Porter and Davies BC2 Bass Drum Monitor System
The Porter and Davies BC2 Bass Drum Monitor
What is the BC2?
Well, the official line is... The BC2 allows you to feel and experience the bass drum like you never felt it before. But that doesn''t really say very much.
The BC2 (or Bum Chum as it was called) is a silent bass drum monitor system. The BC2 consist of a two part system – a specially designed stool top and a flight cased (but very small) electronics pack/amplifier. The two link together using a heavy duty Speakon connector cable.
How it works
What you do is put a microphone into your bass drum, plug it into the amplifier, plug in another mic cable to the output and give that to your sound man (if you have one, it doesn''t matter if you don''t – you DON''T need a PA for this to work).
Then you tweak the controls until you ''hear'' your bass drum. Or rather feel it. Inside the throne top is a transducer system that delivers a powerful but sensitive reproduction of your bass drum sound without any volume, transmitted through bone conduction ie up your spine. Your stool top shakes and suddenly you can ''hear'' your bass drum much better.
If you''ve never come across this before (and systems like this have been around for years, just not in such a nice compact package), all this might sound completely rubbish, but it works. When your body is vibrated at a low frequency, your brain registers that as the ears hearing a very loud low pitch sound, even though there is no audible bass drum sound. Its like sitting next to a massive floor monitor with loads of bass drum in it, but completely silent.
The BC2 consists of a choice of two types of UK made, specially designed throne tops (round or piano stool) which fit onto your existing stool base (none is supplied).
At first I was unsure about this product - its a lot of money and unless you are playing on big stages I couldn’t see why you would spend this amount of money on a monitor system… but I was wrong.
When I first had the BC2, I had it in my teaching studio. It was easy to set up with just a mic set up on the front side of the bass drum into the BC2 control box and then a lead from the control box into the bottom of the drum throne. As there was a choice I went for the round top. The engine box is easy to operate with a big dial to operate how much vibration you want in the base of the stool (see video)
After a little playing around I found the best set up for me.
It didn’t take me long to really feel the benefits of the BC2 when playing a groove with a click. I could suddenly feel the bass drum which made it easier and made me more aware of playing in the pocket. Next, it was the students turn. The BC2 was a big hit with my students, so much so that several of my students have since gone onto buy one.
I then tried the BC2 with my in-ears in the studio and although I had no bass drum in my ears it gives the illusion that the bass drum is in the mix because of the vibration, you can feel in the base of your spine.
Next up was live; I used it on a function gig with just the bass drum and snare drum mic''ed up. First, I had to get used to the mickey taking from the bass player about my new Bum Chum drum throne!
I normally have most of the band in my in-ears on this gig, with a little snare and bass drum but I found I didn’t have to have any bass drum in my ears. More importantly, the sound/feel was as good at the end of the night when the band started getting carried away and turning up!
For most drummers out there who are doing 1 or 2 gigs a month in pubs and hotels, is £999 too much to spend on a product like this?
At first I would have said yes, but after using it for 4 weeks I would say it would be more beneficial for club/pub drummers as we don’t usually have the luxury of a good sound man and have to rely on who ever is mixing for us on the night.
The BC2 lets you, as the drummer, have a lot more control of what YOU (not the rest of the band) hear at rehearsals, gigs or just when practicing. My only criticism is I personally found the stool top to be a little hard, but with what you gain, I can live with it.
In fact, I was so impressed with the BC2 I have now bought one for my teaching studio.
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