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  • Best Bass Drum Mic?

    Hey Everyone,

    I'm new here, but I have been spending some time doing thread searches on this topic before and have read much of what has been said in the past. It appears that many of you prefer the Shure Beta 52 for this purpose, but then there are a few that like the AKG D112, EV 868, and other assorted bass drum mics. What I haven't seen much of in previous threads though is talk about the new Audix D6.

    A little info about my situation. I'm a drummer with a Pearl Masters series maple drumkit. I know how to tune it very well and take pride in the fact that I have an exceptional acoustic drum sound. However, it seems that more often than not, whenever I gig with it, I'm always the last guy to get mic'd up with whatever crap the engineer has left over in his pile of unused mics ! Seriously, I didn't spend $5000+ on my drumset, just to have it sound like crap through the PA system at these gigs. Its almost like I'm being treated like a 2nd class musician! So, I've decided to be a little bit pro-active on my next gig and start bringing my own bass drum and snare drum mics. I've already just bought a nearly new SM57 for my snare. I'm just looking for tips on bass drum mics.

    Occasionally, I'll get a gig with a really good sound tech who has lots of mics and will put a Shure Beta 52 in my bass drum. I don't know if he is just a good tech, or its just an excellent mic, but he usually gets awesome results. So I already know that the Beta 52 is a good choice. I also understand the AKG D112 is considered an industry standard by many people, but I've not got much experience with it. I just read a review in Modern Drummer about the new Audix D6, and the reviewer talked about this mic like it was the best thing to ever be put near a bass drum. Is that true? Is it that much better than the Beta 52? I want to know, because it likely would cost me about $50 more and I don't have my own PA to try it through. I do like the fact that the review said it requires minimal EQ or fuss to get a great bass drum sound.

    So, please tell me... should I go with the D6 or the Beta 52? Or something else completely?

    Thanks in advance for all your help!

  • #2
    I read VERY few "negative" reviews about gear in magazines. Something about the reviewer pissing off the manufacture who advertises in the mag or something....

    There are things to consider. There are two types of kick drum mics (basically), those with and without "emphasis". Those with "emphasis" would be the likes of the D-112 and the Audix D series mics. By emphasis, I mean that the mic has a "built in" eq curve, via the design. The Beta 52 is more of less a "flat" or non-emphasis mic. It's aim is to be more "flat" in it's response. Other mics that fit this catagory are the EV RE-20, RE-27 n/d (my personal favorite kick drum mic), and from what I could tell with my limited use of it, the AT Pro series mics.

    I don't like the Audix D series mics at all. ANY of them. I find their sound to be "hard". Not very open in the bottom. The D-4, when placed well in a kick drum sounded barely adequate for that purpose. I found that when placed to get a good bottom I needed to apply a LOT of high eq to get any definition. When placed for better definition, the bottom was effected severely, and wasn't easily made up for with eq. It was one of the most overall weak kick drum mics I have ever used. The sound company I currently work for stayed with D-112's because the D-4 just didn't cut it. I realise that the D-5 and 6's are supposed to be improvements, but I dont' buy that crap!!! The D-4 got "great reviews", and needed "little to no eq" too, yet it needed new models for improvement? I just don't buy crap like that. They do the same thing with their OM series mics. EV does the same crap with the -57 series mics. I find the "new and improved" versions to have annoyances too in both cases.

    D-112's sound good when they sound good, but sound aweful when they sound aweful. To me, they are not "versatile". They either work with a particular kick tuning or they don't. I dont' care too much for pre-emphasis in kick mics anyway, so to me, they don't cut it either, but I would rather use a D-112 over a D-4 any day of the week.

    The AT Pro series stuff is a little bloated in the low end, and it is hard to get rid of that bloated low end, although lick most AT mics, they have a very clean top end. For the small price point, the Pro series is a decent buy.

    My experiences with the Beta-52 are sort of weird. Like the AT Pro series, they tend to have a sort of bloated low end, but I find that it bloats a little differently, and I like it a bit better than the AT Pro series. The difference mainly is the top end. I cannot for the life of me get adequate "click" on a kick drum from a Beta-52. Now, for some musical styles, this is no problem whatsoever! But for modern hard rock, metal, etc... not getting that click to come out sucks hard! Just just wind up with a big ol' "boom" in the sound with no click. For more traditional rock sounds, it is just the ticket.

    The EV RE 20 and 27 n/d are very good kick drum mics. A very natural sounding bottom end that can easily be enhanced, and a top end that sound great when additive eq is applied at the console. The 27 n/d handles high SPL better, and outputs a hotter signal, and is the kick mic I use most of the time. The kick just seems to have a more focused sound, with a tighter bottom than most any other kick mic I have ever used.

    There is no easy choice here. But I have found the RE 27 n/d to be a consistent performer for bass drum applications. It is far out of the price range though of the other mics you have listed. I would probably consider the "familiarity factor" here, and go with a D-112. You will find more soundmen comfortable seeing one than the D-6.

    Opinions are going to vary here.

    Ed

    Comment


    • #3
      >>>>don't know if it's the 'best' , but I've been using a Sennheiser E602.

      Requires very little EQ'ing......a bit more articulate and punchy to these ears than the Shure ( which I've gotten good results from also )

      PJR
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.5CentMary.com" target="_blank"> 5 CentMary</a></div>

      Comment


      • #4
        I've had good luck using the CAD E100 as a bass drum mic... hell, it does a lot of things quite well actually....

        I started using one after a friend of mine that worked for the same sound company where I was working told me he swore by them, and used two of them to mic the double kicks for his brothers band(NILE)..... he is also the SR engineer for NILE....when they tour....

        the E100 can be had used for around $150...... it's a steal.....
        <div class="signaturecontainer">Columbia SC, USA<br />
        bluesman at large/musician for hire<br />
        current passport-no travel restrictions</div>

        Comment


        • #5
          get an electro-voice RE20! they rule.
          <div class="signaturecontainer">www.seven-shades.co.uk<br />
          <br />
          Stay alert. Goats are deceitful and can hide just about anywhere.</div>

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          • #6
            I use the Audix D4 for small stages and small gigs as they pick up less rumble and feedback than other mics I've tried. For larger stages and venues (300 plus), I'll use the D-112. You really can't go wrong with the D-112...

            Comment


            • #7
              The D112 is my LEAST favorite. I'll take a 57 over a D112 any day. Just WAY to colored and flubby bottom end... overemphesized "roundness" that does not do well on a large articulate system. Maybe it sounds "awsome" on a less than top notch system, but I haven't seen that to be the case either.

              That said, I like the Audio Technica ATM-25, RE-20, 421, B-52, B98 etc. I have even had decent results with a Sennheiser E609! All of these have a much tighter, punchier sound.

              Comment


              • #8
                As a drummer and a guy who works in sound reinforcement, I can tell you that as long you tune your drums well, in this case the kick, you really do not need alot of EQ (maybe a few db cut in the low mids) to get a good sound. The problem, as I see it, is with drummers that have a terrible acoustic sound and expect everything to be corrected by the soundman. I'm not sure of your level of experience but you may know that your drums will sound different from venue to venue. It really doesn't matter how your drums sound in your basement or studio. When you get to a gig, try to tune your drums, do your best to remove funky overtones and keep the resonance at a minimum without sacrificing the sound. This will allow the soundman to project the acoustic sound of your instrument more acurately and with minimal EQ...

                As for having your own mics and carrying them from gig to gig, it's really a toss up. Most reasonably respectable sound companies or individual sound contractors should have a decent set of drum mics. If not, they really have no business running sound for the genre of music you play. If need be, get yourself a decent bass drum mic and stick in your stickbag in the event you need it. As for snare mics, 99.99999% of the sound guys use SM57 (guitar amps, vocals, brass instruments, just about everything) and you should have no problems having one provided to you by the sound contractor.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sonusman
                  I read VERY few "negative" reviews about gear in magazines. Something about the reviewer pissing off the manufacture who advertises in the mag or something....

                  There are things to consider. There are two types of kick drum mics (basically), those with and without "emphasis". Those with "emphasis" would be the likes of the D-112 and the Audix D series mics. By emphasis, I mean that the mic has a "built in" eq curve, via the design. The Beta 52 is more of less a "flat" or non-emphasis mic. It's aim is to be more "flat" in it's response. Other mics that fit this catagory are the EV RE-20, RE-27 n/d (my personal favorite kick drum mic), and from what I could tell with my limited use of it, the AT Pro series mics.

                  I don't like the Audix D series mics at all. ANY of them. I find their sound to be "hard". Not very open in the bottom. The D-4, when placed well in a kick drum sounded barely adequate for that purpose. I found that when placed to get a good bottom I needed to apply a LOT of high eq to get any definition. When placed for better definition, the bottom was effected severely, and wasn't easily made up for with eq. It was one of the most overall weak kick drum mics I have ever used. The sound company I currently work for stayed with D-112's because the D-4 just didn't cut it. I realise that the D-5 and 6's are supposed to be improvements, but I dont' buy that crap!!! The D-4 got "great reviews", and needed "little to no eq" too, yet it needed new models for improvement? I just don't buy crap like that. They do the same thing with their OM series mics. EV does the same crap with the -57 series mics. I find the "new and improved" versions to have annoyances too in both cases.

                  D-112's sound good when they sound good, but sound aweful when they sound aweful. To me, they are not "versatile". They either work with a particular kick tuning or they don't. I dont' care too much for pre-emphasis in kick mics anyway, so to me, they don't cut it either, but I would rather use a D-112 over a D-4 any day of the week.

                  The AT Pro series stuff is a little bloated in the low end, and it is hard to get rid of that bloated low end, although lick most AT mics, they have a very clean top end. For the small price point, the Pro series is a decent buy.

                  My experiences with the Beta-52 are sort of weird. Like the AT Pro series, they tend to have a sort of bloated low end, but I find that it bloats a little differently, and I like it a bit better than the AT Pro series. The difference mainly is the top end. I cannot for the life of me get adequate "click" on a kick drum from a Beta-52. Now, for some musical styles, this is no problem whatsoever! But for modern hard rock, metal, etc... not getting that click to come out sucks hard! Just just wind up with a big ol' "boom" in the sound with no click. For more traditional rock sounds, it is just the ticket.

                  The EV RE 20 and 27 n/d are very good kick drum mics. A very natural sounding bottom end that can easily be enhanced, and a top end that sound great when additive eq is applied at the console. The 27 n/d handles high SPL better, and outputs a hotter signal, and is the kick mic I use most of the time. The kick just seems to have a more focused sound, with a tighter bottom than most any other kick mic I have ever used.

                  There is no easy choice here. But I have found the RE 27 n/d to be a consistent performer for bass drum applications. It is far out of the price range though of the other mics you have listed. I would probably consider the "familiarity factor" here, and go with a D-112. You will find more soundmen comfortable seeing one than the D-6.

                  Opinions are going to vary here.

                  Ed


                  Wow, that's allot of info! Thanks for your thoughts on the subject.

                  Ed, its pretty easy to tell that you're one of those soundtechs who knows his craft very well. If I'm lucky, I might get the opportunity to work with a tech of your calibre maybe twice a year. The rest of the time, I work with techs who unfortunately don't know too much about what they're doing and need all the help they can get. I guess that's why this whole concept of "empahasis" in drum mics appeals to me.... perhaps it will make the tech's job a little bit easier?

                  I've heard it more than once that the Audix D4 is really a rather lousy kick mic. It might do in a pinch, but realistically I don't think that Audix ever really intended it to be a kick mic. I'm guessing that's why they introduced the D6. While I appreciate your opinion on Audix, I'm not going to write off the D6 just yet. Once of the principle differences of the D6 over other pre-emphasized mics is that apparently the centre frequency of the low-end "hump" is actually around 75 Hz, whereas several others like the D112 are centred well above 100 Hz.

                  Is the Beta 52 really that hard to work with? I have heard my kick drum from the audience perspective after being mic'd up and as I said, I've been very happy with the results, including the "click" in the upper mids (4 or 5 KHz?). May I ask, do you recall what kind of bass drums the drummer had that you tried to put a Beta 52 on?

                  I'll look into the EV mics a little more, although here in Canada, I think EV is a bit more expensive than other brands.


                  Thanks for the responses so far, guys! KEEP THEM COMING!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've used the Beta52 on many Pearl kicks from low to high end and they all had plenty of low and plenty of click.

                    I always try this mic on kick drums first. Every once in a while I find the D112 a bit better but this is rare.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Drumtech
                      As a drummer and a guy who works in sound reinforcement, I can tell you that as long you tune your drums well, in this case the kick, you really do not need alot of EQ (maybe a few db cut in the low mids) to get a good sound. The problem, as I see it, is with drummers that have a terrible acoustic sound and expect everything to be corrected by the soundman. I'm not sure of your level of experience but you may know that your drums will sound different from venue to venue. It really doesn't matter how your drums sound in your basement or studio. When you get to a gig, try to tune your drums, do your best to remove funky overtones and keep the resonance at a minimum without sacrificing the sound. This will allow the soundman to project the acoustic sound of your instrument more acurately and with minimal EQ...


                      Thanks for your reply. Believe me, I tune my drums literally every time they get moved! I've been playing for 16 years and I'm extremely careful to ensure that my drums are always sounding their best. Perhaps describing my bass drum might help you guys help me choose a mic.

                      My bass drum is a 16"x22" (length x diameter) and is tuned extremely low, with tension on the heads just enough to get the wrinkles out. The front head is the stock black Pearl logo head which happens to be Remo Powerstroke 3. I've got a 5" hole cut at the 4 o'clock position and a Holtz-style chrome ring on it. The batter head is an Evans EQ2 (two-ply, with vents and a muffle ring much like the Remo PS3) and also a small towel rolled up and duct-taped to the head where it meets the shell inside the drum (a Simon Phillips muffling technique). The result is a deep, punchy tone with minimal ring that I get compliments on all the time.

                      As you suggested, I do occasionally get gigs where the sound contractor has decent drum mics (Beta 52, 57's, etc). On these gigs I'm more than content to let the sound techs use their mics and I'd leave mine in my gig bag. But its those other gigs where they try to put old, beat-up SM58s on my bass and snare drum that really get me riled up!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have never heard of anyone using a D-4 in the kick - i have them inside (may system) of all of my toms and they sound great.

                        I also have the new D6 inside of my kick and im happy with it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'll take a Beta 52 or Audio Technica ATM-25, whichever my hand hits first when I reach in the case.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">Jared</div>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by steamyz
                            I have never heard of anyone using a D-4 in the kick - i have them inside (may system) of all of my toms and they sound great.

                            I also have the new D6 inside of my kick and im happy with it.


                            steamyz,

                            Please tell me that you bought the D6 because you tried other mics and liked it the best, and not because you already had D4's or because Travis Barker (Blink 182) uses them! Seriously, how/why did you choose the D6? What else have you tried, and what were the differences that you could tell? What kind of drums do you have, and how is your bass drum tuned?

                            Sorry for all the questions, but you're the first D6 owner to respond!

                            Thanks

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Best Bass Drum Mic = Shure Beta 91
                              <div class="signaturecontainer">Anything Glenn Beck says from now on is officially COOL, whether I think its genius or stupid, agree or disagree…..its all gravy baby.... because Glenn Beck, drives the people I hate the most on this forum, bat****************</div>

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