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rcb4t2
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#1
12th June 2011
Old 12th June 2011
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DIY Sub-kick

(Premise: you take a speaker, wire its terminals to an XLR or TS connector, and treat it like a mic for kick drum)

Alright, I realize this has been talked about over and over. But I have specific questions...

a.) 1/4" ts into DI or XLR into mic pre?
_____I would be running the XLR line over 100' - is your answer still the same?
b.) If XLR, pin 2 +, pin 3 -, but what about pin 1? Leave it disconnected at the speaker, or wire it to some part of the metal speaker chassis?
c.) If XLR, can I pretend that it's a dynamic mic? I have no interference or gain issues running dynamics through my snake. I realize (expect?) the sub-kick will require a lot of gain, but I feel my preamps are up to the task.

As you can probably guess, I want to wire it XLR and treat it as just another mic. I don't have endless DI's and I don't want to burn one just on the woooof for my kick drum.

Oh, final question... I found that the speaker I want to use for this sits nicely in this compact guitar stand. It holds it securely and does not want to tip over - but! it leans back away from parallel.... as in...

| /

wherein | is the kick res. head and / is the speaker - do y'all expect this to cause me problems?

Thanks!
#2
12th June 2011
Old 12th June 2011
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1. I run mine unbalanced xlr, no DI
2. Like i said, ubalanced so it goes pin 1 to to pin 3, guess you could do metal chassi as well..
3. I have to pad mine and very little gain on the mic pre, it moves the coil a lot so i guess it produces more voltage so no, you don't need a lot of gain.

When it comes to being paralell to the head i really don't think it matters, since you´re basically after just sub frequences it really doesn't matter cause it's very undirectional.
rcb4t2
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12th June 2011
Old 12th June 2011
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Thanks - this pretty much confirms my suspicions (except about the gain - but that's even better!).

Others?
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13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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I have always meant to try this but I remember reading that if you get a ribbon mic transformer and install it into your subkick, that they require less gain.

I made one a while back with an 8" and it needs a TON of gain. I'm pretty sure it lowers the noise level.

The ribbon transformer should be a decent quality.

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#5
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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As far as the position of the sub kick, I think the lower frequencies being non directional is a bit of a myth. On any source and any mic, I've found moving the mic even half an inch can make a huge difference in tone and quality. Also, when I've been in rooms with subwoofers slightly off center (say 2 feet to the right of mix position as opposed to 6 inches to the right), I feel as if the right side of the mix becomes bass heavy, so that's why I think sub frequencies being nondirectional is a myth. Of course it's what I hear, and what I hear and you hear are completely different!

I've actually been meaning to make my own sub kick for a while now....but I haven't spent time to make a mount/stand.

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Old 13th June 2011
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A couple questions:
How important is it to enclose the speaker? Is phase much of an issue if its completely open?
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#7
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo-bration View Post
A couple questions:
How important is it to enclose the speaker? Is phase much of an issue if its completely open?
most of the DIY subkicks I've seen are just bare speakers without enclosures. On one, they used the magnet on the speaker to attach it to a mic stand.

I'm no mic expert, but I would think that enclosing the speaker completely would turn it into more of an omi-directional pickup pattern... but with a diaphragm that heavy, I don't think you'd have to worry about it picking up much outside of what you put it directly in front of. I've heard of people using tom drum shells to put their DIY subkick into, but never used one first hand that was made like that.

I'd say try it without an enclosure first, since that would be the easiest and cheapest route. See if you like it. If not, then try some enclosures.

I had long planned on making one of these myself, but never did because I started using long motor ribbon mics for the same intended purposes. I get all the low end thump I need off of one of those things, just avoid the port holes!
#8
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Hey guys,

I made a pretty sweet subkick last year. I took a lot of ideas from the yamaha model, but I made some pretty cool options of my own. I used an old yamaha 8" speaker from some home stereo speakers. I mounted it ala subkick in an old yamaha (do I sense a brand trend???) snare I picked up at a pawn shop. So, I took out four of the lug screws and mounted little loop hanger things under them. I bought short bungee cords from the store, cut them even shorter (just about 3" long), and mounted the speaker in the drum - having it "floating" by the bungee cords. In terms of electronics, I ran the speaker's + tab to a 4 pole switch. Between this switch and pin 3 I built a variable voltage-divider network that maintained an output resistor of 200 ohms, but changed the series resistance to drop 0, 10, 20 and 40 dB.

I can post pictures if there is interest, and if you want to know anymore details about building it, I can let you know! I can tell you that it definitely does it's job. Sounds awesome. One other mod that would've been cool would've been a variable LPF. I just low pass it in software, or coming in on the desk for now.
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13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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I unloaded the woofer of an Event 6" monitor, built a contraption out of wood to hold it up(not an enclosure to surround it like the Yamaha Subkick). I took a Mogami instrument cable stripped it and initially wired the Red to the negative and the clear to the positive as I was told to turn a speaker into a microphone, you need to wire it in reverse. I then took the TS side and ran that into the DI. I tried both TS into 1/4" input of radial DI, with the pad and then with a 1/4" female to XLR female so I could run out of the opposite side of the DI. I tried both sides of the DI both into the instrument in as well as the mic input. Nothing gave me a usable sound. What am I doing wrong?
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#10
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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I built my own sub kick with a NS-10 speaker wired to a TS cable. I used a sturdy cardboard box as an enclosure, but then wrapped it methodically with gaff tape so it looks kinda cool. I mounted it on a small telescoping camera tripod.
I first saw the sub kick technique being used years ago when I was an intern. Jack Endino was recording a band and asked the house engineer to wire up a sub kick. The only spare speaker the studio had was a NS-10, so the house engineer wired it up to an XLR and plugged it into the subsnake. While getting drum sounds, Jack wasn't happy with the kick drum. The lows just weren't there with the sub kick. He asked the engineer if he had run the sub kick through a DI, and then asked him to rewire it when he found out he hadn't. I was astounded at the difference when it was newly wired. The kick now had some BALLS, which I think is the whole point of this technique.
Though it might seem that you would consider a speaker a low impedance device since most speakers are rated 4 or 8 Ohms, I believe this is only in it's relationship as a load on an amplifier. We can think of speakers differently when used as a microphonic device. The output impedance of a microphone will depend on whether the mic has a transformer balanced output. If it does not, the microphone will be high impedance and must be connected to an appropriate input. The cable used should be kept short, less than 10 feet or so, to avoid noise problems.

JUST DI IT.
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13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW Harper View Post
I built my own sub kick with a NS-10 speaker wired to a TS cable. I used a sturdy cardboard box as an enclosure, but then wrapped it methodically with gaff tape so it looks kinda cool. I mounted it on a small telescoping camera tripod.
I first saw the sub kick technique being used years ago when I was an intern. Jack Endino was recording a band and asked the house engineer to wire up a sub kick. The only spare speaker the studio had was a NS-10, so the house engineer wired it up to an XLR and plugged it into the subsnake. While getting drum sounds, Jack wasn't happy with the kick drum. The lows just weren't there with the sub kick. He asked the engineer if he had run the sub kick through a DI, and then asked him to rewire it when he found out he hadn't. I was astounded at the difference when it was newly wired. The kick now had some BALLS, which I think is the whole point of this technique.
Though it might seem that you would consider a speaker a low impedance device since most speakers are rated 4 or 8 Ohms, I believe this is only in it's relationship as a load on an amplifier. We can think of speakers differently when used as a microphonic device. The output impedance of a microphone will depend on whether the mic has a transformer balanced output. If it does not, the microphone will be high impedance and must be connected to an appropriate input. The cable used should be kept short, less than 10 feet or so, to avoid noise problems.

JUST DI IT.
My issue is that the speaker, as you mentioned, is 4 or 8ohms. If you DI it, whatever you plug into the 1/4" input of the DI will come out of the XLR side even lower in impedance, will it not? Thus, why I also tried using the DI in reverse in attempts to get the impedance of the subkick somewhere along the lines of the output of a preamp. Using a speaker is only intended to grabs frequencies more effortlessly than that of a diaphragm that is 1" big. Am I mistaken somewhere with all of this?
#12
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
My issue is that the speaker, as you mentioned, is 4 or 8ohms. If you DI it, whatever you plug into the 1/4" input of the DI will come out of the XLR side even lower in impedance, will it not? Thus, why I also tried using the DI in reverse in attempts to get the impedance of the subkick somewhere along the lines of the output of a preamp. Using a speaker is only intended to grabs frequencies more effortlessly than that of a diaphragm that is 1" big. Am I mistaken somewhere with all of this?
You are not using the speaker as a 4 or 8 Ohm speaker. You are using it as a microphonic device. Have you ever seen a two connector microphone that is low impedance? Every cheap Radio Shack microphone wired with a TS plug that I've ever seen is a high impedance mic. Think of it this way.
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13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW Harper View Post
You are not using the speaker as a 4 or 8 Ohm speaker. You are using it as a microphonic device. Have you ever seen a two connector microphone that is low impedance? Every cheap Radio Shack microphone wired with a TS plug that I've ever seen is a high impedance mic. Think of it this way.
Gotcha, cool, thanks!!
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13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo-bration View Post
A couple questions:
How important is it to enclose the speaker? Is phase much of an issue if its completely open?
mine is completely open.

I know a couple of engineers who enclosed theirs on snare/tom shells but ended up going back to completely open. I guess, keep it simple works best?
#15
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
I have always meant to try this but I remember reading that if you get a ribbon mic transformer and install it into your subkick, that they require less gain.

I made one a while back with an 8" and it needs a TON of gain. I'm pretty sure it lowers the noise level.

The ribbon transformer should be a decent quality.

Peace
Illumination
I have to pad down mine because there is too much gain.
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#16
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW Harper View Post
You are not using the speaker as a 4 or 8 Ohm speaker. You are using it as a microphonic device. Have you ever seen a two connector microphone that is low impedance? Every cheap Radio Shack microphone wired with a TS plug that I've ever seen is a high impedance mic. Think of it this way.
Cool Avatar, cool movie!

PS the thing is the impedance of the speaker is 4 or 8 ohms. By using the DI you are getting it to couple with a mic preamp with some degree of impedance adjustment (just like a DI does with other devices).

The thing is if you use the ribbon mic transformer which acts as a step up transformer from a low impedance to a mic level impedance then you should be able to use less gain, get a hotter output and possibly a better frequency response from the subkick. This would make it more like a microphone (in terms of impedance) and negate the need for the DI.

So I'm told at least.

Carry on!

The ribbon motor sounds like a good idea as well. If you put a sock over it (a thick wool one) or put it in some kind of enclosure with a sock over it, you could put it inside the kick drum.


Sigma has a ribbon microphone that's one of the best in kick mics I've heard in well, forever. Might be worth checking out a ribbon mic/motor in place of a sub kick. There was definitely TONS of low end.

Peace
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#17
13th June 2011
Old 13th June 2011
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I've made a few sub kicks. For a long time I used the trusty old NS10 woofer. I floated the ground (a.k.a. connected it to nothing). Instead of building an enclosure I found that if I took the base of an old mic clip, the screw that normally hold the clip to the base fit perfectly in the mounting hole of the speaker. The only word of caution is to use a sturdy stand as the speaker will not really be balanced and will want to rotate a boom arm of a mic stand.

I never found that it needed a lot of gain. Instead I've had the opposite experience, that it has a really really HOT output. In fact my signal chain is to have the DIY subkick plugged into the line input of an old parametric EQ where I do a little sculpting of the sound and attenuate the level a bit, and then into a SPL transient designer to add a bit of attack to the signal. No Mic pre in the chain at all!
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29th June 2011
Old 29th June 2011
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29th June 2011
Old 29th June 2011
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I build one a few years ago. It's a cheap 8 Iinch car hifi speaker build into a 10 inch tom tom.



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29th June 2011
Old 29th June 2011
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Hi guys I wanted to follow up. I made my sub-kick mic and it's working great! I need to run mine into a line input on my mixer *and* pad that slightly! Whoa. I used an xlr cable with pin 1 disconnected. I run it over 100 feet with no problem.

I used a 12" driver from a bass amp. Just speaker, no enclosure. The sound produced is pretty much all deep low end - which was the purpose, right? It's nice to have that to combine with another mic.

Thanks to all for the tips!
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29th June 2011
Old 29th June 2011
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DUDES! the BEST sound i've gotten from my homemade sub kick is running it directly into the converters, and cali'ing it up for a good level.....going into a mic pre is WAY to hot.

....mine is just an ns-10 woofer with some mogami cable (wired for correct phase) and an xlr end...

kp
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29th June 2011
Old 29th June 2011
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Mines the same ns10 wired to xlr with a mic clip attached to one of the mounting holes. Just for interests sake. Queens of the stoneage's live sound is a ns10 and an re20.
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29th June 2011
Old 29th June 2011
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DIY Sub-kick

I believe the enclosure creates a low pass. If my reading of ribbon mic frame design is correct. The path length from front to back determines the HF cutoff.

Also, the number of leads coming from a mic has zero to do with it's impedance. I can't believe that folks let that sit here. It is the resistance of the element (very low for something like a ribbon, or very high for something piezoelectric) and it's reactance at various frequencies. I would expect that a speaker/subkick would have a pretty steep impedance curve. Pretty close to it's DC resistance at free air resonance and rising quickly with frequency due to the moving mass.

Makes me wonder. Has anyone ever tried a large dome midrange driver? I would think it would be somewhere between a subkick and a regular mic. I don't have any around to play with but it might be fun to order one from Parts-express to play with.
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29th June 2011
Old 29th June 2011
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I unplug my blues junior speaker from the amp and go into a DI. It sounds pretty good.
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30th June 2011
Old 30th June 2011
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I do the exact same thing with my pro junior sometimes

Haven't loved it yet, but still gonna try it again...
#26
5th July 2011
Old 5th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mertmo View Post
I do the exact same thing with my pro junior sometimes

Haven't loved it yet, but still gonna try it again...
I don't love it either, I have to shape the sound quite a bit. But it beats buying or making a Sub kick. A friend of mine used an AC30 once and the second speaker even picked up some beef from the snare drum (tuned really low). Pretty cool idea.


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13th January 2012
Old 13th January 2012
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Remove drum head

I am building a subkick out of an old 8" rack tom I had laying around.. Looks like it is working out just fine, but I was wondering if I should take the back drum head off the drum? Does the actual drum head affect the sound?
#28
13th January 2012
Old 13th January 2012
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I have an old ns10 cone that I made a sub kick out of. Ltely I find myself using it less and less in imy mixes.
#29
13th January 2012
Old 13th January 2012
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why does anyone still use a subkick?
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#30
6th June 2012
Old 6th June 2012
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Resurrecting a bit b/c I plan on building a sub kick from an old 12" cone I have. Would a Whirlwind IMP Pad 20 barrel (XLR M/F) do the trick as a DI in the chain?

kind of a newb, so thanks for goin' easy if this is stupid.
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