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Bass drum sound bad
Old 22nd September 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Bass drum sound bad

Hi everyone,

Got myself a second hand 80's rockstar kit.
Replaced all heads (expect kick) and learned how to tune etc... but I can't get my kick to sound right.
I've looked at quite a few tuning video's and tried different things but it sounds weak listening like this and recorded, papery, boxy.
I've had another kick in my little studio and recorded it and it sounded great.

Should I replace the batter head? Would that make a big difference? Don't know how old this one is>
What head would you recommend? I play between jazz-singersongwriter-pop and rock

Thanks!
Old 22nd September 2019
  #2
Have you experimented with internal dampening ?
Have you got the outer skin on or off ?
Old 22nd September 2019
  #3
Gear Nut
 

I tried a foam sheet inside: muffled
I tried a fleece blanket: better less mufled.
But I have the idea its the basic sound that's not nice?
Old 22nd September 2019
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarking View Post
Hi everyone,

Got myself a second hand 80's rockstar kit.
Replaced all heads (expect kick) and learned how to tune etc... but I can't get my kick to sound right.
I've looked at quite a few tuning video's and tried different things but it sounds weak listening like this and recorded, papery, boxy.
I've had another kick in my little studio and recorded it and it sounded great.

Should I replace the batter head? Would that make a big difference? Don't know how old this one is>
What head would you recommend? I play between jazz-singersongwriter-pop and rock

Thanks!
If you don't know the age, replace the head.

I switched to an Aquarian Super Kick (II?) on the batter and like it a lot. I've got an old down pillow inside and a front head with a hole. I've been really happy with the sounds I'm getting lately.

BDs ae sometimes super hard to get right in recording. I'm back to micing inside and out most of the time. I often tent the drum with a packing blanket to keep other sounds out of those mics. I like to compress the inside mic when tracking, and often EQ as well.

I've also experienced an odd phenomenon where, if the drum sounds kind of bad from the player's perspective, it often sounds great recorded, and vice versa.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Poopypants's Avatar
 

That's not exactly the greatest drum to begin with (nor the worst) but you should still be able to get a good sound out of it, assuming it's somewhat in round and the edges are relatively true.

When you say you learned how to tune, does this mean that you're not a drummer per se? If not, get a drummer in there to help you out.

You should eventually have a few kicks around, each set up to get you to a different place if your recordings continue to cover that much range. In the meantime, you'd have to set the kick up differently for each bag.

There are many ways to set up a kick, and don't trust anyone who tells you that any particular method is superior unless they're describing a very specific context, i.e. someone's favorite set up for loud rock, or someone's favorite set up for small group acoustic jazz, or someone's favorite setup for dry funk, etc. And even then, there are always variations.

So... general starting places:

If you're setting up for rock or something where you want a bit of slap up top with a strong low end, go with a thicker head, possibly one with built in muffling like the Aquarian, or try a similar head from Remo or Evans. Get a resonant head with a hole off center. Tune them both fairly loose, somewhere just past the wrinkles. (Some will actually still keep wrinkles on the batter head! And some will tune way higher than you'd expect. Whatever works. You'll have to experiment.) Experiment with internal muffling. Put a heavy blanket inside and try allowing different amounts of the blanket to touch each head until you've got the decay where you like it.

If you are doing tight funk, take the reso head off completely and stuff the drum with a heavy blanket. Head choice and tuning are less important with that amount of muffling, but try higher and lower tunings to see what you like.

For jazz and sparse, live styles, where there's room for the kick to breathe, try two heads, no holes. Go for thinner heads. Coated Ambassadors can be great. Tune a little higher. It may be easier to muffle from the outside. Carefully fold up a small towel or anything and put it between the posts of your pedal and the head. Do it in a way that doesn't obstruct the pedal. On the reso side, you can lean your heavy blanket against the head. Again, adjust to taste.

Always remember that the kick drum sounds different (and usually better) on the reso side. I will often tune a kick before setting up the rest of the kit. Once I have the pedal on, I straddle the drum and hit the pedal with my foot while getting my head in front of the drum. Don't judge your kick sound from the drum throne.

I find that I will often detune a lug or two by about 1/2 to 1 full turn after getting all of the lugs to the same pitch. This is both on the batter and the reso. It can help get a faster decay and it will change the pitch and duration of any ring that may be going on. I never detune adjacent lugs or opposing lugs. Leave two unchanged between the detuned lugs. Try one, then try another...

I also find that drums need to be tweaked differently in different rooms, so if a drum sounded good somewhere else, it may not sound the same in your room and you may need to adjust the tuning.

It's a pain in the ass, but keep at it and keep trying different things.
Old 28th September 2019
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Thanks!
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