Kick Drum

Kick drum is not really that hard to get a good recorded or live sound. The key is to make sure the drum is padded very well so it just gives a dull thud without any resonance. The easiest way to pad a kick drum is to take a blanket, fold it into about a meter square and lay it in the bottom on the drum, pressed well against the batter side. You can even place some heavy weights inside to hold the blanket (and the drum if your drummer really bangs).
If you have a drum head on the outside, you need to completely remove it to insert the blanket. For recording I have about an 8 inch circle cut in the outside drum head offset with the edge of the 8 inch cut at just about centerline of the drum. It doesn’t matter if the offset is left or right. The mike can be placed on a boom mike stand and placed inside the hole.
Everyone has their own particular favorite drum mike, but I like the AKG D12 or the Sennheiser MD421. Even a cheap vocal mike will work if you are in a pinch, like a Shure SM-58.
When adjusting the mike sound at the console, whether for recording or live performance, always give plenty of headroom. Have the drummer kick it hard, bring the mike trim up until there is a slight peak indication on your peak LED, then trim off another 10dB. IF you have a PAD switch, apply the PAD, but do not apply any hi-pass filtering to kick drum.
When EQing, follow the “cut frequencies” method as much as possible. So, if you have a three band EQ, cut the MID control. Don’t be shy, you can probably cut is almost all the way off. Next, give the HI EQ a boost to bring out the ‘tack’ on the kick drum and allow it to really cut through (but don’t over do it). Lastly, bring up the LO EQ until the sound is powerful. If you are in the studio, watch the foam or paper rolls on the edge of the woofers. A good low end EQ will make the cones of the woofer punch out. Again, if you increase until the cones of the woofers hit there maximum excursion and go “plack”, then you’ve added too much bass. Let your ears be your ultimate guide.
Again if you are in the studio or on a PA, play a song from a CD that has your favorite kick drum sound and try to match it with your EQ. Now you’ve got it “SonicCaptured”.

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