Cutting a hole in the bass drum...How big, methods etc...

dpgreek

Member
thread revival...

I have a 12 x 20 kick drum. Remo Powerstroke 3 on batter and had an ambassador on the reso. I cut a 4" hole in the reso...used only an Evans EQ pad inside. It just didn't sound that great. After I threw a towel in there and put the mic inside the drum, it finally sounded good. I had the mic inside the hole facing the corner where drum heads meet shell. It just was sounding distorted and farty.

I have a Fiberskyn 3 bass head (with the dampening ring in it) and was thinking to put a 5" hole in it and use as reso. Will this get me better lower end and punch results?

As for micing, is putting the Shure Beta 52 inside going to be better for a more shallow drum? Or was I just not muffling as good with the mic on a stand inside the drum facing the corner / batter?
 

STAXfan

Junior Member
If it were up to me I would never have a hole in the res head of my BD. But every single band I've played in they want the hole in the head to put the mic in so I always end up doing it. It's the same with every time that I've recorded in a studio. They always want the port in the BD head. I think bass drums sound better without the ports.
 

M/M/R/V

Junior Member
I like having a hole on the resonant side of the bass drum. I use Evans so there are some heads that are already pre-cut, but I having a hole on the "corner" or in the middle to have a much greater attack sound that I feel you get when you "add" a hole to your bass drum resonant head
 
Just get an adjustable circle cutter. It is the best way to do it. Gibraltar makes one, and you can get them at hobby stores:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SC-GPHCUT--gibraltar-sc-gphcut-bass-drum-head-port-hole-cutter

https://www.amazon.com/OLFA-1057028-Rotary-Circle-Cutter/dp/B001CEAMCY

As for sound. I really like the sound of my kick ported and non-ported, and I actually really enjoy the feel of both ported and non-ported options. I've got about six different batter and reso heads that I interchange depending on the sound I want.
 
Hey everyone, last night I was trying to install a port hole ring on my new bass drum head but I couldn't get the female ring to snap into place. I tried using the screwdriver like all the videos online show but it still wouldn't stay in place or stick to the head. So right now I'm just going with the front ring and nothing on the back. Anyone else have similar issues? And will it be ok with just the front ring?
 

oldmetalhead

Junior Member
The question I have is where should the port be? I have seen so many drummers with the port dead center and some with it off center nearer the edge. What is the difference in sound. For every drummer with it one way I have found a drummer with it the other way.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The question I have is where should the port be? I have seen so many drummers with the port dead center and some with it off center nearer the edge. What is the difference in sound. For every drummer with it one way I have found a drummer with it the other way.
I may be way off on this, but seems to me that a hole in the center negates the reso as all the moving air would escape, where as a hole near the side would still allow the column of air to return back to the batter, thus keeping the reso useful.

Obviously hole size would make a difference too.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The question I have is where should the port be? I have seen so many drummers with the port dead center and some with it off center nearer the edge. What is the difference in sound. For every drummer with it one way I have found a drummer with it the other way.
Anywhere but center. There's only one center. 4:00 or 8:00 or 3:00 or 9:00, 10 and 2, 12 and 6, whatever works best for you.

The smaller the hole, the more like a full front it will sound. 4 or 5" is what I use.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
What Larry said. Don't put it in the middle. keep the hole small.

As an experiment, take off the reso and play. See how it sounds, See how it FEELS. Seriously, do it. If you put a big hole in the middle, you will be close to that, the I think the location doesn't do as much for the sound as it does the feel. much of the air will bounce back if you go to the side, but then again, I could be wrong. I always do roughly 4:00 for my port hole, or 5:00 between there. I have seen guys with 2 port holes, that would be the same as making one big one.


A port hole and a towel are great if you want it to go thud. a very low quick punchy bass drum sound.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Yeah I've read no bigger than 5 inches. I wonder if it depends on the size of the reso head-so some magic ratio. So for a 24 in or larger 5 inches, a 22 in 4 inches, 18-20 inches 3-4 in, and 16 in and your at "what the hell you want to cut a hole in that tiny thing" categories?
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I played around with this not too long ago. I was really struggling with getting a good sound from the mic on a non-ported Ambassador head. Sounded great by itself, but just too much boom for most things. I was just laying a neck pillow in front of the BD, just touching the head and to me it was a great sound, but to the mic, it was still picking up too much boing! I first cut a 4" hole at the 5 o-clock position and put the BD mic right up and slightly to the inside. It was heaven. BD felt great (I like the feel of a non-ported head, but most find them too bouncy), and the mic picked up exactly the sound I was looking for.

I should have stopped, but no experiment is complete at perfection, so I then made the hole 5" and hated everything about it. BD felt dead. Front head provided no fullness and while the mic still picked up a nice batter head tone, the reso did nothing. The head is now useless to me. I thought about adding a lockport to it to see if that'd be worth the investment, but for a bit more than the cost of another failed experiment, I bought a PS3 and left it as a non-ported head. That by itself was enough to have good tone from both driver's seat and mic.

Almost every factory ported head is 5", so that's pretty much the standard, but to me it's also lifeless. Your mileage will definitely vary on this one.
 

K Chez

Member
I cut the hole by laying the head on a table and stick a push pin where the center of the hole is going to be into the table. Then I measure the radius (1/2 of the size of the desired hole) and stick a fresh Xacto blade through at that point. Then just rotate the head around the push pin. Just make sure the blade is perpendicular to the center point. Even better is if you have a beam compass and instead of a pen or pencil, use an Xacto.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Somebody, somewhere, needs to calculate the exact formula for the size of the port relative to the mass of air contained in variously-sized bass drums. If done properly, one should be able to correctly "tune" a bass drum in the same way that speaker designers tune a speaker cabinet. With such a formula in hand, one should be able, by correctly calibrating the size of the port, to tune the bass drum to accentuate/attenuate desired frequencies.

(If I'm correct in my assumption that a ported bass drum essentially functions akin to a speaker enclosure, that would additionally mean that the placement of the port on the reso head is of little to no consequence. Maybe.)

GeeDeeEmm
 

Twakeshima

Active member
R/ Cutting Hole in Bass Drum..Best way to do this?

I just use a can or a good size cup, trace on the head with a sharpie, and then use a box cutter or exacto to cut it out.
 

jdavis

Member
FWIW. I've heard of people taking a coffee can, heating it up on a stove and using the hot edge of the can to burn a clean hole through the front head. Haven't tried it myself, though.
 
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