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  #1  
Old 07-08-2011, 01:28 PM
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Default Problems getting good bass drum sound

I've been experimenting with recording lately, and I'm having trouble getting a good bass drum sound. I think it's the sound to begin with, not any actual recording issues. When I turn off my snare wires, it sure shows how bad my bass drum actually sounds! It's weird how the sympathetic buzz from the snares seem to make every drum sound different..

But anyway - so far we've tried my Premier XPK bass drum (22") with an EMAD. Next I'm going to try my Sonor S-Class Pro 20" bass drum.

My thoughts are to buy: a GMAD, Aquarian Superkick, and Remo Powerstroke 3 so I can try them all on the Sonor (I have 2 Sonor bass drums so it's not like the heads will go to waste). And then I can try them all and see what sounds I can get.

I'm after a punchy low end rock sounding bass drum because its rock I'm recording. The XPK sounded a bit flabby and more mid-range than bass. I tried both high and low tuning on both batter and resonant heads (the resonant head is ported). I just couldn't get a good sound out of it.

Maybe I need a 2 ply head, not sure.

We are trying to get it as good as possible before we start piling on the EQ and compression. We've got a pretty good room and great mics/preamps and the rest of the kit sounds great in there. It's just that kick!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2011, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

it wont be your heads, unless both side are over 1yr old - then i'd suggest replacing both sides. (yes you have to replace resonant heads they vibrate too)

if they're <a year old im guessing they still have some sing in them, so just keep on trying to tune!
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

The EMAD on the XPK is fairly new, though the resonant (which is actually from an Aquarian Superkick II) has been on a few years. Having said that, the kit wasn't played much over those years as I didn't have anywhere I could use it until recently (it's been used a lot over the last 6 months or so).

The Sonors are a recent 2nd hand purchase - they are 6 years old and still have the stock heads on (batter and resonant). Do you think I should replace the resonant heads too?
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

yes, i think if the emad is new, don't worry about that, it'll be fine, but the reso on your XPK should be replaced. i use an aquarian regulator they're a great reso head. if not just get a stock premier head - im sure they'd sound nice. the stock tama heads are actually ebony/coated powerstroke 4's, and they sound AMAZING.

on the sonor i'd probably replace both heads.

also the room might sound great for your toms/snare but bad on your bass because thats just how the room is, try moving your kit around if you're hesitant on purchases. in a rehearsal studio i goto the room we go into has an awful sound for my toms, but absolutely amazing for my snare and bass drum.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

This has long been a kick sound I've tried to mimic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yuq_btOBfQ
It seems to fit your "punchy low end" requirements. When I recorded D.I.Y the other day, I finally managed to get very near it...

Batter - EMAD 2 with smaller of the two dampening rings, just above Bob Gatzen's LPP, felt beaters, no patches
Reso - 2 ply unmuffled with 4 inch hole off centre, just above Gatzen's LPP
Mic - about 1 - 2 inches outside of the hole in the reso head pointed off centre
Evans lightweight pillow thingy gently touching batter head

I was really, really chuffed.
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Last edited by Goreliscious; 07-09-2011 at 09:08 AM. Reason: forgot some detail about heads
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  #6  
Old 07-11-2011, 04:19 AM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

You know, since a few months ago, I was always switching between a powerstroke 3 and a superkick 2. It gave me what I needed, a good bass drum sound. That's what everyone uses, so I thought I couldn't improve much upon that.

Then a few months ago, I was taking a look at some of the other models. I decided to get an evans EQ4 (10mil, very little muffling), just for experimenting.

Woah.

The bass drum came to life. I now have the biggest, deepest, and punchiest bass drum sound I have ever heard on one my size. I used a lightweight sheet for some muffling, so it didn't get to out of control, but it still delivers a HUGE sound, extremely deep.
I'll probably be picking up a remo emperor as my next head (no muffling at all!).

Take a look at some of the other non-mainstream options. I have a feeling you won't be disappointed.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

I've been using Evans EQ4 bass drum batter heads for four years and they sound great with an un-ported reso head. They also have a very good tuning range.

Dennis
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  #8  
Old 07-11-2011, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

eq4s are essentially ps3's... no?
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  #9  
Old 07-11-2011, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by uniin View Post
eq4s are essentially ps3's... no?
Well yes... But there must be something different (maybe the muffle ring is thinner?) because I'm getting a bigger and deeper sound than I ever was with my PS3.
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  #10  
Old 07-11-2011, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

Thanks very much for your suggestion, I'll give it a go.
I did pick up a Remo PS3 and Evans EMAD to try on my 20" kicks on Saturday. Fortunately I have 2 identical bass drums so can try both at the same time. It's interesting the difference - currently the PS3 seems to deliver a lower note. I've tried to tune both of them JAW or there abouts - basically as low as they'll go without flapping too much.

I have a Shure Beta 52 mic so I may try recording both and posting the result if anyone is interested (PS3 vs EMAD seems a fairly common question).

The bass drums are Sonor S-Class Pro's (the German made ones, wood grain goes down the drum not around), so probably good drums to use for a comparison?
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  #11  
Old 07-12-2011, 06:46 AM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

You want it low and punchy for rock?

Step one: Make sure the head you have on there is one you like its sound before you even hear it recorded.

Step two: When getting ready to record take off the resonant head and then stick a mic in there.

Step three: Optional - you can try experimenting with different things inside the bass drum such as cloth like bedsheets or something to dampen it, sometimes this may also help lower the fundamental pitch of the bass drum as well.

Anyways experiment and have fun. I hope my advice was helpful to you, and you end up getting a killer bass sound on your recording.
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  #12  
Old 07-12-2011, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

How is your mic positioned? Last time I recorded I had a Superkick III batter and ebony PS3 ported (5 inch off center) reso and had the mic at the center of the head about 3 inches away and I got a ridiculously punchy sound that still had a lot of low end and oomph to it too. I was very surprised!
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2011, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Problems getting good bass drum sound

Thanks for your replies and suggestions everyone.

I've got a whole day to myself messing about with it on Saturday so I'll be giving it another go then with different mic positions, resonant head on/off, etc.

I'll be taking my Beta 52 this time. Last time I used a MD421 and the bottom end seemed a little lacking. Maybe my old 70's MD421 is faulty :-( I A/B'd it with a plain old SM57 in the same hole and the difference was pretty big (the SM57 picked up a lot more bottom end).

The Sonor kicks are sounding pretty good now, I think learning to tune a bass drum better has helped a lot! Obviously ;-)
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