Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Fonz Foot Wedge

A "tactile transducer" is a loudspeaker that you feel instead of hear. It's basically a speaker driver that attaches to your chair to give you the feeling of extreme low frequency vibrations. This is very useful in the studio when a drummer can't get the level of his kick drum loud enough. The engineer places a device called a Bass Shaker (made by Aura) on the drum throne and suddenly the drummer can feel the kick drum and suddenly it seems a lot louder than it really is.

It's a cool device that really does work, since the mind is tricked into thinking everything sounds bigger than it is because you can feel the vibrations.

I'm not sure if this is a real product or not, but Dave Mathews Band bassist Stefen Lessard is using an interesting twist on the idea called a Fonz Foot Wedge on the current DMB tour. This is the same idea as the bass shaker on the drum seat, but it's connected to a board that you can put your foot on to feel the vibration. In the case of Lessard, he's getting the vibrations from just the kick drum.

In this case, it's not so much to fooling the brain into thinking the kick is louder as it is to stay in the groove with the drummer. A trick of many studio bass players is to put their foot up against the kick drum to feel it, which helps to fall into the groove a little easier. The Foot Wedge seems to be just the ticket for this purpose.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bobby has mixed up some of the facts. The device is not made by Aura, rather by Clark Synthesis. It's not fed only the kick drum but the bass guitar as well. See the original story here...

http://www.prosoundnews.com/blog/30248

Bobby Owsinski said...

Sorry to differ, but I think I got my facts right. The Bass Shaker is made by Aura and that's what we usually use on drum thrones and the like. The Foot Wedge uses the Clark Synthesis Tactile Sound Transducer instead, which I should have pointed out.

Stefen Lessard may be getting some of the bass as well, but he's trying to feel the kick.

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