't always get to bring my own kit. Anyways, every time I hear the bass drum mic'd up, it always sounds more boomy than it should. As a result, I prefer to keep it somewhat tight with muffling. Somehow when the mics get turned on, it's like it creates a more legato sound (which I don't really care for). So I keep it tight to avoid a longer note.
 

CherryClassic

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I like all kinds of sounds, it also depends on mayn factors what sounds best in that situation. I like acoustic sounds such as the tight, open 18", but also a punchy/dry sound when it's called for, so I'll use port&pillow on a 22".
As for acoustic sound (big band in mind) here's a 20" with smooth white Ambys and minmal muffling by means of taped on paper towels, moleskin patch.
https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Fdrum-sound-2020-02
For a while I experimented with internal mic'ing on a double-headed 22", for a big acoustic sound, but usable for attack-heavy mic'ed sound. At some point I realized I liked a tighter sound but with the tone of the two complete heads, ended up with the same setup but with a not-so-small pillow inside. It's all good!
Yes, I like that!! It had punch and tone. It should sound good with the band.

sherm
 

dsop

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No hole in the front bass drum head, but a small pillow fastened inside the bottom. Both of these tunes were recorded during this session.
After completing this record, I decided that a small (4") offset hole is a much better way to go. Easier to record, and the sound (and feel) is splendid.


 

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D. B. Cooper

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I tend to just take out the wrinkles in the heads and go a turn more at each lug, and like as much roominess or boom in the sound as can still retain definition for quick note sequences. All the various heads out there now get me where I like without ever placing something inside the drum. I truly dislike the modern, ultra-dry, boxy sound. For me it ceases to be a musical instrument at that point, although it obviously retains it's own type of character and personality that way, in a set.
I agree about the dry sound. Not a clicky guy, here. I like some boom and a medium length note. Just low enough so double can still be heard.
 

Tmcfour

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Same head set up on my 22s and 24. Ps3 batter with the strike pad. Single ply front head. Batter is tuned tighter than the front head. No muffle other than the ps3 head. No port. Depending on the band either a wood or felt beater. More attack, wood. More thud, felt. I find it versatile and gives a solid attack and boom.
 

TheBeachBoy

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For me, I have either an SKI or SKII on batter and a single ply on reso, sometimes with a felt strip. Nothing else inside except a mic. On my 20, 22, & 24 I have the batter a decent amount above JAW and reso more than that. On my 16 I do have it just about as loose as it will go. The bigger the diameter the tighter the heads. I like a mix of boom with a punch.

edited to add: I don't bury the beater and typically play heel up.
 
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eigentone

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My default tuning for my 22 and 26 is to tune both heads to D (~73 Hz.) Res is typically ported. I typically don't bury the beater. I occasionally stuff the DW pillow in. It's got some tone/sustain -- port size and drum size modify sustain. I think it's good for a natural drum tone though probably not the best starting point for a highly processed drum sound.
 

Cauldronics

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Since I've stayed with one bass drum for a few years now (Eames 15x22 NaturalTone), I put one of those kick plate things under it, and it gives me what I want. You get more volume and more initial resonance and you can tame it all you want from there. Nothing is in the drum although I tried one of the sand bag kick pillows that everyone went nuts for awhile ago, here. That thing took too much tone out of the drum.

PS3 batter, evans or dw (?) reso with small punch holes around the edges every 4 inches or so, red Danmar square wood beaters

Honestly, I just wait for the PS3 to wear in more than most people probably would. Until then it's more sustained than I have a use for, but I can make it work.
 

Browny

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Current setup:
Radio King 26”.
Coated Emperor batter.
Smooth White reso w/felt strip.
Nothing inside.
Danmar white felt beater, worn flat on one side.
Muffle to taste with tea towels and bulldog clips on batter head, add one on the front if need be.

Doesn’t take much to go from When The Levee Breaks to a pretty damn dry and dead kick sound. I tend to err on the side of open with a bit of length to the note rather than damping it down.

I’ve also got a coated ambassador with a port if I need to get a mic inside.
 

Stickclick

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I'm using bubble pack instead of a pillow or blanket to dampen the sound. Works the same as any pillows, towels or blankets that I've tried.
 

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