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Bass Drum without a hole in the front skin

I've been trying to get a good sound out of a kick drum that didn't have a hole in the front skin. The drum was well tuned and sound okay in the studio, altough there was a lot of ringing in it. Anyway, here's the setup i've had...

The drum: a Yamaha Maple Custom with a 18" Kick. The console was a Néotek Elan... the mics i've try were a AKG D112, a Shure Beta 52 and a AE 2500. The sound I always had was a vague woomff that didn't have any attack at all since I wasn't able to get to the beater. Is there some other of capturing the attack? Should I've mic the beater on the front skin... I don't really know how, I'm affraid I'll get a lot sound from the chain. I'd also tough of completly removing the front skin but I dindn't have time. Any suggestion?

What happen is during the mix, I wasn't able to to get it to sound right/tight with the bass. I know I could've use a trigger, but I did'nt had time...

The band sounded a bit like Martin, Medinski and Wood... kind of a funky groove jazz combo.



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johnwy Tue, 07/13/2004 - 07:21

Should I've mic the beater on the front skin... I don't really know how, I'm affraid I'll get a lot sound from the chain.

You were on the right track bro.....

You will not get much chain sound (unless it squeaks excessively) since you are only going for the attack, which shouldn't be much. Place the mic on the other side of the kick by the beater (on the side of where the ride cymbal and floor tom are) on a short stand and aim the mic at the beater. Try to get about 4 to 6 inches from the beater and make sure there is enough clearance so that it doesn't get kicked or whacked by the beater. Reverse the polarity of the mic at the beater and blend the 2 mics until you get enough attack (from the mic by the beater). Move the mic on the opposite side until you feel it sounds the best. Compress, eq (gate/expand if neccessary) to taste.

If thats still doesn't float yer boat then ask to take the front skin off. However, its been my experience that the more experienced drummers will resist this course of action because if that is the sound that they wanted, they would have had a hole in the skin (or no skin at all in the front) in the first place.

by Tue, 07/13/2004 - 08:38

This is sorta a joke, but I actually got this to work when mixing (DAW). Obviously it may not work at all in your case, or be worth your time - it took me an hour or two to get it to sound right:

Duplicate the kick drum track, put a gate/expander on it and perhaps an EQ so it only opens up when the kick is played. Set the attack and release times very short, so you get just a 'bip' sound. Now apply either distortion or some sorta "clipping" effect, I think I just EQ'd it alot actually, so you get the 'bip' sounding like a click, maybe some tube emulation so it doesn't sound too harsh. Then just tuck that in under the original track.

If you can, go with what John said, and if the pedal is too noisey then grease it down or get a new one.

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Kurt Foster Tue, 07/13/2004 - 14:31

Good technique post from "by" .... You can also get an old Alesis D4 drum sound module and re trigger a kic sound to mix in ...

Micing from the batter side is more common than most would guess.. just be sure the kick is in phase with the snare overheads and toms ...

Best bet, get a knife and cut a hole in the front head... You will get the most attack and isolation from other elements this way. Do not put any blankets, pillows or padding in the drum, this only mutes the shell overtones which can sound very cool ... I use Deadringers and "Moon Gell" on both heads but some gaffers tape and cloth mutes, felt mutes or just about anything else can work as well.

Heptade21 Tue, 07/13/2004 - 19:10

Thanx for all the great advice. This is realy a great forum.

...ask to take the front skin off. However, its been my experience that the more experienced drummers will resist this course of action because if that is the sound that they wanted...

Exactly, that what I wanted to do but the drummer was like: « Man, c'est mon son de drum! Ça-va sonner rock si t'enlève la peau... Moi ça me prend mon son jazz! » Transaltion: Man, don't remove the front skin or i'll get a rock sound... and blablabla... Whe had the same problem during a show when we weren't able to get a great kick sound from his drum that's why I've ask if they were any other solution than removing the front skin or having a hole in it.

Cedar, when you trig a drum sound, are you preferering an old Alesis D4 to a software like Drumagog?

djui5 Tue, 07/13/2004 - 23:19

I'd recommend take the head off also....but there's another option.

Just stick a ld condenser in front of it...make sure you put the pad on. Move it closer or futher away untill you get the sound you want. There's been a ton of recordings done this way.....with no mic inside the kick...just outside.

dgooder Fri, 07/16/2004 - 06:41

It seems the drummer knows how he/she wants the kick to sound. If you accurately recreate that sound (maybe lose the close mic and go for the sound in the room....), everyone should be happy. The style mentioned can definitely be driven by a cool "non-traditional sounding" kick.

Dave Goodermuth

mell Fri, 07/16/2004 - 09:26

no offense
but i personally don't like it when drummers or mucisians don't want to compromise for a good recording, i can understand when musicians are a bit carefull with stuff like removing a piece of their equipment but when it means that the engineer has to do some acrobatics to capture a decent sound when he could have had a far better recording by just listening and trusting the engineer then you have to ask yourelf if you shouldn't get a drummer who goes for the recording instead of his "own"oppinion"...

my two cents

dgooder Fri, 07/16/2004 - 10:56

This will quickly get into a discussion about the quality of musicians you are working with. At the level I'm accustomed to, I would never second guess the musician's ears and taste for the way their instrument sounds. If we're going for something unique, that's certainly a different story, and everyone is into experimentation. Likewise, sometimes it is necessary to make some changes, and any professional will be totally cool with that as long as you can back up your reasons with more of an explanation than "well, it will just sound better...." But unless you are the producer or the person paying for the session, I feel pushing any musician to change something they feel strongly about is extremely unprofessional. I know for a fact if you are a decent engineer, you can make even the worst situations work just fine. Use your ears and get creative. Everyone will be happier and you may learn something in the process.

David Goodermuth

dudge Fri, 07/16/2004 - 11:29

Did anyone tell Krupa or Rich or Bonham to take off their front heads?
Zep would not have sounded like Zep with a dead clicking kick drum.
Does anyone tell a guitarist to take off one of their strings?
I mean if the drummer is good and has a good sound it should sound good. :wink:

mell Fri, 07/16/2004 - 13:29

in reply to "dgooder" ,
your right about the form the discussion will turn into therefore i won't reply on it although i have some oppinions on it :wink:

but i hope you do know what i mean with my reply
cheers :lol: