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Seeking Kick Drum Mic Advice

Discussion in 'Drums' started by justins, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. justins

    justins Guest

    I use an acrylic kick drum that measures 22" x 20". It sounds huge in my studio. Then I mic it with a Beta-52 a few inches into the resonant head, facing some 20 degrees off-center and an MXL 63M a few feet from the drum, facing on-center. This is the best combination I was able to find, but it still leaves me way unimpressed. The sound I get from recording is small and not as boomy and resonant as I want. The MXL alone sounds good in a general sense, but doesn't give the big sound I'm seeking. The Beta-52 adds some clarity to the attack, but is lacking in the low end range.

    I'll be tracking drums again in a few months and every time I do this, I buy some new equipment. This time I'm trying for some new mics. I'm perfectly aware that there are as many opinions about the quality and usability of each mic as there are mics, but I figured I'd ask nonetheless.

    My budget is small, of course, but I'm willing to spend the extra cash if it helps me accomplish that sound. Or better yet, perhaps my understanding of acoustics is incomplete and the mic placement is dampening the resonance.

    Thanks in advance.

    justin
     
  2. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    hey Justin.
    I've captured some good resullts by building a tunnel using 2 kick drums to get more woof. If you have another kick drum lying around what you do is place it 1 to 2 feet in front of the main kick drum, and lay a blanket (heavy packing blankets work well) over the 2 drums closing the open space. Put your Beta52 inside the main kick 3 to 6 inches from where the beater hits the head, and put your condenser inside the 2nd kick drum to capture the resonance and boom. Dampen to taste.

    And you should use your quietest high gain preamp for the "boom" mic, as you won't get a huge signal being a few feet from the source and a couple layers of mylar in between.

    So, you have 2 kick drum tracks, and you get a lot of flexibility mixing them together as far as separate EQ and compression. You can create some wild effects tooooo
     
  3. justins

    justins Guest

    Wow, thanks!!!!

    I just happen to have another acrylic bass drum lying around. No joke! Now, the second drum has no resonant head, but the one on which I'm playing does. Should it be removed? Also, the condenser that is in the auxiliary drum, should it face the the beater? At what angle off from center?

    Thanks again!!! I am way excited about giving this a shot.

    justin
     
  4. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    I would make sure to cover that open ended kick drum with the blanket as well as the gap between the kick drums. No need to remove your main kick drum's resonant head. You could experiment if you have lots of time, but try it with it on, you can capture the attack fine as long as your 52 is looking at that beater.

    As for the condenser, maybe a few inches from the head (inside the drum) and a few off centre? I'd start there and experiment. It's nice to have an isolated control room to be able to listen to the sound through your monitors while someone hits the drum. If you don't, a good pair of closed-ear headphones will suffice to monitor the changes as you move the mic. Have fun dude!
     
  5. i have a beta 52 and have been getting less than stellar kick sounds also. also i have been getting the best results with the beta in the hole and a mxl condenser about a foot or 2 away. Anyone else have any suggestions? i really don't enjoy using more channels and more mics because i like to do bass at the same time. thanks
     
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Gentlemen...I think there is more to this than meets the ear. The Beta52 is a fine mic and especially for kick drum. I like the tunnel and have used that in the past, but I'm thinking there is something else holding back your abilities to reproduce BIG KIK DRUM.

    I find, most often , it is the head itself. I get the big kick drum sound and use a Remo Powerstroke 3 head with a remo dot on the beater impact spot. Mind you, this drum set is primarily only used in the studio. Its nothing fancy just an older set of Tama Swingstar drums. The bass drum is isolated...ie: no hardware other than the spurs.It gets a packing blanket over it as well as the shell being lined with the thin Auralex. The front head has been cut out and is only a holder for the Auralex. The drum itself isnt all that loud but it is a true note and with a similar micing technique as you have , it sounds really big and in yer face.

    Depending on the tuning , its very easy to get everything from country rock, to blues , to funk, to heavy metal....the metal sound requires the fiberglass beater but nothing else other than tuning.

    Think about the dampening you could get from a setup like this. There are very few sympathetic resonances happening... the bleed in the other drum mics is negligible...

    I do use an LDC out front, though I wouldnt think the MXL is going to sound that good for this....a darker mic that will handle spl's well would be better....I get mine in closer than a foot and turn it slightly off-axis.

    good luck to you.
     
  7. The Byre

    The Byre Guest

    This is what I do - I'm not saying it's the absolute answer to getting a good kick drum sound, but it works for me in most cases.

    1. Insiist that the drums are on a wooden riser. We have a fully sprung riser that really 'booms' and I just love to use that beast! No riser, no press record!

    2. Insist that the drummer takes all that crap out of the kick drum, pillows, gaffa tape, bog rolls, dead cats, you name it and they have got it there! I want to see a totally empty drum shell without any resonance skin.

    3. Now I choose my mic. 9 times out of 10, it'll be an Audix D6 with nothing else. I might add a sub-base like that Yamaha thing, but actually I use my own soft-mounted speaker driver that I use, though sometimes I go for a dDrum sample off the dDrum head. Or I might copy the kick to a new track and re-eq it to create a sub-bass.

    I don't know if any of this is of use to anyone else, but it works for me.
     
  8. The Byre

    The Byre Guest

    This is what I do - I'm not saying it's the absolute answer to getting a good kick drum sound, but it works for me in most cases.

    1. Insiist that the drums are on a wooden riser. We have a fully sprung riser that really 'booms' and I just love to use that beast! No riser, no press record!

    2. Insist that the drummer takes all that crap out of the kick drum, pillows, gaffa tape, bog rolls, dead cats, you name it and they have got it there! I want to see a totally empty drum shell without any resonance skin.

    3. Now I choose my mic. 9 times out of 10, it'll be an Audix D6 with nothing else. I might add a sub-base like that Yamaha thing, but actually I use my own soft-mounted speaker driver that I use, though sometimes I go for a dDrum sample off the dDrum head. Or I might copy the kick to a new track and re-eq it to create a sub-bass.

    I don't know if any of this is of use to anyone else, but it works for me.
     
  9. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    Sounds interesting. How is the riser constructed? How tall? Is it boomy if you stomp on it or is it solid? And I'm just curious, why do you always take the resonant head off of your kick drum?
     
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Resonant heads 'pinch' the sound. Sure it sounds big up above the kick drum, but out in front its alwys(in my experience) been a little anemic, and the mic knows this. Plus, just like speaker phasing and mic phasing, you can tune the two heads to completely eliminate the 'push' of the kick altogether!. Dealing with one quality drum head in a big round enclosure is all you will ever need to achieve that HUGE KIK SOUND without a bunch of electronic manipulation and tricks.

    You guys know my direction here......SOURCE... SOURCE... SOURCE.

    Without the source being what you want to hear on the recording, nothing is going to magically transform what you DO have into something you only WISH you had.
     
  11. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    Thanks. I never take the resonant head off, but I'm gonna try it next time.
     
  12. billblues

    billblues Active Member

    You got the huge sound in the room already!Your mic placements off.what size whole you got in the resonant head?pull the mic out of the drum about 2",point it centered at the whole and start there.move it around till you hit it.Don't stop till ya nail it
     
  13. billblues

    billblues Active Member

    oh and get rid of that 2nd mic on the kick for now.Just do a basic 3 mic recorderman setup(2 o/h's and kick)Tuning and head selection REAL critical if that ain't PERFECT your screwed
     
  14. justins

    justins Guest

    I have two 3" holes symmetrically placed about 2" from the center and about 3" below it. They're both dampened with these rings, probably just for looks.

    I'm using an Aquarian Super Kick II with the Falam pad for the beater and beater is felt.

    And thanks again!!! I have so many good options now, I can't wait to start recording again. I guess I'll spend a few nights up there working through the kinks.

    I just wish this type of community existed in my other work...I'd save lots of time by not re-inventing the wheel as often as I seem to.

    justin
     
  15. Lunybird

    Lunybird Guest

    I have recently been turned on to the audix D6 - I love it! I have been using a Beta 52 for the past 3 years, and recently had a drummer come over with a D6. I was very impressed with the sound. Very punchy, nice attack, smooth bottom. For the rock and roll sound I was going for, it worked great.
     
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I have done an extraordinary amount of live recording with my remote truck since 1991. My consoles have always been top-of-the-line Sphere circa 1978 from 1991 through 1996 and then a vintage Neve circa 1974. Good preamps with plenty of headroom really make drums sound good. If you don't have a great console, you may very well want to initialize the microphone pad and/or keep your gain trim lower to increase headroom. This is what really makes the huge difference in sound between cheap microphone preamps and the real deal.

    Most of the time my bass drum microphones are usually pre-miked by the PA guy, with anything from a Shure SM57, Beta 52, Sennheiser MD421, AKG D12/112, Electro-Voice RE20 and rarely a condenser microphone, unless it is a PZM or boundary microphone.

    In the studio, I generally prefer a MD421 or, SM57. Sometimes I'll use my AKG D112 or my Electro-Voice RE20 but I really love the 421.

    As to how to get that gigantic bass drum sound once you have worked out your microphone selection, placement and gain settings?? If you have a good sounding bass drum and your microphone is pleasantly and haphazardly placed (like I do), you'll want to add some compression, without too fast of an attack and a fairly quick release so as not to add too much distortion, followed by a gate. The compression will generally help to sustain the resonance. Then you want to add a very short digital plate style reverb or inverse reverb, generally from my Lexicon's of which I have numerous types but others will do (I never liked the Yamaha for that purpose because it always felt too muddy to me). And with that, you get a nice fat "Blop" followed by a bit of "foom" which gives you "GigantoKick".

    The finishing touch is to invert the phase of the bass drum track or while tracking it. This will make the bass drum appear tighter and more solid with reference to the rest of the drum kit, while the compression helps to sustain the resonance and the gate/downward expander gets rid of the trash leakage and allows the digital reverb to bloom.

    You really didn't think that was the sound of a room did you? Sometimes it is. Most of the time, it's digital processing for drums tracked in smaller rooms. Most rooms don't have that kind of reverb sustaine.

    Now wasn't that simple?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  17. separation

    separation Guest

    Out of curiousity, wouldn't inverting the phase on the kick make the kick drum suck in instead of pushing out in the speakers? If the kick drum is dominant in the song and really is out in front would it not be acceptable to invert the phase on the entire kit "except" the kick so as to keep the kick drum pushing the speakers out?

    I've used your advice on keeping the faders high and gain low and have got some great results and much better tracking. I was just wondering about this kick techique though. Maybe something I'm missing. Actually, I'm quite sure I'm missing something which is why i'm asking the question.
     
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Oh my, just realized I'd never answered this posting. Sorry.

    In regards to flipping phase on the bass drum technique I was speaking of. You wouldn't really want to flip phase on all of the other drum microphones instead of the bass drum. All sound waves with the exception of pure sinewaves are all asymmetrical. So your overall pick up of the drums, with the microphones all in phase, will yield a proper recording of the drums. The reason you want to flip phase on the bass drum is because it is inside the drum and so, because of its low frequency pulse like impact, the woofer would naturally suck in and of course that way, it is in the phase with the rest of the drum microphones. If you flip the phase on the bass drum microphone, its action will cause the woofer to push out, which is really what you want. You could of course try to reverse phase on all microphones on the drum kit and see whether you like that result as well? Now I don't always reverse phase on the bass drum. It really depends on the type and style of music. Sometimes I like the softer, fattier, flabbier base drum sound, of an in phase base drum. But you will get a harder "thud" that will be more defined sounding and cut to the mix better when you flip phase. Again, all personal preferences.

    Delinquently yours
    Ms. Remy Ann David's
     
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