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Bass amp bleeding into kick drum mic!!!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Chad Michael, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. (Moderators - please move as appropriate)

    Seems like we just get the stage mix nice and tidy, and the kick drum sounding (& feeling) like heaven thru FOH. Then, ‘WHOOOOM ‘ …. Drummer hits the kick (opens the gate processor) while simultaneously I play a note that causes the kick drum to resonate, gate stays open, FOH goes ‘WHOOOOOOM’ (angry). We look at each other like :confused:

    Trying to find a solution where we can have full sounding bass guitar onstage (fuller than average, I’d imagine); fat, gated kick thru the FOH (definitely heavier than most IMO); without the ‘WHOOOOOM’ syndrome. I might experiment with dropping some low end from my stage rig (usually plenty produced and felt from FOH.), or seeing if the kick drum can be tuned differently or dampened differently. If the average club stage were larger, my stage bass rig could be positioned further from the kick drum. Or, maybe if my bass cab were elevated (there goes low end from stage rig :() Hmmmm. Trying to find that balance so that drummer and I can remain ‘locked in’ while enjoying delicious low end....

    Any advice or insight would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.
  2. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I've seen drummers do some pretty creative things to dampen their bass drum heads, and I've seen plenty of specially designed damping toys, too. That certainly sounds like a better solution than giving up any of that delicious kick/bass :D

    Also, I suppose you've tried messing with a more aggressive gate setting?
  3. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    That sounds like the drummer's responsibility. Extra dampening, like a pillow or two, will get rid of the ring. Is his kick mic inside the drum? The only time I've had trouble like you describe is when the drummer had a big empty kick w/ the mic in front of the head. Empty kick drums are good when there is no PA support, and very bad when there is.
  4. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    I've run into this problem before and there is no magic wand you can wave over it and make it stop. Not that I've found. Case in point: Small stage; '74 SVT sitting a few inches from the kick; old, Gibson hollow body bass with flatwounds and ZERO definition. The bass tone was nothing but mud, there was nothing above about 200Hz coming out of that bass. This is not an exaggeration. I was mixing the FOH and having the same problem as you, bimplizkit. I had a noise gate, compressor and 2/3 octave EQ inserted into the kick channel.

    Well, I tried everything, including: eq'ing the crap out of everything, compressing the crap out of everything, sticking towels in the kick, put the kick mic inside the drum, took the mic out and put it on a shorty boom stand so that it was just sticking in the hole, even put a piece of foam under the boom stand. Despite my best efforts, the bleed problem persisted. The bass player was an *******, and kept complaining about the boominess. I told him there was nothing I could do. He had that SVT cranked and the mud just flowed from it. Finally I convinced him to turn way down, and that was the only thing that helped.

    Next time I did the PA rental for them, he shows up with an Ampeg 1x15 combo amp. I breathed a sigh of relief. No boominess problems, and still no bass tone. Mud, mud, mud. I had him in the mix, however there was just no way I could get any punch in his bass tone. What can you do?

    Here is what can be done:
    1) There isn't enough gating in the world to fix it.
    2) Place the bass cab as far away from the kick as possible, and don't point it at the kick.
    3) Roll off the low end on your amp. This is just a compromise you may have to make.
    4) If you can convince your drummer to damp his kick heads that will help, but ultimately the responsibility for fixing it is mostly gonna be on your shoulders.

    Having been on the FOH side of the equation has given me much insight into what the FOH guy needs from me as a bassist. One of those things is on-stage bass tone that is not muddy.
  5. Thanx for the replies, I'll try some of your suggestions.

    I'm starting to notice that the resonance is more likely to occur on corner stages, not so much on wall-center stages. Also, it appears that the resonance might be more from the PA's bass output-->into the kick drum mic, rather than my bass amp....:meh:

    All I know for certain, is.... when everything else (PA-supported) is off, and I play my bass thru my stage rig only, the sound is great ... balanced, punchy and articulate, no mud whatsoever
  6. Yep, I run my bass wireless 99% of the time (freedom to roam and hear the 'room), and the mixing board is right beside me onstage. Guess who gets to listen to the room and try to work the magic of PA (while playing bass and singing backup);)

    I agree....but my on-stage bass tone isn't muddy, that's why this is tough to figure out. After playing bass & listening to other bassists for 18 years, I've heard a fair share of mud. I don't make any mud with my bass, my technique, or with my stage tone.:confused:
  7. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    True enough, the FOH speakers could be adding to or creating the problem. Also, if your drummer likes the bass pretty hot in his monitor, that can cause the bleed problem too. Always try to keep the FOH boxes off the stage, if possible. Sometimes though you have no other choice.

    As far as the mud I was only referring to the guy in the case I related, as I know that to be a cause of the problem. :) :cool:
  8. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Try not to gate it so hard. Your mixing to the gate, so your missing all the frequencies that are creating the hum. When the bass hits it leaves the gate open for those bad frequencies. I would suggest even no gate on the kick, I never use gates live because of those problems. Once you or your sound guy gets used to not using gates, you can get some killer sounds and none of those problems.
  9. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    Well, when all drummers learn how to properly tune their drums, I will gladly relegate mine to the dust bin.
  10. Hell yeah! A couple of the guys I work with tune their drums so well that I never use gates on them. I can always hear the gate opening and closing, even with the real expensive ones.

    what kind of mic are you using and how are you mounting it? I did a show last weekend where the drummer had one of those LP claw knockoffs attached to the rim of the kick, pointed into the hole with a Beta 52 on it. I started in with the kick and couldn't get any low end out of it at all without huge amounts of feedback. The stage is hollow and very resonant and when I walked up on stage to check out the mic/stand situation, my feet touching the stage were enough to trigger ringing in house. The stand was transmitting resonance from the hollow stage to the mic. I took the mic off the stand and put it on a little destop stand and laid it in on the blanket the drummer was using for dampening, and Voila! No more resonance and everything was good. Maybe finding a way to isolate the mic from vibration would help....
  11. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Haha, I keep forgetting how lucky I am to have a really good drummer
  12. Thanks for all the replies, guys...

    I believe we were using the Audix D2 at the time. It was mounted with one of the little rimclamp/gooseneck mounts.
    I think we're on to something here. We noticed that one of our vocal mics was picking up the stage floor (footsteps, etc.) also. Another interesting discovery - when one of our guitarists picked up his acoustic, and played a D# (same note on the bass that I'm starting resonance with) guess what? WOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!

    He put his acoustic down and didn't use it at that venue because of the resonance...