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Subwoofer Versus Kickdrum

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  • Subwoofer Versus Kickdrum

    I've been wondering how much subage is required to match the spl of a kickdrum placed side by side with a subwoofer(s).

    Good attack, decay, and frequency response are obviously important in getting the "smack" & "concussion" to sound right.

    But I'm just trying to find out how much sub is needed to get that full kick drum in the room effect.

    A little net research found that kickdrums range in 16" to 26" in diameter with 20-22" being most common these days.

    It seems this could be computed fairly easily if the maximum membrane air displacement of a typical kick drum was known.
    :group: Long live draft beer and good old rock 'n roll :grinning:

  • #2
    You will need a very efficient driver(s) and gobs of power. Just remember, we are TRYING to reach realism, close is as good as we can get for now. FWIW, I am a drummer, played horns, keys and one woodwind when I was younger, too. I have tuned my 22" vintage Ludwig to kick the ass of my brother's newer 24" Tama Rockstar. :rock:

    It isn't only how much woofer, it is how the sub(s) integrate with the room, of course. I will be adding 2 cheap subs to my existing MFW-15 for a Geddes multi-sub setup that is supposed to be ideal. This takes care of standing waves, smoothing the room response if done properly.

    Have you ever sat on the floor in front of a properly tuned kick drum? Try it sometime. :D


    • #3
      Well there are a couple of problems. First, the sound produced by a live acoustic kick drum is full spectrum and not just below 80hz or wherever you would cross it over. Calculating only the sound below a certain frequency crossed over at a certain slope gets pretty complicated fast. Second, an acoustic kick drum will have a lot less oomph in the subsonic range than what is usually presented in recordings. I'm not talking about bad recordings either. It's just the generally desired effect. At live concerts it's frequently even more exaggerated than on the album. Third, even once you consider the size of the heads, different drummers tune differently, use different beaters for a specific sound, and play with differing levels of "authority."

      I will say that reproducing the sound of an acoustic drum set at original volume with no processing at all is not an easy task. The dynamic range is huge, and the transients are very important. It's not the subwoofer that would struggle though, if it was halfway decent. I doubt my mfw-15 could keep up with the speed of the source, but output wouldn't be a problem. If I tried to pair it with my RS450's crossed over at 80hz, the RS450's would be begging for mercy. Even crossed over at 100hz, the sub would probably be ok and the RS450's would be compressed all to hell.
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