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#2002260 - 10/16/08 09:25 AM Kick Drum Techniques
thereverbking Offline

Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 1
I don't like a lot of non-musical rumble (I know, I'm wierd) so I mic the kick drum from the beater side as well as the normal front side mic - this seems to give a more realistic sound. An additional mic a few feet out in front of the kit can balance the attack with a nice full/warm sound. I like the AKG (pictured) best but I might also use a 421 and for the distant mic a condensor can work well.

Photo is from the Volition sessions (BTW take pictures just in case you need to reproduce the setup)

I also like to use analog processing (during the mix) for Kick; a BBE Sonic Maximizer chained with an Aphex Aural Exciter can add attack/crack/snap... this can be heard on Jack Trice's CD (You Don't Know Jack) which is available on CDBaby and Napster - Or Ameilia Terry's Crucible CD available on or Napster. I also have samples on check out Keep Coming Back and Twisted

It all depends on the music, there are times when room mics are all that is required (like for jazz) and there are other sessions when I put multiple mics on everything : )
-jim (The Reverb King) Brown

#2002891 - 10/18/08 03:17 PM Re: Kick Drum Techniques [Re: thereverbking]
KenElevenShadows Offline
10k Club

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 13225
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, UNITED STATES
I do something that's probably quite a bit different from most other engineers. I sort of approach this like others might mic a floor tom. I want to get as much of the tone and character of the kick as possible, and I believe this simple method works.

My starting position is to put a large diaphragm condenser near the front of the kick drum, not directly in front of the kick as others often do, but rather, looking at the rim. It's slightly off to the side, aimed more or less at the rim between the skin and the side of the kick, about 4 inches away from the rim.

From there, I move it around, depending on the song, to get either more of the shell or more of the skin, simply moving the angle of the mic to get more or less of the shell/skin, or closer/farther to get more impact as needed. It's very simple to move the mic around while wearing headphones. I find that this way, I'm able to record the shell/character of the kick drum as well as the impact, achieving a nicely balanced, natural sound with just one mic.

If there is too much bleed from the rest of the kit, I will place a couple of wooden chair wrapped with acoustic foam taped on to it over my kick mic. If that doesn't work, I also have a hollowed-out garbage can with foam in the interior, but this is very large and difficult to walk around in my tiny little living room, so I prefer the chair. You must remember, I am the Mayor of BudgetLand, so whatever works. \:D

Processing: Nothing while recording. Compression and EQing later.

On these examples, I used a AT4060 tube condenser through an FMR RNP mic preamp. Neither of these were even necessarily ideal choices (although you could do far worse than these!); I simply worked with what I had at the time.

Here's a link to some songs that show how this technique sounds:

Go to the blueberry-colored MP3 player and play any one of the following:

"Collage of Songs recorded at Blueberry Buddha" (anything with drums) or "Hang On" and "Undone" by Nectarphonic. All of these are fully intact drum performances with no replacement.


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