To Port Or Not To Port

crash

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The port gives me the easiest option for room acoustic / feel adjustments so I go with that. Sometimes I mic it out front sometimes drop it in the bass. The combo’s seem infinite.
I'd prefer no port, but have come to this point of view also. I play a variety of gigs from worship/ rock/ jazz to singer-songwriter and a variety of venues. It just makes it easier to tune for the situation....
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kb

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Nowadays I can use an un-ported head most of the time: jazz, blues, roots music. But every once in a while I still play funk, or modern commercial music, where a ported head is a better sound. And, I sometimes get inept sound men or finicky feedback-prone stages. So, I need to have both options available.

As I've said before:

Three strips of gaffers tape will cover a 5" port; takes about one minute to apply, mere seconds to remove.

The difference in sound between an un-ported head and a 5" port covered with tape is negligible.

Sure, it looks goofy, might leave messy adhesive on the head, and, if you leave the same tape on too long it may start rattling. But, for me, it's a great way to keep the port instantly available when I need it.
 

mlucas123

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Pinstripe. Pillow. Big middle port.
Yamaha had it right in the 80's.
 

K.O.

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I prefer unported bass drums but do have ports cut in a couple of sets.

I played a gig this past week where the soundman didn't even try to get a good sound out of my unported bass drum. It was frustrating. I used the same set a couple of months ago and that guy came up at the end of the night and told me that was one of the best sounding kick drums he'd ever mixed. Same set , same tuning but this second guy put the mic in the worst possible spot, snug against the hoop and with the front of the mic actually touching the reso head. The resulting sound was pretty bad. It was kind of like "no port?...okay eff you then, I'm not even going to try". I got him to move the mic a bit and in the end we got a usable sound but nothing like the room shaking boom the other guy got with the same drum ( and a smaller system).

Oh well, if I play there again I'll be sure to bring one of my ported sets.
 
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doubleroll

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While I prefer no port in the home studio and sound wise in general, for gigs I ended porting my redo head. Just less hassle and easier to get a good sound when mic’d. So for both kits I have resolved with and without ports depending on where they will be used.
 

Drumbo Thunder

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I love this discussion!

For almost 20 years I used Evans "Genera EQ Studio" Bass Drum head sets on my 24"s that featured a grill design cut into the front heads instead of a round hole. They were designed by Larrie Londin and Petie Erskin back in the 90s and they sound great, but that grill drove more than a few audio engineers nuts. When I went to replace them a few years ago I found they'd been discontinued, so I tried a bunch of combinations and settled on Evans EQ3 batters and Remo Powerstroke 3 resonants with kickports installed. I really like the combo: very deep attack but bright enough to "sing". I run my own mixer to FOH and get a very consistent drum sound that way.

I tune wide open with no muffling for lots of Bonham-like sustain (we perform mostly outdoor festivals) - so I mic both batter heads and both resonant head ports with Audix D6s and run them through Radial Engineering Phazers to sync the attack and the sustain and a compressor/gate that cuts the ring if it gets too crazy. It brings the thunder for the power trio, but that rig can overwhelm (clutter) larger bands, so I dial it back and just mic the kick-ports when I go off reservation with my Slingerlands.

For smaller rooms (like my monthly "G.I. Jams") I use a 22"x16" BD (with a double pedal), an Aquarian Super Kick batter and Regulator reso and I seldom mic that kit. If need be, a couple of overheads do the trick.

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