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Bass drum micing technique
Old 2nd August 2005
  #1
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SLy_drums's Avatar
 

Bass drum micing technique

How do you mic and mix a bass drum ?

I'm searching around on how to obtain a rock/metal "not so clicky but a little" bass drum sound, and it appears there are a lots of different ways to proceed.

What mics/comp/EQ do you use ? How many ? What mic(s) do you process through a noise gate ? How do you set up the gate (extreme, soft...) ? How do you EQ each mic ?
etc...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #2


I'll use a compresser and a parametric EQ for live performances. Just make sure to keep the attack slow on the compresser.



-tINY

Old 2nd August 2005
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Lately I've been digging a mic inside and one outside. I've got a speaker mounted to use outside for woof, or I'l use an LDC. I blend them to tape so I only have one track when mixing. If I use an LDC (or dynamic for that matter) outside the BD I'll throw a blanket around it to deal with bleed. I vary my blend based on the song/tempo. EQ and compression are as needed...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

I usually use 3 mics on the kick: a D112, RE20, D6, or MD421 inside, a custom speaker mic on the outside(NS10 woofer), and a U87 or 67(always cautious with this one) several feet back from the kick, in a tunnel. For this setup, it's all about using the IBP(I need 7-8 of em) to dial in just the amount of low end I want. Sometimes I keep these signals separate from each other during tracking, and other times I'll mix them down to one track(I'm preferring this commitment these days). For metal, I'll throw on a trigger and record that to its own track too, so I can either sidechain it to a gate or use it to trigger a sample in the mix.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #5
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dokushoka's Avatar
 

Any of the above mentioned techniques should yield a good kick drum sound provided its well tuned. A lot of drummers that don't record much don't really know what to listen for when it comes to tuning for recording, so you may have to get your hands dirty. I start with the beater head. I find that remo pinstripes work great. I tune it up til I get some good attack with a decent decay. I prefer a cork beater, but a hard felt one or smooth wood one can be nice, too.

For the resonant head, I like a small hole in it, just enough to get a d112 JUST inside it, literally, just poking in. I generally tune the resonant head until I start to feel the lugs "grab." I then run my fingers around the edge of the head feeling for sags. If there are any, tighten up the nearest lug. The idea is to get the head as loose as possible without having any of those sags. With the inner mic, you get a good overall sound and micing the outer head will give you loads of low end. This leaves plenty of options at mixdown. Compression, as always, is totally program/player dependent.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #6
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audioez's Avatar
 

if you're not looking for the beater(click) sound, point the mic towards the edge of the bass drum shell where the head and shell come in contact. Most of us want our kick louder, so instead of boosting the low end with eq, try only using subtractive eq in the low end....then push that(kick drum) fader up the way it was meant to be!!! BAMN!

here's a clip of a single MD421 on a kick drum

http://www.ronthaler.com/mp3/Jam%201%20(excerpt).mp3
Old 2nd August 2005
  #7
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nobtwiddler's Avatar
Simple heavy Rock Kick set up

Audix D-6 inside
Yamaha Subkick out side

You can hear this combo on these recent releases.


Slunt
Dry Kill Logic
Ill Ninio (due out in a few weeks)
The Agony Scene
A Life once Lost
Immolation...........

Very little compression used if any going to The Radar II

Paul Orofino
P.O.P.
Millbrook Sound Studios
Old 2nd August 2005
  #8
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

E/V ND868 on kick most times, sometimes it's an SM57 pretty close to capture a nice mid-punch rock sound. Condensors usually don't net me anything I like to hear much on kick (too much midrange that needs to be scooped to hell and back).

I use the UAD-1 Fairchild comp sometimes and the Cambridge EQ, out of the box I'll hit it with a dbx242 EQ and a P1 compressor. As stated above, use a pretty slow attack so you don't kill the click.

If I use the R84 as a fairly close room mic that adds a lot to my overall kick sound as far as a full bottom goes.

War
Old 2nd August 2005
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioez
if you're not looking for the beater(click) sound, point the mic towards the edge of the bass drum shell where the head and shell come in contact. Most of us want our kick louder, so instead of boosting the low end with eq, try only using subtractive eq in the low end....then push that(kick drum) fader up the way it was meant to be!!! BAMN!

here's a clip of a single MD421 on a kick drum

http://www.ronthaler.com/mp3/Jam%201%20(excerpt).mp3

Sorry to be off topic....

Hey Audioez.. nice track, nice players and nice mix. Great snare sound (kick is cool as well). Nice work.

thumbsup
Old 2nd August 2005
  #10
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audioez's Avatar
 

my point being, I was a "brazillion amount of kick mics type of guy"

When you get such a stong sound with one mic, screw it; I'm lazy and don't feel like finding a sand bag for the Fet47, lol

thanks for the kind words

oh and if anyone cares I used a neve 3116 mic pre/eq(kelso) for the kick, snare and bass DI tracks.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioez
my point being, I was a "brazillion amount of kick mics type of guy"

When you get such a stong sound with one mic, screw it; I'm lazy and don't feel like finding a sand bag for the Fet47, lol

thanks for the kind words

oh and if anyone cares I used a neve 3116 mic pre/eq(kelso) for the kick, snare and bass DI tracks.

What snare mic did you use??

To the original post... Two mics works well for some, one for others so you are going to have to find out for yourself I guess. Me I like two mics, one for click and one for boom.

Click on one track and boom on another, also if I use one mic I tend to mult it to two tracks. I then split the signal up into "lows" and "highs" with a lowpass and highpass EQ. At this point I use different compression for the low end and the high end (I guess you could do the same with a multiband compressor as well but I have never done that).

Anyway you can then adjust the amount of attack with the amount of boom depending on the channel volume and compression ratio.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #12
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audioez's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
What snare mic did you use??
sm57
Old 2nd August 2005
  #13
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DirkB's Avatar
I use a D112 inside, U195 outside and use an IBP on the inside channel and adjust until have what I want. I don't necessarily go for the best "in phase" but dial in something that gives me a cool kick and gells with the rest of the kit.
Sometimes I gate the U195 from the D112 channel.
On kick drums, I hardly ever use any compression, other than some parallel drumsub compression.

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 2nd August 2005
  #14
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cdog's Avatar
Engineers worry too much about engineering. Think less about "engineering" and A LOT more about intruments and music.

Picking the right bass drum is by far the most important choice in getting the right timbre for your track.... i.e., you cannot get a heavy metal guitar sound with just a guitar and a Fender Champ no matter how many engineering tricks you know, what mic you use, a 1073 or 312, or which brand of 2" tape or A/D you use.

Find a kick drum that sounds like you want the kick drum on the record to sound.

Put a mic in front of it. Record it. Viola.

Really, thats it. Sorry kids.

But......

If you don't have access to a multitude of kicks, try changing heads and retuning the kick you have, using different beaters; although this will affect the sound less than a new drum you might squeeze some life out of an old kick by putting new heads on it.

Heads. With an "s". I can't tell you how many drummers I've recorded that have changed their beater heads for every drum like once a month but leave on the original bottom heads from 4 years ago when they bought the kit.

Just because it doesn't look beat to crap doesn't mean its not.


Old 3rd August 2005
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
scotty-o's Avatar
 

Depends on the style of music/drummer but new metal/ emo/ pop punk kicks get on the inside: Audix D-6 > dbx 160x at 4:1 (no "over easy" here) and a custom 8" woofer/stand thingamajig right outside the front.
Older style rock or anything that's more "mellow" gets a 421 or D112 (usually the 421) inside and a fet47 out about a foot in front of the kick, about 4 - 8" off the ground and roughly pointed at where the floor and drum shell come close (to minimize HF bleed). Usually no compression on the way in.

I'll play with the polarity between the two channels and usually get just what I want.

-Scotty
Old 3rd August 2005
  #16
Gear Nut
My fave for most rock stuff is a 421 about 6 or so inches inside the drum and a old D12e outside about 4-6" from the outside head. Toss a heavy blanket over the kick to keep some bleed out of the D12e and mellow out the kick in the room. I'll usually do some fairly aggressive eq going to tape; cutting out the typical 300-500hz, boosting 50-80hz and adding 5k-10k hi mids to taste. The outside mic usually gets the "low-mud" scoop and a bump in the low freqs. After that, I'll end up doing some more eq'ing during the mix. Usually some more low mid cuts, low and high boosts. Futz around with track alignment (no IBP in the toolbox). And then by the time the 476 tracks of gtrs and 642 vocal tracks are tossed into the mix, and you have two hours to finish the mix, you fire up Sound Replacer toss in the stereotypical "rock kick 101" sample and the band loves it! "Dude, now it sounds like a Blink182!"
Old 24th May 2006
  #17
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Sigma's Avatar
RCA BK 5 Ribbon --awesome kick mic!!!!!!!

API graphic

5-10 ms attack compression 4:1
Old 24th May 2006
  #18
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog
Engineers worry too much about engineering. Think less about "engineering" and A LOT more about intruments and music.

Picking the right bass drum is by far the most important choice in getting the right timbre for your track.... i.e., you cannot get a heavy metal guitar sound with just a guitar and a Fender Champ no matter how many engineering tricks you know, what mic you use, a 1073 or 312, or which brand of 2" tape or A/D you use.

Find a kick drum that sounds like you want the kick drum on the record to sound.




isn't that obvious? I mean you start at the source ...if the foundation is bad so is the house
Old 27th May 2006
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLy_drums
How do you mic and mix a bass drum ?

I'm searching around on how to obtain a rock/metal "not so clicky but a little" bass drum sound, and it appears there are a lots of different ways to proceed.

What mics/comp/EQ do you use ? How many ? What mic(s) do you process through a noise gate ? How do you set up the gate (extreme, soft...) ? How do you EQ each mic ?
etc...
Everyone's advice here is solid. I myself have had success using the D112 through a good pre and comp. Micing is not a word though. What you are talking about is miking. Yes, I know that microphone is spelled with a 'c', but this is the proper way to spell it. Just for future reference. Thanks.
Old 27th May 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLy_drums
How do you mic and mix a bass drum ?

I'm searching around on how to obtain a rock/metal "not so clicky but a little" bass drum sound, and it appears there are a lots of different ways to proceed.

What mics/comp/EQ do you use ? How many ? What mic(s) do you process through a noise gate ? How do you set up the gate (extreme, soft...) ? How do you EQ each mic ?
etc...
One mic on the inside and one on the outside. I don't gate because I want to capture the air. I prefferably use a distressor on the signal that I set up according to the kind of kick drum it is, the skin used, the kick pad type and the drummer's way of consuming the kick drum. fuuck
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