Charlie's Kit unpopular opinion

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Thanks to @Bo Eder for this great pic, I noticed something about his kit that's always an interesting topic here: The center port hole.
Many talk about how this isn't the ideal place for it, yet it worked for Charlie for decades.

So what's the reason it's not good?
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I think I've read that some drummers don't like the feel. I believe, the claim is that it's opposite of where the beater strikes and the air just gets blown out of the hole and there's less resonance. I've never played a set with such a port hole, so I can only guess.
Maybe it looks dated to some (tons of blankets, giant port hole or no resonant head at all...)
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
My port is off to the side but only because Pearl cuts them that way now. In the old days, Pearl used center ports, and I had no problem with them. I don't get worked up over port placement, considering that there's so much else to get worked up over. I select my neuroticisms carefully.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I think I've read that some drummers don't like the feel. I believe, the claim is that it's opposite of where the beater strikes and the air just gets blown out of the hole and there's less resonance. I've never played a set with such a port hole, so I can only guess.
Maybe it looks dated to some (tons of blankets, giant port hole or no resonant head at all...)
I've played that way in years past, and I've played with no reso side at all, too. The big center port definitely feels more like you have no reso on there.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
The larger center port gets the air column moving out of the drum very quickly, hence the usually very short BD sound. Usually doesn't sound great from the player side, though giving the FOH engineer the ability to aim the mic squarely where the beater hits can really clean up the attack sound.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I've played that way in years past, and I've played with no reso side at all, too. The big center port definitely feels more like you have no reso on there.
Have you ever played on one with a solid reso?
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Have you ever played on one with a solid reso?
Oh yes. That's mostly what I play these days. It's where I started, and where I've (mostly) ended up.

Disregarding sound for a moment, the drum with no-reso/big center port, a drum with a smaller uncentered port, and a drum with a full reso have a feel that kind of goes along a spectrum. No-reso offers limited natural rebound, but is easier in some ways to play doubles because of the short note. A small port feels more like a full head, but not quite. The full head offers the most rebound, but can also be a bit harder to tame, especially if you bury the beater. (I don't)

I'll also add that a lot of muffling, like a pillow or big blanket, sort of mitigates the difference in feel along that spectrum.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Charlie knew exactly what worked for him and stuck with it; why wouldn’t he? I played centre ports for years and thought they were great. I only switched to off centre so I could put a band logo on my reso, and it’s been my norm for 25 years or so now…probably because most reso’s come with a pre-cut off centre port these days and I’m too lazy to cut my own ports…:unsure:
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Oh yes. That's mostly what I play these days. It's where I started, and where I've (mostly) ended up.

Disregarding sound for a moment, the drum with no-reso/big center port, a drum with a smaller uncentered port, and a drum with a full reso have a feel that kind of goes along a spectrum. No-reso offers limited natural rebound, but is easier in some ways to play doubles because of the short note. A small port feels more like a full head, but not quite. The full head offers the most rebound, but can also be a bit harder to tame, especially if you bury the beater. (I don't)

I'll also add that a lot of muffling, like a pillow or big blanket, sort of mitigates the difference in feel along that spectrum.
Excellent breakdown, Stroman. I agree completely.

It's been a long time since I've had an unported bass reso. Back in the '80s, I showed up for my first mic'd gig without a port, and the engineer gave me a gentle thrashing. I ported shortly thereafter. The trauma remains.

Really, though, I like a ported head for the convenience it offers. I generally use two mics on my bass for recording, one inside the kick and the other outside, so porting is critical in that case, unless I want to remove my bass reso, which I don't. Also, my bass contains a small black pillow -- made by Pearl, of course -- and the port allows me to adjust it at will. Thus, I'm port-happy and plan to stay that way, unless Pearl commands otherwise. I never disobey Pearl.
 
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Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Excellent breakdown, Stroman. I agree completely.

It's been a long time since I've had an unported bass reso. Back in the '80s, I showed up for my first mic'd gig without a port, and the engineer gave me a gentle thrashing. I ported shortly thereafter. The trauma remains.
I have a solid reso at the moment & like you, I got a thrashing from my engineer. Unless you do the mic inside, they have to put one in front AND on the batter side.
They didn't like that at all.

Charlie seems to have found what works for him and the sound guy & just didn't change. A lesson we all could learn from.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Yamaha and artists used a 10” hole for decades.
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I used these a few times myself and the only thing I noticed is that the sound decay and playing is a bit quicker.

It makes easier miking possible too.

The reason they did this was so it was closer to having no head, but kept the shell integrity.

I now use a smaller hole slightly lower, to run the cable for the internal mic and to get a less boomy response.
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Stroman

Platinum Member
I have a solid reso at the moment & like you, I got a thrashing from my engineer. Unless you do the mic inside, they have to put one in front AND on the batter side.
They didn't like that at all.

Charlie seems to have found what works for him and the sound guy & just didn't change. A lesson we all could learn from.
Well, the few times i recorded in an actual studio, the reso was ported or removed. But once i saw the internal mic sysyems, i went that route, first with a homemade bracket and then with the kelly shu. At venues, I never heard any guff from sound guys because they just had to plug in and go. They may have given me side eye to start with, but once they tried it, the full front head an internal mic was always acceptable.

Not to say, they might have been happier with a big port, lol.
 

Iristone

Well-known member
Because he liked how it sounded?
I used to play like that as well. It was a regular-sized centre port as opposed to an extra-large one, and it definitely sounded like a ported reso head. Now my drum is very resonant even without a reso head, but it sounds completely different that way. Now I use an offset port, but mainly for cosmetics. You really can't beat the simplicity of miking with a centre port.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
With a port of charlie' s size, the reso head still has an effect. The mic is simply directed more centered on the beater, thus enhancing more attack, less boom, all other things equal. These kinds of experiments are shown on a Sounds like a Drum episode. Not noticable in a stadium of 50,000 , nor in a bar of 20 punters either, but surely in a studio. I dunno, You decide

 
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