that snap in a kick drum

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that snap in a kick drum

Post by permanent hearing damage » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:12 pm

i'm noticing these days that the kick doesn't seem to have that high end snap that i like. i can always get it to work with a good amount of eq but this seems to be a new problem. it is entirely possible that with such dark recordings in the past, i hadn't noticed before, as my technique hasn't changed all that much and i've only gotten nicer stuff. and i still like what i get for the thumpier sounding kick drums. but that snap always needs a good amount of eq to come through. i've tried various large diaphragm dynamics - d112, re20, beta52, beyer m380, a few small diaphragm condensers - sm98, atm420, atpro37, and a few large diaphragm condensers - mk219, royer mod mxl2001, maybe an nt1. and none of them quite get me home. i've tried inside the drum close to the beater, off the beater with the dynamics, half in the sound hole, a few inches out of the sound hole.

i'm starting to wonder if my recordings have just become that much brighter that it's starting to fight with that snap. i have made the switch in the last couple years to mixing in the box, but even doing some eq work beforehand doesn't get me all the way there.

so if anyone has any tricks they wanna suggest, i'm keen to hear em and give em a shot. i gotta find something that works besides eq-ing it to death.

for context's sake, this is usually a problem with heavy bands - lots of distorted guitars, often distorted bass, screamed vox, etc.

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Post by nzkobc » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:45 pm

When I was in high school, the entire local music scene was metal-core bands (I was in a quirky rock band).

My first guess would be different (stiffer/harder) beaters. Second guesses include slow attack compression, and harmonic distortion.

Crazy convoluted idea is make a send with a high pass (or band pass at the right freq) and send the guitars there (parallel). Use a side-chain compressor triggered by the kick. I haven't tried it, but it might bring the attack from the kick out some.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:51 am

damn distorted guitars make everything so difficult.

i've done lots of loud guitar records but not really anything super HEAVY so i dunno how much any of this will apply, but...

i pretty much never have a mic actually in the kick. i'm sure for really heavy stuff you have to. but i find i get a surprising amount of snap from a mic say 6" off the front head. if the drum's tuned right with appropriate heads you can get a really good sound with no eq or anything, and you can turn it up loud in the mix.

the heads and tuning really have a lot to do with it. one drummer i've recorded a couple times has this rogers 20" kick with an evans emad batter head, no front head. the smack from that drum is unbelievable. will cut through anything with no eq.

a front of kit mic about snare height and 1-2' in front of the kick can add a lot of impact and presence that you don't get with a close mic. can be a can of worms with the snare phase though.

room mics can also add a lot to a kick drum. if you have a single headed kick with something dead and plasticy like a superkick2 on it, you'll get a ton of usable smack in the room mics.

hard plastic or wood beaters. there's also the 'tape a quarter to the kick head' trick

slow attack compression, as mentioned. 10:1 on the distressor can put a real point on things.

i've also had luck totally cheating: copy the kick track, hipass it somewhere stupid like 500hz, and sneak that back in underneath.

or you could just be lame and use samples.

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Post by losthighway » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:45 am

Of all the mics you listed the only one I can imagine getting a Heavy Metal click sound is the D112, and even then it would take a bit of eq. I can get a pretty modern attacky kick sound with a Sennheiser e 602, inside the kick drum, pointed at the beater, no pillow or blanket inside.

As always, start with the drum. Does the kick have a fast attack, and some snap for the mic to find?

Also, you probably already found this: usually there is a really narrow frequency band that spells click for that drum (maybe somewhere between 1.5 and 3k), you can sweep a little notch eq and find it and boost it. Sometimes cutting mids helps too.

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Re: that snap in a kick drum

Post by Gregg Juke » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:06 am

As you are probably already aware, the closer the mic is to the head, the more "clicky," the farther away, the more bottom/woof. Also, some try a mic on the batter side (but I don't usually go for that sort of thing).

And, as mentioned, drum tuning and beater material are important (I'd go with wood).

What you could do is check with music stores/drum shops to see if they still make this product-- a little ceramic disc that goes on the head right where the beater hits it (sorry, I can't remember what it's called). It used to give a very Weather Report-ish click to the bass drum.


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Post by mscottweber » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:31 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:there's also the 'tape a quarter to the kick head' trick
Sometimes this can be overkill, but sometimes it can be just right, especially for more aggressive music.

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Post by farview » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:57 am

The first thing to start with is the kick itself. If you are using an old poofy felt beater, have a 5 year old batter head and have the drum stuffed with pillows and blankets, you are completely screwed.

If you want really clicky drums, get an Evans Emad head and a rubber, wood, or other hard beater. Also get one of those kevlar kick patches so the head lasts more than a week. You also have to hit the drum like you mean it. If the drummer plays heel down or in some sort of jazz oriented manner, you are again completely screwed.

The D112 or the beta 52 should do the trick, however, the D112 likes to be inside the kick a couple inches from the batter head and the Beta 52 likes to be placed in the vent hole of the front head.

My favorite starting point for the d112 is a couple inches from the batter head about half way between the center of the head and the shell.

That should get you in the ball park, but if you think you are going to get a modern, clicky kick sound without a bunch of EQ, you are completely screwed.

My starting point is to suck out some 900hz add high shelf at 6-7k and maybe add some 50-60hz. Then I compress it with a slow-ish attack and a quick release.

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Post by suppositron » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:14 am

The above advice pretty much covers everything. If you're going for a Lamb Of God kick, be aware they're using samples to get that sound.

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Post by mscottweber » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:16 am

There is probably a joke here somewhere about having the bass player sit, old fashioned type writer in hand, where the kick drum should be...

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Post by junomat » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:55 am

Has anyone suggested also micing the batter head? I mic it usually with a 421 at a 45 degree angle pointed right above the actual beater.

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Post by thethingwiththestuff » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:16 am

this is why i like to use various old omni dynamics right in the center of the kit - it helps me get kick attack, under snare, and often the "note" of the toms.

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Post by studiodog » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:06 pm

Check out the emad bass heads - they focus the sound more in my opinion and cut out the ring. Also a wood or plastic beater, and check out a beater patch that has a metal plate in it - I forget the name of the one I use when I need a click. Then somewhere around 3.5 K boost helps too.
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Post by cgarges » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:00 pm

nzkobc wrote:My first guess would be different (stiffer/harder) beaters.
That's the first thing I was gonna suggest, too.
MoreSpaceEcho wrote:there's also the 'tape a quarter to the kick head' trick
That's good, too, although it can be a bit too "Hot For Teacher" at times. A more subtle approach might be to use one of those little circular pads that come with a bunch of modern bass drum heads. Sometimes those things, in conjunction with a hard plastic or wood beater, can be the perfect amount of additional "tick."

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Post by joel hamilton » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:24 pm

"i gotta find something that works besides eq-ing it to death."


Thats the sound you are talking about. EQ'd on the way in, EQ'd in the mix with compression.

With a ton of EQ in the right places, you can make it sound really amazing.
Funny that people have asked me what triggers I used, and its really just not being afraid of EQ'ing the heck out of the kick drum. or anything for that matter.
This is not jazz, nor is this a "purist" situation we are talking about here. Why be afraid of EQ? Its like saying, I want it to be SUPER heavy,Like pantera, but without using all that distortion stuff...

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Post by permanent hearing damage » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:38 pm

farview wrote:but if you think you are going to get a modern, clicky kick sound without a bunch of EQ, you are completely screwed.
i think this and what joel said is kinda what i needed to hear. i guess i have this feeling that if i'm boosting and cutting stuff like 10dB at times that i'm doing something wrong with mic placement and choice. granted, that could well be the case, but it's good to know that folks with a much more impressive discog than my own are doing the same damn thing.

thanks guys

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