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  #1  
Old 02-21-2017, 02:03 AM
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Default Low Frequency Hearing Loss

I've always had trouble hearing my bass drum in live situations, but lately it seems to be getting worse. I have acoustic gigs where I am playing as softly as I can with my hands, but as soon as the bass player comes in, my bass drum disappears. I had a gig yesterday where I was playing very softly with my hands but no matter how hard I hit my bass drum, I couldn't hear it. A different bass player sat in on a couple of songs and afterwards the regular bass player said that my bass drum sounded great and he could feel it across the room.

Different gig with different band that night, where my kick is micked, and I have a QSC K12 for a monitor and I have the bass drum turned up as loud as it will go in the monitor, and play with a wood beater with two beater weights attached. The singer was complaining that the kick was the loudest thing on stage, but as usual, as soon as the bass player comes in, I can't hear it.

I did an online search for low frequency hearing loss but didn't find much. A couple diseases that I don't think I have. The only one that seemed likely, was a study that said some people suffer low frequency hearing loss after spinal anesthesia. I did have that last year when I had knee surgery. I guess I need to talk to my doctor. Has anyone else had this problem? Anything you can do about it?
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2017, 04:32 AM
81MC 81MC is offline
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

It may not be hearing loss at all. The human ear has an exceptionally hard time deciphering where low frequency sounds are emulating from. This is why subwoofer placement is individually room dependant, and is always placed for best sound regardless of positioning of the listener.
If you are able to hear the bassist okay, it would seem to me unlikely that you are experiencing loss. Maybe it's a good sign you dant distinguish your bass drum, at least you know it's locked in with the bassist?
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

The fact that you can hear it before the bass player comes in, and the fact that you can hear the bass player, tells me it is likely not low frequency hearing loss, per se. It wouldn't hurt to check with an audiologist but I suspect your ear is just having trouble sorting out the myriad low frequencies happening.

Perhaps a tactile monitoring system would help?
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:48 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

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Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
Perhaps a tactile monitoring system would help?
Indeed. I was going to recommend a butt-kicker. I think Bermuda uses one, and have heard that they are game-changing for some people. I also imagine you can use an inexpensive amp with them (like a 3000-peak-watt $100 Behringer).
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  #5  
Old 02-21-2017, 04:50 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

Frequencies will compete, even when they're different timbres, and they tend to mask each other. Whichever is louder, wins. This is why mixes - recordings and live - are often so tricky. When too many things occupy the same sonic space, they all suffer.

The workable answer for the kick/bass issue is to change the EQ of one so that it is out of the way of the other. In truth, you will probably defer to the bass player. If he likes low end, you need to tune your kick up and out of that range, so that it occupies a less-congested sonic space and will be heard better without simply adding volume. If the bassist likes a midrangey and more articulate sound, you will want to tune on the lower end so that you are predominant in that space.

The same conflicts can happen with keys and guitars playing in the same range. An octave change by one or the other solves that quickly and cleanly. Once they're in relatively separate spaces, they're both more easily heard without getting into a volume war.

Bermuda
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

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Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
Indeed. I was going to recommend a butt-kicker. I think Bermuda uses one, and have heard that they are game-changing for some people. I also imagine you can use an inexpensive amp with them (like a 3000-peak-watt $100 Behringer).
Either is certainly a workable solution in terms of monitoring, but doesn't really solve the problem of competing frequency ranges from the audience's perspective.

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Old 02-21-2017, 05:38 AM
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Morrisman Morrisman is offline
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

When I used to use drumfill monitors, I often found that everyone else could hear the kick except me.
The solution was to reverse the phase of the drum monitor. This way, when the head moved away from me, so did the speaker, and they reinforced instead of cancelling each other out.

Another issue can be distance from a back wall - if you're about 3ft from a wall, the sound bouncing off the wall will cancel frequencies around 100Hz. So move closer or further from the wall. The same thing happens with bass amps.
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2017, 05:54 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Either is certainly a workable solution in terms of monitoring, but doesn't really solve the problem of competing frequency ranges from the audience's perspective.

Bermuda
Indeed. Notching up the sweet spot and culling the cruft at the board is a wonderful thing. Not only does it sound better, but there's a measurable reduction of stress on the amps. The only hiccup is that the monitors will depend on the board's aux/monitor sends being post-EQ. Thankfully, most boards are like this these days.
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  #9  
Old 02-21-2017, 06:01 AM
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BradGunnerSGT BradGunnerSGT is offline
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

You might try rearranging your position on stage. I had a similar problem, until I got the idea to re-think my position on stage. We are a standard 4 piece rock band (drums, bass, lead, singer/rhythm guitar), and we always set up in the "standard" order, with the bass rig to my left, the rhythm guitar to my right, and the lead on the other side of the rhythm guitar.

In certain rooms, I literally had times where I could feel my skull vibrate when the bass player hit certain low notes. It was actually painful. I couldn't hear my kick at all, either.

The next time we played there, I decided to change things up and now we always set up with the bass at the far stage left, then the rhythm guitar amp, then me, then the lead amp to my right. Suddenly, I could actually hear everything on stage. I didn't need any bass, lead, or rhythm in my monitor, only the vocals and acoustic guitar (if the singer plugged his acoustic in direct instead of bringing a separate acoustic amp).
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  #10  
Old 02-21-2017, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

I've wondered if the placement of the bass amps has anything to do with it. At the semi-acoustic gig on Saturday, the bass amp was right in front of the bass drum. I couldn't help but think that the sound waves coming out the back of the amp were interfering or canceling out the sound waves of the bass drum. In the other band, the bass player is just loud. My monitor is right next to me. Maybe I am too close to the monitor for the low frequency waves to form before the sound gets to me.
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  #11  
Old 02-21-2017, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

This happened to me for years until I asked the engineer to put kick drum through the monitors. Problem solved.

Bermuda is right about the frequency thing, but first things first, you have to have it going through your monitor mix correctly.

Nowadays, I practice every day through Shure 535's as my whole kit is micced up at home. This way I hear every drum as is (with a little compression and reverb) and I can almost always hear every drum over the music I'm playing. There are exceptions of course when I have to tweak the EQ but mostly this works for me
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2017, 05:26 PM
funkutron
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

I mike my drums and use noise gates, that isolates them, and I use in-ear monitors where I can pump the drum mix in them as loud as I want without affecting the house mix. But the kick is always the hardest thing to hear, I agree.
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2017, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morrisman View Post
When I used to use drumfill monitors, I often found that everyone else could hear the kick except me.
The biggest reason is that low-end waves aren't prominent at the source, they don't really develop for several feet (there's a formula for physical wave lengths based on frequency.) So sitting right on top of a 15" monitor might seem like a good idea, but the drummer gets little benefit from it, while the guys at the front of the stage get blown away.

The solution with kick monitors is to use smaller drivers for more efficient air movement. A wedge with two 10 or 12" is much more efficient for the drummer, and less of a problem for other players as well as FOH. Too much stage volume competes poorly with a house mix, and drum monitors are often the worst offenders.

Bermuda
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2017, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

I think Bermuda is right, with them both competing in the same frequency range.. Also, where is the bass amp sitting? I try to have the bass amp sitting forward of ear level, and not pointing at me.
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  #15  
Old 02-24-2017, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

Earplugs might help.
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  #16  
Old 02-24-2017, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

I think Bermuda's take on large monitor speakers is spot on. (Makes sense - he's a professional! lol) I have played a few times at a venue where the drum monitor is this huge cabinet right by the drums - not a wedge, a full-fledged PA cab. From the size, I'm guessing there are two fifteens in there. It was the loudest, muddiest monitor mix I've ever heard. I got the sound man to shut it off completely the first time I played there by just pointing to the monitor and making a slashing motion across my neck. I could hear better with NO monitor, but there was a lot of slapback from the room and I had to watch my timing. The next couple times I played there, I just asked for guitar and vocals in the monitor, and that worked much better. Still had to be careful of timing, but the guitar in the monitor helped with that.

Bermuda's words explain why.
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  #17  
Old 02-24-2017, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
I think Bermuda's take on large monitor speakers is spot on. (Makes sense - he's a professional! lol) I have played a few times at a venue where the drum monitor is this huge cabinet right by the drums - not a wedge, a full-fledged PA cab. From the size, I'm guessing there are two fifteens in there. It was the loudest, muddiest monitor mix I've ever heard. I got the sound man to shut it off completely the first time I played there by just pointing to the monitor and making a slashing motion across my neck. I could hear better with NO monitor, but there was a lot of slapback from the room and I had to watch my timing. The next couple times I played there, I just asked for guitar and vocals in the monitor, and that worked much better. Still had to be careful of timing, but the guitar in the monitor helped with that.

Bermuda's words explain why.
In-ear monitors solve all those problems. Room acoustics as well. You hear everything right on time. That's why a lot of Vegas show drummers used to wear full heaphones, so they can hear the horns on time! See you Saturday at the Moose?
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  #18  
Old 02-24-2017, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Low Frequency Hearing Loss

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Originally Posted by funkutron View Post
In-ear monitors solve all those problems. Room acoustics as well. You hear everything right on time. That's why a lot of Vegas show drummers used to wear full heaphones, so they can hear the horns on time! See you Saturday at the Moose?
Yeah, I used in-ears when we were running our own sound, but I just used their system for those gigs. :/

Yep, see you at the Moose Saturday. :)
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