Porter & Davies

An ultra-compact yet powerful tactile throne kicker for everyday use in clubs, on tour, or in the studio.

Porter & Davies is a U.K.-based company that manufactures a range of high-quality tactile monitoring systems, including the flagship BC2, the rack-mountable BC2rm, and the portable BC Gigster. The company recently released its most affordable model yet, the BC-X, which touts 75–85 percent of the power of the larger systems but has a smaller (8×7.5×4) and lighter (6.61 lb.) engine and a 6×13 round throne top that has the transducer fully contained within the seat.

Plug and Go
The BC-X is super easy to set up. Simply plug in the engine, connect the included Speakon NL4 cable from the engine to the seat, and connect a drum mic or trigger module output to the input on the BC-X engine via an XLR or instrumental cable. After powering on the engine, turn up the input knob while playing the drum until the yellow LED indicator illuminates during your hardest notes. Then increase the master volume until you feel the desired amount of thump in the seat. If you’re using the BC-X for personal monitoring only, you’re all set. If you need to route the audio from the bass drum microphone or trigger module to a PA system, you can do so by connecting an XLR cable to the output jack on the engine.

How It Performed
The engine on all Porter & Davies systems are designed to replicate the attack, sustain, dynamics, and decay of the bass drum (or sample) being used as accurately as possible. So if you play with a wide-open bass drum sound, the seat will rumble for the entire length of the note the drum produces. If you bury the beater, or use a deader drum, the seat hits with a quicker, tighter punch.

Mic placement will also affect how the engine responds, in terms of overall level, attack, and decay. Even when the mic was placed all the way inside my kick drum, I had to crank the input of my Shure Beta 52A to the maximum in order to get a hot enough signal into the engine. I also ran into a level issue when running a Roland TM-2 trigger module directly to the BC-X, via an unbalanced instrument cable. In order to get enough juice into the engine, I had to run the TM-2 into a DI box first, so the signal could be converted into a balanced XLR output. Once I did that, there was plenty of power available to dial in a comfortable amount of thump.

I use a BC Gigster in my studio, and have found it to be an indispensable tool for adding some big low-end power to my in-ear and headphone mixes without actually producing any perceivable sound. Although smaller and slightly less powerful, the BC-X performed just as impressively as the Gigster. It was sensitive to changes in dynamics, touch, and tuning, and the seat top was firm but comfortable. The BC-X doesn’t include the Low Contour knob, which is found on the higher-grade models and allows you to manipulate the length of sustain of the signal transmitted to the throne. Frankly, I didn’t miss it. If your drum is tuned well, or the triggered sample you’re using is appropriately matched to what and how you’re playing, then the BC-X will give back exactly what you put into it. The BC-X engine, seat, and link cable sell for around $642. Bundles that include a throne base and/or hard case are also available as well. Check out porteranddavies.co.uk for more information.