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md421 as a kick mic

Discussion in 'Drums' started by BitBurn, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. BitBurn

    BitBurn Guest

    I realize this is an industry standard, but this has to be genre specific, right? I am not experienced with recording by any means, but the thought of using an md421 for metalcore double bass craziness drives me bonkers... am I just plain way off or what? I have also heard of a 57 being used, and all I can say is that I could see these on like an indie pop type of recording where the bass is kinda there but more subconcious than anything else, but not on a metal recording, am I right?

    We have a pair of akg condensers (I can never remember the exact model because they aren't mine) we use as overheads, we slap a 57 on the snare, and an audix d6 on the kick... but this time around we have a 421 to play around with, should I even bother setting it up to the kick along with the d6?
  2. doesnt hurt to try, mic it up, see if it sounds like what you want...

    i use a shure beta 52 a lot on kick, i used to use 421's on toms until i discovered ATM25's...

    but there a no set rules to this game, its nice to have options, what works one day with one genre might not work so good the next day with another genre...

    i think its a good idea to know what sound you want before you start out, then you have something to work towards instead of just flying blind...
  3. BitBurn

    BitBurn Guest

    we want a really fat thump... definitely something you hear. In the past we have gotten a really farty ringy kick tone, but we are using someone else's kit for this recording, so I'm not sure that this is gonna be as much of a problem

    influences of ours are Botch, Narcissus, Drowningman, Norma Jean, Poison the Well, Craw, Every Time I Die... stuff like that, if that helps
  4. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    The 421 will most likely give you some midrange presence but not a ton of click or low-end punch.

    For metal I tend to go with the AKG D112. It has a fairly big peak in the upper mid-range which can help shoot the kick through the mix.

    The most important thing to worry about is the tuning and dampening of the kick itself. If you don't take your time and get this just right, you'll be burning time/energy trying to get it at the mic.

    My .02

  5. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    I have the D112 and the D6 and both work great for metal. It depends on the drum as to wich I end up using. I have tried the 421's on kick a couple of times when they were available and really couldn't see a use for that tone when the other mics have such a nice low end.
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    The 421 has been my main go to mic for drums for years. Never had a problem with not enough low end or click when used with fine quality and tuned kick or tom drums. But then I always know I'm gonna use eq to taylor it anyway. I find kick mics or mics designed with with more low end are far less desireable in tone then just taking a good and decent mic and using a great analog eq on it.
  7. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member


    First off you need to, like the other post said, tune the drum well, different heads have a different sound too. plus the type of dampning in the kick will effect the way it sounds, for instance you could just have a blanket in the kick without touching either of the heads or have it real tight on the batter head etc. Then comes the actual beater, they have plastic, wood, and felt also pads to put on the batter head to give a different sound or to prolong the head's life. then after that the positioning of the mic in the kick, now if I were you I would just start the mic close to the beater, (inside the drum of course) and check how that sounds, if its the sound you're looking for then keep it there if not keep moving it futher back. Now you will need to realize that for metal/hardcore drums you need it to cut through the guitars so an un-eqed kit is very unlikely so get the kick sounding good with mic positioning and if you are good with eq then maybe add a little eq to the kick, nothing too drastic though (remember you still have mixdown). Now it also depends on how hard the drummer hits the kick with the beater. All of these things factor in, plus you will want to use a little bit of compression (in my opinion for this type of sound/style) on tracking, try and get a good comp if you can so that you don't clip the a/d converter and the kick levels are consistant.

    But its not over yet you have mix down to play with where you can expirement on comperssion and eq to get the kick to sit in the mix where you want it. And don't make the kick overly loud, now I listen to some hardcore/metal and I hate when they have the kick way to in your face all clicky and triggered, I mean come on that sounds boaring and awful. When mixing listen to another artist that you want the kick to sound like or how it sits in the mix and a/b the two back and forth. Plus Don't put too much low frequencies in the kick so that on double bass parts it gets all muddy, thats just not good and also work will the bass guitar to get a good punch.

    there are other things that i've heard done but not tried yet where they extend the kick and mic it from further away (to pick up the longer lower frequencies) and cover the extended kick with a blanket to isolate from picking up other sounds of the kit.

  8. BitBurn

    BitBurn Guest

    yeah, thats another problem... we gotta get the bass to sound punchy this time... our bassist is tied with our drummer for weakest link as far as equipment goes... so instead of using his shitty bass amp we go direct, although we might have a GK rig in time for him to use, we'll see... the bass always sounds like this lumbering flubby tone, if you can hear it, then you are hearing too much...
  9. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more.....the D112 is my mic of choice for a kick. I have a Beta 52 and I'm going to borrow a D6...so I'll see how that works. I have nothing against a Beta52, but it just doesn't hit the stop for me on my gear.

    Again....I couldn't agree more on the tuning/dampening. I was blaming my crappy kick sounds on my gear, my room, myself....until I started screwing around with the tuning and found the problem.
  10. Barkingdogstudios

    Barkingdogstudios Active Member

    If it's bottom end you want ..... build one of Recorderman's sub mics. I'm soldering iron challenged and I found it pretty easy to do. I basically took a 6" woofer with a foam surround, attached a mic clip to the frame, attached a regular mic cable to the speaker (xlr male on the other end) and plugged it in like any other microphone. Mix to taste with other mic lick track. You probably won't need much. I used a 6 Ohm speaker. In retrospect I might have used an 8 Ohm speaker instead because I now need an inline pad due to too much signal.

    This is the setup I used before I replaced a 421 with an EV RE20. The 421 is still a very acceptable kick mic. Just make sure it's set to M (or Music) and not S (as in Speech).
  11. Chappy

    Chappy Guest

    The bands that you are trying to sound like all trigger thier kicks. I record the same type music, and i end up triggering sounds in addition to my recorded kicks and snares. I've had great results with the 421 on axis a couple of inches away from the beater. I like the sound of the ATM 25 off axis about 5-6 inches from the beater. I've been really pleased with the new AE2500 dual diaphram mic from Audio Technica. That mics sounds great but it took me a while to learn the best ways to use it. If all you use is the 421, then you probably won't get all the beater that you'll need with all the boom. Not for the kind of music. You could try a signal generator with the 421, i've had good results with that too. Good Luck!
  12. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    For the metal bands I have an Alesis drum module laying around with ddrum triggers.
  13. THeBLueROom

    THeBLueROom Guest

    if you have the capabilities, mix a sample with the original kick. that's what 90% of all rock and metal bands do. you simply can't get a consistent enough click with drummers that aren't kickass.
  14. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Question for PHIL Blackbourn OR Audiogaff. I'm considering selling my Audix D2 for a couple of ATM 25's or one md421. How do you think the ATM 25's rate compared to the D2's/421's for Rack/Floor toms? Thankx.
  15. THeBLueROom

    THeBLueROom Guest

    I'm not Phil or Audiogaff, but the MD421 is far more versatile than the D2, but by selling the D2 you won't get enough cash to get even a used 421. The Audix D4 is better suited for floor toms if you want something in the same price range.
  16. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    A lot of this is personal and/or subjective as one is not clearly better than another at all times. I'd don't think much of the ATM 25's, and the D2 is useable mic worth having and keeping in your collection. One day I'll add one to mine. But I know it's hard to keep something you don't or won't use very often even though that is how you build a mic collection that gives you the best selection for the task and makes you the envy of all your friends and clinets. So if you have to, dump the D2 and save up until you can get a 421 fo it. They are not that expensive.
  17. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Hey Thanks guys, and btw I don't mean to take over the thread in anyway either. I see a lot of guys that are happy with the ATM 25 so I thought I'd swap my D2 and give one a try. It sounds like Phil likes his ATM 25 better than his md 421 for toms. I agree, I'd love to keep the D2 but I'm trying to get at least one real nice mic for each task in the studio. i.e. rack, floor, bass cab, guitar cab etc. The D2 isnt bad but I'd love to hear how a 421 or ATM 25 compares.

    Thanks guys

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