Often ignored yet the key to kick tone...

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Seriously though- tune your reso head! We had a blast putting together this episode exploring a few different intervals between the batter and reso, keeping the batter the same.

As usual, a first-rate experiment reveals startling results. A common belief is that a ported reso head is nothing more than a decoration, as the incision renders it incapable of producing tone or influencing the length of a note. That notion is clearly false. Thanks for providing carefully wrought content from which all drummers can benefit.
 

Griffin

Well-known member
Curious how much of this effect would carry over to a ported 16inch Bass drum. I’m assuming it would still be there but less dramatic because the port takes up more surface area on the reso head?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Curious how much of this effect would carry over to a ported 16inch Bass drum. I’m assuming it would still be there but less dramatic because the port takes up more surface area on the reso head?
That seems a reasonable hypothesis. I wouldn't know from experience. I've neither owned nor played a 16" bass. My 22" has a ported reso, and I can confirm that, as the video demonstrates, the reso's tension affects the tone and sustain of the drum. My only muffling is a compact black pillow made by Pearl. It's much smaller than a bed pillow, consuming minimal space in the shell.
 

Griffin

Well-known member
Currently using a 16” unported and wide open for portability reasons and have to say having been a small bass sceptic I am impressed. Sadly the sound engineers on a lot of gigs are of the “port it and muffle the s*** out of it” variety— so I am afraid now as gigs start up again I will need to get a ported head for it. I’m just worried about the effect of the port on the low end of such a small kick but I guess mic’ed and eq’ed it’s all academic and I can keep an unported head for other environments.
 

Griffin

Well-known member
That seems a reasonable hypothesis. I wouldn't know from experience. I've neither owned nor played a 16" bass. My 22" has a ported reso, and I can confirm that, as the video demonstrates, the reso's tension affects the tone and sustain of the drum. My only muffling is a compact black pillow made by Pearl. It's much smaller than a bed pillow, consuming minimal space in the shell.
Is the pearl pilllow similar to the Evans bass pillow thingy?
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Is the pearl pilllow similar to the Evans bass pillow thingy?
Yes, the Pearl is different material but they serve the same purpose, very light weight versatile dampening options...I remember starting in the 80’s where we had huge portholes in the middle of the reso and duck down pillows (I used to tickle the front row with feathers doing double bass 16ths!), which goes some way to explaining an historic focus on the batter head! Engineers loved us in the 80’s!! 😂 Great video that really covers off the subject (as per usual!).(y):D
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I don't touch it much, but the initial attention has always been the same as with the other drums of the kit. Mine's ported and I got a bit of an old blanket type sleeping bag in there, but it certainly makes a difference. Not looking for much sustain, but I definetly want a certain type of tone and character.
 

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
Curious how much of this effect would carry over to a ported 16inch Bass drum. I’m assuming it would still be there but less dramatic because the port takes up more surface area on the reso head?
My recommendation would be to scale the port appropriately if you *MUST* use one. A 3-4" diameter port seems like the way to go. I'm quite happy without a port on my 16" kick.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Yes, the Pearl is different material but they serve the same purpose, very light weight versatile dampening options...I remember starting in the 80’s where we had huge portholes in the middle of the reso and duck down pillows (I used to tickle the front row with feathers doing double bass 16ths!), which goes some way to explaining an historic focus on the batter head! Engineers loved us in the 80’s!! 😂 Great video that really covers off the subject (as per usual!).(y):D
I started gigging back in the '80s as well. I arrived at my first mic'd performance with an unported reso, and the sound tech gave me a firm talking to about the hardships I was putting him through. Also, in transport, my internal muffling got jostled, and I had to remove the reso to readjust it. I purchased a ported reso later that week and never looked back. For me, its convenience outpaces the advantages to be derived from an unported head.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
The looser head sounded best to me. I heard more attack and punch. The medium tuning has a nice tone, I guess, but is too boomy for me.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
As usual, a first-rate experiment reveals startling results. A common belief is that a ported reso head is nothing more than a decoration, as the incision renders it incapable of producing tone or influencing the length of a note. That notion is clearly false. Thanks for providing carefully wrought content from which all drummers can benefit.
I was recently talking with someone who stated that a ported kick head is just a bill board once you put that hole in it. I didn’t want to get into that so I left it alone.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I liked the looser tuning the best also but all 3 were ok.
I like the first two. I didn't catch the batter head type if he mentioned it, but maybe an EMAD or similar (or a small amount of muffling) would reduce the "boom" I'm hearing in the higher tunings, because I do like the tone itself. I'm changing heads this Friday and will be experimenting with reso tension.
I don't gig, just play at home, so for me, in this smaller room, the relationship between the bass drum heads is about moving air as much as it is sound waves, so looser heads seem to work better.
 

Iristone

Well-known member
I tend to tune it high - I use an Ambassador reso and it sounds like paper flapping if tuned low. (PS oh, it also improves the round thump of it)
I have a 4" port at the conventional place. I remember messing with an unported reso at home and left unimpressed. I think a port could give a bit more versatility when miking, you can get an inside-mic sound, and a front-mic sound.
That said, next time I gig I'll try completely front-headless for a Ginger Baker slam. ;)
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I like the sound of unposted, but after having to go to quiet drumming and adding a super pad to the kick, all I got was boing from the res. Once i ported the reso, I could get the mic to pick up the batter head again. I also discovered it’s super easy to adjust the tone depending on where you put the mic in relation to the reso. Get it super close to the edge closest to center and you get a ton of reso. Get it closer to the outer edge of the head and point diagonally across the batter and you get a nice punch. Never had to play with it as much prior, but it definitely improved the tone of quite drumming. played around with the reso son the toms too for similar results, but they remain mic’d from the top.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Maybe I got wrong, please tell me.
I tend to raise the tension of the reso skin when I play live unmicked.
I always raise the reso tension (bass and toms) when I want to "project" more.
 
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