Is a 24x16" bass drum that different than a 24x14" bass drum?

sillypilot

Junior Member
Hi all - Not sure if someone has experience with both (assuming same construction, etc, etc) and would care to share thoughts. I sense that the current trend is for a shallow 14" bass drum, but I can't tell why. I've watched whatever YouTube videos there are on depth comparisons and I hear a slight difference in deeper drums (I'm talking 14-16-18 in depth at most), but nothing out of this world. If anything, I find the deeper drums sound better and more in line with their purpose...provide bass! I did read several posts about harmonics and the amount of space for them to establish (both good and bad ones) which I realize contribute to the differences in sound.

In terms of feel, I am also curious. The movement of air inside a drum is 13,503 inches / millisecond. So 2 inches of depth should not really make it feel that different when playing. I have both a 22x16 and 22x18 and they feel exactly the same to play.

I looked at some pro drummers and things are all over the place.
Nick D'Virgilio - 22x18
Dave Grohl - 24z16
Simon Phillips - Would love a 24x14, but uses 24x15 to keep the toms away from his lap
Billy Cobham - 24x18
John Bonham - 26x14
Anika Nilles - 20x15
Lars Ulrich - 22x16
Stewart Copeland 22x18



Excluding transportation/stage size issues, what else is really driving a shallow drum?
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
22x18 is deeper and less punchy, 22x14 is the opposite, so 22x16 is splitting the difference.

What's driving shallower kicks? Aside from the fact that we drummers seem to chase the latest thing, space is becoming tighter to set up generally, demand for easier to carry, lighter and more compact gear is growing. And...we drummers finally figured out there wasn't a whole lot wrong with the sizes of 60s drums. In the 80s, Deep toms were the thing, then we tore off the bottom heads, so concert toms became a thing. Interestingly, FTs never lost their bottom heads and kicks never grew like the toms they held up. In the late 90 and early 2000s heads were placed on canons and sold as kick drums, so they grew and grew and toms became F.A.S.T., so everything shrunk in depth and FTs got hung from racks via a peg and danced around all night. Today's love for vintage is also a factor, so old sizes are cool again, rim mounts are going away and shell mount is becoming cool again.

Some of it is marketing, and some fact, and some because us drummers just need new toys every couple of years.
 
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C.M. Jones

Well-known member
My current kit has a 22"x16" bass. That's the perfect size for me. A depth of 18" is tougher to transport, while a depth of 14" can be too punchy for some drummers. Regardless, tuning can play as much of a role as depth, and once you start adding muffling, depth becomes less of a sonic determinant.

If I weren't playing a depth of 16", I'd probably choose 14" over 18". I've owned both, but 14" makes a little more sense to me.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
The 2-inch difference is pretty much insignificant for most bass drums.

For a drummer, it may come down to slightly different feel between the two depths. Also transporting a slightly wider bass drum may be a consideration depending on what vehicle you own. Otherwise, it's pretty much splitting hairs.

When I picked up my Yamaha Recording Customs all the 14" depths had sold out. I was hesitant to pick up 16" deep bass drums, but realized this would likely be my only chance to get them as Yamaha was pulling the RC series that month. As fate would have it, I'm glad I ended up with the 16" deep bass drums as it gives me a bit more leeway for positioning internal Kelly Shu mic mounts.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It all comes down to looks. I like to see slightly deeper bass drums. A 16x22 looks cooler than a 14x22. When Buddy went with Ludwig in ‘78 and he went for the 16x24 bass drum, that just looked super cool.

And let’s face it: you’re going to port the front head, throw in a pillow and stick a microphone in there. So the audience is really just getting a thumpy attack anyway - the depth doesn’t matter at that point.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Apart from transportation/stage size issues, what else is really driving a shallow drum?
I prefer the feel, less air to shift too.

Both my bass drums are 14" deep. I have a 1966 22" Ludwig and a 20x14 Mapex. I had a 24x16 Ludwig, nowhere near as good as the 22x14.

The most powerful bass drum I had was a 26x15 Hayman. That thing was insane!

And let’s face it: you’re going to port the front head, throw in a pillow and stick a microphone in there. So the audience is really just getting a thumpy attack anyway - the depth doesn’t matter at that point.
No pillows for me and only one is ported, but guilty as charged about micing and what the audience hears!
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Playing for Led Zeppelin, eh? 😉
Don't need the pillow with EMAD or equivalent head. A pillow ruins the sound for me, but I do use a little muffling like a small blanket or EQ Pad.

I've never played a 24" but have owned 22x18, 22x16, 20x16. I like the 22x16. Really kicks you in the chest without any annoying "booom" (yes three Os).
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Don't need the pillow with EMAD or equivalent head. A pillow ruins the sound for me, but I do use a little muffling like a small blanket or EQ Pad.

I've never played a 24" but have owned 22x18, 22x16, 20x16. I like the 22x16. Really kicks you in the chest without any annoying "booom" (yes three Os).
I’m just saying when you’re working with an engineer on a gig, chances are there’s going to be a mic that needs to go in the bass drum, and just for the sake of time and the big band picture, the easiest thing to do is muffle and stick a mic in there. Stage noise kinda takes away from being artsy with your bass drum sound presentation.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I went from the 24x16 down to the 24x14. I bought it for a change in feel and response time in an acoustic environment
This is noticeable with un-ported front heads when I feather the drum lightly.
 
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J-W

Well-known member
22x18 is deeper and less punchy, 22x14 is the opposite, so 22x16 is splitting the difference.
I have a pair of 24x20's and I'd be willing to bet that if you stood in front of them, "less punchy" would be the last thing going through your head after the sound wave did.
The added depth doesn't make them less responsive or feel all that different as many seem to think. Those milliseconds don't make noticeable differences. I can play just as fast on them as I did my 14" deep ones that I had before, and they sound better to me.
No pillows for me, either, but they are ported for mics. Aquarian SK I and a coated reso is enough to tame the ring. I also didn't play acoustic environments or need to feather the drum.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I have a pair of 24x20's and I'd be willing to bet that if you stood in front of them, "less punchy" would be the last thing going through your head after the sound wave did.
The added depth doesn't make them less responsive or feel all that different as many seem to think. Those milliseconds don't make noticeable differences. I can play just as fast on them as I did my 14" deep ones that I had before, and they sound better to me.
No pillows for me, either, but they are ported for mics. Aquarian SK I and a coated reso is enough to tame the ring. I also didn't play acoustic environments or need to feather the drum.
What I stated above still holds true, but you can change it all with head selection. I run PS3s wide open with no muffling. 14 depth is definitely punchier than 18. Add dampened heads and the differences become less evident. Milliseconds actually make a huge difference in audio. The concept isn’t all that foreign to speaker box makers. Even the Loud Speaker Cook Book shows how to calculate box dimensions based on preferences for punchier or boomier sounds.
 

J-W

Well-known member
What I stated above still holds true, but you can change it all with head selection. I run PS3s wide open with no muffling. 14 depth is definitely punchier than 18.
Exactly. Heads make most of the difference. But having gone from a 14" deep to a 20" deep 24 kick, I can tell you that my 20" hits harder than the 14" and more than one person that has heard both has commented on how they can feel it more . I will say that it's not "boomier", but it does have more "oomph" (what I would call punch) to it. I used the same heads, but the batter is muffled (SK I), they are a thinner shell, and suspended so that may play into it, as well.

Milliseconds actually make a huge difference in audio. The concept isn’t all that foreign to speaker box makers. Even the Loud Speaker Cook Book shows how to calculate box dimensions based on preferences for punchier or boomier sounds.
Comparing speaker boxes to a bass drum is an apples to oranges comparison. Sound moves very differently through (and out of) a speaker enclosure than it does a bass drum. Milliseconds matter far more in audio reproduction than they do the air moving through a drum to set the reso head in motion. As you'll see in my earlier post, and the OP's initial post, the milliseconds we were referring to had to do with the feel of the drum. So, what I stated above still holds true........but you can change it all with head selection and tuning.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
I’m just saying when you’re working with an engineer on a gig, chances are there’s going to be a mic that needs to go in the bass drum, and just for the sake of time and the big band picture, the easiest thing to do is muffle and stick a mic in there. Stage noise kinda takes away from being artsy with your bass drum sound presentation.
I agree with bud7h4, I've used an eMad for years with no internal damping or port and maybe a hand towel placed up against the resonant head if the mic needs it. Whenever the band have used a different sound man the following scenario plays out. He asks why I don't have a mic port, I politely ask him to just give it a try and set up, he does so, it works. Perhaps the mic might need a bit of positioning from edge to centre and perhaps the hand towel will come into play but it honestly isn't rocket science. That being said I routinely use studio rings on my toms and snare and if gaffer tape or dampening is requested by the soundman I'll use it with no hesitation.

I also agree with Bo too about when people do use internal muffling. Many years ago on a local music forum I had an interesting interchange with someone who was praising the performance of his Yamaha bass drum. A lot of time has passed so I can't remember which model it was but it might have been a Recording Custom or other higher end range. He posted a photo of it and it was literally crammed with at least 2 full size pillows inside of it, head tuning and especially wood species and depth would have had no effect on its' sound. I bravely popped my head up above the parapet and questioned his findings at which point he and his mates told me I was wrong which cemented in my mind what I already knew which was that the specialised international drum forum I used at the time was the place to sensibly discuss drums and drumming.
 
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