Getting the Best Kick Sound

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, Apr 22, 2014.


  1. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    In my experience, whether you're using a full three- or four-way system or just some speakers on sticks, the kick drum can be one of the most difficult instruments to dial in for the average four or five piece band. While good tuning goes a long way, the kick seems to be very susceptible to stage and riser design. Getting a good balance between fatness and attack can also be a challenge, and there's sometimes a debate on whether a problem with the kick would be better dealt with through EQing or with changing a gate setting.

    What are some of the experiences you've had with getting a good kick sound?
     
  2. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Triggers
    Get your best recorded sound in a studio, and trigger it live.
    Or pick from the millions of kick samples available.
     
    Stumbo and pacojas like this.
  3. using something like a shure beta 91, put a towel or blanket inside the drum put the mic inside...works a treat every time!
     

  4. Spot on
     
  5. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    These work great! image.jpg
     
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Best kick I've heard live was with a trigger. Actually the entire acoustic drum set had triggers and a mini-mixer set up by the drummer with one feed going to the main mixer.

    Adding an fdeck high-pass filter to the effects loop for the kick can quell low frequency artifacts that sound more like a rumble than anything else and cause lots of low-end muddiness.
     
  7. Savage_Dreams

    Savage_Dreams

    Jan 8, 2007
    best live sound...... of a pre recorded instrument? lol

    i hate triggers. i miss real live music
     
    Flad likes this.
  8. kdogg

    kdogg

    Nov 13, 2005
    Ohio
    First, good microphone. The beta 91 is a good choice. I agree with the blanket and Mic inside the kick method. Second, a good sub in the foh. Without a dedicated sub, I could never quite achieve that nice punchy thump. With just those two elements, I was able to get a good kick sound in almost any situation we found ourselves in.

    Once you have those in hand, a nice compressor/gate can do wonders as well.
     
  9. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Seriously.

    People were getting great kick sounds live for decades before triggers came along. And triggers don't respond to playing dynamics the way real drums do.

    So OP, start with a good kick mic. D112, Beta 52, there are lots of good choices out there. I like the Audix D6 the best, because it's shape makes it easy to place almost anywhere, as opposed to the egg on a stick design of the AKG or Shure. And placement is the biggest factor in what the kick will sound like coming out of the PA. Every drum is different, so you should do some experimenting at rehearsal to find the general sweet spot. I usually like it just inside the hole in the front head and pointed right at the beater. Just varying how far inside the drum it is will give you a wide range of tones. If it's too clicky point it away from the beater. Don't be afraid to do something that doesn't look right, I've had it pointed at the bottom of the drum more than once. It just depends on what you're going for.

    Now on to the board. It's pretty common to cut some midrange to eliminate mud. Usually between 200-500 Hz. Just be sure and listen first, don't just cut because you're "supposed to". You may want to boost the lows, you may not. Don't try to make it sound like a dance track, contrary to current trends the kick shouldn't be the loudest thing in the mix.

    If you have a compressor available and know how to use it properly it can help tighten things up. A bit of gating is nice if it's a decent gate. Be careful not to cut it off too short, it doesn't sound natural. You just want to get rid of sympathetic ringing.


    Sent from my iPad using TalkBass
     
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  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    That's exactly what triggers/samples do!:thumbsup:
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    having enough PA for the gig usually does the trick ;)

    ...

    decently tuned kick

    good kick mic inside the drum, closer to the hole for more boom, closer to the beater for more snap

    low end boost, low-mid cut (sweep for the tubby, flabby, ringy stuff then chop it out), enough high end boost to define the attack

    after all that is sorted out, a gate is cool to control the sustain and keep the bass guitar out of the kick mic.
     
  12. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    No, triggers/samples play a prerecorded sound that is exactly the same every hit. Believe it or not, some drummers are able to play with dynamics, which is ruined by triggering. And it's not what the OP asked about.


    Sent from my iPad using TalkBass
     
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    ??? Don't see how the OP's question ruled out triggers. :confused:

    Unless the OP complains about "triggers", I suggest you refrain. It's Talkbass, yes?
     
  14. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Refrain from what? Stating my opinion? In my experience it's far more complicated and expensive to get a convincing sound from triggers than to just mic a properly tuned drum and apply some basic audio skills.


    Sent from my iPad using TalkBass
     
  15. somegeezer

    somegeezer

    Oct 1, 2009
    England
    What I've always seen the soundguy do at any gig is set up the kick first, and everything else is mixed around it.
    I'm not a soundguy myself, so I don't know if this is what is going on exactly. But I've never seen it done any other way.
     
  16. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    Well, I'm not anti-trigger, but I think the way I worded the OP was that I was talking about taking a miced signal from the kick. My drummer's not a big fan of triggers. Not a big deal, either way. Carry on. *lol*
     
  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    me too, and i hate it. songs on the radio don't have "lead kick drum", why should live bands?
     
  18. IMO a band should never be mixed around the kick....in fact at least in my X amount of years experience is that the kick is looked after first because usually its the first channel, and secondly the drum kit is usually the most time consuming to EQ correctly, and thirdly, the kick mic can be a giant pain in the ass to EQ and get sounding right.

    also in regards to everything being mixed around the kick, typically again the kick mic is usually a little louder as in a live setting hearing the kick w/bass guitar is usually how to bring out the feel of a song, and then everything else follows. personally i mix the drums get them sounding good, then use that as my FOH level then add everything from there. but its the starting point to level everything for how loud the rest of the mix is....

    now other sound guys may have different views, but saying everything else is mixed around the kick couldn't be further from the truth in regards to my style of mixing.
     
  19. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    Not when you know a drummer with many problems. Got one from said drummer with a hard case and stand for $80.00 back in 08. Still use it to this day. You can also make them for pretty cheap too.
     
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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