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miking a bass drum

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Stingray, May 28, 2004.

  1. Stingray


    May 12, 2000
    what is the best way to mike a bass drum with no hole in the front head...FYI this is for a live situation not a studio situation
  2. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    It ain't easy. I tend to use 2 mics. A standard kick drum mic as close as possible to the front skin (remembering that it will move quite a bit when the drummer is playing). It seems to still pick up the WHHOOOMF but the kick sound loses any definition. So I also put a SM58 or similar vocal mic on the drummer side of the kick drum, pointing at the point where the beater hits the skin. Then it's a matter of balancing the 2 sounds to taste.

    Don't get me wrong, this doesn't sound fantastic. I prefer to think of it as getting the best out of a bad situation. It'll get you by.
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    a 57 can do wonderous things!
  4. Stingray


    May 12, 2000
    are you saying usinga sm57 to mike the whole bass drummor just in place of the 58 that petebass mentioned
  5. i say, no hole in drum+knife=hole in drum ;)
  6. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I should clarify that my suggestion is what I use after I've already pleaded with the drummer to let me cut a hole. 99 times out of 100, they will offer to shove your knife where the sun don't shine if I take it anywhere near ther kit.... and fair enough. No-one like sound guys who tamper with their sound.

    I ask, if they say no, so I use 2 mics..........
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I've mixed some very good drummers who prefer no hole in the head. They usually mount their own mike inside, with an XLR mounted in the shell. This sounds really, really good, IMO. If you mike the back (beater) side, remember to polarity invert that mike...
  8. It depends.

    Jazz? Just put a kick drum mic a couple of inches from the head, or do what Petebass said.

    Rock or anything that needs lots of reinforcement? Internal mic or cut a hole. Trying to mic the outer skin is an exercise in futility if you need to get any real amount of level out of it. You'll end up fighting low end feedback (and losing) and you'll get tons of bleed from other stuff on stage. It isn't an option.

    Even if the drummer doesn't have his own internal mic setup, most guys will take the front head off and let you put a mic in there, drop the XLR through a tom-mount or something. I know a couple of guys who couldn't afford their own mic, but cut one connector off an xlr, dropped the bare end through one of those little round vents and soldered the connector back on and basically went around with the cable as part of the drum.

    I've encountered a few guys who didn't want to do either but the "well, do you want it to be heard?" response tends to soften them, especially if you spend a few minutes bamboozling them with physics....:D

    The internal mic with no hole in the front head does sound really good, too!
  9. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    For a live situation I would agree it's best to have a hole cut in the head, unless it's in a quiet jazz setting where volume won't be much of an issue.
  10. Studio and Live

    For the bass, keep both heads of your drum on, and either line the drum with foam, about 2" thick, or use the traditional "blanket" method. If you don't already have a hole cut into the front head, make one. The hole should be about 5-6" for a normal 24" bass drum. Suspending the mike on a floor stand, put it into the drum, approximately 6" from the back of the batter head. (remember, Proximity Effect!!) My pick for miking this drum is the AKG D112, Sennheiser 421, Audix D6....

    Practical Drum Kit Miking: Part 1

    Drum Miking for the studio

    The Basics of Drum Kit Miking

  11. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    well, I have had to skimp very much in a live situation, and used 2 57's for a kit. The band threw wayyyyy too much stuff at me. A violin, cello, 2 drum sets, 2 gutiars, bass, 3 singers, and I barely had enough mics. But the room was quite reflective for the drums, and it worked out well. But quite a few bands have recorded most of a drum kit with just sm57's or beta 57s (whichever the preference may be). They can get very good sound. The reason being is they can handle quite large SPL's. They just sound good to me.
  12. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    This may sound odd, but I've done it before in the studio. You can take a rug or carpet and roll it up the same diameter of the bass drum and stick it to the front of the head. Then place a mic inside of it similarly to if it were in the drum head. Sounds remarkably close to the same thing. You'll need to duct tape the rug though.
  13. Falk


    Jan 18, 2004
    I have seen some people do that. That would also help isolate the kick drum sound from the rest of the kit.

    As for mics, I've tried an Audio-Technica AE2500 for kick drums. Me like! But I don't see anybody else use it. Most people favour the Beta 52.