Triggers and form over function.


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Feb 8, 2016
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I agree that the sub kick's hardware design made for nice looking, transportable package - but to be fair, it could've been made just as handsomely and far less expensively by NOT an actual drum shell, hardware, rims, etc. But of course, Yamaha drums already was making and selling these things, so why not make the money? Oh except that it cost drummers more - for no good reason.

Unless of course one actually believes the bulk of this chunk of market-speak...

"The Subkick features a 10-in. woofer (frequency response 20Hz - 8kHz) which is shock mounted inside a 7-ply Maple shell and covered with 10-in. black mesh heads. The drum shell focuses sound waves in a strong, directional pattern through the speaker. The Mesh heads, although sonically invisible to those frequencies, add a small amount of sustain to the sound. In combination with the resonance of the drum shell, the speaker produces an incredible sub-frequency sound, with plenty of punch and controlled thickness and without the phasing problems often associated with low end reproduction."

Which would not be me.

I mean, really? "Sonically invisible", yet "adds a small amount of sustain to the sound"????? So which is it? Sonically invisible or adds something (sonically) - because they don't get to claim both. (And yet they did). How does that shell effect the directionality of the sound going through that speaker? Like major, huh???!?!?!?? We're talking EXCLUSIVELY low freq. waves here - BIG LONG WAVES - Did I mention how BIG the waves are? As for the resonance of the drum shell - The resonance of a 10 INCH SHELL contributes what to the "incredible sub-frequency sound". A 10" shell with absolutely ZERO relationship with anything to do with "sub-frequencies"!!!

And finally - what "phasing problems associated with low end reproduction"? Fact is the only way there would be phasing problems with placing a speaker like this in front of a bass drum was if the head added extra sustain and the shell added extra resonances - which I seriously doubt they did. Thus none of those "commonplace" low-end phasing problems.

Not saying the SubKick didn't work just fine. Just saying that it was overpriced for the way it sounded - because of the "let's use off the shelf drum parts" regardless of their cost to function value.

Also saying - I've yet to see an ad of major company product that was written by the actual builders and designers of said product. I would bet money that paragraph above was written solely by a marketing person with all of the limitation that implies.
“Grandpa rant off”


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Aug 5, 2005
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If I were in his situation and were willing to give up an acoustic bass drum, I'd definitely go with two single trigger pads from Roland and try to find the best feel out of my desired pedals.

Another option to try is to get good at playing these bad boys (Roland KT-10) and ditch the pads all together.
View attachment 406032
This guy seems like he's mastered it:



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Dec 17, 2006
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(Yamaha Subkick)... The drum shell, shock mounting,l and (custom) mesh heads add to its working besides making it visually interesting. This is also the reason you can't use a regular head instead.
No they don't. There is huge misunderstanding about subkick 'mics' and how they work - they're not actually mics, and 99% of what's written is either misunderstanding or marketing bull. (In the case of one major manufacturer with a current product, it's both). The 'woof' of the drum moves the speaker diaphragm, that then oscillates under its own suspension at the instrinsic frequency (called free-air frequency), which in turn is turned into an electrical signal by the coil. That is then used as a low-frequency sound source to supplement the full-range bass drum sound captured by the microphone. It's NOT derived out of the bass drum frequencies, it's a completely seperate sound source driven by the movement of air from the drum. The mesh head between the bass drum and the speaker diapraghm is acoustically transparent, it contributes nothing to the sound beyond looks and protection. The mesh head behind the speaker cone arguably may have a minute contribution, simply because a 'sealed' drum shell with a solid or mylar front head would create an air lock which would resist the movement of the speaker cone - but any effect would be so small you'd need to be critically A/B'ing the differences in a studio to find anything.

Edit: The above written before I read dcrigger 's reply. Absolutely correct. The 'phase' rebuttal in particular gives it away. Phase problems occur when two (or more) different elements are picking up the same sound source from different distances/angles. Subkicks don't cause phase problems because they are not a microphone which is also picking up the bass drum sound, they are an independent, self contained sound source.
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Feb 3, 2012
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Correct. To add a bit more info.. If you get into speaker building you'll get familiar with the term "free air resonance" which is one of the Thiele-Small parameters of a speaker and is listed in speaker specs as "fs." In speaker building, you control the fs of a speaker with your box design, but that's a big discussion.. If you google "speaker free air resonance" you can get all sorts of info about it.

Without a box, basically when hit with any type of sound pressure wave, the speaker will vibrate at it's "free air resonance" and thus produce a signal centered around that frequency. Even if you pick the speaker up and shake it, to a lesser degree, it will produce this frequency.

So, if you want to build your own subkick mic, what you want to look for is the "fs" of the speaker. If you choose a speaker with an "fs" of 50hz, then your subkick will produce a signal that is centered around 50hz.. Doesn't matter if you put that subkick in front of a 16" kick or a 26" kick, tuned any way you want... It will still produce a signal centered around 50hz.

You can change the "fs" by putting the speaker in a box with a certain design. or even by putting something on the cone. If you glue a dime onto the speaker cone, you'll change the "fs" of that speaker.

You will get a little bit, at a much lower volume, of the sound of whatever it's in front of as it does act in a very very poor way a bit like a mic as well. But for all practical purposes, the speaker will not produce the sound of anything you put in front of it, like a microphone. It'll just produce a frequency around it's fs, even if you put it in front of a snare, it'll still sound like a low bass drum.

I've built many of these for studio use! When blended correctly with the mic(s), they can provide a punch that is nice.

Here's a cool wooden one I built recently for the studio I do work in.


These are things that consistently get me studio work.. I play drums and do a variety of other things for the places I work at. Gives me a competitive advantage :)


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