or I always record kick on track 1....
Actually you probably do... record kick onto track 1 of your multi-track.
almost everyone does for various reasons we won't go into here.
SO then why not set up track one for the best overall kick drum SOUND?
Ahh... I bet you're thinking that it's already biased and
set up just like all other tracks...
But here's a good trick to help your kick sound better....
Align the deck as you always would... correct bias and proper level and eq.
then, find a willing drummer. Have him or her play just the kick, and record this onto tape.
Monitor the repro head as you're recording it... you're listening to what you're recording.
Then go ahead and turn down the bias for the kick track.
as you turn it you'll hear how it affects the sound of the kick drum.
Now start - slowly - turning up the bias -
AND JUST LISTEN TO THE SOUND OF THE KICK AS YOU KEEP RECORDING IT!!!
Bias that track for the BEST SOUND.
DO IT TOTALLY BY EAR. Forget the 'normal' bias level, just do the biasing
for the best possible sound.
this technique works for just about any low-frequency instrument, but it's
best just to do this for the kick, since you can pretty much know
in advance it's going to be on track 1 always. Just leave the bias level
where it sounds the best for the kick - unless of course the type of tape
changes... 'cause then you'll have to re-bias the whole machine, and you'll
either have to do the kick recording/bias thing again, or find out how much
bias you like on the kick and convert that into the normal 10k bias level.
So say you find a great sounding bias for the kick....
now go and find out how much bias you like by using the 'normal' 10khz
signal for biasing... mark where the meter is at 10k before you do anything
then once you have a reference (the great sounding kick bias level)
you can calculate the actual 10k bias level...
Say you find that the meter - at the 'great sounding kick point' -
reads -4VU when a 10k signal is recorded. Mark that in your mind or on paper.
Now slowly turn the bias down to find the peak (just as you normally
would) and then start to overbias - again as you normally would. But you
are looking for the point PAST THE PEAK that corresponds to the 'mark'
level at the best kick sound point. So Say That Good sound point
when given a 10k signal is reading -4 VU. Remember that and then
slowly turn the bias pot down and find the peak just like always.
Then start turning up the bias as normally you would but I'm finding out
how many db I am past the peak for the Best Sound point.
OK, my 'best sound' point is -4vu. The bias peak comes up at say +2vu.
I turn the bias up past the peak(overbiasing) and the meter starts dropping.
To get to the 'Best Sound' point (-2vu) I have to overbias not the 'normal 3.5 or 4db
at 15 ips in this example, but I have to overbias 6db to reach that
Good Sound point of -2vu at 10k.
So once I go through this test, I know that all I have to do to get the
best sounding kick is to not bias track 1 'normally' but overbias it
by 6 db when I'm using the normal 10k tone.
Likely you'll find that the best sound IS indeed more overbias than
normal for a kick drum. I could go into what this actually is
doing but that's a complicated and highly technical matter...
Just try this method. You'll need to find a good drummer who's willing to
sit there and play his or her kick for one hell of a long time as
you first start tweaking the bias for sound... but it's worth it.
Please note that this is JUST for intense low frequency signals.
You always want all other tracks - except perhaps the bass - to be biased
to the normal standard. It's just low frequency signals that can
be improved a bit by going outside the normal bias.