Shure Beta 91A

Ray Dee Oh King

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
214
Location
Iron River, MI
Over the last year or so, I've invested in some decent mics and have been doing some recording. Mostly just doing cover songs, and using the camera and recordings for learning purposes. Of recent, after getting used to the DAW and interface I'm using, I started soloing out my drum tracks and noticed the bass drum track, with the Beta 91a sounded really hollow and sounded like a basketball bouncing off a gym floor. So once I discovered this, I delved into the net and did a lot of research, and read this is pretty common when recording. There were many fixes for this, as in add weight to the bottom of the drum, use a pillow, use a sandbag , etc....but I still have yet to find a fix without some sort of muffling. It's not a tuning or head situation at all. It's the sound reflection inside the shell from what I read and watched. Many just take the reso head off to record and lay a pillow inside. Some may muffle the head by laying the pillow slightly against the head to also muffle the head or heads. When I used the Beta 91a in a live setting, this was unnoticed. I've used it in two different bass drums, one 24" 5 ply, one 22" 3 ply with re-rings, both 14" depths and completely empty inside the drums, and they sounded fabulous. Like a cannon! I was complemented by two different sound guys as they never saw a mic mounted inside the drum like that up here in the sticks. They were used to micing at the port and that's that. Once I discovered this hollow sound, and researching, i pulled off my heads and did some thinking. I cut an 18" hole in an old reso head for my 24, and installed that to protect the drum and edge a bit, put on a clear Ambassador with the Remo Sub-Muffle system in the batter, with a really dense, memory foam pillow in the drum. Tuned the batter a bit higher than I normally would, and I'd have to say it sounds awesome like this. It's a but drier for sure but the low end is back, no more basketball sound, and it's a solid signal through the mics, and DAW. My question here is, has anyone achieved a solid bass sound with this particular mic, with no muffling, just by a certain head combination or tuning? Also, anyone have any other ideas as to how to achieve a better studio bass drum sound without a large pillow being in the drum? Will a nice dense foam cut to size achieve this, so I can put a reso back on ? Recording is fairly new to me, and we want to create a quality home demo for the band. I want a nice drums sound and so far this was the only way I found to achieve this. Any other options of getting rid of the "basketball" sound? Thanks in advance, and I'm looking forward to some tips and hints for recording if possible! Thanks everyone!
 
Last edited:

SteveB

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
7,819
Reaction score
182
Location
South Hampton, NH
I have gotten rid of the ping with a simple red shop rag thrown in the drum. If there is regular padding in there the job is done already. Also,"some" large floor toms can also ping. On my 15x18 Tempus I folded up a shop rag and taped it to the shell about half way up and it has worked well. This drum is fiberglass so it is very potent and the ping was noticeable.
 

Ray Dee Oh King

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
214
Location
Iron River, MI
I have gotten rid of the ping with a simple red shop rag thrown in the drum. If there is regular padding in there the job is done already. Also,"some" large floor toms can also ping. On my 15x18 Tempus I folded up a shop rag and taped it to the shell about half way up and it has worked well. This drum is fiberglass so it is very potent and the ping was noticeable.
Thanks for the reply. I'm going to try something different than what I have been attempting today. If it's just a reflection thing, then this should work. I folded up a nice heavy bed sheet, 20" in length, and 10 inches wide. Laid it on bottom, and put a full reso head back on. If this works, I will make something that looks nice out of foam, and close it back up and be done with it.
 

Seb77

Very well Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
Messages
1,466
Reaction score
184
Location
Germany
With some softer shells the stick attack sound isn't as strong, so the ping seems less noticeable, too. It could also be that shallower bass drum sizes don't promote it as much as deeper ones, but your drums are shallow, so this doesn't seems to be the case.
A towel on the floor does the trick. If you want to keep it in place, for example with a complete front head, or with a floor tom, you can pinch some holes though the towel, remove some lug screws and actually screw the towel in place with them.

A pillow can also help clean up low end, so don't dismiss it, more low-end isn't always better.
 

mgdrummer

DFO Veteran
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,102
Reaction score
232
Location
St Charles, IL
I have three bass drums set up with Beta 91A’a installed in them. I have not had the “basketball on a gym floor” ping/ring on any recording I’ve used them on. The mics are mounted in Kelly Shu’s and I have either a DW muffle pillow or a Sledge Pad slipped in between the bottom of the shell & the underside of the mic mount. The wide open/no internal muffling bass drum sound doesn’t work for the gigs I play, these particular muffling devices tame the drums without completely deadening them.
 

Treviso1

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
4,623
Reaction score
620
Location
Michigan
I've used this mic for many years with great success. Judicious use of EQ will dial out any unwanted frequencies. Remember, it is just as important to cut out frequencies as it is to add. Use your ears and listen to what sounds right to you.
 

Ray Dee Oh King

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
214
Location
Iron River, MI
I've used this mic for many years with great success. Judicious use of EQ will dial out any unwanted frequencies. Remember, it is just as important to cut out frequencies as it is to add. Use your ears and listen to what sounds right to you.
Im more looking for a great, raw tone, without the basketball effect. I honestly dont want to be dealing with EQing out or adding frequencies. As much as possible. I'm looking for a good "room" sound. Im finding after multiple attempts of different setups that I need some foam in there. The pillow works....a sheet or towel does not. At least not for me. Maybe I'm being a bit too picky, I dont know, but so far the best sound and signal I have heard to my ear is no reso, pillow and tuned really low on the batter with slight muffling. So I'm thinking, I'm just going to get some dense foam and cut it size. I should be able to put a reso on and tune to my liking and still get the low end response from the mics. I've probably delved too deep in by soloing out my kick mics. That's when I noticed it the most.
 
Last edited:

TheBeachBoy

Ringo Fire
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
7,630
Reaction score
294
Location
Phoenix, AZ
EQ is just another tool, like mic placement or using muffling and port holes. It would be rare to find a recording where the engineer/producer DIDN'T use it.

Typically, you'll obviously try to get the best room sound, which you're doing. Adjust the mic until you eliminate as much of the ping as possible. Once it's recorded, put a gate on it and adjust until you only get the bass drum and maybe a little ghosting/bleed from the other drums. Then add compression; I typically start with a 4:1 ratio to start and go from there. That might knock out most of that ping. From there, you can EQ as little or as much as you want. Here's what I had to do with my 20" Rogers bass drum, but it sounds great in the final product. That 300-600hz range is usually pretty ugly, but that ping will probably sit at the 1,000-3,000hz area. Just pull it down a little bit there and you'll probably eliminate it that easily.

Bass drum EQ.png
 

Ray Dee Oh King

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
214
Location
Iron River, MI
EQ is just another tool, like mic placement or using muffling and port holes. It would be rare to find a recording where the engineer/producer DIDN'T use it.

Typically, you'll obviously try to get the best room sound, which you're doing. Adjust the mic until you eliminate as much of the ping as possible. Once it's recorded, put a gate on it and adjust until you only get the bass drum and maybe a little ghosting/bleed from the other drums. Then add compression; I typically start with a 4:1 ratio to start and go from there. That might knock out most of that ping. From there, you can EQ as little or as much as you want. Here's what I had to do with my 20" Rogers bass drum, but it sounds great in the final product. That 300-600hz range is usually pretty ugly, but that ping will probably sit at the 1,000-3,000hz area. Just pull it down a little bit there and you'll probably eliminate it that easily.

View attachment 409553
Yes, I fully agree with you here. I'm not saying it wont be used at all. What I feel the "basketball" sound does, is robs the signal big time. After pulling the reso and putting the dense pillow in there, the signal was strong, and has a beefy low end to it. Just completely changed the raw sound and IMO made it much better. Nothing special here, simple beat, quickly made, right after I did this. I could pull the pillow and even with the open reso the basketball sound comes back and I could show you what I'm talking about. I watched a video, where they actually put a 15lb bag of sand on the bottom of the bass drum. The weight of the sand, and the density made the bass drum sound really beefy. Check it out with some headphones on.
 

Jordan Blue

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
1,065
Reaction score
152
I've always wondered about those Shure SM91 mics. I heard one years ago that sounded awesome. I wonder if it would be possible to use another brand of boundary mic in a bass drum and get similar results? just curious.
 
Last edited:

Ray Dee Oh King

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
214
Location
Iron River, MI
I've always wondered about those Shure SM91 mics. I heard one years ago that sounded awesome. I wonder if it would be possible to use another brand of boundary mic in a bass drum and get similar results? just curious.
Dont get me wrong, they're killer mics. They do the job well, setup correctly. You can still get the basketball effect with other mics even in the port. It's a reflection issue. The 91A is even more prone due to it being in the drum and being a boundary mic.
 
Last edited:

Ray Dee Oh King

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
214
Location
Iron River, MI
Sounds good and beefy. If you get the desired sound, then there's no wrong way to go about it. A pillow is a very common way to alter the sound. The Beatles used an 8-armed sweater that was originally going to be used in the movie "Help!" before they changed to a tropical location.
Thanks man. It's been quite the learning curve. I brought it up, hoping others may find it useful. Most probably never have noticed. You really have to solo in to hear it, but it's there.
 

scaramanga

Very well Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2006
Messages
830
Reaction score
144
Location
Fingerlakes, NY
If you come upon an old, cheap sm91 and are willing to hack, remove the mic body from the surrounding boundary enclosure and hang it on a stand in front of your bass drum's reso head. You're welcome.
 

flurbs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
99
Reaction score
21
I've always wondered about those Shure SM91 mics. I heard one years ago that sounded awesome. I wonder if it would be possible to use another brand of boundary mic in a bass drum and get similar results? just curious.
So long as it can handle the SPL - yes.
 

flurbs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
99
Reaction score
21
If you come upon an old, cheap sm91 and are willing to hack, remove the mic body from the surrounding boundary enclosure and hang it on a stand in front of your bass drum's reso head. You're welcome.
Then it becomes an electret condenser (basically an overhead), not a half-cardioid boundary - and if you want to do that there are much, much better mics available. The boundary polar pattern is why it works so well in a bass drum, the shell effectively becomes the boundary.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts



Top