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Sub for Kick

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bassnat, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. bassnat


    Jan 31, 2011
    I have noticed more subs taking on the characteristics of a bass amp, i.e., powered 2x10's or 2x12's, similar size as many bass amps. The worship band I play in uses a Nemesis 2x10 amp to mike the bass drum because it sounds so focused, doing away with the powered 15 sub. Does anyone else have any thoughts about this?
  2. I have done that in the past used a small combo amp to give a more define sound to the kick.
  3. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    In my band, we often don't run the instruments into the PA. Sometimes we'll run just the kick into the PA. Instead of mic'ing the kick, I put a piezo pickup on it, and we trigger a kick drum sample we like in an Alesis D-4 drum module. It gives us a consistent sound that works well for us.

    Whether or not we run the kick in the PA, we have a small subwoofer, like you might have in a car, with a small 150 watt head, and run the kick in there. We like having the kick easily audible on stage with us. As a bass player, it helps me as well.

    Years ago, starting in the early 70's, I did a similar thing, using a weird old Ludwig guitar synth box that had a drum sound that could be triggered. We ran that off the kick and ran it through the second channel of my bass amp. I got very used to bass and kick coming from my amp. I did this through the 80's and 90's although the tone generator for the kick changed as technology did.

    So, yes...a bass combo can work very well on a kick.
  4. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    I mix kick in with my bass through my amp on stage when mixing from stage. Gotta be careful of the speaker's excursion though, kick spikes a lot more than bass.
  5. RS66LB


    Dec 29, 2012
    yeah -that actually works well through 10's since they have definition and low end, we've been doing that for years with great kick drum articulation
  6. Hi.

    Be careful.

    A bass amp/cab/rig is not a subwoofer, and while it can be used as a such if a broad definition of a sub is used, the shortcomings of such a band-aid use can become expensive.

    Without a limiter and/or compressor, a single hevy-footed pedal stroke can damage the speakers.

  7. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    Most rack limiters and compressors don't offer a short enough attack to protect speakers effectively against kick spikes, gotta simply not ask too much of a bass cab. The limiters built into amps are configured for the job, so it's crucial to match your subs with the right amps.
  8. 3506string


    Nov 18, 2004
    Lawton, OK
    IMO the problem is the way people run subwoofers. I rarely go to venue running subs that isn't murdering the kick drum sound. I see so many sound techs dim all highs and mids and crank the bass and sub aux. It makes for a nice hot fart kick sound. I'd say most people run subs 4-7db hotter than they need to be. The subs should support the mains not overpower them.

    I would never choose a bass cab over a proper subwoofer to reinforce a kick drum,but if the kick is only being run through the sub, or extremely hot in the sub, it will likely sound better through a bass cabinet.

    However if it is working, then no problem, but I would keep an eye on it. Raw kick drum transients can stress a system quite a bit.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yep, that's the thing; a bass amp is gonna be full-range, and so will in some ways sound better for a kick by itself (assuming you don't blow it) than a powered sub by itself.

    the powered sub (which is always internally crossed over to just produce lows) needs a top box to go with it to get the full spectrum.
  10. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    When speaking of subs, definition is actually either a lack of resonance, or lots of distortion. Usually the latter.