There have always been pitfalls for drummers when it comes to getting a great live or studio bass drum sound. Frequently drummers won't be aware of where to place the hole in the resonant head for an ideal microphone placement. Additionally, there is the risk of the mic stand falling over mid gig, or moving part way through a perfect take. There are a few commercially available internal microphone solutions to this, but having seen them I couldn't resist attempting to DIY it myself. Check out the video below for a full 'how to' guide.
The main issue is that you cannot just bolt a microphone directly to the drum, doing so results in a large amount of mechanically borne noise which is undesirable in every way. The solution is to suspend the microphone(s) using taught elastic to isolate the mic(s) from the drum.
As a twist to make it even more elegant, for ease of set up and change over, I mounted XLR sockets inside the drum itself so it can simply be plugged in. This makes for insanely fast changeovers and guaranteed microphone placement and sound quality. It even facilitates the option of having a resonant head without a hole!
Although I have set up this system with two microphones (a Shure Beta 52 on batter, and an AKG D12E on resonant), one microphone is perfectly sufficient for most tasks. The microphones used are easily interchangeable dependent on your sonic preference and budget. Popular choices are listed here with a brief sonic overview.
I have also given an overview on the applications for different types of mic here.
About the author
Jason Wilcock is the Executive Producer and Co-owner of Stakeout Studios in SW London. The newly renovated recording space was personally designed by Jason and has become extremely sought after by professional musicians in recent years, as has Jason's musical insight as a Producer and also a drummer.
Jason has worked in diverse music genres from jazz to indie, orchestral to hard rock and metal. His recording career has taken him around the world from the UK to Thailand and Poland engineering world-class session drummers such as Ralph Salmins, Mike Sturgess, Danny Gottlieb and James Hester.
We recorded the James Hester video guest lesson on this month's Rhythm CD at Stakeout Studios, where James has been recording drums for the latest Cars On Fire CD.