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Author Topic: Kick Drum in Sub  (Read 4754 times)

Isaac South

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2018, 01:44:29 pm »

I would start with troubleshooting 101 and follow the signal all the way from the mic to the sub. Turn off any processing along the way. Shut off the top FOH cabinets and isolate the sub. This will allow you to see the path the kick takes through the mixer and then out to your speakers.

I don't think I can do that.  When I mute my LR, it mutes everything:  mains and sub.
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Isaac South

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2018, 01:46:06 pm »

While the CSX212 sub is pretty good, it is not a gut rumbler. It's -3db range is between 48hz up to 120hz. The modern kick drum sound is heavy in the 50-60hz area and this sub is likely going to have some excursion protection going on in that realm. While 50hz should be a pretty good smack to the chest, a single sub is not going to do it. The sub is rated for 132db continuous, which is really good, but I doubt the sub will allow you to actually get much more than that in reality.

Not knowing what type of compression you have going on with the kick and if you are utilizing a subs on aux type system setup, I can only suggest a couple options. First is that if you want to really be able to tune how much thump is coming from the kick, a subs on aux is the only way to go. Next is compression tricks.

For a punchy kick sound you need to use a low ratio compressor setting. 2:1 to 2.5:1 is a pretty good point. You want to adjust the attack so that you use as little as is needed to have the kicks batter sound be apparent. This can be as little as 10ms to as long as 50ms. Shorter attack times reduce the amount of batter you hear in the PA. Next is release times. You want to try and set the release so it is fully released for every beat. So song tempo will effect this setting. 100-150ms is usually a good starting point. The threshold setting is where the magic comes. The amount of compression is going to be based on the attack. Shorter attack times will have more compression at any given threshold setting. Longer attack times will have less compression at any given threshold setting. You are shooting for between 6-10db of compression. So if at 10db of compression you loose too much attack, you will need to lengthen your attack time. This will reduce overall compression, so you will have to lower teh threshold again to get 6-10db of compression. Be sure the compressor is releasing all the way between basic hits. A double kick will obviously not release all the way. If you need less attach from the kick shorten the attack time. As you do this you should notice the amount of compression goes up, so adjust the threshold as needed. Lastly is the knee setting. This one is not as esoteric. Ideally you want a trigger setting, so a low knee setting of 1-2 is a good starting point. However the drummers ability to hit the same every time will effect this. A larger knee setting of 4-5 ( or whatever is the softest knee setting for your compressor ) will get more of every beat into the threshold and can even start to pull in the attack with it. So the ideal knee setting is one that gets the threshold met with every kick without the attack being affected. This usually means a hard to medium knee setting in order to make it more of a trigger. It should be that every time there is a kick, you have 6-10db of compression and the attack is always there.

I also like to put the compressor before the channel EQ. Then I adjust EQ for flavor of sound. If you need more low end, put it in there either by EQing it in or by pushing more to the subs send. I try and keep the mids out of the way and will make a large cut around 250hz or wherever it seems to have the most resonance. Too much mids in a kick is not helpful for a mix. As for attack, I try and allow or emphasize the click sound. Usually between 2khz and 4khz. Some times you get too much of that and you have to cut it instead. In either case you want to have an apparent click somewhere in that region. The compressors job is to simply make the kick punch. This is done by allowing just enough initial attack through and then clamping down on the low end  so it is tighter and compressed enough that when turned up, it won't send cones out the front of the subs. This is why 6-10db is ideal. It turns the kick more into a sample. It doesn't really make the kick have any extra bottom end, but controls is so that you can manipulate it to be there. This is a great way to make the kick apparent when you don't have a lot of sub energy available.

Great info.  I will try some of this.  I was told by the install company, that this sub was "amazing" and he actually recommended it over a dual 18.  I tried to get the 18, but he kept telling me this 212 is more than enough.  And for bass, so far it is.  We love it.  But I'm beginning to think the 18" or possibly even more subs, as you said, would be better.  Thanks again for your input.
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David Winners

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2018, 01:56:48 pm »

I don't think I can do that.  When I mute my LR, it mutes everything:  mains and sub.

I still recommend following the signal all the way from the mic, through the board, to the speakers.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2018, 02:04:54 pm »

I'm not familiar with the Martin sub you have but am skeptical that most 2x12 subs would keep up in a 4800 sf room (LABhorn and a couple others are the exceptions).

It sounds like the system is "full range" where the subs and mains are driven from console L/R.

However.... I have a couple of questions before offering up my guesses...

Has it sounded like this from day one?  If not, what changed?  If it sounded like this from the beginning why haven't you called the installer back?  Does the kick drum require significantly more input channel gain than you'd expect?

The 3 possibilities as I see them in my Digital Crystal Ball - if a new problem, the microphone or microphone cable or subsnake channel has become "one legged".  The level need would be the first clue, followed by noticing the lack of LF....  If this is a 'day one' problem the other possibilities are an erroneous setting in the system DSP, whether in the amps or as a stand-alone unit or a polarity reverse (not "phase" as mentioned above) in the wiring between power amp and subs.  If there is only 1 sub, the issue is either DSP or one-legged signal.

I'd start by substituting an SM 57 or 58 for the Beta 52 to see if the level or sound changed.  If not, put the Beta 52 back and replace the mic cable with a known-good cable.  If nothing changes, use a different subsnake line or home-run (using known-good mic cables) to the snake head/digital input box or console input, as appropriate.  If nothing changes try another input on the console (or digital input box).  Presuming nothing is different you need to call the installer back and have them verify the DSP and wiring.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 02:08:46 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Stephen Kirby

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 02:10:33 pm »

I bought into the kick drum must be compressed to have punch for awhile.  When recording at home I was always running it though a DBX160X.  Then one day I was throwing together a quickie track and didn't patch in the comp.  Suddenly there was the sound I wanted.  Attack and depth.
Live, if someone has a really damped dead kick it won't hurt it too much to put a bit of low ratio (<2:1) compression on it.  But if they're got a really well tuned and set up kick and know how to play it, I'll turn down the gain a bit to have headroom and let the dynamics drive the music.
I still put compression as a sort of peak limiting on bass players who slap and pop, or singers with poor mic technique.  But the basic kick drum sound I use typically relies on a gate to control boom in the room more than compression.
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Isaac South

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2018, 02:18:10 pm »

I'm not familiar with the Martin sub you have but am skeptical that most 2x12 subs would keep up in a 4800 sf room (LABhorn and a couple others are the exceptions).

It sounds like the system is "full range" where the subs and mains are driven from console L/R.

However.... I have a couple of questions before offering up my guesses...

Has it sounded like this from day one?  If not, what changed?  If it sounded like this from the beginning why haven't you called the installer back?  Does the kick drum require significantly more input channel gain than you'd expect?

The 3 possibilities as I see them in my Digital Crystal Ball - if a new problem, the microphone or microphone cable or subsnake channel has become "one legged".  The level need would be the first clue, followed by noticing the lack of LF....  If this is a 'day one' problem the other possibilities are an erroneous setting in the system DSP, whether in the amps or as a stand-alone unit or a polarity reverse (not "phase" as mentioned above) in the wiring between power amp and subs.  If there is only 1 sub, the issue is either DSP or one-legged signal.

I'd start by substituting an SM 57 or 58 for the Beta 52 to see if the level or sound changed.  If not, put the Beta 52 back and replace the mic cable with a known-good cable.  If nothing changes, use a different subsnake line or home-run (using known-good mic cables) to the snake head/digital input box or console input, as appropriate.  If nothing changes try another input on the console (or digital input box).  Presuming nothing is different you need to call the installer back and have them verify the DSP and wiring.

It's possible that it was from day one.  We honestly haven't individually checked the drum mic.  We just adjusted levels at FOH to set it in the mix.

But last night, we hired a sound engineer to come in and run sound for us during a service.  He got there early and we went through a full sound-check.  As he went through the drums, he noticed that the kick just didn't sound right.  We moved the mic around and it sounded better, but he wasn't getting the sound that it should have.

He kept asking me over and over if the sub was on an aux.  I didn't' have the answer for him.

I don't think it requires substantially more gain that I'd imagine.

I am going to check signal flow, and try a different cable tonight.

We only have one sub.  The dual 212.  So you're saying the polarity is not the issue in this case? 
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2018, 02:38:11 pm »

It's possible that it was from day one.  We honestly haven't individually checked the drum mic.  We just adjusted levels at FOH to set it in the mix.

But last night, we hired a sound engineer to come in and run sound for us during a service.  He got there early and we went through a full sound-check.  As he went through the drums, he noticed that the kick just didn't sound right.  We moved the mic around and it sounded better, but he wasn't getting the sound that it should have.

He kept asking me over and over if the sub was on an aux.  I didn't' have the answer for him.

I don't think it requires substantially more gain that I'd imagine.

I am going to check signal flow, and try a different cable tonight.

We only have one sub.  The dual 212.  So you're saying the polarity is not the issue in this case?

If you had 2 subs and one of them was out of polarity with the other sub, rather than getting summation (or power alley if they were positioned L/R) you'd get cancellation.  This most often happens when the subs are passive and one of the speaker cables is wired backwards on one end.  Since you only have 1 sub, this can't happen.

If the send to the subs were out of polarity WRT to the mains, the cancellation would be in the acoustic crossover; that puts such cancellation around 80Hz or so.  If you're not hearing or feeling 40-50Hz when standing near the sub, the problem is not polarity between tops and sub.

Does the kick drum sound wimpy (highly technical term, I know...) over the headphones, especially if compared to the bass guitar?  If so, my thoughts about one-legged signal line is closer to confirmation but if it sounds like a kick drum over the 'phones, the problem is most likely after the console outputs.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Isaac South

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2018, 02:57:10 pm »

If you had 2 subs and one of them was out of polarity with the other sub, rather than getting summation (or power alley if they were positioned L/R) you'd get cancellation.  This most often happens when the subs are passive and one of the speaker cables is wired backwards on one end.  Since you only have 1 sub, this can't happen.

If the send to the subs were out of polarity WRT to the mains, the cancellation would be in the acoustic crossover; that puts such cancellation around 80Hz or so.  If you're not hearing or feeling 40-50Hz when standing near the sub, the problem is not polarity between tops and sub.

Does the kick drum sound wimpy (highly technical term, I know...) over the headphones, especially if compared to the bass guitar?  If so, my thoughts about one-legged signal line is closer to confirmation but if it sounds like a kick drum over the 'phones, the problem is most likely after the console outputs.

Ok that makes sense about the polarity.  Thanks for clearing that up.

Headphones at FOH.  Great idea. I will give that a try.  Is that something I can do, while the band is playing?  Another words, if I plug in headphones during a performance tonight, it won't stop the sound coming from the mains, correct? 
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2018, 04:11:48 pm »

Ok that makes sense about the polarity.  Thanks for clearing that up.

Headphones at FOH.  Great idea. I will give that a try.  Is that something I can do, while the band is playing?  Another words, if I plug in headphones during a performance tonight, it won't stop the sound coming from the mains, correct?

The quick answer is NO.  Using the PFL/input solo function should not interrupt program audio to the L/R outputs.  Listen to the kick, it should kind of sound like the EQ looks (i.e. if you have a big bump at 50Hz, you should hear more 50Hz in the phones).  Release the PFL/solo from the kick and listen to the bass guitar.  If both input "sound right" then you have a system issue.  If the kick still sounds thin and weak we're back to mic/cables etc.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Stu McDoniel

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Re: Kick Drum in Sub
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2018, 04:13:58 pm »

I'm not sure.  I'll talk into it tonight and see what happens.

I will also double check the inputs.  So you're saying the floor tom (example) is plugged into the stage box kick channel.  And visa versa?

At FOH, I'm seeing signal on the kick, when the drummer is kicking it.
Just try another mic on the kick drum.  Also, as posted make sure you do not have low cut enabled on that channel.
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