Kick drums

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IanWalker
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Kick drums

Post by IanWalker » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:53 pm

So, does anyone have any go-to kick drum setups they would care to share?

I've usually gone with a dynamic of some kind, occasionally in the drum, sometimes only at the hole in the head.

Done good stuff with a 57, an Audix f12, even a Beta52.

My last couple sessions, I've had a drummer with a KILLER sound, tuned his drums wonderfully. His kick really hits you in the chest, and sounds great in the room.

But I mic it up, and it doesn't seem to sound good at all.

I'm in a bit of a rut, and curious what other people are doing. Just looking for some thoughts on things to try.

Interested in fairly straight-ahead rock sounds, mostly.
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:15 pm

My favourite set up of the moment (provided the kit and player are good) is -
1 - OH above the ride and floor tom. Ribbon mic preferred.
2 - a ribbon mic on a low mic stand placed between the kick and snare, 1 or 2 feet back. It's the Daptone thing.
1 - room mic. Ribbon or condenser (or sometimes an EV 635a).

Mix mono. If you want stereo make the room mic a stereo pair.

if you need more sub out of the kick add a close mic (doesn't really matter what kind as long as it goes low - D12, D112, 421, M88, etc, etc). If you need more snare move the kick/snare mic closer or up a bit.

This is sort of a deconstructed Glynn Johns thing. It will all fall apart of the kit sounds bad or if the drummer can't balance his playing (ie: wails on the hats but only taps the snare). There aren't a lot of options with this set-up. It's about capturing the sound of awesome drums and an awesome drummer in an awesome room. You won't be able to EQ or gate the toms or really even deal with any if the drums on an individual basis. It's a capture of the kit as a whole, not a collection of individual drums, but that's the point.

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Post by boid » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:39 pm

IME it doesn't really matter much what mic configuration you use if the drummer doesn't balance well... even if you use all close mikes it doesn't sound "right"

but if he does i've found something like david said to be very helpful, using something like a "heart"-mike or a FOK can get you a long way as far as kick sound goes
as long as it's not too far away it can work surprisingly well
and it seems that's what you're after; a more natural sound like the drum sounds in the room, right?!

depending on what kind of rock song we're talking about I have different go-to setups, though.

if it's some modern rock where everything is smeared with distorted guitars and you need the kick to cut through nothing beats the "tok-tok" of a PZM say a SM91 inside and a LCD less than a foot in front

more "classic" rock with more space, I like a MD421 inside.
Sometimes that's all you need, but more often I want more flexibility so I use a LCD infront, and whatever mike i have spare (sometimes even an SCD) on the batter side.
the three mike combination will give you a HUGE range of sounds later.
but it's a bit tricky to properly set it up.

everything else would go in the direction david pointed out, but that usually requires more time for experimentation

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Post by dfuruta » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:41 am

i've been pretty happy lately with an re20 a little bit (6"?) in front of the resonant head.

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Post by chris harris » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:50 am

Sennheiser e602 inside bass drum -> Earthworks KickPad (or not) -> API preamp = never not happy

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Post by losthighway » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:33 am

I often prefer the Sennheiser e602 inside and some kind of LDC with generous lows (something FET can be cool) outside the kick.

I did a closed front head kick once with either a sdc, or a 57 (can't recall) on the beater side, high passed to just get the smack. That worked.

I like to compress it around 2:1 on the way in, because I know I'll want it. Depending on how the drummer did, and how it's working out I might do another pass through a compressor during mix, which varies wildly between different compressors -> RMS, VCA, tube, and settings -> 1.8:1 to even a limiter, depending on what's working.

More often than not (especially with mics that are close to flat in the low mids) I end up looking to cut a few db anywhere between say 250 and 700 maybe. This usually tightens up the sound and lets it be a little louder in the mix without blurring the bass guitar. This seems to be even more necessary with an sm7 or RE20 type of deal than something scooped like an e602. Even the noble d112 seems to pick up a good share of those "cardboard box" frequencies.

If you dog house your kick (to kill bleed) it can hold up to levels of processing abuse most other drums can't. Then again with a good player and a nice sounding kick you might not need to abuse it.

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IanWalker
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Post by IanWalker » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:36 pm

I would LOVE to do that kind of a thing more, but sadly its not what people usually want. I can't always get my way with some of the bands I'm working with.

My favorite drums I've ever recorded was a pair of omnis, kick and snare. 4 channels, simple. But I don't have that drummer or that kit any more. Or that room, even. But sadly, that sound won't work for EVERYTHING even if I got it all the time.
A.David.MacKinnon wrote:My favourite set up of the moment (provided the kit and player are good) is -
1 - OH above the ride and floor tom. Ribbon mic preferred.
2 - a ribbon mic on a low mic stand placed between the kick and snare, 1 or 2 feet back. It's the Daptone thing.
1 - room mic. Ribbon or condenser (or sometimes an EV 635a).

Mix mono. If you want stereo make the room mic a stereo pair.

if you need more sub out of the kick add a close mic (doesn't really matter what kind as long as it goes low - D12, D112, 421, M88, etc, etc). If you need more snare move the kick/snare mic closer or up a bit.

This is sort of a deconstructed Glynn Johns thing. It will all fall apart of the kit sounds bad or if the drummer can't balance his playing (ie: wails on the hats but only taps the snare). There aren't a lot of options with this set-up. It's about capturing the sound of awesome drums and an awesome drummer in an awesome room. You won't be able to EQ or gate the toms or really even deal with any if the drums on an individual basis. It's a capture of the kit as a whole, not a collection of individual drums, but that's the point.
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Post by IanWalker » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:45 pm

I need to play w the LDC in front thing more.

Advice on the heart mic?

I had one drummer recently who's playing is great - nice and balanced. Tuned beautifully, too. But in the mix, his kick sounds puny. If I mix it up enough to get it to cut through the excessive wall of guitars (dont' get me started on that), its just cardboard. I've got it somewhat acceptable, but I feel like a more rounded tone would fit better.

Mostly just looking to explore and try some more options for the next time I have a drum session.
boid wrote:IME it doesn't really matter much what mic configuration you use if the drummer doesn't balance well... even if you use all close mikes it doesn't sound "right"

but if he does i've found something like david said to be very helpful, using something like a "heart"-mike or a FOK can get you a long way as far as kick sound goes
as long as it's not too far away it can work surprisingly well
and it seems that's what you're after; a more natural sound like the drum sounds in the room, right?!

depending on what kind of rock song we're talking about I have different go-to setups, though.

if it's some modern rock where everything is smeared with distorted guitars and you need the kick to cut through nothing beats the "tok-tok" of a PZM say a SM91 inside and a LCD less than a foot in front

more "classic" rock with more space, I like a MD421 inside.
Sometimes that's all you need, but more often I want more flexibility so I use a LCD infront, and whatever mike i have spare (sometimes even an SCD) on the batter side.
the three mike combination will give you a HUGE range of sounds later.
but it's a bit tricky to properly set it up.

everything else would go in the direction david pointed out, but that usually requires more time for experimentation
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Post by IanWalker » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:50 pm

Man, I haven't done that in a LONG time. Best doghouse I've ever done was using a floor tom shell and some blankets. Gave the kick some room to breathe and wasn't completely dampened.
losthighway wrote:If you dog house your kick (to kill bleed) it can hold up to levels of processing abuse most other drums can't. Then again with a good player and a nice sounding kick you might not need to abuse it.
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:17 pm

IanWalker wrote: If I mix it up enough to get it to cut through the excessive wall of guitars (dont' get me started on that), its just cardboard.
if you have a ridiculous wall of guitars to contend with, all rules, common sense, and good taste go out the window. you just do whatever you have to do to get it to work.

so don't be afraid to do some drastic eq and compression on the kick if you need to. so if you turn the kick up until you can hear it and it sounds cardboardy, then cut some midrange out of it. maybe a lot. maybe try compressing it with a slow opto, something that'll put a nice big transient smack on the front of the note, to help the attack cut through the guitars.

maybe you do a bunch of crazy shit to the kick and now you can hear it, but it sounds crazy...well then do all the crazy stuff in parallel and bring in some of the original, blend them together.

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Post by permanent hearing damage » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:36 pm

i have to say, until i stopped being afraid to do some dramatic EQ, i was rarely stoked on kick sounds i ended up with. i would frequently scoop out the lower mids, but until i started really pushing on the sub lows (30-40 Hz), that round sound was always a little elusive. now that i do it (and i am trying to rely on it less these days), i feel like i can get a great kick sound with a lot of different mics - beta 52, m380, re20, d112, 421, etc. pr40 works well for faster bands/songs though doesn't get quite as tubby if you really push on the subs.

maybe that's not what you're after, but that additive EQ in the subs did wonders for my kick sounds.

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:19 pm

e602
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Post by drumsound » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:18 pm

I find that the sound of the BD in the room is directly inverse to how good it sounds recorded. IE Love the tone on tape, in the room it sounds meh, whereas awesome in the room is often problematic on tape.

Or just use the e602 because it's awesome.

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:43 pm

drumsound wrote:I find that the sound of the BD in the room is directly inverse to how good it sounds recorded. IE Love the tone on tape, in the room it sounds meh, whereas awesome in the room is often problematic on tape.

Or just use the e602 because it's awesome.
Do I need to recalibrate my internet sarcasm detector (incredibly unreliable) or are you making fun of me? That "inverse to how it sounds in the room" flies in the face of most drum recording advice you hear. (Not that I doubt your experience, if you're being serious.) I wasn't saying the e602 was an automatic turd polisher, just head and shoulders better than any other mic I've tried on kick, which, admittedly, isn't a whole shit ton. YMMV and all that.
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Post by boid » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:55 pm

if you have a ridiculous wall of guitars to contend with, all rules, common sense, and good taste go out the window. you just do whatever you have to do to get it to work.
listen to the man

btw, at what point do you guys consider eq as "dramatic"? like ...more than 8db? more than 12?
just curious


also i agree with permanent hearing damage on the sub thing.
well maybe not on entirely the frequency range
rarely you will find the low end sufficient with a one-mike kick setup without lots (5-8db i'd say) of eq in "modern" rock music


heart mic, well that really depends on the kit setup and what you're after
for me there are a bunch of things to consider

firstly, IMO, relatively "dark" ribbon and dynamics rule for that

also keep in mind that the more you will use it in the mix later, the more mono you will get

some drummers with only one rack tom have their ride hanging over the kick
if you're having trouble with too much ride in the heart mic, try a cardioid dynamic
UNDER the ride (between ride and kick)
and adjust the position according to what you're after
(more snare snap<--> more kick drum)

you have to be aware of what else mics you're gonna use in the mix and about how much of them to decide how to place the heart mike
(sorry...I know you know that:D but I often had a cool heart mike sound, a cool rest-of-the-microphones sound, but they wouldn't go together in the mix. and then you have to dispose on of those perfectly cool sounds, which is sad haha)

if you want it to be the main mike, you obviously want a balanced overall sound
but in your case you maybe want it to support the kick's close mics
I've found that esp the snare can get quite boxy if you don't watch out

usually this won't get you a ton of sub for the kick
but a lot of low and low-mid range that you're hearing when you're in the room with the drums
and that's what i consider "round" (not just boosting the sub sub subs)

so in my experience it will give you a more natural and less sterile sound than merely using close mikes

but it might not be what you're after if you say there's a wall of guitars
in that case the condenser in front of the kick will probably give you that "round"
and something inside pointed at the beater will give you the attack


all that is talking at large, maybe you could post a sample of a song so we can get an idea of what kind of sound/music we're talking about

IanWalker wrote:I need to play w the LDC in front thing more.

Advice on the heart mic?

I had one drummer recently who's playing is great - nice and balanced. Tuned beautifully, too. But in the mix, his kick sounds puny. If I mix it up enough to get it to cut through the excessive wall of guitars (dont' get me started on that), its just cardboard. I've got it somewhat acceptable, but I feel like a more rounded tone would fit better.

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