Yamaha pushes the envelope in acoustic drum design, while solving the dilemma of obtaining good live and recorded kick drum sounds with the introduction of the Subkick, making its debut at Summer NAMM 2003.
The Subkick is a sub-frequency (below 100Hz) capture device designed for use with kick drums and floor toms as an alternative or supplement to a traditional microphone. The Subkick utilizes the microphonic properties of a standard loudspeaker in combination with a drum shell and specialized mesh heads.
"I was looking for a way to capture the actual, uncolored sound of my kick drum, both on tape and live," explains Yamaha Drum Artist Russ Miller, who designed the Subkick through his extensive work in professional recording situations. "The Subkick is not a mic or a drum--it's both! A kick drum mic placed in a common position really doesn't capture all the frequencies. I had the idea of combining some of the characteristics of a drum, and using a speaker as an extremely large microphone diaphragm together. The Subkick was born."
The Subkick features a 10-in woofer (frequency response 20Hz -- 8kHz) which is shock mounted inside a 7-ply Maple shell and covered with 10-in. black mesh heads. The drum shell focuses sound waves in a strong, directional pattern through the speaker. The Mesh heads, although sonically invisible to those frequencies, add a small amount of sustain to the sound. In combination with the resonance of the drum shell, the speaker produces an incredible sub-frequency sound and without the phasing problems often associated with low end reproduction.
When used alone or in combination with a standard kick drum microphone, the Subkick will capture the full range of frequencies coming from the drum without EQ, compression, or any other signal processing. The Subkick also includes a standard XLR for easy connection, and does not require +48V Phantom power to operate.
"A diaphragm in a microphone is basically a small speaker," explains David Jewell, marketing manager, Yamaha Drums. "This moves when Sound Pressure Levels-- or SPL--pass through. The response of the mic to these sound waves is amplified, and that's how we hear instruments on tape or through a P.A. system. Standard loudspeakers have been used as microphone diaphragms before, but never in combination with the characteristics of a drum shell and mesh heads. That's what makes the Subkick the first of its kind."