To port, or not to port, that is the question!

RyanLovesDrums

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Right now I have my 14 x 22 tuned with 80 on the batter and 80 on the reso on the Tunebot just like Mike Johnston and the drummer from the The Voice have their kicks tuned. I also have a coated remo PS3 on the Reso and on the batter I have that Remo sub muffl paired with a Remo black dot controlled sound head and there’s lots of tone and I’m not getting any bounce back on the beater. I’m not sure if it’s the black dot on the batter head or because the drum is tensioned fairly tight but it has a nice solid feel too. But I also am not burying the beater
 

drums1225

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Both. I have fully intact reso heads for all my bass drums (except my 24x16 Superstar), as well as ported heads for each. When I get a new kit, I leave the original logo head fully intact, and then I buy another identical head and cut a 5" port at the 4 o'clock position, using my trusty old Holz bass drum cutter. Honestly, the ported heads usually end up living on most of my drums.

For lower volume, jazz (or jazzY) gigs, I use my bop kit with 18x14 bass drum w/unported reso; for backbeat gigs and recording, I use ported. A recent exception is my studio kit (Tama STAR Maple); I LOVE the sound of the unported "virgin" 20x16 bass drum, acoustically, but for the tight, punchy sound I generally want when recording, it doesn't work. I have identical ported and unported Remo Fiberskyn Powerstroke 3 Diplomat reso heads for this drum and, though I haven't tried the ported head yet, I'm going to throw it on there and do some recording once my travel schedule slows down a bit in a few weeks.
 

JDA

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Which all means you have separate ported head(s) for your bass drum (yes I have a slightly used (mint black Remo) one... buried but I know where ....down in the basement for my 20") So that......... it's not an either or.
You have both as circumstance dick Tate (the well known norwegian drummer
 

Cauldronics

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I haven't had a ported kick for at least a couple of decades now. Briefly, I tried a port about twice in that time just to try improving a drum or two and it didn't improve.

Early on when I didn't have a preference or know any better, I had one of the original Pearl Export kits in natural maple, with a huge, center port AND a Remo muffle ring on the batter. I'd probably despise that sound today.

Sound wise, the sound of a full front head should match (in most ways) what the other drums are doing, IMO. Yeah, it requires muffling and control, but then again even that isn't needed all the time. So why kill the tone too much by porting? You can't work your way back to more tone when there's a hole in the head, but you can easily get a lot of sounds with a full front head and controlling it creatively.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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I haven't had a ported kick for at least a couple of decades now. Briefly, I tried a port about twice in that time just to try improving a drum or two and it didn't improve.

Early on when I didn't have a preference or know any better, I had one of the original Pearl Export kits in natural maple, with a huge, center port AND a Remo muffle ring on the batter. I'd probably despise that sound today.

Sound wise, the sound of a full front head should match (in most ways) what the other drums are doing, IMO. Yeah, it requires muffling and control, but then again even that isn't needed all the time. So why kill the tone too much by porting? You can't work your way back to more tone when there's a hole in the head, but you can easily get a lot of sounds with a full front head and controlling it creatively.
It’s kind of like when guys say that they’d rather have a snare drum that has too much ring than not enough because you can always dampen the ring but you can’t make a snare drum have ring that didn’t have any in the first place
 

Butch1970

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I prefer the sound of a non-ported bass drum but will swap the solid front head for a ported one if it’s a mic’d situation, or just use a BD that’s already set up for that. Why fight the gig situation?

I have used some vented reso heads in the past as it can help with the pedal feel, but I also like to use “non-Virgin” bass drums as they already come “pre-ported.”
 

JDA

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no one selling ported tom and floor tom heads with a nice little finishing ring about the size of a oh nevermind.
 

Cauldronics

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One drum I have I’m is an exception to not porting. My Renown 24 sounds awesome with not only no port, but no front head.
 

6topher

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Sound wise, the sound of a full front head should match (in most ways) what the other drums are doing, IMO. Yeah, it requires muffling and control, but then again even that isn't needed all the time. So why kill the tone too much by porting? You can't work your way back to more tone when there's a hole in the head, but you can easily get a lot of sounds with a full front head and controlling it creatively.
I don't disagree really. But, I don't think you lose much if any of those dynamic options or tone w a 4" offset port on a 18" or 20" & a 5" on a 22 or larger with the right heads & set up.
 

MitchLyons

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I vote for porting. Makes it easy on the sound guy and the feel is great. Might not sound as great from behind the kit, but will definitely sound great from out front.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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I vote for porting. Makes it easy on the sound guy and the feel is great. Might not sound as great from behind the kit, but will definitely sound great from out front.
Porting and non porting can both sound great but lately I’ve been telling myself just tune the drums to how they sound good from behind the kit because I haven’t had a gig in like two years so why do I really care what it sounds like in front of the kit :)
 

CherryClassic

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I don't really know a good answer, except I think it's a personal taste.

My 16x22 Ludwig has a 6" port and that thing will boom. I also have a 14x20 and a 16x18 Ludwigs, both have 4" ports and both have nice tone and boom. The only reason I use it is if there happens to be sound tech available at a gig.

My theory is; don't make it any larger than it has to be.

sherm
 

WLVN

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My best sounding bass drum came from the Ludwig factory in 1972. It was a 24x14 solid non-ported front head and felt strips. I messed it up by taking off the front head and used a pillow for years, as that was popular back then in my youth. I managed to hang onto the front hoop and claw tension rods. Later, in the eighties I went big hole and foam pad as that was popular then.

I bought a Yamaha RC kit in 2009 with the large ported front heads, a 24x18 and a 22x16 and have left them alone. Makes access to muffling very easy and still provides good rebound.
 

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RyanLovesDrums

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My best sounding bass drum came from the Ludwig factory in 1972. It was a 24x14 solid non-ported front head and felt strips. I messed it up by taking off the front head and used a pillow for years, as that was popular back then in my youth. I managed to hang onto the front hoop and claw tension rods. Later, in the eighties I went big hole and foam pad as that was popular then.

I bought a Yamaha RC kit in 2009 with the large ported front heads, a 24x18 and a 22x16 and have left them alone. Makes access to muffling very easy and still provides good rebound.
Some people say that with a large hole like those Yamaha‘s it’s almost like playing with no front head at all but that is not true. I’ve experimented this year with tuning that head low and high and it definitely makes a difference in sound overall.
 


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