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Kick drum microphones...


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Someone was asking me about what I use on kicks.. they asked via a PM, but I thought it might be of general interest, so I posted my reply on the Effects forum (where the person who asked normally hangs out), but just in case it is of interest to anyone here, here's the link to the thread.

 

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2561894

 

You can participate in that thread, or if you'd prefer, you can respond here...

 

So... what do you use on kicks? :)

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My RE-20 generally lives in the kick drum. I like it so much there that I've never really tried it much on anything else. I really ought to do so...

 

I have a Beta 52a that can work well if you take the time to get the positioning right. I like it better for live work, though. I also have an Audix D6 and I've been somewhat less than impressed with it. It's ok, but I was having to do a lot of work with it (eq, compression) to get the sound where I wanted. I stuck the RE-20 in the hole on the kick head and aimed it toward the batter and bam, there was the sound.

 

So these days my kick sound tends to be RE-20 into either an API 512c or a Chandler Germanium with the "thick" button in. The Chandler sounds great but it has such a ridiculously strong bottom end that I have to be really careful with that one - it's easy to get a LOT of sub-100Hz frequencies in there with that one. Sometimes that's just what I want; sometimes it isn't.

 

Here's a song with the kick recorded via RE-20 into the Chandler Germanium:

Midnight

Please note that it's a direct-download link; I don't have a page set up to share any other way at the moment. If you're uncomfortable downloading a file directly via a link in that manner, please don't click it. I just thought I'd warn you.

 

It sounds better with a better drummer, but that gives you an idea of it, anyway. And please excuse the singing. It's a demo meant to get the idea across to the band; it isn't really intended for distribution. But since we're talking about mics I thought I'd share.

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Lately, I've been using a Heil PR40 for the kick. Good meaty punchy sort of sound.

 

I was using an AT4060 on the outside of the kick, and when that worked, wow, it was something, but it really depended a lot on the drummer for whatever reason. But when it works, it's really beautiful sounding because it captures all the tone of the kick drum.

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I've been using an AKG D112 for about 3 years now. I know it has the rep of having a terrible "beachball" sound, but by tweaking my bass drums and working with different EQing, positioning and such I've been able to get a very decent sound out of it. I'd like to try an RE-20 once my budget allows it.

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I did a mic shootout with my D112, Audix D6 and RE20 mics.

 

The D112 is my main mic when running live sound simply because it always sounds the same and position isn't highly critical.

 

However, of the three mics in my arsenal, the Audix sounded the best by far. Positioning was critical, but it got the best sound. The RE20 came in last.

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from the other thread:

 

i generally use a pair of mics, even of band practice.

 

i have a beta91 that lives in the kick. i love that thing.

 

currently, i have a 421 in tandem, but often use an re20, m88, b52, or pr30.

 

 

when if it's a serious recording, i'll toss a ksm4, 4047, or 121 on the outside kick.

 

wonderful!

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I did a mic shootout with my D112, Audix D6 and RE20 mics.


The D112 is my main mic when running live sound simply because it always sounds the same and position isn't highly critical.


However, of the three mics in my arsenal, the Audix sounded the best by far. Positioning was critical, but it got the best sound. The RE20 came in last.

 

Just goes to show how much of this depends on the drum, the player, the room, etc... :) I've had a much easier time getting good results with the RE-20 than with the D6. I almost never use the D6 anymore because I was so unimpressed with it the first few times I used it.

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I've had good times with a crown PZM mic tossed inside the kick with a Beta 52 for meat and a Telefunken AK47 outside the kick.

 

I've also put a Groove tubes GT57 in figure 8 between the beater and the bottom snare with a Beta 52.

 

A d112 can be cool if you want it to sound like the 90's.

 

I've also used an (gasp) SM57, with fine results!

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You know, the 57 is actually pretty good sometimes for kick. I know many might think that this is nuts, but it captures the impact quite well. Obviously, not as much bottom end, but I always have to roll off some bottom end on the kick anyway.

 

I've also used the 421 with good results.

 

My preference for kick is now what I mentioned in my previous post here, but yeah, you can do quite well with either a 57 or a 421.

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I did a mic shootout with my D112, Audix D6 and RE20 mics.


The D112 is my main mic when running live sound simply because it always sounds the same and position isn't highly critical.


However, of the three mics in my arsenal, the Audix sounded the best by far. Positioning was critical, but it got the best sound. The RE20 came in last.

 

Which just goes to show how much opinions, preferences and tastes can vary. :) Personally, I can't stand the D112 on kick, but obviously, YMDV.

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I feel the same way about the D112s as you know, Phil, but in yet...I hear fantastic recordings dome with 'em.

 

I've never personally used an RE20 (although I've been on a number of sessions that used it as a musician), but I've always loved that sound of an RE20 on a kick.

 

And see, this is why there are lots of choices!!! :D

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I use pretty bargain mics...Shure 52, AT Pro 25 (old style), Peavey 520i, Apex LDC ( not sure what model, it is a multi pattern), and a regular 57. Recording wise, I use the 52 in the kick, 57 in the kick, and the Apex out front in a blanket tunnel. Live, I use what only one, usually the 52. The AT and Peavey are really good, cheap mics.

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Just goes to show how much of this depends on the drum, the player, the room, etc...
:)
I've had a much easier time getting good results with the RE-20 than with the D6. I almost never use the D6 anymore because I was so unimpressed with it the first few times I used it.

 

Yeah.. I was actually surprised at how many folks like the RE20 on bass drums. I have not been pleased with the sound of the mic on any of the drum kits I have had in my studio over the last few years.

 

I keep trying, but just can't get it to sound as good as other actual bass drum mics...

 

Go figger....

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I've had good times with a crown PZM mic tossed inside the kick with a Beta 52 for meat and a Telefunken AK47 outside the kick.


I've also put a Groove tubes GT57 in figure 8 between the beater and the bottom snare with a Beta 52.


A d112 can be cool if you want it to sound like the 90's.


I've also used an (gasp) SM57, with fine results!

 

 

Try putting your PZM under the throne facing the bass drum. I had good results with that in my rock band for years. It picked up the bass drum and the rest of the kit almost from the drummers perspective. Add an overhead and you're done.

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Which just goes to show how much opinions, preferences and tastes can vary.
:)
Personally, I can't stand the D112 on kick, but obviously, YMDV.

 

Yeah..

 

I think a lot of my prejudice towards the D112 is because I grew up on the dead drum sounds of the 60's and 70's and spent a lot of time in the 70's trying to recreate that dead, dull "thwack".. Give me Bad Company with their newspaper snare anytime....Duct tape.. more duct tape.

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+1 for the Audix D6.

 

I record almost exclusivley rock/metal though so it is almost purpose built for the job.

 

I have had good results however, but with a lot more work with the D112 - lots of compression, EQ and a VST puncher generally.

 

Check out 'whisper in the riot' in my sig for results

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I have had good results however, but with a lot more work with the D112 - lots of compression, EQ and a VST puncher generally.

 

 

That's it. I can get a good sound out of a D112 as well, but it takes a lot more work. A lot of EQ for sure. But with some of the other mics I use, it takes far less work, whether it's the AT4060 on the outside - when that works, it really works! - or the Heil PR30 in any of the more traditional methods of micing a kick. I can get a good sound out of a 421 or a 57 as well, but lately, I've been grabbing for the Heil. Just works better for me, less work to get it to sound good.

 

I've heard really good things about the Audix mics for drums, but have never actually tried one.

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Audix D6 is my fave also.

 

I was used to using a 57 (I'm primarily a live sound guy), which requires a boost around 50-60Hz, cut at 200, boost around 4-8kHz to get a rock sound. The D6 sounds like that before you touch the EQ.

 

Terry D.

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