speaker as kick drum mic

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plurgid
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speaker as kick drum mic

Post by plurgid » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:51 am

So I was watching Sound City last night, and I noticed that all the Foo sessions had a speaker mounted in front of the kick drum, which presumably they were using as a kick drum mic.

I did this in my high school band with some awful sparkomatic car speakers (because we didn't have money for a kick drum mic and we did have a free soldering iron). You had to put buttloads of gain on it, and it was noisy as hell ... It kinda sounded awful actually.

However, I suspect there must be a "right" way to use this technique as the Foos are doing it and their drums sound awesome.

Does anyone know more about this?
Specific kind of speaker to use, or a specific mod you need to make, etc?

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Post by IanWalker » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:04 pm

If combined with another mic, it can give you some nice bass, but that's about it.

A LOT of people use them to trigger samples. Since its all bottom, and it takes a lot of energy to move it, nothing bleeds into it, so its a clean source for triggering.

Maybe the sounds on it are all triggered kick sounds? I don't think Grohl would be into that, though.

I would more likely guess there was a mic inside the drum, which was used for the attack, and the speaker was just a sub-kick.
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:26 pm

This ought to give you some ideas of the range of options for doing it "right."

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=diy+subkick

I just hooked up an XLR to a speaker. Many people say that experimenting with various woofers is the key. Some people like 12", some like 8". I wound up using an Altec Lansing 6" Subwoofer (for computer speakers).
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Post by The Scum » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:29 pm

I think you'll find that different people have varying success wih different speakers, and there are some "classics" that people have had success with.

Ns10 woofers and B15 cabs both come to mind in that caregory.

The key is probably experimentation. Diameter, impedance, excursion and cone material probably all play a role. A male XLR jack to alligator clip adaptor can help foster that experimentation.

And to concur with the others - yes, it's usually used in conjunction with another mic inside the drum.
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Post by themagicmanmdt » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:15 pm

XLR to the speaker works... but might need too much gain, and it'll be noisy.

if you loved it and wanted to do it right...

...then get a ribbon mic output transformer and hook it to the speaker. i'm sure there's a few tapeoppers that have the original chinese ones they've taken out of their modded mics... they'd work fine!

more gain / balanced line / better impedance matching / etc
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Post by Drone » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:24 am

How about those 8 ohm : 1K transformers radioshack sell for $3, do they work here?
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Post by digitaldrummer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:04 am

themagicmanmdt wrote:XLR to the speaker works... but might need too much gain, and it'll be noisy.
my experience is quite the opposite. Most speakers I have tried actually require a pad before the preamp because the signal is so HOT.

I've found that every speaker is different. My favs tend to be in the 6-8" diameter with a foam surround. Pins 2 and 3 to the speaker terminals. pin 1 connects to the shield of the cable only at the XLR side (just cut it off at the other end - it doesn't need to go anywhere)'.

If you build an inline pad, you can also change the impedance, so that the preamp sees more than 8 ohms (to make it more like a 200 ohm mic...) at the same time taming the input signal a bit.

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Post by Lost on side » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:22 am

I think you should just use a microphone. I have had people do the speaker technique, and I really didn't see the point. It seemed like engineers being clever, and over thinking the situation.
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Re: speaker as kick drum mic

Post by dmp » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:39 am

my experience is quite the opposite. Most speakers I have tried actually require a pad before the preamp because the signal is so HOT.
Agreed, this has been my experience. If you aren't using a good DI and a good preamp, you might be losing the frequency content you want (low) and having to use a lot of gain to get what's left.
I also think this is usually done in combination with another mic. It's called a sub kick because it adds low frequency content. It doesn't give a full range kick sound, in my experience.
I used a Homemade open back speaker cab with a Weber 15" California series speaker and got great results on a blues rock recording session. The main kick mic was a D12 and as the sub kick was mixed in it added a great low end weight to the kick.

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Post by mr. nick » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:21 pm

my proof of concept sub kick is a 10" speaker from an ampeg 8x10 cabinet. the output is almost at line level, so i usually just go into a dbx 160 or some other line input device for a little control on the gain and output.

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Re: speaker as kick drum mic

Post by vvv » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:35 pm

plurgid wrote: ... with some awful sparkomatic car speakers ....
I remember them from when Molly Hatchet was on the radio.

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Post by studilaroche » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:06 pm

I have an old NS10m woofer which I made an XLR pigtail for. I run that signal into a preamp; I find the output is quite hot. It gives me the bottom I'm looking for without additional EQ. Additionally, I use a dynamic mic on the bass drum for attack/transient information.

I just purchased a transformer to raise the impedance form 8 ohms to 200 ohms. I have not wired this in just yet, but hope to do so soon and test the difference.

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Post by Jeff White » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:27 am

studilaroche wrote:I have an old NS10m woofer which I made an XLR pigtail for. I run that signal into a preamp; I find the output is quite hot. It gives me the bottom I'm looking for without additional EQ. Additionally, I use a dynamic mic on the bass drum for attack/transient information.

I just purchased a transformer to raise the impedance form 8 ohms to 200 ohms. I have not wired this in just yet, but hope to do so soon and test the difference.

Ben
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Post by studilaroche » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:29 pm

I'm planning on having a talented drummer come in to the studio to give me some consistent performances to compare between the transformer and without. I'lll be glad to post some wav files of the two. It may be a few weeks befor eI get to all that, though:)
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Post by digitaldrummer » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:19 pm

I tracked something last night and used my subkick, so here's a few samples. You'll probably need good headphones or good monitors and the volume turned up a bit to really hear any difference -- it's subtle.

first a mix of drums only with the subkick:
http://sites.google.com/site/mkosacek/H ... ubkick.mp3

second the same mix with no subkick:
http://sites.google.com/site/mkosacek/H ... ubkick.mp3

Now the EQ'd subkick only, but it's turned up much louder than it was in the mix - just so you can hear what "useful" part of it I use:
http://sites.google.com/site/mkosacek/H ... ckonly.mp3
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