When soundmen attack

B_HALF19

Member
I'm on a break at my gig right now and I'm so annoyed with this idiot that I needed to vent. It all started with the bass drum. He just couldn't believe it didn't have a hole cut in it. Told me several times that I "need" to port it. I told him I didn't need to do anything, I've never had any problems in the past and we should be able to get a decent sound for the night. Keep in mind this a fairly small room and mic'ing the drums in the first place is borderline overkill.
After the first set he told me that I "must" cut a hole in the head... He couldn't get a decent sound out of it....which brings me to my point. WHY IS THIS MY PROBLEM? His incompetence as a sound man should not affect how I set up my drums. He told me that in his "40 years of running sound" he's never seen this before. I told him he must only be working with ththe same two drummers.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I had a guy who insisted on this here where I work. He no longer mixes bands.
He's much happier these days unloading trucks and keeping our warehouse stocked up.
 

shemp

Silver Member
There are two sides to the situation.....no, you should not need to port your head and yes the soundman should be able to work with it. On the flip side, it's a good idea for the drummer to get the kick reasonably dialed under mic conditions prior to hitting the club....because at club gigs it is not as relaxed during setup to solve those ugly howling and resonance issues.

Of course a nice Drawmer and dbx 160 should be able to manage most scenarios.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
My view on this issue is just cut a damn hole. Why deal with headaches with soundmen when porting is such a simple solution? It's so much easier and faster to get a good sound that I just don't see the point in being stubborn about it.

You could just port the stock logo head (if you have it) which is usually of lesser quality anyways and keep a good quality unported head for gigs with no mic's. Just my 2 cents.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
There are two sides to the situation.....no, you should not need to port your head and yes the soundman should be able to work with it. On the flip side, it's a good idea for the drummer to get the kick reasonably dialed under mic conditions prior to hitting the club....because at club gigs it is not as relaxed during setup to solve those ugly howling and resonance issues.

Of course a nice Drawmer and dbx 160 should be able to manage most scenarios.
So drummers now need to carry audio gear for the soundman to patch in to use? What a PITA ;)

And some times I take issue with just getting along and using a ported head when confronted with untalented audio guys. I like the feel of the non-ported drum and of course, if it was a Zeppelin-type band, you wouldn't think of it. If the room is small and the drums sound fine without going through the system, the soundman should be smart enough to figure that out too. I've certainly done that on occasion. I don't think it's too much to expect the audio guy to know a few things. Afterall, we as drummers are already in the hotseat wherever we play because the moment we drop a beat, or rush, or drag, everyone in the room knows it. Whereas the other instrumentalists can get away with flubs here and there.

Audio people need to learn their gear and how to work it just like we're expected to learn how gear. I can't tell you how many people I know who call themselves "sound guys" because they learned how to wire up their home theaters, or dabble in DJ work. It's sad.
 

shemp

Silver Member
So drummers now need to carry audio gear for the soundman to patch in to use? What a PITA ;)

And some times I take issue with just getting along and using a ported head when confronted with untalented audio guys. I like the feel of the non-ported drum and of course, if it was a Zeppelin-type band, you wouldn't think of it. If the room is small and the drums sound fine without going through the system, the soundman should be smart enough to figure that out too. I've certainly done that on occasion. I don't think it's too much to expect the audio guy to know a few things. Afterall, we as drummers are already in the hotseat wherever we play because the moment we drop a beat, or rush, or drag, everyone in the room knows it. Whereas the other instrumentalists can get away with flubs here and there.

Audio people need to learn their gear and how to work it just like we're expected to learn how gear. I can't tell you how many people I know who call themselves "sound guys" because they learned how to wire up their home theaters, or dabble in DJ work. It's sad.
Yea...the soundman should have the gear....if a guy doesn't have a rack of troubleshooters...ie Drawmer, dbx or comparable processing then they are not prepared. And they don't have the proper toolbox. A band sounds infinitely better and cleaner when appropriate gating is used on the vocal mics, kit, etc. also they should have the ear to put a quick eq on the room.

a good band can sound great....with just some basic attention to drum tones....even in small rooms drums sound diffuse and almost pull from the band sound if they are not lightly miced and just peppered through the fronts.
 

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Staff member
In my understanding there are two different types of mics to use (with hole/without hole) So it can happen, the sound guy only has the first one...
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
Thread title of the year! Earlier this year I worked with a sound guy who asked, politely, if he could stuff something inside my ported kick. Even though I was using a muffled head (SKII) and the kick sounded killer, I quickly realized the sound guy's limitations. I acquiesced because for him, that was going to result in the best kick drum sound out front. The entire band benefited from that small sacrifice. I'd never consider conducting surgery on the reso head at a gig though. No way.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Compromises:

1: Own two reso heads, change them out when needed.
2: Internal Beta 52 on a suspension mount.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
My view on this issue is just cut a damn hole. Why deal with headaches with soundmen when porting is such a simple solution? It's so much easier and faster to get a good sound that I just don't see the point in being stubborn about it.

You could just port the stock logo head (if you have it) which is usually of lesser quality anyways and keep a good quality unported head for gigs with no mic's. Just my 2 cents.
I agree. I don't have the patience or time to deal with this when I'm setting up, so I'd rather just get up and running with a good sound quickly and get to playing.

Too much hassle arguing about our "rights" to have a hole or not. he he
 

moxman

Silver Member
I cringe at changing kick drum heads.. It's a PIA..and too much hassle to cart around extra kick heads to a gig..

but on the flip side i've had a grumpy sound guy complain about a Kickport i'm trying out..the black plastic tube that snaps onto the hole. He said it was difficult to get the mic positioned inside it. When I said the maker say the mic is supposed to sit just barely in.. He said that doesn't work either in terms of audio.. He was using Sennheissers which are great.. and hated the Kickport. Anyone else run into this? I'm not convinced it really made any difference to the sound, despite the claims on the package. I really bought to use the ring to stop a small tear around the hole.. So at least that worked.

.. But you can't go wrong with a hole in head... It does provide more flexibilty and isolation for getting a great sound.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Playing in a small original band there is no way I would try and run a full reso. I work with sound guys in small bars with limited equipment at their disposal. I get like 5 minutes to set up and sound check. I am pretty sure there would be no argument, the dude would put the mic in front of the reso, hit the mute on his board and tell me it sounds great FOH. We usually play with 4 or 5 other bands and the bass drum sound on one band is not worth their time. If I was in a headliner band and wanted a full reso I would suspend a mic inside the drum. I figure I need to do all I can make everybodys life as easy as possible.
 

shemp

Silver Member
I cringe at changing kick drum heads.. It's a PIA..and too much hassle to cart around extra kick heads to a gig..

but on the flip side i've had a grumpy sound guy complain about a Kickport i'm trying out..the black plastic tube that snaps onto the hole. He said it was difficult to get the mic positioned inside it. When I said the maker say the mic is supposed to sit just barely in.. He said that doesn't work either in terms of audio.. He was using Sennheissers which are great.. and hated the Kickport. Anyone else run into this? I'm not convinced it really made any difference to the sound, despite the claims on the package. I really bought to use the ring to stop a small tear around the hole.. So at least that worked.

.. But you can't go wrong with a hole in head... It does provide more flexibilty and isolation for getting a great sound.
The Kickport brought my tuned kick frequency down to 47Hz; I measured it. I love it for recording and bigger stages maybe. My personal opinion is that it is not required on a club gig, but also should not be a problem.

A good sound man should be quickly able to deal with it...and yes they sound great with the mic just breaking the outer opening's plane.

Most soundmen do not really understand the physics of what is going on/and this hurts greatly...because it tells one that even if the kick sounds like a raging slab of doggy doo do, 5 minutes or less with a 3rd octave EQ, a gate and a comp will easily tame it to something very useable at any gig or show.

One must have the right tools.....when I was 15 or so and used to go to gigs watching the soundman, I always thought "holy shit" that guy has 15 of the same thingy there and then 15 more of that thingy...."what is that all about"

well they were gates and compressors and EQs...those are the tools one must have at their disposal to be able dial in FOH...today I have an 01v96 with all of it built in

Lastly, as a hack drummer and someone that does not want the pre-gig experience to be stressfull, as others have said, it just pays to have your own set of tools....I have a drum trigger at my disposal and a TD6...cheap ass shit that sounds just dandy for club gigs...and if there is an issue with my kick or the kicks of drummers I work with, we just go to the trigger and life is swell


most FOH band sound is centered around problem solving and the right tools.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
As a guy that has performed FOH sound tasks in the past, that guy is full of s*%&. You don't need a hole.

The only reason a hole might be useful is if you're on a busy stage with a lot of monitors and struggling to get the isolation necessary. In that case, you could choose a mic with a tighter polar pattern, learn a few placement techniques or learn how to use a gate properly or any combination therein.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
It is essential for every club drummer to get along with the venue based sound engineer. They can have more control on your drumsound than drum make/sizes/heads/wood type etc. I would cut a hole and get the best kick sound.
Or else stay with your front head but accept that it isn't going to be very high in the mix.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
Compromises:

1: Own two reso heads, change them out when needed.
2: Internal Beta 52 on a suspension mount.

Exactly. For those of us who prefer having a full--unported--drum head there are two alternatives to smooth over this type of situation. Carry a ported reso head with you. If push comes to shove with an FOH, just change out your reso head, tune it up and press on. The second is to carry your own bass drum mic and explain to the FOH that you've had great sound with this mic and ask him if he would want to test it out during your set. Win him over with a little diplomacy and the opportunity to test out your mic on your unported head. Otherwise get a Mays or Kelly Shu internal mount with the mic of your choice and where you can plug and play.
 
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