Skill Level Intermediate
- [Narrator] Check this out. (drum rhythm) What's that sound of the kick drum? You know it's got some sort of weird, ghosty hollow tone to it. When you're placing the mic inside the kick drum it's important to understand that the tone of that acoustic space that the inside of the shell and everything is. It's a small little room if you think of it that way. To illustrate this, I recorded a kick drum three different ways, always with the mic just inside the hole in the front head.
First of all, we have it just open, no damping of any sort inside of the drum. You can see a placement there. Then we put in a bedsheet. We have a black bedsheet that floats around the studio there. Sometimes that's just enough a little damping to treat the acoustic space that the inside of the kick drum shell creates. And then we took this piece of foam, we've got this laying around too, it's cut just pretty tightly to fit inside of a standard kick drum. You roll it up put it in there and there it is inside the shell.
The other thing that's interesting is that it also touches the front and back heads a little bit which provide a little extra damping of the head ring and stuff like that. Alright, so I'm going to play you these examples. Here is, again, like we just heard, the sound of the kick drum soloed. The kick drum mic with no damping inside. (drum rhythm) Hear that hollow, ringy kind of tone? Now here's with the bedsheet just put inside the shell.
(slightly more muffled drum rhythm) And then here, with the foam. (clearer drum rhythm) You listen carefully to these, the treatments provide a little different sound. Once again going to the damping of the sheet: (slightly muffled drum rhythm) And the foam: (clearer drum rhythm) Hear a bit different a little bit higher mid-range articulation there with the foam in there for some reason? Everything's going to treat it different.
Sometimes people will throw blankets, pillows, jackets, all kinds of things in there. And you really do get different treatment with different stuff in there and you get a different sound. So we're going to go into RX and look at this in spectral view as well. Here we have the three different versions, I just isolated little kick drum hits, this is the untreated again: (drum beat) This is the sheet: (slightly more muffled drum beat) And this is the foam: (clearer drum beat) Those are more similar than the first one, of course.
Look at what you can tell here, all this information in the low mids. (deeper drum beat) Is very different. (still deep but higher drum beat) That the K time changes. Even between these two, (drum beat) even though we're treating them kind of similar ways (drum beat) you can tell that the time constant of the decay is very different at different frequencies. This one stays pretty much the same in here. (drum beat) Around 140 Hertz.
(clearer drum beat) But then everything below that is quite different. Very subtle, very deep down there. And with the untreated one, (drum beat) a wonderful sustain, but all that crazy (high drum beat) ring up there that we don't get (slightly lower drum beat) (similar drum beat) (drum beat) (drum beat) (drum beat) Really drastic. So there you have it, putting anything inside the kick drum is going to change how it sounds when you're micing from the hole in the front of it.
And you should be aware how different those can sound. Different types of treatments sound different, leaving it open sounds different. Sometimes that's a good sound, there's not really a right or wrong with creating kick drum sounds or recording at all ever. But it's always a choice, and you should be aware of which choice you're making and how it's working with the music and how it works with the bass instruments and that will make better recordings.