Kick Drum Tips

Kick Drum Tips

Mic Choice:
To get a solid kick sound, you wish to use a large diaphragm mic. An demonstration of a good kick drum mic are the AKG D112, the Sennheiser MD 421 and an Electro-Voice RE20. There are many mic’s made for recording the kick drum and each mic will have its own spice and will accommodate different frequencies over others. For instance, if you want that “tick” sound of the kick drum petal beater hitting the head, you would chose a mic that favors the lower mid range and the upper frequencies as well.

Mic Position:
For a Tight Drum: (There are jillion way to mic a kick drum)
This does not use 2 heads. Get rid of the outward head and pace the mic inside the kick drum and angle it at the batter head. The range from the batter head depends on the sound you are going for. The closer you are to the batter head, the more impact and less resonance sound you get form that mic. Including a blanket or a foam pad inside the bottom of the kick drum will help take the edge off unwanted reflections. A good starting point for mic placement is about 5 inches inside the kick drum, slightly tilted towards the floor tom.

For a Large & Live Kick Drum:
To get large and live kick drum sounds, you should use 2 kick drum heads.The sound will sound more resonant with rich overtones. you may want to put a strip of cloth across both heads. This helps soften overtones without damaging the boominess of the kick drum. Try placing your mic about 2 feet in front of the kick drum and have it point to the center of the head. You’ll need to turn the pad setting on for the mic, or you may overload your signal.
Many drummers have a the front head with a hole that they cut out or bought. If this is the case, you can slant the mic slightly inside the hole or aimed into the hole. Note, that having a hole in the outer head can cause an annoying ring to it. To fix this unpleasant issue, you can lay a foam pad or blanket against a section of the front head to remove the galling ring without effecting the total sound.

Signal Processing Tips:
You can compress the kick drum during the recording phase. But you do not have to. You can do all this after its recorded into your program of choice. When I alter the signal during recording, I will on average use a compressor, EQ, and a noise gate. I’ll compress with a threshold set to around -10dB below the highest peak with a moderate to fast attack and moderate release with a ratio set to 2:1. Then I’ll boost at 100Hz to taste and then I’ll run it through a noise gate, with the gate set up to close after a few milliseconds after the kick sound. This will make the kick drum very defined and very moving.

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