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

roncadillac

Member
I actually did watch videos and practiced.. practice went perfect :) It's just my life.. always hurry and then ruin stuff, no biggy.. i ordered a AQ non regulator ported head.. problem solved.

BTW.. i am shocked at how much better i can play without the beater bouncing around. Time to make up for years of fighting with that.

It's so enlightening when you overcome a lengthy issue that you just couldn't figure out. You'll quickly gain foot technique you never thought you had. Time to work on some single foot doubles and triples.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Anyone wanna help me out?

The point of the port is to fit a mic through it. It allows the person doing sound to mic the batter from the front, and gives the BD mic some additional / necessary isolation for amplified venues.

The hole should be a larger diameter than the mic you wish to use. For example, a Beta52 is 3.75", so the port would need to be approximately ~4.25". Gigging drummers typically go for the old Folgers can, which I believe is ~ 5", and will accomodate any mic that a house sound guy will throw at you.

Understand that a port doesn't technically give you "more" projection. Rather, it allows the batter head to be heard from in front of the kit. This is often interpreted as "more" when it is simply directional. In the studio, BD's are typically picked up from both sides and ports are not necessary.

If you're not live-mic'ing, then you do not need a port.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
A long time I got a second hand entry level Pearl set. There was a tear in the Reso head on the bass drum but it was smaller than a CD. I took off the head, put a CD on the tear, traced it out and cut it with scissors. Brilliant!!!
Back in the day, I used to have an old saucer that was the perfect size for mic holes and that’s pretty much all I used it for. ?I’m lazy now and buy pre-cut reso’s... (y) ?
 

Icetech

Gold Member
The opening allows air to escape, which affects how the pedal's beater feels when it strikes the batter head. It also alters the sound of the bass drum a bit. The ability to insert a microphone is a big advantage, but hardly the only one.

That's the main reason i cut mine... made a MASSIVE difference with my beater flutter issue:) 2 regrets.. ripping the head... and not doing it 5 years ago :)
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The opening allows air to escape, which affects how the pedal's beater feels when it strikes the batter head. It also alters the sound of the bass drum a bit. The ability to insert a microphone is a big advantage, but hardly the only one.

Just so I'm clear, what exactly are the other advantages that you're implying?

Are you proposing that the diminished rebound, lack of resonance, and lowered volume are somehow advantageous in certain circumstances?
 

roncadillac

Member
Just so I'm clear, what exactly are the other advantages that you're implying?

Are you proposing that the diminished rebound, lack of resonance, and lowered volume are somehow advantageous in certain circumstances?

Jeezus, can we not do this?

It's a preference in sound and feel. If you don't like it don't do it.

Some like a thin ride, some a thick ride. Some like a 14x8 wood snare, some like a 10x5 metal snare. Who cares?

Why is it that this port vs no port debate is the only topic around here that is so heated?

"Hmm... I don't like my bass drum ported so, I guess... I should jump on a thread solely about that topic to make other people feel dumb?"

When you have a minute please let me know a topic you are passionate about and a corresponding thread pertaining to it so I can go over there just to tell you that you are wrong.

K?
K.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I have played unported and ported and never had a problem with either. My first 2 kits had unported reso’s; I switched to ported for gigging cos’ the sound man at my first rock gig hung SM58’s off the bass drum lugs on my kicks that smashed against the unported reso’s when I hit the batters, causing a proper racket out front! ? I liked the sound of ported anyway and have played ported ever since...it had little/nothing to do with technique...that’s a true story!(y):cool::D
 

roncadillac

Member
I have played unported and ported and never had a problem with either. My first 2 kits had unported reso’s; I switched to ported for gigging cos’ the sound man at my first rock gig hung SM58’s off the bass drum lugs on my kicks that smashed against the unported reso’s when I hit the batters, causing a proper racket out front! ? I liked the sound of ported anyway and have played ported ever since...it had little/nothing to do with technique...that’s a true story!(y):cool::D

I've always used a ported reso since I started gigging almost twenty years ago however I've seen many guys not using a ported reso and the sound guys gave then a hard time (which really falls on them... You are a live sound professional, you should be able to amplify ANYTHING). One time a drummer on a shared bill set up his kit with non ported reso, sound guy said "how do I mic that thing?" The drummer made the mistake of saying "how ever you want, man" and walked away to grab a drink. Sound guy immediately pulled out a box cutter... No joke.

Slightly off topic: I set up my 2pc one time and the sound guy said, "I've got two more mics... Where are your toms?" I explained that I wasn't using them and he asked me what to do with the two tom mics (lol). I said, "um... Unplug them?" And he said, "no, that will throw the balance of the mix off. I'll leave them plugged in but set them on the floor like overheads to beef up the sound.". Not kidding at all, that was his exact quote and exactly what he did. When we couldn't figure out where the constant 'hum' was coming from I unplugged them without telling anyone and the hum went away.
 
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roncadillac

Member
For me it's mainly the flutter. I hate pedal flutter. I bury my beater for most of my hits. I know, this isn't considered 'proper' by many old-school players but it is a habit I've never been able to break. I instead decided to embrace it. I can not do it if I'm thinking about it and this allows me to use an open 'non buried' sound as an effect and I can really drive it home if I need that boost. I do port but I use absolutely zero muffling besides internal rings on the ps3/eq4 style heads I use, this gives me plenty of open tone but no basket ball sound.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
Just so I'm clear, what exactly are the other advantages that you're implying?

Are you proposing that the diminished rebound, lack of resonance, and lowered volume are somehow advantageous in certain circumstances?
I'm not sure where you're doing your measurements, but yes, lots of rebound isn't always a good thing on a bass drum. Resonance? I guess that would be important in a marching band outdoors.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
To port or not to port?

On my kits I use for rock/pop, I port the head. It reduces the resonance just a bit, which makes the punch/articulation of the kick stand out more. Sometimes I like the fullness/bigness of the "boom" of the bass drum. In those cases, I won't port, but I *do* use felt strips.

I don't port the bass drum to satisfy soundtechs. That's a foolish thing to do, to compromise on your sound preference for the sake of the miking ability level of the lowest common denominator sound guy. If I see the sound guy/recording engineer standing in front of my unported bass drum, holding a D112 at his side, with his head cocked sideways and a puzzled look on his face, I'll politely tell him how I think my drum is best miked in that situation.

As for cutting the porthole, I've had the most success with the "heating a can" method. It's so simple. The hardest part of the process is carrying the bass drum into the kitchen. The smaller the hole, the better, in my opinion. I've found that a 3" porthole is the size that yields the best results.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
How about those heads that have pin holes all around the circumference.
If you enlarged them to say 1/4" or so with a hole punch, you'd probably have about the same open area as a 3 or 4" hole.
Wouldn't do much for a mic though.

Large

 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I don't port the bass drum to satisfy soundtechs. That's a foolish thing to do, to compromise on your sound preference for the sake of the miking ability level of the lowest common denominator sound guy.
100% kids! For the avoidance of doubt, my story was just a funny anecdote around how I came to play ported. Ultimately I prefer the sound! (y) ?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Slightly off topic: I set up my 2pc one time and the sound guy said, "I've got two more mics... Where are your toms?" I explained that I wasn't using them and he asked me what to do with the two tom mics (lol). I said, "um... Unplug them?" And he said, "no, that will throw the balance of the mix off. I'll leave them plugged in but set them on the floor like overheads to beef up the sound.". Not kidding at all, that was his exact quote and exactly what he did. When we couldn't figure out where the constant 'hum' was coming from I unplugged them without telling anyone and the hum went away.
My kicks were always ported, and I always carried ultra short mic stands to accommodate the location of the ports. On one gig, the sound guy, looking extremely perplexed, asked me which kick I used more. I told him I use both equally. He only had one kick mic, so he put it on a stand BETWEEN the two drums.

To stay on topic, I dont like ports unless a mic goes in it. I prefer the look of a solid (preferably coated white) reso head. If I do port, I use a compass with cutting blade.

20201026_145717.jpg
 

wraub

Well-known member
I just redid my setup and replaced my 20" bass drum that has no front head with a 22" that is complete... and it has a boom I don't love. Currently it has a Weatherking Pinstripe batter and what may be the decades-old original reso.

One option I have in the house is a Powerstroke P3 Smooth White and a ported Aquarian Regulator reso, and this thread has motivated me to change to those.

Thanks, all. :)
 

wraub

Well-known member
...and, having now done it, I can honestly say that I really like my 22" bass drum.
A lot. :)

It went from a boomy tone that was somehow still kinda hollow, to a full meaty thump that almost sounds like it's going through a PA... a controlled, almost compressed sounding, meaty thump. The rebound is, somewhat expectedly, kind of in between the unported reso and the other drum with no reso, no issues with doubles or the occasional triple even. And, did I mention the sound? I like it.
A lot. :D

I just redid my setup and replaced my 20" bass drum that has no front head with a 22" that is complete... and it has a boom I don't love. Currently it has a Weatherking Pinstripe batter and what may be the decades-old original reso.

One option I have in the house is a Powerstroke P3 Smooth White and a ported Aquarian Regulator reso, and this thread has motivated me to change to those.

Thanks, all. :)
 
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