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From the Trenches: Luke’s Subkick Design

A few months ago, I got a letter from a reader who decided to build his own subkick. Your design looks and sounds great. I’m sure many people will benefit from your samples and step-by-step instructions. Thanks for writing, Luke!

There was definitely a bit of a learning curve when it came to actually using the subkick. At first I was trying to get a huge signal, and it was a struggle to not muddy everything up.  Running the subkick through my Behringer TUBE ULTRAGAIN MIC200(with aftermarket tubes obviously) as a 20Db Pad, as well as adding  slight tube warmth/compression helped as well along with just turning it down.

I’ve been using the subkick along with my AKG D112, and running both as separate channels through an EHX LPB-2ube Stereo Tube Preamp pedal (also aftermarket tubes), then to the DAW (using an M-audio Delta 1010LT). I took a screenshot of the tracks to show the “physical” difference. I did boost the volume a tad on the sub to mix it in, but it seems to be a bit more subtle that way. (Pic1)

 I’ve also Included Mp3s of the each mic by itself, a combined track, as well as the track with the Bass in the context of the song. I also included a little clip of how my drums are sounding overall.

Kick drum (Isolated) – D-112

 Kick drum (Isolated) – Subkick

 Kick drum (Isolated) – D-112 and subkick together

Drum mix with bass

Sample of entire kit

For the Sub I used a Diesel Audio NS-1010 10″ 800W Car Subwoofer ($30 on sale at Newegg), but it was pretty heavy-duty (20lbs), so I needed a way to mount it without it falling over. I ended up getting an idea to mount the sub inside of a tom-tom from another DIY article, and found a cheap First Act Add-on Tom with a clamp arm from Toys-R-Us for  $15. It looks a bit cheesy, but totally works. http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4109184

I ended up mounting the sub inside of the drum with Plumbing Metal Strapping and screws from the hardware store (Pic 2 ).

I tried it on my cheap desktop Mic stand and it fell over immediately, so I had to go for a heavy duty Stand to counter balance the whole deal( Pic 3).

 I just wired a ¼ cable to the sub, and ran the cable out through the airport on the side of the drum, which worked out pretty smoothly (Pic 4).

After it was all set up I just put a piece of Auralex in the back to prevent bleed-through from behind during live recordings.


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