Thanks to a recent email conversation about setting up a tone generator to enhance the sub frequencies (around 50Hz) of a kick drum, I remembered a while ago I posted some photos of my home made sub kick mic on the Facebook page, but didn’t do a blog post about it. So, here it is!
I really made this microphone for my own pleasure (not because I’m a cheapskate) and it was suprisingly easy to do with only a little research. Now I use it on every session.
You could argue that a sub kick mic is pointless given that it is possible to get this effect in the DAW in a couple of minutes and with stock plug-ins, but I’ll let you decide.
Since posting I have had an email conversation with another subscriber asking about using this technique on bass guitar as well as kick drum. To add extra harmonics to the bass and sub bass frequencies I would personally use a designated plug-in like Maxxbass other than a gated sine wave. The reason being, if you have a 50Hz wave the note is a G1, 51Hz – GSharp1 and 55Hz – A1 etc which can cause note clashes depending on the key of your track. If it fits, great! But it wont work on every mix. Same if you use a frequency to enhance the kick drum, clashing can still occur, especially with the bass instruments such as bass guitar or synths.
Save yourself the headache, it’s good to have these tricks up your sleeve but there will be times when it wont work and you need a quick fix to get a mix finished by a deadline or so you can quickly move on to another task.
For your pleasure I have included some audio samples of the two techniques to listen to side by side.
On the drums for this session I used a sub kick and an M88, so the first sample is the kit with just the M88.
The second clip is the kit with a 50Hz sine wave added using the signal generator and expander/gate plug-in in Pro Tools.
Lastly, the kit with the home made sub kick microphone.
Here are some photos of the sub kick making process, using;
a 10″ 30 watt Celestion Greenback – about £60;
an old, but decent, balanced mic cable – free because I had one lying around;
an inline attenuator with -10, -20 and -30 dB pad – £6.00 eBay;
a 10″ rack tom – this is from a pearl session custom I have in the studio but you can get a cheap or free one easily enough. In the last year I have had so many people trying to offload their drumkits on me!
some acoustic foam – £.40
Please feel free to comment, or email.