Joe Greenacre, a good friend of mine, recently (very generously) lent me his Porter and Davies BC2.
For those of you who don’t know what the Porter and Davies BC2 is, it is a tactile monitoring system. Basically, it’s a stool fitted with tactile generator which allows you to “feel” your bass drum. You put a microphone in your bass drum, link it to the BC2 engine (amplifier), and connect the engine to the stool. When you play your bass drum, the stool “shakes” slightly, and you feel your bass drum through your body.
As drummers, the first part of the kit we struggle to hear is the bass drum. Our ears are much nearer to the snare, toms and cymbals. Yes, we feel the impact of the beater on the drum head, but we don’t get much back sound-wise from the drum. The BC2 solves this problem.
We’ve all been to concerts or nightclubs where the music is very loud, and you can feel the bass frequencies throb through your body. It’s a very similar experience with the BC2 – you feel the bass drum notes, but of course there’s no volume. It sends vibrations up through the stool and up your spine.
Gigging with the Porter and Davies BC2:
Setting up the BC2 is easy, and within minutes I felt like I was playing a huge venue with a big drum monitor underneath me. I felt in touch with the drums, and could feel every single bass drum hit, and there I could much more easily and accurately place my bass drum notes. I also felt a new connection to my drums, with a much stronger link between my bass drum and my hands.
I use in-ear monitoring with the band, and combining that with the BC2 gave me an amazing mix in my ears. I had a massive sounding (and feeling) bass drum without the need for a big drum monitor. The band were slightly curious as I had a massive smile on my face throughout the first gig. It felt astonishing!
After a few gigs, I found myself becoming a little complacent. Yes, I liked the BC2, and I loved the sensation of feeling my bass drum through the seat, but I really couldn’t see why I should buy one. I’d survived without one for the last 38 years, so why should I change now?
Then I made a massive mistake. During one song, I reached around and turned it off.
It was as though someone has removed my bass drum. I had nothing. I could just about make out the feeling of beater striking drumhead, but that fullness and fatness had disappeared. I lasted about 8 bars until I reached around and turned it back on again. I was amazed how much I had grown to rely on it during the previous gigs.
The BC2 has a somewhat intimidating price tag of £1000. It’s little brother, the Gigster is £800. That’s a lot of money for something that doesn’t actually give you a new sound. £1000 could buy you a lovely shell pack, or a set of great cymbals, or even a car to carry it all around in! However, I still want one. I can absolutely see the value in having a bit of equipment that actually gives you an incredible feeling when playing, connects you to your drum kit in a way you never realised you could be, and actually improves your playing by giving you tactile feedback whenever you play your bass drum. All I have to do now is convince the wife that buying one is a good idea…
This weekend I have my first gigs without a BC2 since mid December. Wish me luck!
More information on the Porter and Davies products can be found at www.porteranddavies.co.uk