Mic'ng an unported head with a D6

konaboy

Pioneer Member
So just wondering how guys are getting a nice punchy sound with a D6 and an unported head with nothing in the kick.

We just put a kicking sound system in last week at church and for the first time the kit is mic'd. Yamaha Nexo speakers, 2-dyna 2/12 subs, 48 channel digital yamaha board and a nice series of power amps pushing it all. The kit is a yamaha stage custom and it has the stock unported yamaha head, I put a small 1 1/2"-2" wide strip of felt between the head and the shell on the batter and reso. The kick mic is a D6 which I love. Now the company who installed it said they've had better luck getting a better bass drum sound with a ported head with the D6

Right now the only thing I know that is on the kick is a gate. Before I go punching a hole in the head should I be looking at adding some compression and eq to tighten up the bass sound to get a little more punch out of it or am I better off just putting a port in it and being done with it? I am behind a shield so I know I'm getting some reflection as well.
 

NC68

Senior Member
Assuming you have been placing the mic at the resonant head you may want to try placing the mic at the batter head. It will cost nothing and from what I have heard it produces more punch as it picks up more of the attack of the beater on the bass drum head.

May not prove to help but worth a shot.
 
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konaboy

Pioneer Member
Assuming you have been placing the mic at the resonant head you may want to try placing the mic at the batter head. It will cost nothing and from what I have heard it produces more punch as it picks up more of the attack of the beater on the bass drum head.

May not prove to help but worth a shot.
Yeah been placing the mic on the resonant side. hadn't thought about putting it on the batter. Would love to be able to double mic it one on the batter and one on the reso but that's not going to happen.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Head choices make all the difference on unported kicks. Not every batter or reso has to ring uncontrollably.

Right now the only thing I know that is on the kick is a gate.
And that's the real answer - once the initial attack & maybe a little decay has been isolated, EQ and compression will make it punchy.

Of course, once the gate is on, what's the point of having an 'open' drum when it's been shortened anyway? It won't sound like the drummer intended when he set it up. It's tantamount to having a well-tuned kit, and then triggering sounds. I like to be sure my drums sound as close as possible to how I want them to sound, so that fx are used sparingly.

Bermuda
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Head choices make all the difference on unported kicks. Not every batter or reso has to ring uncontrollably.



And that's the real answer - once the initial attack & maybe a little decay has been isolated, EQ and compression will make it punchy.

Of course, once the gate is on, what's the point of having an 'open' drum when it's been shortened anyway? It won't sound like the drummer intended when he set it up. It's tantamount to having a well-tuned kit, and then triggering sounds. I like to be sure my drums sound as close as possible to how I want them to sound, so that fx are used sparingly.

Bermuda
I have the kick tuned so it has a nice punchy sound un-mic'd with really no overtone, the felt strips took care of that (use the strips like steve smith does). The toms are sounding great, just want more definition and punch from the kick. I think the gate was the "quick fix" for this guy. He was the one who designed the system and said he's always had problems with the D6 and an unported head getting a good kick sound. I had asked him about a little compression and some eq and he went for the gate. Ideally I do want minimal fx on the kit. The kick sounds good just not quite enough punch through the subs.
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
Sounds like you're refusing to do what creates the sound you want. If you're so concerned with a tiny hole in the reso head, then at least throw and blanket up against the bottom of the outside of the reso head to avoid excess resonance. Recording the batter side will include noise from the pedal.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Sounds like you're refusing to do what creates the sound you want. If you're so concerned with a tiny hole in the reso head, then at least throw and blanket up against the bottom of the outside of the reso head to avoid excess resonance. Recording the batter side will include noise from the pedal.

No I'm not, just trying to get more info before I cut a hole that may not be needed. the sound without the mic is where I want it. Now my other question that goes along with this is the reflection from the sound screen maybe causing reflection back into the mic.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You didn't say where the mic was placed on the reso head. If it was placed dead center...I never had luck micing dead center, too boomy. I moved it to the very edge and got a tone I could use.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You should try moving it as close to the edge as you can before cutting. I found it had to be at the very edge, practically touching the hoop, to lose the boom.
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
I tune my bass drum reso head higher than most, and without a port I tend to get a very nice deep sound with the mic off-center and very close to the drumhead. A port definitely makes it easier. You can still have plenty of tone and resonance with a port. It depends on your tuning, mostly.
 
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audiotech

Guest
Re: Micing an unported head with a D6

I would get rid of the gate, if they're not set up correctly with observing critical operating levels, especially threshold, gates can be more of a problem than they are worth. Very slight compression will bring a certain microphones signal up out of the mix without causing distortion and channel clipping, I usually don't compress the entire signal block from the drums, only what needs to be. Also a minimal amount of equalization is all you should need. My rule of thumb is to try subtracting before adding. For one thing a D6 bass drum microphone wouldn't be my first choice, in fact most of the pre-emphasized bass drum microphones I never use. You said that you like the sound of your bass drum, well a great sounding conventional dynamic cardioid microphone with a fairly high SPL should then be used, why muddy up the works with something you really don't need and probably should end up rolling off the bottom end anyway. The next step is correctly placing the microphone. If your not using a port hole and most of the time I don't either, it's best if your microphone can see the entire field of a well tuned resonant head. You'll have to experiment because just moving the microphone a half inch or an inch can make an incredible different in sound. You'll also have to listen for phase cancellations and combing effect which can and will cancel certain frequencies depending on the mic placements. When placing microphones, you have to look at what's in front, what's along the sides and depending on its polar pattern, what is directly behind. A lot of times I'll even place another mic on the batter head if I fell that I need a bit more attack.

The photo shows the placement that works well for a majority of situations that I encounter using a fairly flat Electrovoice RE20 microphone, looking from the side of the head and tipped down away from the toms and cymbals for slightly better isolation.

I believe that you said that you're behind a shield. A lot will depend on the size of the shield and the distance that your kit is away from it. If I'm miking a drummer that's behind a shield I always bring along some Sonex, Auralex or other type of acoustical foam and place it around the bottom of the Plexiglas on three or four sides. The Sonex I use is four inches deep by two feet high and really helps with the flutter echo and some of the backwash of sound from the Plexiglas. I start from the edge of the first panel and continue around to the edge of the last panel. If you don't have acoustical foam, heavy moving blankets can sometimes be used out of sight, but Sonex is much prettier and professional looking, lol. There are many different thing you can try, this is only the tip of the proverbial sonic iceberg.





Hope this helps a bit.

Dennis
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Wow Dennis that's a great post! Thanks.

So when you say the D6 wouldn't be your first choice, is that because it's basically eq'd from the factory?

I was thinking about the auralex (or something of the sort) today after asking the question about reflection from the shield. We have some at church that has never been used (that's a shame for how much we have!!!) My only concern, and I know this shouldn't be since sound is priority, is how it's going to look considering this is a church and the kit is center of the platform. Might have to play with that though and see what it does.

Going to work with our regular sound guy tomorrow at practice and see what we can do.
 

Soupy

Silver Member
Assuming you have been placing the mic at the resonant head you may want to try placing the mic at the batter head. It will cost nothing and from what I have heard it produces more punch as it picks up more of the attack of the beater on the bass drum head.
If you think about it, when you have a hole in your reso head, you are micing the batter.
 
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audiotech

Guest
Re: Micing an unported head with a D6

So when you say the D6 wouldn't be your first choice, is that because it's basically eq'd from the factory?
My philosophy is and always was, "if it's not needed, don't use it". The same goes for equipment and microphones. If the drums already have the sonic qualities you desire, why use a pre-EQ'd microphone that's capable of accentuating the bass frequency of about 100 cycles by 15 to 20 or more decibels when it's not needed. Most low band EQ controls cannot even attenuate that much bass boost if it has to be extracted later from the signal. This much boost can easily drive the channel strip into distortion on peaks if not trimmed properly. I've always gone the way of getting the instrument to sound great on its own through tuning and acoustics, then if there is something still missing after choosing the correct microphones and adjusting their placement, then I'll figure exactly what needs to be done and adjust, be it EQ, compression or just by substituting another microphone. I just don't buy the concept that a microphone such as a D6, 112, 52 or whatever is a "one size fits all" solution to any sound source, be it problematic or not.

In a nut shell, I'll go with flat and stay that way until I hear a real need for modification of the signal.

Dennis
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
If you think about it, when you have a hole in your reso head, you are micing the batter.
Yes, but you are also on the 'windy side' of the fence too, when micing from the reso side.
From the batter side, you are are in opposite polarity in respect to the moving air. Less volume, less punch, less boom, more attack, more bleed (waaaaaay more) into the mic from the snare drum!
Not saying it won't sound good putting a mic on the batter side , it can sound good with careful placement. This is often used in combination with a reso side mic too.
I echo the sentiment of the D6 being too hyped/pre-EQ'd . Much prefer a Sennheiser MD421, EV RE20 (pictured above) or even a Beta 52 for kick duties (low end hype but the top is relatively flat).

Best,
Neal
 
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