So was the DW Subwoofer a passing fancy?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Yes, the 23" was made for Neil Peart when Neil expressed to John he liked certain aspects of a 24" but also certain aspects of a 22" and found himself questioning what size he wanted to order. John made the 23" to see if he could give Neil the best aspects of both sizes in one drum, Neil tried it, and iked it enough to order one, and then DW tried to see if it would catch on.

But with some 90% of the worlds bass drums being 22", most people didn't see the point.

Much like Tama's attempt to market an 11" tom in the 80s, the demand for something different just wasn't there.

I think if we were still tucking our own calf heads on wooden hoops then drums could be any size ;)
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Any skeptics can poopoo subwoofers all you want, but they are the real deal!

Back around 1994 my teenage self stumbled on the subwoofer idea. I had a 1968 Slingerland 22x12" bass drum lying around (similar to the one in the pic), and on a whim decided to put it in front of my 22" Pearl Export bass drum, and wow, what a difference! I still remember exactly what it sounded like to this day.

vzb7bnJ.png


It sounded big and woofer-like, with an ambient decay that was so satisfying...in the ballpark of the 'When The Levee Breaks' bass drum sound (without the reverb). Not quite that good, but still pretty good considering I was in the attic over the garage playing a crappy 80s Export with an undampened Slingerland in front of it.

The best way I can describe it...with a woofer in front of a 22", you'll get the 'ambient woof' qualities of a 24 or even 26, without the sluggishness or loss in articulation.

They are far from practical though, they're expensive and take up more room. That's definitely why they didn't catch on, not because they didn't work.

Also, I'm not sure on the best way to mic the kick when you have the woofer in the way.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Any skeptics can poopoo subwoofers all you want, but they are the real deal!

Back around 1994 my teenage self stumbled on the subwoofer idea. I had a 1968 Slingerland 22x12" bass drum lying around (similar to the one in the pic), and on a whim decided to put it in front of my 22" Pearl Export bass drum, and wow, what a difference! I still remember exactly what it sounded like to this day.

vzb7bnJ.png


It sounded big and woofer-like, with an ambient decay that was so satisfying...in the ballpark of the 'When The Levee Breaks' bass drum sound (without the reverb). Not quite that good, but still pretty good considering I was in the attic over the garage playing a crappy 80s Export with an undampened Slingerland in front of it.

The best way I can describe it...with a woofer in front of a 22", you'll get the 'ambient woof' qualities of a 24 or even 26, without the sluggishness or loss in articulation.

They are far from practical though, they're expensive and take up more room. That's definitely why they didn't catch on, not because they didn't work.

Also, I'm not sure on the best way to mic the kick when you have the woofer in the way.

I believe they sound good, but it’s the practical application and the price for most drummers. Especially DW prices. I’d love the sound ad would use it if I played bigger stages (you should see the tiny corner both Bermuda and I have to squeeze into at a restaurant) and for some people, hauling an additional bass drum is more hassle especially if you don’t get paid more than $100 a gig!
 
Nigel Olsson with Elton John is still touring with a double bass set of these sub woofers. Other than a high profile player with a budget and means to transport them, l can't see the practicality of it all.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Nigel Olsson with Elton John is still touring with a double bass set of these sub woofers. Other than a high profile player with a budget and means to transport them, l can't see the practicality of it all.

I agree 100%. I'm not carrying an extra kick around just so it can sound just a little bit fuller.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Nigel Olsson with Elton John is still touring with a double bass set of these sub woofers. Other than a high profile player with a budget and means to transport them, l can't see the practicality of it all.


I'm wondering if Nigel even uses any double bass work for Elton's songs.

I don't see any need. Maybe it's for looks.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
I used to have one on my DW kit. If I tried hard enough I could tell myself I heard a slight difference in sound. It did have a built in microphone too, which is nice. For me, it was completely unnecessary. I say for the most part, a passing fancy.
 

spelman

Senior Member
I think Neil Peart requested the 23 from DW just to see how it would sound. DW I assume will make for, anyone who is a star, whatever they want.

"Everybody knows there is no such thing as a 23-inch bass drum.

But at that moment, all at once a 23-inch bass drum did exist - in John Good's imagination.

He set out to make it real, but the challenge of that enterprise was sizeable - starting with the simple fact that if there had never been a 23-inch bass drum, it follows that there had never been a 23-inch bass drum head.

Not one to be discouraged by that minor detail, John contacted the various drum-head manufacturers. Right away Remo stepped up to the plate, and offered to make a few prototypes, by hand. John went on to design a shell that would express his latest theories growing out of the Vertical Low Timbre philosophy - a further refinement that would eventually become the "X" series.


Once I got my hands - or my foot - on that 23-inch bass drum, I was sold. As John had suspected, it retains all the response and dynamics of the 22-inch, but adds the punch and bottom-end of a 24-inch. For me, the bass drum is the heart of the drumset, and this heart, like a good drummer, is both strong and sensitive."

Fixed it for you, you quoted a dw ad written by Neil Peart.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Fixed it for you, you quoted a dw ad written by Neil Peart.

23 may be the perfect in-between : 24 may be too big, 22 is common. I'd rather have a 23x16 than a 22x20. Anyway it does exist, you're not obliged to buy it.
Some loves 15" floors, why not a 23" bass ?
 
23 may be the perfect in-between : 24 may be too big, 22 is common. I'd rather have a 23x16 than a 22x20. Anyway it does exist, you're not obliged to buy it.
Some loves 15" floors, why not a 23" bass ?

Exactly! Why are drummers bitching about having options. You don't have to use it. I've never seen a 7", 9" or 11" tom, but up from there it's 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and then it goes back to even sizes. The option to have a 23" drum is cool and you know its going to sound cool, its a big ol' bass drum! I use a 15" floor tom that is awesome. The bashing of the 23" size is really more of a DW bashing thing. Imagine bashing on 13" and 15" snares or 13" and 15" hats. Only if DW made them would that be accepted :]
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Exactly! Why are drummers bitching about having options. You don't have to use it. I've never seen a 7", 9" or 11" tom, but up from there it's 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and then it goes back to even sizes. The option to have a 23" drum is cool and you know its going to sound cool, its a big ol' bass drum! I use a 15" floor tom that is awesome. The bashing of the 23" size is really more of a DW bashing thing. Imagine bashing on 13" and 15" snares or 13" and 15" hats. Only if DW made them would that be accepted :]

My intent was not to bash DW. I like DW, I've owned four Collector's kits over the years. And I've played old kits that had 11" toms (a pre-war-era Leedy Broadway) and 9" toms too. 15" is pretty common because marching snare before 1982 were standard 15x12 sizes. I mainly bring up the 23" size because it's the old argument of what heads are commonly available to you? Even in Los Angeles, nobody really stocks an array of 23" heads that you could try, it's almost always a special-order item. You might as well be playing a Trixon "flat-tire" bass drum. The idea behind the 23" is sound, but sometimes I think it's like tweezing - you're one-up from 22" and one-down from 24" - how much difference do you notice if your sound is in the hands of the sound guy, or you're un-mic'ed trying to keep up with a bunch of amplifiers on a tiny stage?

I've owned and played bass drums from 16" to 28" and there's always the idea of "not having enough" or "having too much". I love a 26", and thought the 28" didn't give you much more for the size you were carrying. Because of this, I discovered that I don't get that much more out of a 24" that I do with a 22", so I've been sticking to 22" lately because it works. Because of this, personally, I don't think I'd get more out of the 23" that I'm not already getting from a 22".
 

Trip McNealy

Gold Member
Without actually contacting John Good himself or DW, I am inclined to speculate that the era in which those DW woofer drums came about was pre-SSC configurations and the advent and availability of what is now VLX and VLX+ in the DW Collector's series shell configurations plus the additional tone woods offered (e.g., Mahogany, Cherry, etc.). Back then I think it was a majority 7-, 8-, or 10-ply straight shells and maybe VLT and X shells too. So the extra low end was brought about using those woofer shells.

I also tend to think logistics aside, any pro artists (or consumers!) still using the woofer drums have become accustomed to their sound and/or feel.
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
Without actually contacting John Good himself or DW, I am inclined to speculate that the era in which those DW woofer drums came about was pre-SSC configurations and the advent and availability of what is now VLX and VLX+ in the DW Collector's series shell configurations plus the additional tone woods offered (e.g., Mahogany, Cherry, etc.). Back then I think it was a majority 7-, 8-, or 10-ply straight shells and maybe VLT and X shells too. So the extra low end was brought about using those woofer shells.

This answer makes the most sense to me. I tried this concept during that period and I don't remember being bowled over by it. The 8x22 that I made to test this idea did better as a remote bass (perhaps something about a shell that shallow really makes it go BOOM.)

A sidebar about odd-duck drumheads: I advocate being your own drumshop and stocking a few extra heads if you're going to have 9/11/17 or 23 inch drums. I have some 11" shells and hoops and I'm not about to order just one set of heads per drum. Remo probably wouldn't put up with it anyway.
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
There have been a few oddities over the years, so I guess you could chalk these up as being another one. I just couldn't see many people using them in the real world. Now.. if you have a small army of people that set your kit up for you as you tour the city, sure.. go for it. The subwoofer version just seems like a scaled back version of the 1980's original over the top kit.

Mr. Alex Van Halen's kit!
 

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