BC Gigster

Overview

BC Gigster Round Throne and EngineThe BC Gigster features the same astounding performance and build quality as our flagship BC2 and BC2rm, but with reduced features to help achieve a substantially lower retail price.

Available in both 115 volt (North America and Japan) and 240 volt models.

The Gigster is a silent bass drum monitoring system which allows you to feel, hear and experience your bass drum like you never felt or heard it before. It consists of the finest Tactile Generator available, built into our own Patented throne top, and uses bone conduction to deliver powerful, precise and nuanced reproduction without sound.

The Gigster is made from the same superior components as the BC2, and although it has slightly fewer features, it has identical power and performance, giving you great connectivity to your drum kit whilst playing and recording.

Although at Porter & Davies we designed the new Gigster with the working musician in mind making it lightweight and ultra-compact, it is also the weapon of choice for many top pros who enjoy its extreme portability.

It is literally designed as a ‘plug in and play’ and is astounding with both acoustic & electronic drums.
At Porter & Davies we have used our expertise to maintain product integrity without compromising on quality. Keen to bring a value product to the market at a smart price, we have simplified the packaging, stripped away the non essential features, and brought to the market the ultimate streamlined form of the BC2.

Compare our products with this handy comparison sheet.

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Details

BC Gigster Saddle Throne and EngineThe BC Gigster has the same components and performance as the BC2. Here are the differences:

  • The Gigster has no integral flightcase. However, it is completely encased in its own steel ‘exoskeleton’, and has tough rubberised ‘bumper’ end cheeks.
  • The Gigster is not voltage switchable, so there are two models: A 115 volt unit for North America and Japan, and a 240 volt model for most other countries. The 240 volt model either comes with a UK or EU style plug.
  • The Gigster has no phantom power selector. However, a condenser mic (such as a Shure Beta 91) will work perfectly if the output from the Gigster is fed to a desk with phantom power supply (as is the norm).
  • The Gigster has a combined single mic/line input socket. The mic input is via an XLR lead, whilst the line input is via standard 1/4″ jack.

The BC Gigster is a two unit system:

  1. A choice of one of our three styles of fully Patented, custom designed and built throne tops containing a Tactile Transducer.
  2. The Gigster ‘Engine’ which contains all of the electronics: – Amp, preamp, inputs and outputs, protection circuitry, and volume and tone controls.
  • BC Gigster Engine Front TopThe BC Gigster is an amplified Tactile Generator Monitor System which transmits the full bass drum signal and sound (or any other drum) physically up through the drum stool. This signal is registered mainly through bone conduction (see the Theory page), and the result is far more sophisticated than a simple “thump”. All of the tone and intricacies of the bass drum sound and impact are felt and heard internally.
  • If a mixing desk is being used, you can feed in (via the line input rather than the direct mic input) other sounds such as toms, overhead mics (for a full kit “picture”), and bass guitar.
  • We use the highest quality and most efficient Tactile Transducers available, made just for us by top UK company Precision Devices.
  • The handmade throne tops are extremely comfortable, solid and elegantly constructed with the finest velvet in classic ‘British Racing Green’. Each of the three different designs is adorned with a silk ‘BC Gigster by Porter & Davies’ logo. They are designed to accommodate 7/8” diameter throne bases as used by Roc n Soc, DW, Gibraltar, Tama, Ludwig, Premier, Yamaha, Custom Percussion, and others.
  • For those who like to sit low, we also supply our very own extra-low throne base, and we can also add backrests and different mounting plates (pneumatic etc) at extra cost.
  • We have sourced the finest components which are then all assembled by hand.
  • There is zero compromise on build quality and workmanship.
  • Each and every unit is thoroughly tested by Tim Porter & Dil Davies themselves.
  • BC Gigster Engine Top AngleThe drummer has full control over power and intensity immediately to his/her side, and the system is 100% consistent, night after night, regardless of acoustics, room size, etc.
  • The BC Gigster, just like the BC2, offers unparalleled response speed (0% lag) and sensitivity, so will faithfully reproduce all of your playing dynamics: It will respond to long notes (beater off) as well as short notes (beater on), depending on drum dampening, tuning and playing style.
  • It will TRANSFORM your playing experience: The drummer and drum kit become ‘one’ – your groove will be stronger than ever.
  • The BC Gigster unit is even more compact than the already tiny BC2, but has the same efficient use of power: It needs under 150W to drive is as opposed to around 1200W required by a well known competitor.
  • Pros who swear by the BC2 are now also using the Gigster for international gigs, where the tiny and light (3.4kgs) Gigster Engine can tuck away inside a suitcase, and the throne top be carried as cabin luggage (or “cabbage” as we call it in my band…) in a snare case.
  • Here is the BIG advantage for fully amplified gigs where IEMs (In Ear Monitors) are NOT used: No bass drum(s) thumping through big monitor subs to pollute the stage sound.
  • The kit can be miked up more ambiently, and the sound engineer hasn’t got to roll all the heavy bottom off the other mics. The toms can now breathe properly and sound huge.
  • BC Gigster Engine RearIf you use IEMs, the Gigster completes the sonic experience by providing the physicality of the bottom end which otherwise cannot be replicated.
  • If you don’t use IEMs, never again will you struggle to feel and hear your bass drum or compromise your technique, sound and timing by hammering away fruitlessly.
  • The Gigster is simply UNBELIEVABLE with MIDI kits: Real power, real presence, and you’ll lose that disconnected feeling. The ENTIRE electronic kit feeds into the unit (if chosen to do so) and therefore you don’t just get the bass drum, but the entire kit. Even snare rolls are felt and heard.
  • Cheaper tour/stage spec: No subs required for the drummer.
  • Whereas most wedges don’t cut it for the bass drum, they are fine for bass guitar (and of course all the other instruments and voices). The bass guitar sound can now come through your monitor crystal clear without having to compete with the bass drum. Volume levels will drop without any power compromise.
  • Recording becomes a whole other experience. This is what top UK drummer Ash Soan has to say: “Up until now we only had our headphone mix and a click track to help us find the feel for the song we were recording, but with the Gigster you have its added sense and weight to help you get the pocket right”.

Spec

BC Gigster Round Throne and Engine Alternate AngleBC Gigster by Porter & Davies ‘Engine’:

Dimensions:
34cm x 16cm x 10cm inc rubber bumpers

Weight:
3.4Kg

Cables supplied as standard:
2M UK power cable – fixed
2M Speakon NL4 throne link cable. Twin Axial, 140 x 0.15mm, OFC.

Power requirement:
230vAC (115vAC [USA etc] )
200W peak.

Self-selecting combination XLR/JACK input.

Plug in an XLR for:
Mic in: 600 ohm electronically balanced P2 hot XLRF

Plug in a JACK for:
Line in: 10K ohm unbalanced tip: hot
Mic out: Hardwired parallel to mic in. XLRM balanced P2 hot
Line out: Hardwired parallel to line in. XLRM unbalanced P2 hot

Input gain:
Mic: 0dB to +60dB
Line: -20dB to +40dB

BC Gigster Engine Top ViewLow Contour: +/- 12dB @ 55Hz shelving

Signal Present indicator led, green: -30dB
Signal Peak indicator led, yellow: 0dB
Signal Limit indicator led, red: +12dB

Max output: 150W RMS / 4ohm 0.05%THD 20hz-18khz +/- 2dB.
Anti-thump and noiseless dynamic load protection circuitry built-in.

BC Gigster by Porter & Davies Throne tops:

Round Throne Top:
40 x 40 x 15cms deep
Weight: 5.7Kg

Saddle Throne Top
40 x 40 x 15cms deep
Weight: 5.7Kg

Extra-wide Throne Top
50 x 40 x 15cms deep
Weight: 5.9Kg

Connection between Engine and Throne:
Speakon NL4 to Speakon NL4 : (supplied)

Other Applications

The BC2, BC2rm and Gigster were primarily conceived for drummers, but as time has gone on many other musicians have been trying out P&D rigs for other instruments: If you sit down when you play, a P&D rig will add a huge dimension to your musical experience. Many studio and theatre bass players have discovered the difference a P&D system makes to their work, but now word is spreading to other musicians…

Here are a few examples:

Jonathon Beckford

Keyboardist Jon Beckford (above) has been using his BC Gigster with Billy Ocean for a few years now. He describes it as “solid as a rock… there’s no turning back with its attack, the rhythm becomes your backbone.”.

Adrian Oxaal

Oysterband ‘cellist Adrian Oxaal (left) uses a BC2 to supplement his regular monitoring. The BC2 gives him the richness, tone and sustain of his instrument which usually simply disappears on a noisy stage.

Manu Van Os

Manu van Os, keyboard player for Dutch band Racoon bought the BC2rm (below) and says “I don’t want to play without it anymore. It’s not only just nice to play with and a welcome addition to the in ear sound, but it adds to the quality of your personal part within the music and therefore enhances the total band performance. It gives me the push through the seat without the need for big monitors or wedges to move the air; It clears up the low-end, makes the bass tighter and much more defined. With those two things happening, your total mix gets deeper and wider.”.

Theory

Porter & Davies Throne Tops

Porter & Davies Throne Tops

Most of the sound we hear reaches our ears via airborne vibrations, like those produced by acoustic instruments and loudspeakers. However, there are four additional pathways through which we perceive acoustic energy, all of which fall into the category of tactile sound. These additional pathways include:

  • Deep tissue and muscle mass (“Kinesthetic”)
  • Skeletal joints (“Haptic”)
  • Skin sensation (sense of touch)
  • Bone conduction (skull to cochlea transmission)
Dil Davies London Drum Show

Co-inventor Dil Davies at the London Drum Show.

To capitalise on these additional means by which we perceive acoustic energy, Tactile Sound Transducers have been designed to send high-quality audio to the listener/player in the form of vibrations over a full range of tactile audio frequencies. When attached to a resonant surface (which is at the heart of our Patent Pending thrones), the transducer reacts with precision and directness to the signal it receives.

Instructions

The Gigster (Patented) is available in two models: A 115 volt version for North America and Japan, and a 240 volt version for most other countries. The 240 volt model either comes with a UK or EU plug.

The Gigster comes with the following:

  • Gigster Engine (either USA 115 volts, GB 240 volts or EU 240 volts).
  • Throne top (choice of three styles). Integrally mounted inside the throne is our very own Precision Devices transducer.
  • Speakon NL4 connector cable.
  • Short female XLR to 1/4” jack converter lead to connect a line feed XLR cable to the line input mode of the Gigster ‘Engine’.

You will also need the following, as they are NOT supplied with the Gigster.

  • The throne base is NOT included, but our thrones will accommodate 7/8″ diameter throne bases as used by Gibraltar, Roc N Soc, Yamaha, DW, Tama, Pearl, Ludwig, Premier, Custom Percussion, and others. Custom sizes and pneumatic (air lift) mounting brackets are available on request, as are backrests on all models.
  • If you like to sit low, we recommend our own extra-low throne base.
  • Bass drum microphone and connecting XLR cable.
  • Mic stand or Kelly Shu internal bass drum mount (highly recommended).If you wish to connect some midi kits to the Gigster (via the line input) you will need a regular jack to jack cable.

Basic set-up

Put the throne and engine in position.

Plug in the bass drum mic XLR lead or a feed from the monitor board/desk to the dual purpose input socket. Engage Line mode by using a 1/4” jack lead or convert an XLR cable with the short lead (which is provided), then plug in the throne via the supplied Speakon NL4 connector lead, and the power lead. Please see the section below for detailed instructions on using the Line input.

Turn the large ‘Master Level’ knob fully off (anti-clockwise) and start off the ‘Low Contour’ knob at about 12 – 1 o’clock. Switch the power on.

Play the bass drum at your max power and adjust the ‘Mic Level’ knob until the red ‘Peak’ lights up [at this stage you will feel nothing through the throne]. This sets the basic level for your playing style, drum, and whatever microphone you are using.

Next, pull the Mic Level back a fraction to avoid overdriving the unit. Some bass drum mics will run hotter than others.

Gradually turn the Master Volume to your desired setting.

Adjust the Low Contour to your preference. Generally speaking, unported bass drums require far less Low Contour than those that are dampened and ported. Too much Low Contour may trigger the VMT (see below).

Instructions

There are two ways to connect the bass drum microphone to the Gigster system:

  • Directly via the ‘Mic’ XLR input.
  • Via the ‘Line’ jack input from a desk / board, either with a 1/4” jack cable or with an XLR cable using the provided converter cable into the dual purpose input socket.

‘Mic’ input:
This is the most simple and effective method. The Gigster Engine is equipped with an internal hard-wired passive microphone signal splitter, which means that the signal from the microphone is unaffected by the controls on the Engine. The signal will go through to the PA perfectly even if the Engine is unplugged. The sound techs do their thing, and the drummer controls his/her precise desired setting. We recommend that sound techs are instructed to us the ‘Mic’ Output as if it were the actual microphone XLR socket.

The Gigster is equally happy with both dynamic and condenser microphones.

To use a condenser rather than a dynamic mic, you will need to be connected to a desk/board which can feed it the required 48v phantom power.

‘Line’ input:
The ‘Line’ 1/4” jack input has a number of applications:

  • It will also take a feed from a monitor desk/board where you can then apply EQ and gating if required.
  • The Line input will also allow other signals to be routed through the Gigster (bass guitar, snare, toms for instance).
  • It will allow the connection of electronic drum kits to the Gigster system.

The Gigster Line socket accepts both balanced and unbalanced inputs.

Tips & Suggestions

The Gigster reproduces the sound of your drum with remarkable accuracy.

A badly tuned drum with old heads will not give you the same impact and tone as a well tuned drum. You get back what you put in.

Bass drum size is irrelevant. You will get similar levels of power from an 18 x 14 or a 24 x 18 if they are set up well.

Microphone positioning will affect the response of the Gigster in the same way as it alters the out front or studio sound. A great all-round position (for maximum power and impact) is approximately 4 inches (10 cms) away from the beater impact point, and at a slight angle. Having the mic deep inside the drum will also greatly reduce external sounds (such as a loud bass guitar) from entering the Gigster.

If you have a very loud stage, some gating of the bass drum mic will remove the stage sound from being picked up by the Gigster.

A dampened drum will give you a very direct thump, whereas if your bass drum is very boomy, this length of note will be transferred back to you via the throne. TIP: If you like a long open sound but want a more direct ‘kick’ sensation in your throne, try placing the mic (or a separate one) outside on the batter side of the bass drum nice and close to where the beater strikes.

If you play with both ‘beater on’ and ‘beater off’, the Gigster will faithfully reproduce the different effects of these techniques (depending on bass drum set up, of course)

The white bulbs (VMT):
If you turn the Gigster up high and play with sustained speed and power (double pedal onslaught etc), you will likely engage the Gigster’s VMT (Vacuum Micro Tube) protection device. This is when the white bulbs unit under the grid lights up. This device protects the transducer inside the throne by preventing excessive amounts of signal being sent to it. The more the protection device lights up, the more excess power is diverted away from the transducer and dumped to the bulbs. This enables the P&D system to look after itself and come to absolutely no harm.

For optimum and consistent power we recommend setting the Gigster to a level where the lights do not come on regularly. Even at this level you will probably feel a bit beaten up anyway! If you consistently light up the VMT, please see the ‘Output EQ’ section below.

Try the Gigster in the recording studio: It is an astounding recording aid. You may wish to use a separate mic, especially if the recording mic is way outside the drum.

Driving the Gigster from the monitor desk/board

  • Assign a separate output to send a mix to the engine, in the same way as you would for a wedge/monitor sub (this will most likely be an XLR going into our short female XLR to male 1/4” jack converter cable which comes supplied).
  • Set the master output of this aux at 0dB (most masters are infinity to +6dB or more).
  • This output needs to be nice and hot, because the Gigster Engine has its own volume control, unlike a wedge or sub power amp, which is always set at full volume.
  • Mix in appropriate levels of drums, bass, keyboards, or whatever you want to monitor through the Gigster system.

Output EQ

  • Most monitor desk/board outputs have assignable EQs. You can enhance the effect of the Gigster signal with a little EQ.
  • For the bass drum, we recommend setting the HP filter (or a tight shelving EQ) to around 40Hz (depending on personal preference), as you don’t get any focussed effect in the seat from frequencies below this, but they will draw a lot of power (which can set off the VMT).
  • For more thump, the area around 80Hz is very potent, and the frequencies up to around 160Hz are all felt physically.
  • Set a very narrow band (High ‘Q’) 6db peak and sweep the frequency between 70-100Hz until you find your personal chest cavity resonance (the bass drum ‘hit’ sensation). You will now find you can reduce the master volume and retain the best effect from the unit.
  • These settings also work wonders with any other signal fed into the Gigster, ie toms, snare, bass guitar etc.

Please remember that at Porter & Davies we are always here to help, so PLEASE get in contact if you have any questions.

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Warranty

A 24 month limited warranty covers all products from date of purchase and covers against manufacturing defects.

Conditions
In the first instance Porter & Davies must be made aware of any issues prior to goods being sent back for repair.

If a fault develops within the 24 month warranty period the goods will be collected by Porter & Davies at their expense where possible. If it is not possible for Porter & Davies to collect the faulty product, subject to the fault being covered by the warranty, Porter & Davies will reimburse the customer for the cost of sending the goods for inspection.

If it is found that the fault is covered by the limited warranty, Porter & Davies will repair the fault and send the goods back free of charge.

If it is found that the fault is not covered by warranty, for example, the unit has been damaged, dropped or abused in any way, a quote will be provided for the cost of repair as well as pick up postage cost and return postage cost. Upon receipt of funds, the unit will be repaired and returned.

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Product Comparison

Product Comparison Sheet