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Author Topic: Best Kick Drum Mic?  (Read 151182 times)

Adam Tews

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #230 on: March 26, 2020, 05:36:50 pm »

I signed up just so I could chime in on this one!  :-D

If your drummer is good -- which means he bought good drums, keeps the heads fresh, and knows how to tune them -- your job will be easy.  I've been fortunate to work often with just such a drummer.  I get brilliant sound quality from an RE20.  I typically scoop out 350 Hz, put a narrow boost (bell, not shelf) somewhere between 48-60 Hz depending on the tuning of the drum, and then a bit of a boost around 2-5k for attack (depending on the sound I'm going for).

Playing around with a Sennheiser e945, I found that bumping the front of it with my hand produced a thunderous output from the subs...  I'm really curious to try it on bass drum now! 

If you want that kick in the chest from your kick drum, you don't want subsonic lows.  Center your boost between 50-60 Hz and keep it narrow.  Frequencies below that muddy everything up.  Let the tonal bass instruments go that low.  Perhaps a floor tom for effect if you/the performer want that.  I think sub-kick type devices are silly.  I've never needed one to get a punchy bass drum.  If I'm doing a recording session where I want some subsonics, I'll put an AT4047 in front of the reso head and high-cut it wherever it sounds good and doesn't pick up too much bleed.

I know one live sound engineer who mics a kick with an SM57 and makes it sound good on the PA.  The RE20 is a heavy mic and can be kind of a PITA to work with...  But it sounds so darn good!  It's not plug-and-play, though, so if you're looking for that you'll need one of the aforementioned dedicated kick mics (D6, B52, D112, Senn 902/602).
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Ed Taylor

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #231 on: June 08, 2020, 04:51:03 pm »

same here...figured this is as good a thread as any to get started with...and mainly cause you were thoughtful in your freq range comments. There's a number of kick mics in my mic box..from Audix to the Senn e945 you mention. and honestly it can come down to whether the drummer on my stage is a soft foot patter or a serious kicker, what kind of tone he wants..rock, jazz padded, etc. Honestly when doing small gigs (most of my work is semi-pro stuff..so think hotel ball room, wedding band etc.)  I wish I had more cabs on stage that I consider "bass bins"  rather than subs...but you learn to work with what's at hand.  I guess I keep mic options in the box more because other people want them...a drummer might say he "needs" me to mic him with a shure beta52...ok..fine...one of my audio guys is all about that mic too...me...I might grab any number of possibilities and then position, eq it and roll.
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Mac Kerr

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« Reply #232 on: June 08, 2020, 07:54:46 pm »

same here...figured this is as good a thread as any to get started with...k..fine...one of my audio guys is all about that mic too...me...I might grab any number of possibilities and then position, eq it and roll.

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Buddy Logan

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #233 on: June 29, 2020, 01:49:19 am »

Ok, for sake of content because maybe some real newbie like myself is going to come on here looking for this.. I am going to for example, start a constructive argument and say...

I use a lot of different kick drum mics, a lot of the pro mics out there sound.. not bad.... My go to mic for a 1 mic application is an Audix D6, I like it's response for a carved out mid range kick drum sound. Lost of sub, punch and click. Good for a modern kick sound. Another good mic is the AKG D112. A different response characteristic but still a good sounding mic to me, it's got fuller lower mid range. I use that for Jazz type acts. A kick mic I stay away from is the Shure Beta52, I never liked it. It's dynamics seem too flabby or something.  All three of those mics I have had for 5 plus years and they haven't missed a beat. So as for durability, there ain't much to break, and the Shure is probably best used as a hammer.

An AKG D112 was the only live mic I used for a long time. Then I tried out a D6, inside the drum, mounted to the shell. To me, the D6 is a lot more full-bodied. I was always messing with the EQ on the AKG to get the sound I wanted, where the D6 made that easy, first time around. In the studio, I perefer the EV RE-20. But it's all subjective. There is no "best". Here is a good rundown of several mics, though, including sound bytes: https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/kick-drum-mic-shootout-with-sound-samples/ 
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Ed Taylor

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #234 on: July 20, 2020, 02:42:47 pm »

An AKG D112 was the only live mic I used for a long time. Then I tried out a D6, inside the drum, mounted to the shell. To me, the D6 is a lot more full-bodied. I was always messing with the EQ on the AKG to get the sound I wanted, where the D6 made that easy, first time around. In the studio, I perefer the EV RE-20. But it's all subjective. There is no "best". Here is a good rundown of several mics, though, including sound bytes: https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/kick-drum-mic-shootout-with-sound-samples/

my audio work is strictly semi-pro. But for over 15 years I also owned a pro level backline biz..so my drum kits would be on stages with top shelf pro level audio companies.  Many of those production guys saw me regularly on stages and they would have favorite drum kits that they were used to me showing up with  (be it DW, Yamaha, Tama, etc) and some of them even knew when I had a 20 vs a 22inch kick on a certain kit..they paid that close attention and they would just come up during line check and smile and say "I always love that kick drum"   now the same kit/brand/model but with a different kick drum size, or head , and i'd watch them struggle to get dialed in...so again, yeah, even at my semi-pro level, I keep a variety of mics cause I know I'm going to be faced with different drum kits, sizes, heads, and players, and of course venues.  and in fairness I can only do so much with a semi-pro PA rig..but when you put the rig in perspective, yeah, you can find a good combination and make things sound nice...200 guests in a motel ballroom, is not the same level as 10,000 at a street festival..and I don't want it to be.. That's an investment level I never intended to go to. I loved pro level backline, but would have never wanted the investment of national stage production audio..however I do thoroughly enjoy the private party market...and source is everything..so yeah good mics in the chain.
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Ken Udell

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #235 on: March 30, 2021, 12:16:46 am »

I am surprised that people are listing such cheap mics as "The Best" kick drum mic. I mean, the D112 is quick and dirty and all but... the best?!


Personally, If I had to choose just one I'd have to go with the Lewitt DTP640-REX. It has two phase-aligned mic elements: a dynamic and a condenser.

"The dynamic side ensures accurate attack reproduction of the kick drum, while the condenser element captures the drum's low end. Each element has a dedicated output."

So it takes up two channels and also costs over $300, but then quality usually comes at a higher expense.

(Lewitt's cheaper mic, the DTP340-REX, is just a dynamic and not nearly as good but priced appropriately)

« Last Edit: March 30, 2021, 12:18:54 am by Ken Udell »
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Alex Cheng

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #236 on: March 30, 2021, 04:38:39 pm »

I am surprised that people are listing such cheap mics as "The Best" kick drum mic. I mean, the D112 is quick and dirty and all but... the best?!


"Best" does not necessarily imply "best sound" - often, durability, reliability, practicality, and rider-friendliness are also at play. The universal "best" mic would fulfill all of them at once, but I'm not sure that mic exists...yet :)


Personally, if I've only got one mic to work with and no time to prepare, it's an Audix D6: rugged, consistent, predictable, and sounds good. I've heard drum/mic combos I've liked better, but the D6 is a safe bet in most situations. It'll make a good kick sound good and a crappy kick sound...workable, usually. Quick it may be, but dirty it is not.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #237 on: March 30, 2021, 07:42:16 pm »



Personally, if I've only got one mic to work with and no time to prepare, it's an Audix D6: rugged, consistent, predictable, and sounds good. I've heard drum/mic combos I've liked better, but the D6 is a safe bet in most situations. It'll make a good kick sound good and a crappy kick sound...workable, usually. Quick it may be, but dirty it is not.

I agree 100%. I too can probably get better results from other kk drum mics - the B52 for example - given time to tweak both EQ, drum tuning etc. But for fast and almost guaranteed good results - I choose the D6 too.
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #238 on: April 01, 2021, 02:43:36 am »

I usually put a competent neutral LDC at the port and go to the desk to tweak the sound. The pre-EQ'd mics are often one-trick ponies in my experience - kinda like having a sampling machine with only one sample.

Since I work(ed) with a large range of musical styles, I need a mic that'll make sure a jazz kick sounds like jazz, and a metal kick sounds like metal. The pre-contoured mics rarely achieve that in my experience, so I prefer to roll my own EQ as/when I think it's needed.

Chris
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #239 on: April 01, 2021, 08:58:40 pm »

I usually put a competent neutral LDC at the port and go to the desk to tweak the sound. The pre-EQ'd mics are often one-trick ponies in my experience - kinda like having a sampling machine with only one sample.

Since I work(ed) with a large range of musical styles, I need a mic that'll make sure a jazz kick sounds like jazz, and a metal kick sounds like metal. The pre-contoured mics rarely achieve that in my experience, so I prefer to roll my own EQ as/when I think it's needed.

Chris

I should have added.....
Sadly in my experience, there are not enough drummers who can tune a kick drum on the 'weekend Warrior' circuit.  With a decent sounding drum to start with, it is pretty quick and straightforward to get any mic dialed in but when dealing with an inferior tone along with being given very little time to tweak to help matters, sometimes short cuts can be very handy and I'd suppose I'd call the D6 a short cut.
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A young child says to his mother, "Mom, when I grow up I'm going to be a musician." She replies, "Well honey, you know you can't do both."

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Re: Best Kick Drum Mic?
« Reply #239 on: April 01, 2021, 08:58:40 pm »


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