11/01/15

HOW TO MIC A BASS DRUM

Guidelines for miking bass drums with DPA Microphones.

Compact mic inside or outside the drum

If the bass drum has a hole in the front skin, this placement is the shortcut to controlled bass drum capture. For this application, try placing a d:dicate™ 2011C Compact Cardioid Microphone in or by the opening and experiment a bit with positioning, angling and distance. This will yield optimum results.

Angling will give less wind problems (a lot of air is moved by the bass drum). Distance will adjust the overall bass frequency response, taking advantage of the proximity effect. It all depends on the sound you wish to produce and the instrument/drummer. Sometimes placing the mic just outside the drum gives even more impact.

For jazz or folk music it’s best to find a spot outside the drum, sometimes on the kick side of the drum, if there is no hole in the front skin.

The d:vote™ 4099D Instrument Microphone for Drum is a brilliant choice for easy and fast miking without microphone stands on stage.

When used with the VC4099 clip (optional accessory) the d:vote™ 4099D will fit the bass drum rim. The bass drum can benefit from a two-microphone setup, one on the stroke side and one on the front side. Shift polarity on one of them and blend them in the desired balance, controlling the “kick” sound and the low frequency component.
 

Experiment with position and directional patterns

Try pointing a d:dicate™ 4007 Omnidirectional Microphon, P48 into the drum, slightly to the side, and see if your monitors can handle this awesome sound. The low frequency response, dynamics and high level capabilities of this mic are superb and result in a very tight, well defined sound. The d:dicate™ 4007 is flat at 20 Hz and can handle 140 dB at this frequency. Experimenting a bit with positioning will yield optimum results.

Sometimes, placing the mic just outside the drum gives even more impact. For jazz or folk music it’s best to find a spot outside the drum, maybe on the drum head in front of or on the kicker side, but that is an artistic choice you need to make.

You can also have great success using the d:dicate™ 4011A Cardioid Microphone in the same position, taking advantage of the proximity effect. It all depends on the sound you wish to produce and the instrument/drummer.

For a natural bass drum/room tone blend (or as a "kit-accumulator") an omni – preferably a d:dicate™ 4041-S Large Diaphragm Microphone – can be placed approximately 1 meter in front of the bass drum. Roll off the high frequencies if you primarily want it to be a bass drum addition.
 

Sound pressure level

As with brass instruments, a drumkit can produce very high peak sound levels. It is not unusual to see levels in excess of 120 dB at a distance of one meter and at a few cm from a drum or cymbal head, 140 dB or more. Obviously, the microphones must be able to handle these levels without clipping, which is not always the case in many recording situations.

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