Let's Talk Kick Drum Mic's & Mixing

River19

Senior Member
I have had the home studio up and running for a couple months now and cut probably 40-60 songs over that time with overall positive reaction on sound etc.

One thing that I have gotten really good comments on was how low and "punchy" my kick tone is. The bulk of that is due to the awesomeness of a thin walnut drum as I just have a typical 52A partially in the port on the reso like "mic a kick 101". My mixing ability climbed a really steep initial curve to the point where seasoned musicians are complimenting me on the rough mixes I provide. That being said, that punchy really low frequency kick comes through brilliantly on an audio system capable of solid bass performance. I also have been EQing with an increase slightly up the frequency stream to enhance the beater tone which adds enough definition in small format speakers (ie. phones and laptops) not capable of reproducing the really low end.

My question, or discussion point is what would be the best approach to get enhanced beater attack/definition...... I don't want to change the overall tuning of the kick as it is a killer sound for the blues/blues rock I typically have been recording but I also notice more complicated parts on the kick lack definition and get muddy (ie. think Bonham triplets even at 100-110bpm).

I am thinking of the technique of a second mic in the drum close to the batter head so I can then blend the two. If I go with this approach, any mic recommendations in the $200-350 range that people have had good success with?

Thoughts?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
If you use a felt beater, that's the first thing I'd change.

With something that's more slappier.

I like the Audix D6 for bass drums, but it's not a flat response. It's a little scooped to my ear. I like it. A mic on the batter side might do the trick. Along with a slappy beater. If I had my way, I'd have 3 mics on the bass drum...an inside mic, and outside reso mic, AND an outside batter mic. Blend them to taste. If I could only use 2 I'd probably use the batter and the inside mic.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
If you're getting the low-end you need from a large-diaphragm microphone then (just throwing this out there), maybe you could mic the batter with a small-diaphragm condenser or even an SM57? I'd be pointing it roughly towards the beater about a quarter of the way along the head at 3 or 9 O'Clock. Then EQ off the low end, EQ off the high end and have roughly 800Hz-5KHz in the mix and try some compression.

A little left field bit it would definitely up the amount of attack you're getting.

Obviously switch the phase of the batter mic if you need to.
 

River19

Senior Member
If you use a felt beater, that's the first thing I'd change.

With something that's more slappier.

I like the Audix D6 for bass drums, but it's not a flat response. It's a little scooped to my ear. I like it. A mic on the batter side might do the trick. Along with a slappy beater. If I had my way, I'd have 3 mics on the bass drum...an inside mic, and outside reso mic, AND an outside batter mic. Blend them to taste. If I could only use 2 I'd probably use the batter and the inside mic.

I can easily spin my DW beater to try something more slappy......for some reason I was/am hesitant to use anything other than felt (40yrs of felt is a hard habit to break lol).

D6.....classic, solid mic for the price. Good option
 

River19

Senior Member
If you're getting the low-end you need from a large-diaphragm microphone then (just throwing this out there), maybe you could mic the batter with a small-diaphragm condenser or even an SM57? I'd be pointing it roughly towards the beater about a quarter of the way along the head at 3 or 9 O'Clock. Then EQ off the low end, EQ off the high end and have roughly 800Hz-5KHz in the mix and try some compression.

A little left field bit it would definitely up the amount of attack you're getting.

Obviously switch the phase of the batter mic if you need to.

Cool creative idea. Could be worth a try........ appreciate the suggestion.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
If you have a D112 in a box somewhere there's an old trick you can do where you mic it 'backwards', i.e. turn the capsule 180 degrees away from the resonant head. Sounds weird but it gets you more 'slap' on the sound and does actually work in my experience!
 

River19

Senior Member
How about trying the Shure Beta 91 flat mic sitting inside the drum? Beyerdynamics makes a nice flat mic too for about the same price (I forget the model number).

Another option. That being said, any additional mic will be a net new add to the setup, the good news is I still have an open channel on my interface before "needing" a mixer.

I appreciate the suggestions. I have a couple funkier songs I want to re-cut with a little more definition so I will probably go with a beater change coupled with an internal mic.

I will check out the Beta 91 as well
 

T_Kauff

Member
You should be able to EQ the click into your sound rather easily or, you could duplicate the kick track and high pass that track at say 1k then sweep the high end of this track till you find what your looking for then, blend it into your regular kick track.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
Thoughts?
If the high frequency “click” sound is actually present when you play the drum, then a proper EQ curve can bring it out. If it’s not present, you will have to construct it by triggering a sample when the kick signal is played, or get a different beater (wood, rubber, plastic) and work on getting the sound you want from the drum before you try any mixing trickery.

I’ve tried all three Tama beater heads: felt, rubber & wood. I’ve also tried the Vic Firth felt and wood beaters, plus an off-brand felt beater (it looked interesting in the store). Felt beaters definitely remove the attack.

In the realm of mixing, try sidechaining the kick signal to the bass guitar signal such that the bass guitar signal is reduced when the kick signal is played. This really helps clear the mud. In the few albums I’ve mixed, I use the side chain technique to “duck” the bass, rhythm guitar and keyboard signals. It’s very effective and helps bring presence of the kick (and snare and toms) into the mix.

FWIW, the plugins I’ve used are iZotope Neutron and FabFilter EQ & Compressor. They differ in how the side-chain is applied to the signals, but both are effective.
 
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River19

Senior Member
Cool stuff. I did swap the beater side to the hard plastic on the DW just to see if that "helped" and I ended up cutting 5 tracks on Saturday when I had time and I did get a modest improvement in attack. True to scientific method I didn't change anything else. I think the beater change along with placing an internal mic (possibly a Beta 91) could give me the entire range of sounds I want at my disposal.

The "click" is present and I can get it out with the EQ without much of a problem.....just wanted to see if I can get it a little easier.

This weekend's tunes had some more involved kick parts that came across really well even through small format speakers. I'm not displeased. Always looking for more.

EDIT: I will look into sidechaining just to expand mixing capability, thanks.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
My question, or discussion point is what would be the best approach to get enhanced beater attack/definition...... I don't want to change the overall tuning of the kick as it is a killer sound for the blues/blues rock I typically have been recording but I also notice more complicated parts on the kick lack definition and get muddy (ie. think Bonham triplets even at 100-110bpm).

This:

And this:

And then this:
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
along with placing an internal mic (possibly a Beta 91)
I used the dual-element Audio-Technica AE2500 for several years. At the time, its capabilities were way beyond my skill level (and recording gear), but the condenser mic clearly picked up the high frequencies very well.

ae2500_overview_top.png


 

River19

Senior Member
This:

And this:

And then this:

So that is the second vote for the D6....... Between the D6 and a Beta 91, as an interior mic you would go with the D6? The Beta 52 is doing great at the kick port.......
 
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