So was the DW Subwoofer a passing fancy?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I remember seeing these back in the 90s. An addtional bass drum placed in front of your primary bass drum, so it would resonate along with your actual bass drum and produce more lows than you could possibly imagine wanting.

The first time I saw this in a good practical way was when Billy Ward came out using a 20x12 bass drum, but his subwoofer was a 28x8 inch monster kick. I thought it was a cool concept.

But at the same time it came from the company that also started making 23" bass drums for no apparent reason as well.

Is anyone out there still using a subwoofer? Or has it gone the way of the dinosaur as things attempted that never panned out?
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I never understood the concept behind the subwoofer thing. i already find that 18" deep BD are too cumbersome.
The 23", I do understand though - I would even be a buyer ;-)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I remember seeing these back in the 90s. An addtional bass drum placed in front of your primary bass drum, so it would resonate along with your actual bass drum and produce more lows than you could possibly imagine wanting.

But at the same time it came from the company that also started making 23" bass drums for no apparent reason as well.
The only DW guy I can think of that might still use one is Mick Fleetwood. Not DW related but AVH was the subwoofer guy in the 70s/80s.

A nice idea but totally impractical for most working drummers. A good bass drum mic is smaller and does the same thing and fits in a mic case.

The 23" bass drum don't get me started....lets make something nobody stocks heads for and was completely uneccesary in the first place, but DW overthink and/or overengineer something....who'da thunk it!
 

Blisco

Senior Member
I worked in a music store about 18 years ago when these came out. We got in a DW kit with one. I decided to A/B them in the decidedly boxy sounding, high ceiling shop. There was a noticeable and distinct difference when it was mounted using the doobie bars.

It effectively makes a 20 sound like a 22 and a 22 sound like a 24. It also had a slight affect on the feel.

Totally impractical for gigs and unnecessary but if I was building a music room queen, I'd consider the splurge. And the room it would be in!
 

charliedrummer

Senior Member
The sub-woofer configuration is not specific to DW. A few years back, Ludwig had a kit called the Epic Modular that consisted of two 8x20 bass drums that could be used separately as a double-bass kit, or connected to form a single bass drum with a woofer attachment. I also recall Alex Van Halen having a woofer attached to his bass drum on several of his Ludwig tour kits.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
The sub-woofer configuration is not specific to DW. A few years back, Ludwig had a kit called the Epic Modular that consisted of two 8x20 bass drums that could be used separately as a double-bass kit, or connected to form a single bass drum with a woofer attachment.
Allow me to apologize on their behalf. :O

Bermuda
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I think Neil Peart requested the 23 from DW just to see how it would sound. DW I assume will make for, anyone who is a star, whatever they want.

Everybody knows there is no such thing as a 23-inch bass drum.

But at that moment, all at once a 23-inch bass drum did exist - in John Good's imagination.

He set out to make it real, but the challenge of that enterprise was sizeable - starting with the simple fact that if there had never been a 23-inch bass drum, it follows that there had never been a 23-inch bass drum head.

Not one to be discouraged by that minor detail, John contacted the various drum-head manufacturers. Right away Remo stepped up to the plate, and offered to make a few prototypes, by hand. John went on to design a shell that would express his latest theories growing out of the Vertical Low Timbre philosophy - a further refinement that would eventually become the "X" series.


Once I got my hands - or my foot - on that 23-inch bass drum, I was sold. As John had suspected, it retains all the response and dynamics of the 22-inch, but adds the punch and bottom-end of a 24-inch. For me, the bass drum is the heart of the drumset, and this heart, like a good drummer, is both strong and sensitive.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Questlove I believe uses a "woofer" type setup on the Tonight Show.

And I've seen Billy Ward videos with him using a DW setup. However, I don't know how recent those are. I know some are just a few years old.

I was curious about this a few months back. Wondering about the sonic benefits if any.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Have any of you heard one in person? Do they work?

I've seen drummers with them in concert and I couldn't tell any difference from a standard kick that was well tuned, mic'd and mixed.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Just so we're all clear hear... We're talking about the second-kick aligned in series to the first kick, and not a Yamaha NS-10 in mic-mount dressed as a drum.... correct?

If we're talking about the former... It's the stupidest thing I've ever F'ing seen.

If we're talking about the latter... That's just a LF microphone, and a studio trick that has been in use since the 70's.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Just so we're all clear hear... We're talking about the second-kick aligned in series to the first kick, and not a Yamaha NS-10 in mic-mount dressed as a drum.... correct?

If we're talking about the former... It's the stupidest thing I've ever F'ing seen.

If we're talking about the latter... That's just a LF microphone, and a studio trick that has been in use since the 70's.
Maybe THAT's what Questlove is using. I'm not sure. Hmmm
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Just so we're all clear hear... We're talking about the second-kick aligned in series to the first kick, and not a Yamaha NS-10 in mic-mount dressed as a drum.... correct?

If we're talking about the former... It's the stupidest thing I've ever F'ing seen.

If we're talking about the latter... That's just a LF microphone, and a studio trick that has been in use since the 70's.
This is what I assumed we're talking about...
 

Attachments

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
I don't own the DW specifically, but I did recently put a 24" marching bass drum in front of a 20" Rogers Holiday a la Billy Ward. Sounded really cool; the two drums being tuned to different notes made for a more harmonic kick sound than I usually hear. Back in 2003 or so I attended a Tony Royster Jr. clinic featuring his red and gold kit on the DrumFrame fully outfitted with woofers on both kicks, and the visual impact made more of a statement than the sound, though those kicks did sound really good.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
I had never heard of this, but I can see that it would be perfect for the drummer who feels he doesn't have enough gear to pack, needs to fake up more stage real estate and has something to over compensate for.










Where can I get one?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I think we all knew it was a fad that wouldn't last long when neither Pearl nor Tama even bothered to come out with their own version.

As mentioned, it was highly impractical for the average working drummer. And the cost of essentially buying another drum that you don't even get the pleasure of hitting was lost on most people.

And the sonic benefits that came from using one, while measurable, were small compared to the cost. And once the drums are blended in with the full band, thought a PA or mixing console, I doubt most anyone could hear the real difference. So it was a lot of money and time to achieve fractional, if not negligible, improvement.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I think Neil Peart requested the 23 from DW just to see how it would sound. DW I assume will make for, anyone who is a star, whatever they want.

Everybody knows there is no such thing as a 23-inch bass drum.

But at that moment, all at once a 23-inch bass drum did exist - in John Good's imagination.

He set out to make it real, but the challenge of that enterprise was sizeable - starting with the simple fact that if there had never been a 23-inch bass drum, it follows that there had never been a 23-inch bass drum head.

Not one to be discouraged by that minor detail, John contacted the various drum-head manufacturers. Right away Remo stepped up to the plate, and offered to make a few prototypes, by hand. John went on to design a shell that would express his latest theories growing out of the Vertical Low Timbre philosophy - a further refinement that would eventually become the "X" series.


Once I got my hands - or my foot - on that 23-inch bass drum, I was sold. As John had suspected, it retains all the response and dynamics of the 22-inch, but adds the punch and bottom-end of a 24-inch. For me, the bass drum is the heart of the drumset, and this heart, like a good drummer, is both strong and sensitive.
Yes, the 23" was made for Neil Peart when Neil expressed to John he liked certain aspects of a 24" but also certain aspects of a 22" and found himself questioning what size he wanted to order. John made the 23" to see if he could give Neil the best aspects of both sizes in one drum, Neil tried it, and iked it enough to order one, and then DW tried to see if it would catch on.

But with some 90% of the worlds bass drums being 22", most people didn't see the point.

Much like Tama's attempt to market an 11" tom in the 80s, the demand for something different just wasn't there.
 
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