Re: Played with a Throne Butt Kicker for the First Time
Well it took me a month, but I finally put together my Buttkicker rig.
I decided to wait and save a little more money and purchase all the items online to save a bit. I had to go to a gaming and audio video store hear in Atlanta to demo the unit and it wasn't installed on a drum throne. It was a couch and recliner chair set up with four Buttkickers installed to demonstrate the low frequency benefits integrated with a high end surround sound audio video set up. It was very impressive but not a good representation of the control you have when you play a bass drum pedal. Plus it thumped with the concert dvd on bass drum and bass notes.
So I got the Buttkicker Mini-Concert with the mounting plate for my Roc n Soc throne.
I got a Crown XLS1500 amp and a couple of cables I needed too. I couldn't wait to set it up and test it out. I sent my kick drum mic signal back out of my mixer and fired it up. After a bunch of fiddling, I was pretty disappointed in the results.
It became quite obvious right away that the bass drum note duration was pretty long. Even after I muffled the crap out of my bass drum, the thump and feel was a little muddy and didn't seem to have the attack I remembered when playing with one the first time.
I don't have any compression or more importantly gating on my kick mic signal so I realized that I would need a few more electronics to get it right. Since I'm not spending any money right now on any recording gear and I really only want the Buttkicker for the thump, I decided to set up a trigger rig for the Buttkicker.
I got a great deal on a Simmons E kit pack from Guitar Center. It comes with their cheapest bottom of the line drum module, two pads and two triggers and cabling for $279. Not bad since I could integrate the pads into my kit if I want for effects.
When I got this set up and adjusted I was still experiencing some of the same muddiness as before but when I picked one of the more electronic and clicky bass drum sounds on the module the Buttkicker immediately perked up and produced a tight thump in the seat. Some of the Roland type synthy drum sounds, I guess, are shorter than others and that was the key to overcoming the gating issues of setting off the Buttkicker with a kick mic signal.
When I started upping the power to the Buttkicker it got better and better. It totally works better when running close to full power.
Remembering Bermuda's advice, I started getting worried after a few hours of playing if the thing would shut off if I ran it too long close to full power. My drums are set up in my basement which has a carpeted concrete floor. Usually my wife says she can barely hear of feel the bass drum upstairs. She actually poked her head in the first day I had it set up with the trigger rig and was looking at me like, WTF?
You could feel it 5-10 feet away in your feet and I had her stomp the pedal for a while and you could definitely feel it a little upstairs through the house and floor.
Remember you don't hear anything. You only feel the bass.
Using the triggered electronic kick sound is cleaner because there is nothing bleeding into the kick mic and since I don't have it gated to overcome this I get the same benefit of the improved kick drum monitoring. I don't play big shows, so I usually deal with having to play my drums unmic'd and a little louder than I prefer to sit in the mix properly. Often I have a hard time hearing myself, especially my kick drum.
I've always relied on foot feel, like we all do regardless, in placing my kick drum notes when I can't hear my bass drum very well.
It is such a difference. It doesn't take long at all to get used to the ass smack it gives you and it immediately boosted my confidence that my kick placement was nice and tight. Especially on busier beats and funkier stuff.
The amp was the most expensive part of the rig and I can definitely see the whole set up as one of the first things I would leave behind and not pack up for small gigs or when you don't want to bring a larger set up.
The Buttkicker adds bulk and weight to my throne but the amp is the real pain. Having a small rack for it or a case is no big deal but you still have to put it somewhere. Some of the places I play, the stage is so small that bringing a larger kit much less and amp that I have to have sitting next to or behind me isn't practical.
Thanks to Bermuda for the great insight and advice. I absolutely love it.
I'm telling you. You play with one and you will want one.
Philippe - Eat, Sleep and Drum.. .. it makes for a good weekend.