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Pestie

How do I mic up a kick drum?

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Hello

Could you help me please? Our drummer wants to mic up his kick drum. What type of mic will he need to do this please? Can it be run through the PA?

thanks

Mike (Pestie)

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A kick drum microphone does exactly what it says on the tin, and yes you can put it into a channel in your PA mixer then adjust to taste from there.

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There are loads of dedicated kick mic's and yes it will go through your PA otherwise there doesn't seem much point in micing it.

This is a science and a headache. One thing I would say is experiment with placement before you go running to the eq on the desk, you can alter so much on the drum by by altering where you position the mic.

Good luck

Les

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Learning the placement and right EQ to use as well as drum tuning are essential. Especially as you're abound to pick up huge amounts of spill from the bass guitar if you're not careful.

I used a super cheapo mic from Studiospares. It's a sure D112 copy. Only £30 and good enough to learn with and experiment before splashing out hundreds and deciding it's not worth the effort.

https://www.studiospares.com/Microphones/Mics-Instrument/Studiospares-SD101-Drum-Percussion-Mic_448660.htm

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For the quickest way to tune a kick drum check out [url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga8Q12mKYxI"]this video[/url] (it works a treat)

Buy a Red5 Audio kick drum mic [url="http://www.red5audio.com/acatalog/Drum_Kit_Mics.html"](bottom of this page)[/url] - its very very good for the cash

Mic the drum by putting this mic right up to the hole in the resonant head, pointing as directly at the point where the beater strikes the batter head. You can experiment with the exact distance from the kick - the sound can change with a change

Your PA should handle it fine, provided you aren't daft and listen to the output, if it starts to fart out you are pushing too hard, I've run kicks through reasonable vocal PAs plenty of times and as long as you arent expecting great big PA style oomph and are sensible you'll be fine.

As for EQ, the enemy of most kick drum sounds in a big PA is the low mids (around 300-400Hz), but in a smaller vocal PA you arent going to get much low end so your best bet is to aim for something more 70s sounding (a lot more mids, and less bass), you're only trying to get a bit more out front with that kind of PA, not shake the foundations.

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You don't - you let the bass do it. See previous thread re muddy bass sound in live mix. You use the bass drum for standing the cymbals, toms, drink, everything else on, that's all.

Edited by bassace

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[quote name='bassace' timestamp='1417186519' post='2617967']
You don't - you let the bass do it. See previous thread re muddy bass sound in live mix. You use the bass drum for standing the cymbals, toms, drink, everything else on, that's all.
[/quote]
I can't argue with that, bass drums just invade my frequency space

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Thank you all very much. I am a complete novice but appear to have been given PA duties. this is all really good stuff and yes he does have a kick port.

Cheers

Mike :rolleyes:

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If you're playing gigs that require a mic'd bass drum, you'll need to mic the snare and, at the very least, use a single overhead for the toms and cymbal too. Otherwise, get your drummer to buy a louder bass drum or tune his current one a little higher so it cuts more.

Truckstop

Edited by Truckstop

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Easy answer to Pestie's question is at small PA level, whilst there are plenty of dedicated kick drum mic's available, any mic will do the job - I used to use Sure SM 57's - on a low mic stand stuck into the hole in the drum skin.Cut the low frequencies on the mixer and aim for a click rather than a thud, that way it doesn't interfere with our part of the audio spectrum and provides sound reinforcement which is what I'm assuming you require.That approach has always worked for me in the pub/club environment.

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As far as positioning is concerned, where you put the mic in relation to the drum is a bit like how far from the bridge you pluck the strings on your bass. It will effect the sound but it depends on what sound your looking for - there's no right or wrong. The massive kick drum sound on Led Zep's When The Levee Breaks was apparently achieved by putting the mic at the other end of a long corridor (not practical live)!
Saying that, this would be the best starting point and then take it from there if you need to:

[quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1417183597' post='2617904']
Mic the drum by putting this mic right up to the hole in the resonant head, pointing as directly at the point where the beater strikes the batter head.
[/quote]

Edited by Painy

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Thanks fellas, this is all really great stuff. I wondered if I could just use an ordinary mic on a short stand so that is good to know.

cheers

Mike

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i guess so but a proper kick drum mic would obviously provide the optimum response - and shove it right in the hole (kickport that is - some people put it just outside the hoile but a friend who is a recording engineer of some considerable experience prefers putting the mic head into the kick port)

or alternatively keep him out of the PA and just send him to the gym to do some squats

hope this helps :)

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Depends on so many things. The further away from the source the mic is, the less bass it will pick up. Also the more spill it will pick up.

If the bass drum isn't tuned and damped properly you'll pick up loads of resonance by sticking the mic into the drum.

Ideally the kick drum needs to be properly tuned first. Doesn't matter where you put the mic if the drum sounds rubbish the amplified sound will be rubbish.

Quite often once the kick drum is tuned properly it won't actually need micing up.

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[quote name='bassace' timestamp='1417186519' post='2617967']
You don't - you let the bass do it. See previous thread re muddy bass sound in live mix. You use the bass drum for standing the cymbals, toms, drink, everything else on, that's all.
[/quote]

^ said no sound engineer ever.

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