Kick Drum Miking Question

MoreBeer

Silver Member
I've noticed that when I'm recording my drumming and playing more gently, such as when the wife and dog are home, the kick drum sounds great. Very thick with an excellent lower-end thump when listening to what I just played.

When playing at what would be considered normal volume levels however, and hitting the kick harder, I get much more of a POP sound and lacking most of the low-end goodness. Adjusting the gain back really doesn't help much, if at all.

I'm thinking that maybe using a ported reso head may help and sticking the mic inside or just at the opening to the port. Currently mine isn't ported.

The kick mic is a cheaper CAD mic although a ton of drummers have given this mic great reviews. I was thinking about getting a Shure Beta 91A and laying that down inside the kick on the Evans pillow.

Any thoughts much appreciated!
 
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funkutron

Guest
Get a ported reso head, and put a kick port in it, or make one yourself with a port ring, an almond roca tin with the ends cut off, and some adhesive. Put your kick mike about 1/2" inthe dead center of the port. You may want to put a pillow in your drum as well. That will give you the sound you want.
 

MoreBeer

Silver Member
Get a ported reso head, and put a kick port in it, or make one yourself with a port ring, an almond roca tin with the ends cut off, and some adhesive. Put your kick mike about 1/2" inthe dead center of the port. You may want to put a pillow in your drum as well. That will give you the sound you want.
I had a feeling lacking a port could be the issue. I do have a pillow in the kick drum now....one of those Evans pillows. Seems to do the job. So you think just a ported reso with a plastic ring would do or one of the KickPort's with that port extension tube into the kick?

I'll probably buy a cut ported reso head and keep my original branded reso on the side in the event I need-want to use it again.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
If you're going to hit your kick hard with an unported reso, angle the mic so it doesn't face directly at the head (~30 deg). Not only does this reduce the SPL, you get a wider range of tone as you're effectively mic'ing more of the head.

Option 2 is to back the mic off another 1-3".

Ultimately, you will own one unported, and one ported head, and switch out depending on the sound you desire.
 
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MoreBeer

Silver Member
Option 2 is to back the mic off another 1-3".

Ultimately, you will own one unported, and one ported head, and switch out depending on the sound you desire.
I tried moving the mic back. Didn't make much of a difference. I also tried some angles. This provided a "bit" of difference but nothing to write home about. Guess it's port time. And that reminds me, a nice glass of Port would be nice with dinner tonight. Yes, sometimes I drink wine as well.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
When playing at what would be considered normal volume levels however, and hitting the kick harder, I get much more of a POP sound and lacking most of the low-end goodness.
This seems like an obvious potential problem, but the way you're describing the POP sound when you play harder to me suggests that the level is peaking/clipping. Are you sure this isn't the case?
 

MoreBeer

Silver Member
This seems like an obvious potential problem, but the way you're describing the POP sound when you play harder to me suggests that the level is peaking/clipping. Are you sure this isn't the case?
Nah...it's not clipping. Checked on that and have tried adjustments with the mic, interface and DAW out the wazoo. It's just not a full, deep bass response when playing with more intensity. And I don't pound the pedal crazy hard, I really don't. So I guess it's a port issue. If I put a condenser well away from the kick drum when playing at normal levels, I get a more appealing recording. Although can't place a dynamic that far back.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
When you play the bass drum softer, it is going to sound different tone-wise, not just quieter.
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
A good trick with an unported head is to take a dollar bill and hold it in front of the reso head while someone else hits the drum. Move it around and find the place where the vibration of the head makes the bill suck into the head instead of being pushed away from it. Try the mic there. I play an unported head and we got an excellent bass drum sound using this method and an Audix D6 microphone.
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
Mic'ing a ported drum will yield (imo) vastly greater results. Port it and screw that goofy kick port idea. A plastic cone? Get a bigger bass drum if you want some low end thump. The "pop" you're experiencing? I dunno. You'be definitely got something going on there when you kick harder. Just because you can't hear it when your playing doesn't mean it's not there. The more sensitive ear in the room (I mean the mic) can. I can't hear my pedal spring squeak when I play, but an AKG d112 sure can. As far as the Shure 91, meh...Beta 52, Audix d6, AKG d112 are all better choices for a solo kick mic. Two mics, one in one out, is better yet. GL
 

MoreBeer

Silver Member
When you play the bass drum softer, it is going to sound different tone-wise, not just quieter.
When I play softer, it sounds like I want it to sound. When hitting harder, its not "all" POP....I just lose that deep, rich, natural low end I get when hitting the pedal with less force. I do realize that I'll lose some of the rich bass tone when hitting it harder. I'd just like to not lose as much.

Many good suggestions here. I think the answer after reading the replies so far is to port the head. Going to order a ported Evans head tomorrow. Probably an EMAD reso with the plastic ring.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I have a full front reso and I position the mic so it points halfway between the center and the edge, about 12" away. I angle it slightly towards the middle.

I'm not a big fan of positioning it dead center, too much air. Off to one side for sure.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Just wanted to note that there's clipping (gain exceeds threshold of preamp), and there's clipping (recorded object exceeds the SPL capability of the microphone).

While it is unlikely that you are running into the latter with this current dilemma, you will eventually run into it as you go through permutations of mics, positioning, etc.

For porting, they sell these polyester weave patches with an adhesive side



This will prevent tear-out while allowing the head to flex. It's near-zero weight so it doesn't dampen like a plastic ring or Kickport does.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I'm not a recording expert by any stretch, but I can say I've never gotten MORE low end tone from porting. More attack and an airier note, yes. I've never experienced the kind of change from low volume to high volume that you're describing.

At one point, I did a recording of nothing but the kick with the mic positioned in different places, with a ported and unported head. I did internal, close to the beater, internal with the mic closer to the reso and angled (these were done with ported and unported heads using a Kelly Shu), mic in various locations and distances from an unported head, and the mic at various depths just inside to outside the port. Also mic on the batter head. I've long since lost the recording, but my favorite sounds were with the internal mic angled, and with the mic on the batter head. With the port, the best sound by far was with the mic peeking just inside, maybe 1/2 inch. Mic was a D6, and all gain levels were approx the same. But at no time did I notice the phenomenon you're describing.

I'm curious to see what your results are with the ported head.
 

Rosemarydrumco

Senior Member
With a ported bass drum head, the further in the mic goes, the less boomy it will be and will have more attack. Just the opposite the further it goes back. A lot of times I among others like to use two mics...one for the punch, and one for the boom. Blended together it's a very full sound. I use a d112/Solomon lofreq. I don't think you porting and putting the mic closer is gonna give you less punch tho.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
The CAD bass mic's sound great. I used one live for many years. Changing the mic won't make any difference. You need to try different placements or tuning.

You can lay the mic down inside the drum, on the pad or towel or whatever's in there. Run the mic cable through the vent hole (note - you'll have to solder the xlr plug on the cable after you've run it through the vent.) Then you can keep the front head intact if you wish.

But first, try mic'ing the batter side as suggested earlier. Easy to adjust. You may need to phase reverse the input though, because the drumhead will be moving away from the mic.

Also try changing the reso head tension and see if that helps.
 

MoreBeer

Silver Member
I have a full front reso and I position the mic so it points halfway between the center and the edge, about 12" away. I angle it slightly towards the middle.

I'm not a big fan of positioning it dead center, too much air. Off to one side for sure.
I just tried this and it helped quite a bit. Thanks for the suggestion. I definitely had the mic dead center and too close. Still ordering the ported head though. Using a ported reso must be the way to go as I was watching a Sweetwater video from the Pearl exhibit at NAMM 2017 and just about all the kick drums had ported heads.

I've also changed my mind about the type of ported reso I'm ordering. Just going with a plain vanilla 5" hole with no plastic ring or other crap. Probably an Evans EQ3 Black.

Someone here mentioned going with 2 kick mics. I looked into that previously, watched a few videos, etc. and it looks like a great idea. The best sound I've heard was a dynamic on the inside and a condenser outside. I'm going to try this as I have two condensers I use in my home office for training videos. So just borrow one of those and try it about 24" away after I get the new head on.
 
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