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Should I port my bass drum?

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  • Should I port my bass drum?

    I was wandering if I should port my bass drum or leave it unported. I have read up on it and the consensus says a ported head gives less rebound on the beater and projects better. Not a lot has been said as to how the sound changes. Also there seams to be some different opinions as to witch is louder. Ported seams loader in front of the kit and unported loader around the kit. In my opinion the bass drum can never be too loud :-) I use my acoustic kit mainly for band practice un-mic’ed and gig with the V-drums.
    Oh, and two more things. If I was to port the head using the “hot soup can method”, do you have to take the head off the drum or just leave it on?
    And I have developed a bad habit (from playing Vdrums where it does not matter) of playing heal up with the beater burred between notes. I’ve herd some speculation that burring the beater makes less of an audible difference on a ported bass drum.
    Last edited by cstoliker; 11-23-08, 06:45 AM.
    TD-6v, (3x)CY-8, (4x)PD-8's (2x)PD-6's (1x)PD-80R (1)KD-8 http://www.cstoliker.com/Drums/

  • #2
    Last edited by Ericdrumz; 11-30-08, 08:08 PM. Reason: find out yourself
    Audio | Video | Roland/Yamaha e-kit | Sonor/Gretsch a-kit | Zildjian/Sabian/Ufip/Meinl cymbals


    • #3
      I ported my bass drum the other day using the hot soup can method, and I removed the head to do it. It worked fine that way for me. I don't know if you can do it while it is on the drum.

      As far as the beater feel, I haven't noticed a change in the beater response.

      The bass drum has a slightly tighter sound with the porthole, but I can still get some boom out of it by adjusting the level of dampening.

      As far as loudness, I can't tell because for all of my practices, the drums are fully miced.

      The important thing is the size of the porthole and placement. You should not make it more than 5 or 6 inches wide, and you want to have it low and off-center. The worst place to put it is directly in the center of the drum.

      If you are looking at my bass drum, My porthole is 4 inches wide and at the 4 o'clock position. My bass drum is a 22 x 16.

      This site should help you out: http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/id6.html

      Best regards,



      • #4
        Originally posted by Ericdrumz View Post
        I don't get this response. Is it a bump?


        • #5
          Originally posted by stickinthemud View Post
          I don't get this response. Is it a bump?
          You are supposed to "find out yourself," silly.
          >>>See my E-kit here<<<

          >>>See my A-kit here<<<


          • #6
            My practice drum head is ported - off-center and about a medium-sized coffee can in diameter. I like the feel I get; I barely dampen it and have a small damper across the bottom of the batter head. However, since I have a mic I can mount in there, I often use a drumhead with our band logo which is un-ported except for a quarter-sized hole, through which I thread the mic cord. I can't play it this way (too much rebound due to the back-pressure) unless I place a heavy blanket in there which muffles the front drum head.

            This really depends on your technique. If you play heel-down a lot, rebound probably won't be an issue. I tend to play heel-up all the time and 'bury' the beater in the head. You can see that if you do this with a setup with a lot of rebound, you tend to get a kind of 'buzz roll' when you attempt to bury the beater.

            Sorry for the wordy post!
            Roland TD-20 Expanded, Yamaha Recording Custom accoustic drums, 7 piece w/ 5 cymbals, DW2000 double kick pedal, RT-10 triggers, SPD-S


            • #7
              Don't try porting your bass drum head while it's still on the drum. You need to have a flat even surface behind it while porting it. While the hot soup can method is easy, fast and effective, for a cleaner look buy yourself a holz ring as it gives it a sleak look and will stop the hole from tearing.


              • #8
                Call me a purist, but I feel that the kick sounds flat when ported..... if you want to mic it up then a port is not a bad idea, but why not just take the front head off altogether?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hercules View Post
                  Call me a purist, but I feel that the kick sounds flat when ported..... if you want to mic it up then a port is not a bad idea, but why not just take the front head off altogether?
                  Yes Hercules, I prefer an un-ported resonant head as it's more tune-able for one thing. I use several resonant heads on my kits, some ported, some not. (I design drum heads you see, logos, band names etc). I actually like the look of a ported drum head though, as long as it's done properly and neat.
                  Mind you, there is no need whatsoever to port a bass drum head just so as to mic it. If any sound engineer says differently then he's an amateur. Some people just prefer to place the mic inside the head and some from the outside. If done properly both produce great results.


                  • #10
                    A ported head will take away some of the low end, but if you're mic'ing, you can put it all back.
                    Roland TD-3KW plus CY-9
                    5pc Tama Superstar EFX Hyperdrive, Sabian XS20 Cymbals


                    • #11
                      Rule 1 for recording - don't plan to fix it in the mix.


                      • #12
                        To grossly oversimplify...
                        To me I hear ported kicks as punchier and non-ported boomier. I think non-ported has a little more low end and resonance but that can sometimes get muddy. Ported cuts through a little more imho.

                        Ported punches you in the chest
                        Non-ported rumbles your stomach

                        Easy Cheapo gig set:
                        Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz, Mahogany; ultra portable 4 piece in custom DIY flame sparkle wrap.


                        • #13
                          I just ported both my kicks (I run a double kick setup on both my acoustic and td20). 2 20x16's. I put them on "opposite" sides if that makes sense. If you're looking at the kit, the one to your right is by the 4/5' o clock position and the one on your left is by the 7/8 o clock position. I spent the money on the "Bass Drum O's" cutter as well as 2 4" chrome ports (1 per drum).

                          The cutter kicks ass as well as the ports, the hardest part is just snapping the back ring on as it does take a LOT of pressure, but once on it's permanent and looks like night and day.

                          I only play out with the acoustic so the difference between micing them without ports and with ports is also night and day. They sound SO much punchier while still having low end being ported vs. when they weren't they were kinda muddy sounding.

                          I highly recommend it. But if just for practice then that's just personal preference. I also think they look way better ported.
                          Check out my NEW eBay Store: V-Drum Emporium!


                          • #14
                            i aggree with adam. porting the head allows for more fine tuned mic placement for recording or live. i never relied on the soundman to fix my sound
                            it is best to make sure the drums sound their best before the mics. mics will amplify all the sounds good or bad.
                            Pearl Mimic pro, A to E 7 piece Pearl Decade maple, ddrum Deccabons, Ddrum DDTi, UFO X-bar triggers, Real feel heads, Gibraltar rack, VH13, PD105 side snare, Roc-N-Soc,Tama Iron Cobra, Iron cobra high hat stand, Cobra clutch, Pearl throne thumper, Roland and Kit Toys cymbals, Roland KC 500, Promark