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Bass Drum Sounds

Discussion in 'Bass' started by sharmon, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. sharmon

    sharmon Guest

    Hi, am new here, just want to say this is awesome. Thank yous to all responsible :)

    K, i have been involved directly/indirectly in recording some local bands, mostly rock/heavy metal and have seen and had great dificulty in getting the right drum sound, more precisely, getting the drums to sound right. Especially the bass drum. Here's the big Q: HOW does one get that big fat snappy chunky bass drum sound one hears in the recordings of Pantera, mettalica and the likes?

    Having not had a plethora of mics to choose from, have experimented greatly in positioning and EQing. Have always been in favour of having minimal EQ, but this seems impossible.

    Is there some "trick" i don't know about?
    Could someone give me some pointers?
  2. Dave Nyberg

    Dave Nyberg Guest

    Tell us about where you place the mics. Do you use front heads? If yes, does it have a hole, how big? These are the important things to know for ppl to give you advice :)
  3. sharmon

    sharmon Guest

    Mostly used bass drums without any skin at the back, placing the mic usually right up to the skin, maye an inch or so away pointing directly at the beater.
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Does the kick sound good, big and fat on it's own? You got to have a great big fat tone first in order to capture it in recording. Try different mics, even more than one mic or pulling the mic back up to maybe 3-feet back. Most moderen sounding big acts use multi-layering of tracks for each instrument so that kick you love may very well consist of 2-10 different channels each with it's own processing.
  5. Mundox

    Mundox Guest

    You can't get a meaty sound without the front skin. Try that first. And I would tune both heads very very low so that your kick produces some overtones that give you a clicky sound. A pillow inside will kill the bad resonance.Yeah and definitely multi-mic it. If all fails trigger it. Most metal producers use it believe me.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I never place anything inside a kick drum. While a pillow will help tame overtones and head ring it also kills the resonance of the shell which I quite like. I use deadringers on both heads, an Audix D6 or AKG D112 placed through a 6" hole in the front head, pointed about an inch to the left and just below where the beater strikes the head, angled slightly away from the snare. Place a moving blanket over the drum to help eliminate bleed being cautious not to allow the blanket to damp the front head.

    EQ the drum with a 75 Hz. hi pass filter, shelf boost @ 6 dB 80Hz, narrow q cut 6dB @ 220 and narrow boost 6 dB @ 5K. Metal often requires a plastic or wood beater to really get a lot of "tick" . Be sure to check the phase of the kit against the kick drum, insuring that everything is in phase. If any one mic is out of phase with the kick, it can cause it to sound too thin in the mix. Phase is very important with drums.
  7. sharmon

    sharmon Guest

    This is the most insight i have got into recording drums ever. Thanks for all the very useful information, have a lot to try out now :) will let you know of my experimentation.
  8. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    I often blend a trigger (or more than one) with the kick mic to give it whatever it is lacking. If using more than one you'll need to make sure they all line up on the timeline unless you are after a certain effect. If you use analog you may need to slow down the tape while recording to reduce timelag. For certain types of metal I use trigger only depending on what kind of sound I'm after. I've heard a few people on this forum say they use software to trigger the kick. I believe it was called "Drumagog" or something similar to that. In that case you could custom design a kick sound and use it as a triggered sample.
  9. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    Pantera drum sound is easy. Alesis DM-5. At least that was for Far Beyond Driven... they might have changed it out by now, too.

    There's lots of threads with kick drum sound advice, as well as a bunch more on this thread. But the first advice is still the best- get the drum sounding right to your ears, then worry about the mic and where to put it.

    Good luck!

    "to hell with the record sales - download the MP3s and come to the shows!"
  10. timstoel

    timstoel Guest

    I have a cheap kit with nice brass that sounds great. The bass drum has an emad on the batter side, no front head, no damping inside. Batter is the stock one that comes with a DW 7000. I like the felt side because the rubber gives too much slap. Miking is as follows:

    Beta 52 6" from the head, halfway between batter and edge, for the punch, SM-57 close to the batter for the click and a 12" cheap poly cone car speaker (got it at Radio Shack!!) wired out of phase to a pre for the bass. With careful placement of these components, a KILLER sound can be achieved.
  11. FireBros.

    FireBros. Guest

    One of the easiest ways to figure out good kick drum micing, is to think of the kick drum sound as two distinct sounds that you are blending together. The click, tick or snap you've heard mentioned earlier, and the boom or thump. Start with any of the larger diaphragm dynamic mics mention previously (Beta 52, D6, D112, etc), and set your eq conservatively close to the numbers mentioned in the earlier post. Place the mic halfway in the drum, aimed directly at the beater. Most likely you will get too much click, and not enough boom. Now move the mic in half inch or so increments, away from the beater either to the side or away from the beater head. You will start to hear an increase in the boom part of the sound, and a decrease in the click. Then by ear you can position the mic for the best reproduction of the sound you are looking for. If you understand phase relationships, the 2 mic techniques mentioned earlier can be really cool, because you can position each mic specifically for one portion of the kick drum's sound (the click or the boom), and then blend them at the board. Remember that 1/2" or less can make all the difference in the world when it comes to kick sounds. Of course the quality and tuning of the drums can dramatically affect how easy it is to get that great kick sound, but if you understand these basics, you can still get a good modern kick sound, because it seems most of the modern kick drum sound starts with that magic eq curve posted earlier, applied to fairly average kick drums. Another note you can think of the 5K eq as the click volume level, and the 80Hz eq band as the boom volume control. Then boost or cut those bands appropriately.
  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    HI Sharmon,

    Lot's of good advice here.

    Try not placing the mic so close to the beater, you are balancing the sound too much in favor of "tick/click" and losing the bottom end. Usually in most cases with one mic (which can be just fine most of the time) it's best to have the mic at or just inside of where the front head is. If there is a front head with a hole in it, try placing the mic jsut in aiming back towards the beater.

    An alternate area to cut EQ wise for the lo-mid is more around 500, as opposed to 200.

    As always, use to taste.

    I'd shy away from hi-pass filtering as high as 75hs (at leat when recording), becuase alot of good bottom on a kick can be found oin the 50-60hz region. You can always cut more when you mix.

    I do like two mics on kick. A dynamic just inside, and a Large Diaphram condenser like a 47fet on the outside, this (the 47fet) usually needs to have a blamket over it and then front partn of the kick so as to minimize bleed and negate the need to cut too much top end from this mic. Lately I've been using a speaker as a outside mic. I like this better, I don't need to use a blanket (the speaker is effectively deaf to high frequencies), has much more bottom end and is very cheap.
  13. white swan

    white swan Guest

    Adding to Elija's two mic suggestions:

    Don't forget to try flipping the phase of the beater side mic. Sometimes that will make a huge difference in the blended sound.
  14. sharmon

    sharmon Guest

    The advice here is great, many thanks to all!!

    Want to put a mix for critique shortly, would be great to get more feedback. damn i'm such a leech...

    In awe,
  15. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    An interesting trend I've heard in a bunch of new recordings lately is to decrease the amount of 'click' sound in the click. Tool's Lateralus is a great example- there's no doubt as to when he's playing it, and when he plays the fast 16th on The Grudge they come thru perfectly clear, but there's not much click in the sound, at least not to my ears. A lot of new progressive metal CDs are like this, as well.

    It makes the drums sound much less intrusive, I think. Not applicable to all recordings, but sounds good in the cases I've noticed it.

    Just thinking out loud.

    "to hell with the CD sales- download the MP3s and come to the shows!"
  16. Warhead

    Warhead Active Member

    Dec 3, 2002
    South Carolina
    I dig my E/V ND868 about 8 inches out from the beater, inside the shell. SWEET...very under-talked about mic!
  17. Mr Yankoff

    Mr Yankoff Guest

    n00b here.. this is a GREAT forum. i just recently heard about the technique of using a speaker to mic the kick drum and i found it very intriguing. could someone please elaborate on how to do this and what makes it effective? thanks!
  18. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    There are a couple of current NS10-mic threads floating around... you might want to look into those.

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