Introduction: DIY Subkick
As all of us, drummers know we can't ever seem to get that perfect kick drum sound. So we try using EQ, effects processors triggers etc. So if you're like me and want that perfect kick drum sound that cuts right through your mixes and you don't want to bust the bank be sure to check out this instructable that shows you how to get that pro quality kick sound for next to nothing.
Step 1: Supplies
1 XLR Male to Female cable (inexpensive)- $10.00 (depending on length)
1 Speaker (from a guitar amp preferably)- Free- $20.00 (pawn shop)
2 spade terminals (male and female)- $3.00
Pair of Crimpers
Pair of Wire Strippers
Butane Torch (not pictured)
A basic knowledge of electronics
Soldering Iron (optional)
Bolt with Nut
Step 2: Understanding
A sub-kick is basically a diaphragm microphone. It captures the low end of a kick, 50hz, (bass register) and gives it a pulse that is more felt than heard. By using the sub kick it captures more sound that your regular mic wouldn't pick up. When your drum track consists of Hz's ranging from 200-500 and you have a 50hz recording that can be heard, it really gives your kick more substance. So now that you have a basic understanding of the sub-kick let's begin.
Step 3: Cutting the XLR Cable
Taking your (cheap) XLR cord you'll need your pair of wire cutters. Snip the end off of the MALE side. DO NOT CUT OFF THE FEMALE SIDE or you will need a new cable or a funky adapter. On most XLR's they have a metal jacket (braided) that will need to stripped as well as the wire. I use a butane torch to clean up the end of the wire. Once your cord is opened you should see a red or white and black wire. The black wire is negative (-) and the red or white is positive (+). This will be very important later when wiring the speaker. Strip both wires and leave enough (not too much) for your spade connectors.
Step 4: Attaching the Spade Connectors
Slip the spade connectors on and using your crimpers crimp the connectors to the wire. Be sure that the connectors will not pull off.
Step 5: Attaching the Speaker
In electronics positive (+) is red or white and negative (-) is black. Your speaker should have a ( + or -) on the spade tabs. To be a sub-kick we need to reverse the polarity if not, it's just a speaker on an XLR cable. The positive (+) goes to the negative (-) and the negative (-) goes to the positive (+). This reverses the polarity and turns the speaker into a large diaphragm microphone. Upon completing this step you have built a sub-kick. Wait there's more!
Step 6: Mounting the Subkick
You can choose to mount the sub-kick using an old shell or simply mount it using a mic stand. Most speakers have a screw hole for mounting. Remove the mic clip from the stand, but be sure to leave the rest. Put a screw through the remaining mic clip and the speaker. Now you're ready to set it up.
Step 7: Setup
Plug your XLR cable into your audio interface and route it to a channel for recording. EQ it accordingly and solo it with and without your kick drum. Experimenting with different positions may have an effect on sound, but you should soon find a sound you like.
Step 8: Final Thoughts
So now you have a professional looking and sounding sub-kick. You've learned a little bit about electricity, your kick drum sounds like a boss, and you're not broke. I believe there is a way to create quality products without busting the bank and this proves it. I hope you guys enjoyed this instructable. Be sure to check out my drum cover channel StreetDrummer (link below). I use my sub-kick for almost every video and always get that perfect kick drum sound. So I hope you've learned a bit and you'll now be pleased with your kick drum sound. Thanks for checking out my instructable. Feel free to ask me any questions or leave any tips how you would have done it better.