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Kick Drum Clipping

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Lengtith, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Lengtith

    Lengtith Active Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    Hey guys, thanks for reading.

    I have a Beta 52A kick drum mic and a Delta 1010LT interface on my computer.

    When I keep the Beta out of the kick hole, it sounds decent and there's no clipping.

    But when I put it 2" into the kick hole, this is what happens:

    So the output isn't clipping, it just appears as if I'm actually overloading this mic by placing it in the correct position. But this mic really shouldn't be overloaded that easily, should it? I'm hitting the kick drum pretty softly, too. Does this look like overload or am I missing some padding somehow?

    Come to think of it - last week I put an SM57 on my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and it had a similar overload problem. That should be a practical application too, I can't figure out why I'm getting this issue!

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    I think you are overloading the mic pre-amp on the Delta 1010LT. Those boards have so little headroom it's not surprising.

    I would try reducing the gain on the 1010LT mic channel that you are using for the Beta 52A. Firstly change the jumpers to give you 11dB less gain and see what difference that makes. If it's an improvement but not a full solution, you can cange to the +3dBu configuration that is one of the nominal line-level settings.

    Details on p8 of the manual [URL="http://www.m-audio.com[/URL].
  3. Lengtith

    Lengtith Active Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    Thank you Boswell, that is very likely the issue. I have been using the on-board pre's. Might be time to invest in a real preamp...
  4. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    May 22, 2011
    JHB, RSA
    Home Page:
    The Beta 52 has an output sensitivity of 0.6mv/PA. It also has a maximum SPL rating of 174dB! This is huge and probably why the input of the Delta 1010LT is overloading and why it has a relatively low output sensitivity. The 1010 has an input sensitivity of +14.2dBu, which is only 10.2dB of headroom above 0VU. This is absolutely the lowest figure I've seen in ages considering most high end analog gear clips at around +28dBu and more. I would bet, then as Boswell has informed you, that the output sensitivity of the Beta52 is higher than what the 1010LT can accept.

    I found a good article by Rane about this exact issue:

    Selecting Mic Preamps

    Cheers :)
  5. Lengtith

    Lengtith Active Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    I'm a little confused, please don't give up on me! :confused:

    I now have this preamp: Summit Audio 2BA-221 | Sweetwater.com

    And I have this mixer: Allen & Heath ZED-10FX | Sweetwater.com

    And with this preamp, the kick drum is no longer peaking / overloading when I go from (the preamp's 1/4" output ) --> ( 1/4" to RCA adapter ) --> ( line level RCA input on the 1010LT).

    So the $650 preamp is now fully occupied by the kick drum alone. (Which seems like a waste but at least it works.)

    I want:
    -An overhead drum mic
    -A snare mic
    -A guitar cab with 2 mics on it

    All recorded simultaneously. So if I plug the overhead and the snare into the only 2 XLR inputs on my 1010LT... how can I record the guitar? The manual says not to plug microphones into the RCA inputs without a preamp. :frown: And the RCA "Record" outputs of the mixer are unbalanced? Ahhh!

    Thank you so much for your help.

    EDIT: And even more confusing -- I'm pretty sure the SM57's on the mic cabinet are going to get overloaded just the same as the kick mic did. :(

    So basically - Do I need 2 more $650 preamps to record like this?
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I would not buy any more preamps until you have learned how to use the preamps you have - including the preamps in the A&H and the Delta. You have in your hands a great example of different amounts of headroom in the preamps. The Delta seems to have very little headroom. But you found that out on a kick drum - a source with very large transients and a lot of dynamic range. If you want to use the Delta or the A&H on drums you are going to have to baby them. Turn down the trim pots. Record at a lower average level. This will allow you (we hope) to record the transient without any clipping. You will pay for that clarity with a higher signal to noise ratio that will become apparent when you compress or boost the signal. Even if you buy better preamps with more headroom in the future you will be better off learning how to do this.

    Now a guitar is a much more compressed signal than a drum (usually) so it will be much easier to record with the mixer/interface preamps. But again, keep the levels low. You know they don't have much headroom, so don't push it. There are plenty of ways to boost a signal after it has been recorded cleanly -fewer ways to fix a clipped signal.
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Do an audit on your relevant input and output capabilites. It will be something like this:

    * A+H Zed-10FX inputs: 4 mic channels on XLRs, 2 stereo channels on unbalanced jacks

    * A+H Zed-10FX outputs: 2 main mixed outs on impedance-balanced XLRs, 2 post-pan post-fader recording outs on unbalanced RCAs, 1 post-fader FX out, 1 pre-fader Aux out, phones out switchable to mono PFL (+ others)

    * Delta 1010LT inputs: 2 mic channels on XLRs, 6 unbalanced line-level RCA inputs

    Given that you would like to record 5 XLR mic inputs plus a DI guitar input all on separate tracks, how could you do it? Leaving input overload levels aside for a moment, you can take two mics (for example, the 57s on the cabinet) directly into the 1010LT XLR inputs, leaving the requirement for 3 XLR mics and a DI to come via the A+H mixer.

    If you pan 2 separate channels hard left and hard right and keep the other faders at minimum, you can take the mixer's main XLR outs as a pair of channels. The Aux out gives you a further independent channel, and you can just about squeeze another independent channel through the PFL button and the phones out. Done!

    Putting your drum mics through the A+H mixer should not present any level problems, and a couple of the mixer channels have DI inputs as an alternative to the XLRs. So you are just about accommodated, leaving only some cabling requirements and level setting to do.

    If you were to get the Summit pre-amp, you could take this directly into the Delta on the remaining pair of inputs, but it would require very careful thought about cabling and signal levels.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    The Beta series of dynamic microphones put out a huge amount of output level. The output level is close to that of condenser microphones or greater. This particular microphone (And others in similar series) is a challenge To many microphone preamp inputs which do not have resistive input pads. Mackie's for instance, don't have input pads. That's because he designed his preamp as a fixed 20 DB, low gain preamp. This way (he figured) you could never overload the microphone preamp since it never developed more than 20 DB gain. Your trim control is not changing the preamp on his mixer but a secondary amplification stage. Classic microphone preamp's need to have pads available at their inputs since you could be overloading both transformers and/or the preamp itself with excessive negative feedback to control its gain. That's a bit of convoluted blah blah. So if you're not sure of actually what's going out, you can't be sure of what's going in either. This is all part of what we call gain staging. Which to get right can be more challenging with excessive equipment glomp. And preamps running into other preamps generally have their share of leveling problems. Remember, LESS IS MORE. And there are those of us that only overload our inputs and/or outputs when we want to add a certain kind of color. Generally it's not the color of crunch. Actually,

    I think that would be a great name for an audio engineer, in the digital age, Capt. Crunch
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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