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Old 03-16-2017, 09:32 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Amplifying Acoustic Drums

I need some opinions from you drummers.

In the 1960ís I played drums in a rock band. The guitar and keyboard amplifiers were placed behind the drums, or along side the drums.
At that time I was able to play loud enough to mix my sound level properly with the other players. We played loud rock and roll.

Since returning to drum playing a couple of years ago, I have noticed that guitar amplifiers seem louder now. Louder than back in the 60ís. I currently play in several bands and two of them play loud Rock music. And in one case the guitar player is connecting his guitar directly into the PA system. Others have a microphone in front of their amp which runs to the PA system. Consequently, now when I play in these loud rock bands I am having a hard time playing loud enough to mix properly with the rest of the band. I do have to say that when I play with most bands, itís not a problem. And in a venue that mics my drums and has a sound person manning the sound board, itís not a problem. Itís only a problem with the two loud rock bands. Especially when we play outdoors. These two band don't use a sound person.

If you are thinking the guitar players will turn it down if I ask them to, you already know that ainít gonnaí happen!

So I was thinking. For the bands that are loud, what would happen if I put mics on my drums? And I put an amplifier behind me, exclusively for my drums. And I had my own volume control. How well would this work? Have any of you tried this?

"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable." - Beethoven
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:07 AM
Nour Ayasso Nour Ayasso is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

Hmmm there's a lot to say here . . You could easily look into louder drums like metal snares and try different / better tuning methods. I've spent quite a few years in metal bands battling multiple cabs and PA backed vocals, and have cut through decently many times.

As for micin' your kit up, that's not a bad idea at all, and the venues you play at should have a dedicated sound engineer micing your kit whether it's outside or inside. The genre doesn't matter, as I've set up soft country bands whom, due to the venue and crowd size, obviously mic'ed the drums. You doing it yourself is no different, besides the pain and inconsistency of doing it yourself! That's why companies like ddrum and pearl have hybrid kits, taking advantage natural acoustics while lining the shells with triggers (or small mics) for amplification.
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:21 AM
Captain Bash Captain Bash is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

I agree with the idea suggested by Keep it Simple since in my experience the best way to boost drums without going via the microphones-desk-PA route, (which is overkill for most small gigs) is just mic up the kick drum and have this as reinforcement. This adds a lot of extra omph without actually raising the mids and highs and destroying the vocals.

I play in a rock band and for smaller venues I am a firm believer that cymbals and snares are easily loud enough on there own. If I want more volume I just switch from jazz sticks to 5A to 5B. For the kick reinforcement idea listed above, I run a 22" Yamaha MCAN fitted with a Kelly Shu internal mount with a D112 and push this into an old bass amp or an orphaned self powered PA speaker. I have this I situated just behind me so the point of sound generation is very close to the rest of the kit. Obviously one draw back for the weekend warrior is that this is one more piece of gear to cart about.

This is very simple to set-up and dial-in, no feedback or sound issues ever. However, in this mode I do dampen both front and back heads. It's actually rather similar to running a lot of kick through wedges on a big stage.

When volume is an issue the only way to be objective is to record your band live and reference it against an agreed objective and prioritised list. In most rock band situations the guitars need to come down, except during featured solos.
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Old 03-16-2017, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

my band have much louder head/amp combos but we use in-ears and mix the sound ourselves and I mic up the kit with 3 mics in kick, overhead and side-snare position.

Side snare is a condenser mic coming up between the bass drum and the floor tom (to about level with the top snare head) and either the ride cymbal or the 2nd tom. Turn the snare round so your air-hole (if you have one) is pointing towards the mic.

That's how we do it, but I play with the UK sales manager at Shure so we get to use all the best gear for free. I appreciate that is not possible for you but the mic setup and the in-ears are possible for anyone with a mixer and PA
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:35 PM
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mikyok mikyok is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

Another vote for just micing up the bass drum. I'm lucky enough to be in a band where everyone judges volume around how loud the drums are and there' so many factors that effect that. (Room size/construction/materials and the dreaded noise limiter are just a few)

I'd recommend an Audix D6 just for ease of use. All you need is a bit of presence in the sub woofer and the kit sounds fine. Send the signal back to a floor monitor if you need one.

The tricky thing here is the problem is out of our hands when you have to play with people who cure everything with volume and have a crappy sound at source to begin with (our 4 stringed brethren that annoy us and guitarists simultaneously). I dep for a guy like this occasionally and as well as having a terrible bass sound is also the sound guy.........I think you know where this is going!
I aint farting on no snare drum
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:54 PM
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hippy chip hippy chip is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

I have a Samson 8-kit setup---bass, 3 toms, and snare are dynamic---pencil condenser on the hats, and 2 large diaphragm overheads. ART 8-channel line mixer with volume, tone, and phantom power selector on each channel. Single output to the PA. Usually the kick and snare with a little overheads is all that I need to make the guitar player turn up his amp :)
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:45 PM
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PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

A couple of things:

1. If your guitar players are miking their amps during practice, this is ridiculous.

2. If their amps are too loud, move them from behind the drum set. Put them out front, preferably angled towards their heads. Seriously. This way they can hear the true star of the band...themselves. In all fairness, a lot of guitar players don't realize how loud they are because their amps are facing their knees, not their heads.

3. If you are playing venues that are big enough to need to mic guitar amps, the venue should be able to handle at least miking a kick. When it comes to miking (and limited mics), I always start with the lowest pitch and move up to the highest. My priorities are in this order: kick, floor tom, rack tom, snare, then overheads.

4. Buying your own PA system to mic yourself, and yourself only? Hhhmmmm...maybe if you had the funds and the willingness to haul all of that gear. If you REALLY want to do this, I'd concentrate on subs paired with smaller mains. Powered vs passive subs are another discussion. I've only seen this done once, and it was because the guy had an electronic drum set.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:52 PM
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drummer-russ drummer-russ is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

I think micing the bass drum is an absolute. From there it depends on the venue. I do not play anywhere that has a sound man so I do it myself.

My last gig a fellow drummer was in the audience and he said that he had a hard time hearing my toms. I am definitely a soft hitter.

So in some cases I add one overhead positioned to try to miss the cymbals but get the drums. The condenser idea between the snare and floor tom is a new one that I just might try.

Outdoors, it is close mic all the drums. Another consideration for me is that I use in ears for my monitor feed. Having the other players go through the PA helps me to get a nice mix. When I close mic I use my own mixer and send a single feed to the main board.

I am always surprised at people that mic the snare but not the toms. I suppose they have valid reasons but it seems to me the snare cuts through the other sound better than the toms so that just never made sense to me.

Caveat - I am just a weekend warrior that also just started playing again 4 years ago after 30 years off so take my comments for what they are worth.
Playing live in front of appreciative audience is the 2nd best thing in the world!
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:55 PM
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Morrisman Morrisman is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

Years ago we tried plugging a bass drum mic into a spare bass amp which was placed left of my hihat, where I could just reach the controls, but it wasn't pointing right into the mic. It worked surprisingly well in smaller venues. I recall making up a phase reversed mic cable so the speaker moved forwards as the drum head moved forwards, reinforcing the sound rather than cancelling it.

As a rule of thumb, if the guitar amps need to be mic'd, so do the drums. Its not just about volume, its getting a deeper, larger than life tone that fills the whole audience space.
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Old 03-16-2017, 06:12 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

Guitarists want to hear themselves, and in some cases, they're looking for a microphonic interaction between the instrument and the amp. The solution to getting them to turn down is simple.

A $25 slant stand gets their combo off the floor and pointed at their head. It allows the guitarist to do all the same high-gain feedback work at a fraction of the volume.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:59 PM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

Thank you so much for all of your responses. I have a lot to think about.
Yes Andy, that is a real issue. If I "turn it up" the guitarists will likely "turn it up".

Actually the only volume problem I have noticed is the bass drum, hi hat and floor tom. My snare, cymbals and rack toms seem loud enough.
I think I can get my bass drum into the PA. One guitarist mentioned that the other day. So I will be buying a bass drum mic.

I have only played twice with both bands so before I jump in and buy my own sound system, I'll try a few things first.
I will be recording our next gig from the audience. I might be surprised to find that the drums cut through the mix.

Thank you my friends..............

"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable." - Beethoven
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:43 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

So, kick drum...or...bass drum? I'll tell you what. If it's 18" or less, it's a FOOT TOM.
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:26 PM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: Amplifying Acoustic Drums

I didn't read all the responses, but I had to get new gear when I played in primarily loud punk type bands for a few years.

I got a brighter more projected sounding Birch kit, started learning how to tune it for cutting through the wall of guitar noise, then started working on my cymbals. Got a huge loud ride with a ping you can still hear over them, and bought cymbals that were a bit higher pitched than I might normally think is "ideal".

It's kind of like the mixing process with a multi-track recording. If everyone is playing in the same sound space, it will get progressively more muddy. If things are thought out and there is frequency room between instruments, everyone will be more audible and sound better.
"I always wanted to be remembered for; being honest. Nothing else is worth a damn." - Lemmy
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