Miking bass drum WITH port for first time. Tips where to start?

AxisDrummer

Senior Member
Hey guys,

A while back I got some GREAT advice on how to mic my bass drum with a FULL reso, no port, no muffling, from Audiotech. Worked great doing it myself.

Well I eventually caved (after some disgruntled soundmen complained and threatened with a box cutter on a rare gig where I didn't run sound.) I ordered a custom reso with our band logo from DrumArt (GREAT job by the way) and ordered it with a 4" hole around the 7'o clock position.

I have an AKG D112 mic. 22x18 Birch. Powerstroke 3 batter, no patch. Aquarian reso equivalent to the Powerstroke (forget the name). Mic doesn't fit INTO the port very well. I have NO muffling as of now.

First show with port is this weekend. Any tips on mic placement/ do I NEED muffling/ EQ....etc....just to get started and make soundcheck as least painful as possible.

(On a sidenote, this is the first time I've EVER played with a ported reso and thus far I like the feel of it. A bit different but feel like I get a nicer rebound. May be all mental but so far so good on feel.)

Thanks ahead of time for any advice!

--Mike
 

Milt Hathaway

Senior Member
In general I get the best results pointing the D112 into the port, but without any of the mic actually breaking the plane of the head. I turn it a bit toward the beater impact point.

Some head combinations and/or desired tone will change that sweet spot position.
 

The Black Page Dude

Senior Member
I have always had good luck pointing my D112 slightly at the left of the beater ... not sure why. I put the mic in the port hole only about 4 inches ior so .. NOT all the way in.

I do use some muffling ... so you may have to work this a bit for your purposes.

However when I can and a tech is willing ... I use Bonham's method ... what was the method you found from Audiotech .. i would be interested!!

On a whole other rant - With regard to soundmen threatening to do some boxcutting ... I say if they can't deal with a bass drum without any muffling or a non ported reso head, they should head back to tech school. Any soundman worth thier salt should be able to deal with either situation.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
You guys are so advanced I feel like a Neanderthal. Back in the day our engineer would stick a mic into the port and during sound check he'd say "kick" and I'd go boom until he said "okay, snare".

Evolution in action.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Just as cupping a vocal mic messes up the response, sticking a directional (cardioid) kick mic partway into a hole in a head, blocking the front of the mic from the sides and back, will also mess up the response. Mostly making a mid bass boom and making it more prone to feedback. Which will take the aspect of low frequency ringing or overhang in the kick sound.

There isn't really a halfway. Either leave the mic outside the drum or put it all the way in near the batter head. Outside can be with the front of the mic flush with the head at the port or even a bit back. If you're flush, you can point the mic at the beater impact point for a bit more articulation. You can also just mic the reso head as if it didn't have a port. That will give you the pitch of the reso but shortened sustain compared to a full head because of the port.

Inside, you should be close to the batter head, 4" or so and a bit offset from where the beater hits unless you really want to emphasize the attack. Having the mic in the middle of the drum picks up the resonance of the cavity and you mostly get undefined boom.

There really is no right way. It depends on the sound you are going for and the situation. Big live rooms with a big PA and subs should have a tighter kick sound as the room will boom and sustain the sound far beyond the drum itself. Deader rooms can have a more open kick as you hear the sound directly from the PA more.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hey guys,

A while back I got some GREAT advice on how to mic my bass drum with a FULL reso, no port, no muffling, from Audiotech. Worked great doing it myself.

Well I eventually caved (after some disgruntled soundmen complained and threatened with a box cutter on a rare gig where I didn't run sound.) I ordered a custom reso with our band logo from DrumArt (GREAT job by the way) and ordered it with a 4" hole around the 7'o clock position.

I have an AKG D112 mic. 22x18 Birch. Powerstroke 3 batter, no patch. Aquarian reso equivalent to the Powerstroke (forget the name). Mic doesn't fit INTO the port very well. I have NO muffling as of now.

First show with port is this weekend. Any tips on mic placement/ do I NEED muffling/ EQ....etc....just to get started and make soundcheck as least painful as possible.

(On a sidenote, this is the first time I've EVER played with a ported reso and thus far I like the feel of it. A bit different but feel like I get a nicer rebound. May be all mental but so far so good on feel.)

Thanks ahead of time for any advice!

--Mike
Take a thick bathroom towel and put it in the drum, barely touching the front and back head. Then instead of using that big mic you have, take a SM57 and then lie it on the towel facing the batter head, and see what happens. You'll be impressed ;)
 

dtrushr30dw

Senior Member
I experimented with my D112 last night. I want to first point out that it's one of my favorites on a floor tom, it gets the most natural floor tom sound to my ear (d6 close behind). But on a kick it gets a really nice tight mid range punch when you put it just outside the port hole. I'm not sure what music you are playing, but for me the D112 sounds really consistent/similar inside and outside the drum. As mentioned by others, aiming at the beater will give more click/attack. I found that aiming it between the beater and bottom of the shell gave me a nice mix of click and bottom end. It really just comes down to experimenting what's best for your sound and your specific drum. Hope that helps :)
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
First show with port is this weekend. Any tips on mic placement/ do I NEED muffling/ EQ....etc....just to get started and make soundcheck as least painful as possible...
Hey Mike. Just to make soundcheck as least painful as possible, yeah, I'd put some type of small pillow, towel, etc... inside your bass drum. I know they're $20 or so and that price is ridiculous, but I like those Evans EQ pillows.
 

AxisDrummer

Senior Member
I appreciate ALL the tips. I have a lot of options but it'll be the good ol' trial and error.

My gig is Friday at 9 pm. I'll get there early to work on this. Actually....I better get there about 9 AM with my soundman skills.
 

last man to bat

Senior Member
However when I can and a tech is willing ... I use Bonham's method ... what was the method you found from Audiotech .. i would be interested!!
What is Bonham's method? II'm interested...

On a whole other rant - With regard to soundmen threatening to do some boxcutting ... I say if they can't deal with a bass drum without any muffling or a non ported reso head, they should head back to tech school. Any soundman worth thier salt should be able to deal with either situation.
It has to be laziness. It is bizzarre how many sound engineers hate a non ported bass drum, I just don't get it myself...

I have a port and have found best mic position to be slightly inside of reso and pointing at the beater. Just goes to show, there are many ways to skin a cat! Oh and I use a bed sheet inside the drum touching both batter and reso. I guess the answer is to try various different things until you get what you are after. Good luck with the show
 

Milt Hathaway

Senior Member
It has to be laziness. It is bizzarre how many sound engineers hate a non ported bass drum, I just don't get it myself...
No, not laziness. It's the same amount of effort either way. I have miced both with and without a port in the reso, but with a port always sounds better in a LIVE situation with other noisy stuff on stage.

A non-ported kick certainly sounds better in mostly acoustic situations, but if you need it well-amplified and want it to sound like a bass drum you need to compromise with the sound man.

Or get a Kelly Shu mount and mount a good kick mic on it. Then it doesn't matter to the sound man whether or not the reso is ported. (This is what I've done on my Ringo kit for tribute band use, for both appearances and sound.)
 
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