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How to get more low end from kick drum in live setup?

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,309
So here's the dilemma... my band's gig setup is very simple - I have a 12 channel mixer with only low/mid/hi EQ on each channel. No global graphic EQ. The low EQ on each channel is centered at 100hz. At some smaller venues our drummer uses a tiny kick drum that doesn't have much low end. I do mic it with a kick drum mic but even when I turn the Low EQ on its channel all the way up, I'm still missing the low end that a bigger kick drum has. It sounds small and boxy. I need to bring up the lower frequencies.

Is there anything I can do to bring out more low end in the kick drum? I've seen some small mixers that have the Low EQ set at 80hz and I'm wondering if maybe I can just buy one of those, run his kick into that and boost the 80hz and run the output of the small mixer into the main mixer. Will boosting 80hz be enough or will I be disappointed?

I've looked for something like a single channel EQ that goes down even lower but all I've found are larger rack-mount graphic EQs. I'd like to find a smaller solution.

Any ideas?
 

John_M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,253
change the mic. Place it at the port. Or get a subkick. Get a subwoofer. What mic do you have? What speakers are you using?
 

guitarman3001

Member
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11,309
change the mic. Place it at the port. Or get a subkick. Get a subwoofer. What mic do you have? What speakers are you using?

Not sure what a subkick is. I'm running an Alto TS212S sub. Yeah, it's a 12" sub but when the drummer brings his bigger kit with a bigger kick drum, the bass is perfect and not lacking at all. It's actually a surprisingly good sub. The mic is a Shure kick drum mic and I have tried several positions including in the port, just outside the port, etc... Mains I believe are either QSC or EV. Someone else in the band brings those. I provide the mixer, sub, and monitor.

The issue here isn't the PA or the sub, it's that the tiny kick drum lacks lows and sounds boxy so I need to push the lows via EQ but the mixer's EQ is set at 100hz which isn't low enough.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,309
Without knowing what speakers you are using no one can offer any real help.
See above. The speakers aren't the problem. When the drummer brings his bigger kit with a bigger kick drum it's fine. The PA is capable of more than enough low end. It's the tiny kick drum that's boxy and lacks lows.
 

John_M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,253
Cool. Well what size is the kick? Does it sound good in the room? The obvious thing is to tune the kick differently. What Shure mic? The beta 52?

and what mixer?
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,309
Cool. Well what size is the kick? Does it sound good in the room? The obvious thing is to tune the kick differently. What Shure mic? The beta 52?

and what mixer?
Yeah, Beta 52A I believe. And no, the kick sounds tiny and boxy in the room. I think it's an 18" or maybe even 16". I suppose I could ask the drummer if there's anything he can do like tuning it lower but I think it's just too small to put out a strong low end.

The mixer is a Zoom L-12. Off topic but I'm thinking about upgrading it to the L-20 for more channels. It's by far the most useful and practical live mixer I've used in 20+ years of running sound for my bands. It's not perfect and I wish it had a channel-assignable graphic EQ or a sweepable low EQ but for basic live use for a typical rock cover band, it's as close to perfect as I've seen. It also records internally with a separate track for each channel. I've made some decent live recordings with it.
 

silentbob

Member
Messages
1,443
The obvious solution is to have your drummer stop bringing the smaller kick drum. From what you're saying, everything is fine when he uses the full size kick and nothing you have will fix the smaller one. If that isn't going to happen, you need an EQ. Since you don't want to use a graphic one, that leaves you with a parametric. Good luck.
 

modulusman

Member
Messages
2,102
Does the zoom have a 31 band or parametric EQ on the main output? If it doesn't time to buy a real digital mixer and leave the toy one for rehearsal.
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
13,171
So here's the dilemma... my band's gig setup is very simple - I have a 12 channel mixer with only low/mid/hi EQ on each channel. No global graphic EQ. The low EQ on each channel is centered at 100hz. At some smaller venues our drummer uses a tiny kick drum that doesn't have much low end. I do mic it with a kick drum mic but even when I turn the Low EQ on its channel all the way up, I'm still missing the low end that a bigger kick drum has. It sounds small and boxy. I need to bring up the lower frequencies.

Is there anything I can do to bring out more low end in the kick drum? I've seen some small mixers that have the Low EQ set at 80hz and I'm wondering if maybe I can just buy one of those, run his kick into that and boost the 80hz and run the output of the small mixer into the main mixer. Will boosting 80hz be enough or will I be disappointed?

I've looked for something like a single channel EQ that goes down even lower but all I've found are larger rack-mount graphic EQs. I'd like to find a smaller solution.

Any ideas?

Have you tried getting the drummer to tune the drum differently?
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,223
You can't (easily) create bass if it doesn't exist in the first place. The source has to have it or you need to synthesize it. 80 Hz is the low E string on a guitar, it's not bass. Bass from some kick drums can be close in frequency to the low E string on a bass guitar (40 Hz). However, bass guitar and kick drum can sum together and end up as mud. It's sometimes OK to let bass guitar carry the low end and get the punch from the beater of the kick drum. LF in rooms is a balancing act as is mixing kick drum and bass guitar (and any other instruments that have extended LF). It can turn to mud in a venue if the system is not well tuned and the mix is not good. Too many cases of bad sound involve muddy bass that masks everything else in the mix (can't hear anything but boom, vocals are unintelligible).
 
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jaxjaxon

Member
Messages
844
You can get more low end by either a larger diameter or a longer length shell. The same applies to acoustic guitars larger lower bout or deeper lower bout.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,788
I'm running an Alto TS212S sub. Yeah, it's a 12" sub but when the drummer brings his bigger kit with a bigger kick drum, the bass is perfect and not lacking at all.
at that point the kick drum itself is probably providing the missing low end in the room

if you want more lows out of the little drum, a second sub wouldn't be out of line. different EQ won't do it if the sub itself isn't able to bring the power, just like mashing harder on the gas pedal won't make your car engine have any more torque
 

ericdrmz

Member
Messages
602
if it is an 18" kick, tune at the lowest head tension, with an Evans Emad2 batter head,
hard kick beater (plastic, rubber) you can get the most low end, if it is a 16" kick don't bother..
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,309
Thanks for all the replies. Hopefully I can cover everything -

The obvious solution is to have your drummer stop bringing the smaller kick drum. From what you're saying, everything is fine when he uses the full size kick and nothing you have will fix the smaller one. If that isn't going to happen, you need an EQ. Since you don't want to use a graphic one, that leaves you with a parametric. Good luck.

He does bring his bigger kit to venues where we have enough room on stage but we play some places with tiny stages and having a smaller kit with the small kick drum makes a huge difference and allows us to fit on the stage. The issue is just with those venues in which we need to maximize space. I'm not opposed to a graphic EQ, they are just a little too big. Behringer makes a mini graphic EQ that would be great for this but they're either discontinued or currently sold out everywhere. I tried Ebay but people have gone nuts -- new they sell for $59 but on ebay people are selling them for upwards of $200. No thanks! I'm not sure where I might find a small inexpensive one-channel parametric EQ.

^^^^^^ the above nails it.
To further the point:
How do you get the kick to sound good though a PA?
ans: Start with a good sounding kick.

Truth! But like I explained, it's only in some venues with tiny stages that he's forced to bring the tiny kit.

Does the zoom have a 31 band or parametric EQ on the main output? If it doesn't time to buy a real digital mixer and leave the toy one for rehearsal.

Unfortunately it doesn't. That's its biggest downside. It's definitely not a toy. And in general, I hate digital mixers. I find them very impractical for live use because of all the menu scrolling, screen-flipping, hidden settings that can take forever to find, etc.. The Zoom takes advantage of digital technology but is set up like a normal analog mixer. Plus it has a built in multi-channel recorder which is great to record gigs. It records the tracks separately so you can then mix them as you would a studio recording.
Have you tried getting the drummer to tune the drum differently?

Haven't tried that yet. I'll ask him.
You can't (easily) create bass if it doesn't exist in the first place. The source has to have it or you need to synthesize it. 80 Hz is the low E string on a guitar, it's not bass. Bass from some kick drums can be close in frequency to the low E string on a bass guitar (40 Hz). However, bass guitar and kick drum can sum together and end up as mud. It's sometimes OK to let bass guitar carry the low end and get the punch from the beater of the kick drum. LF in rooms is a balancing act as is mixing kick drum and bass guitar (and any other instruments that have extended LF). It can turn to mud in a venue if the system is not well tuned and the mix is not good. Too many cases of bad sound involve muddy bass that masks everything else in the mix (can't hear anything but boom, vocals are unintelligible).

This is helpful to know. His bigger kick drum sounds great. I'm not sure how that one is tuned but it provides a nice low end thump without sounding muddy.

at that point the kick drum itself is probably providing the missing low end in the room

if you want more lows out of the little drum, a second sub wouldn't be out of line. different EQ won't do it if the sub itself isn't able to bring the power, just like mashing harder on the gas pedal won't make your car engine have any more torque

I've thought about a second sub just to round things out. Unfortunately they don't make the model I have anymore and I'm trying to avoid mismatched subs. That's not really the issue though as the single sub is more than capable of producing the low end we need. I've checked by simply turning the sub down and listening. The sub does what it's supposed to. It definitely brings the power, which is surprising for a 12" sub.

The problem is the lower frequencies are essentially too low on the kick drum. An EQ should be able to bring them out a bit.

Use the EQ to put more bass and cut highs on the kick mic.

That's exactly what I'm trying to do. I'm just not sure of the best way to go about it. Like I mentioned, I've thought about running the kick drum into a small mixer that has the bass frequency centered at 80hz instead of the 100hz my main mixer is set to. Also looked into the Behringer mini graphic EQ but they're impossible to find. If I could find a small EQ, either parametric with a sweepable low or a graphic, I'd give it a try.

if it is an 18" kick, tune at the lowest head tension, with an Evans Emad2 batter head,
hard kick beater (plastic, rubber) you can get the most low end, if it is a 16" kick don't bother..

I'll see if I can get him to try tuning it lower.

Or maybe I won't worry about it too much since it's only a couple of venues where this is an issue....
 

Baelzebeard

Member
Messages
272
An eq wont fundamentally change the timbre of the drum.

It needs to have the low end you want, the eq wont create it from nothing.

And as said above 80Hz isn't really that low. You are probably craving the boom from the 40-60 Hz range. I tend to cut the 100-300 Hz range because its muddy, and reduces the focus and impact of just about everything.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,309
An eq wont fundamentally change the timbre of the drum.

It needs to have the low end you want, the eq wont create it from nothing.

And as said above 80Hz isn't really that low. You are probably craving the boom from the 40-60 Hz range. I tend to cut the 100-300 Hz range because its muddy, and reduces the focus and impact of just about everything.

Hmm... maybe I'll try cutting that range and then bringing the kick up in the mix. That may be another way of accomplishing the same thing. If I cut 100-300 then bring the whole kick up, the lower frequencies that are there will naturally be increased.
 

jmoose

Member
Messages
5,020
Let's go back to school for a minute.

In terms of EQ there's not much appreciable difference between 100Hz and 80Hz... especially in this application.

Most small consoles have shelving EQ which means, for the low frequencies it turns up every frequency below the corner point. So if the EQ is centered at 100Hz then it's also turning up 80Hz.

If anything the 100 cycle corner adds more low end at 80 vs using an EQ centered lower.

Basically, if you don't like the sound of the drum adding an EQ or switching consoles won't do anything.

Most likely the small kick drum is all midrange & doesn't have any low end to start with. You can't add what isn't there and if it was there the 100Hz shelf would absolutely pull it forward.

Need more lows from the PA system as a whole? Ok! Then it's time to look at things like if the tops & subs are in phase... what's the crossover corner & slope etc.

Drive rack stuff.
 




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