Bass drum recording


Senior Member
Hi I'm after some tips for bass drum recording as I'm having trouble getting a good sound in recordings, even though the drum sounds good to my ears. Please excuse the essay!

I use a 22 x 18 bass drum with an EMAD 2 batter with the smaller of the two foam dampening rings, no dampening in the drum and then a 2 ply reso with a 4 inch hole. I tune both heads just above the Bob Gatzen LPP and I use a felt beater and have no patches on the batter. (Because I'm a bury the beater player and patches and plastic beaters rattle).

Out of all the mic placements I've tried over the years I most like just inside the reso head angled off centre. To my ears the drum sounds cool - beefy and resonant, but with the setup described above I'm not getting the deepness in the recording, just the resonance.

I know the principles of bass drum mic placement, (and have experimented), and I'm happy with getting plenty of the shell and there's enough attack for my liking, but considering I'm using a muffled 2 ply batter head tuned loose with a 2 ply reso tuned loose, I'd expect more deepness!

I've tried it with one of those light weight Evans dampening pillows too and it beefs it up a little, but it kills the body of the drum and I want to preserve as much sounds as possible as you can always take sound out of a mix, you can't add it in! Any ideas? I haven't got any recording to hand to upload unfortunately.


Silver Member
Have you thought about getting a Kickport? I haven't put one on my recording kit yet but it hasn't been off my live kit for a while now. I really like it.


Platinum Member
This may be a stupid question, so forgive me if it is. What mic are you using? Will its frequency response go low enough to pick up bass drum lows? Good luck.


Platinum Member
Might be worth trying an additional mic. Have you tried using a boundary mic in addition to the dynamic I assume you're using? Or a speaker cone wired up to act as a mic? That can make a huge difference, I heard the results for the first time earlier this year and was very impressed.


Platinum Member
Even if you don't have a "speaker mic" like the SubKick, you can use another mic outside the drum to add extra "oomph". Positioning is important (as usual): too much on-center and the mic will pick up lots of attack, too far to the side and you'll get ugly ringing. You might even find that you don't need the inside mic at all, depending on the mix. It's usually fine to really boost the lows on inside and outside kick mic signals, since the mic is so close to the bass drum, and doesn't pick up much of the rest of the kit. Don't feel like your doing something wrong if you have to boost 12dBs. And if your mix has heavy guitars, you'll probably want an inside mic, so the attack can cut through.

The reason you're not getting the "deepness" is because the mic is simply inside the shell, where there is lots of attack (even with the mic angled off center). You perceive the deepness with your ears, which are attached to your head, which is (hopefully) outside the shell! You are probably also hearing the drum's sound bouncing around the room (natural reverb), which you can capture with a distant room mic (or two), or apply reverb to the drum signals in your mix.

I listened to the homemade speaker mic recordings here on this forum, and the mic doesn't sound much different from a typical dynamic mic with the high end rolled off (low pass filter). If you have an available input channel, and you can process it independently (EQ/gate/comp), most mics will do the trick.