A sound question for Andy, I guess

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My first thought would be to tune higher, so as not to contribute to any mud, and probably even muffle...because the room itself will lengthen the note.

Snare dynamics are crucial because that's right in the frequencies that human speech is in.

Of course the cymbals have to be controlled, ride light, crash light. With everything play light light light. Wood tip sticks to lessen harshness on the cymbals, maybe lighter sticks even.

Gruntersdad had a good suggestion with a carpet. The nice thick sound sucking type.
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
I am no expert however muffling only will not really solve the problem as all you will get is reverberating muffled drums; I am thinking that perhaps treating like with like may be an answer meaning that you leave the drums open and tune them so that they are sympathetic to the other instruments you are playing with and matching their dynamic. Easier said than done but I don't see any other alternative short of putting you behind a Plexiglas shield.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
The less you "excite" the room the better. Arrangements that leave lots of space and sparse playing. Not the place to be playing Clyde Stubblefield bass drum parts.

PA should have as good of pattern control as possible and be aimed to keep as much sound off the walls as possible. This is where older horn loaded gear like the EAW KF series is much better than a modern line array. The modern champion of sound directivity control is Danley Sound Labs. They are mostly in the install business. Stadiums and modern churches. But there are some live sound folks using the gear.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Just a thought but do you have a rug or any carpet under your drums in these venues? It will kill some sound right away. Hard walls and and floors with no drapes or curtains will be killer.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Try out a set of Vic Firth AJ5 sticks. I have a set, and I love them to rehearse in our tight space. It's still enough of a stick to get tone out of the drums but is the smallest stick VF makes (it's smaller than a 7A).

It might be worth a shot!
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I've played in some old churches in Europe and the US, so I can relate! I've found leaving the drums around medium tuning with no muffling works fine. I'll use smaller VF AJ6 sticks or brushes.

The main trouble I've had is the Hi Hat, you can't really use sticks on it as there's way too much echo, I strictly use my feet to click it and swish/splash it.

The real key is to play softly and minimize any hard click sounds that will reverberate.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Thanks for your replies, guys! Sorry for the late answer, live is not easy at the moment.

Keep other instruments soft so you're not all competing/escalating the volume. A small amount of sound will fill the room.
Yes, we do that!
keep it simple said:
With any super reflective space with vast internal volume & high vaulted ceiling, less is more. The least sound you can drive into the room whilst still encouraging tone to dominate is the key. All attack sources need to be muted or negated in some way. Larger drums, coated heads, tuned fairly high, wide open as possible, tuned short with significantly higher tensioned resonant heads than batter heads. Then it's all down to the player, & yes, something like a Vater Bomb & full tight resonant head to the bass drum will deliver the goods :)

Mechanical muffling just aids attack to dominate by diminishing tone in the balance = avoid
Less attack, dominating tone, avoid mechanical muffling - interesting, never thought of this really. Thanks KIS, I'll try that!
larryace said:
This is a great question. Great advice from all so far. But at the end of the day, in addition to all the suggestions, it's up to the player to adjust their touch so they are capable of doing their thing, at literally a small fraction of their normal volume. It's playing to the room at the extreme difficulty level.
Absolutely!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This is a great question. Great advice from all so far. But at the end of the day, in addition to all the suggestions, it's up to the player to adjust their touch so they are capable of doing their thing, at literally a small fraction of their normal volume. It's playing to the room at the extreme difficulty level.

It's the Indian not the arrow scenario.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
With any super reflective space with vast internal volume & high vaulted ceiling, less is more. The least sound you can drive into the room whilst still encouraging tone to dominate is the key. All attack sources need to be muted or negated in some way. Larger drums, coated heads, tuned fairly high, wide open as possible, tuned short with significantly higher tensioned resonant heads than batter heads. Then it's all down to the player, & yes, something like a Vater Bomb & full tight resonant head to the bass drum will deliver the goods :)

Mechanical muffling just aids attack to dominate by diminishing tone in the balance = avoid.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Not a lot you can do in that kind of space. A couple of ideas:

Try setting up in different places around the room, including corners, walls, centre, etc. to find a spot that doesn't reverberate so much, or does do in a pleasant way. Just move your snare around and listen to how it sounds. Try keeping the musos close together, or a long way apart, and see what that does.

If bass is lacking, keep the bass drum solid but try and reduce the upper mids by setting up on thick carpet, muffling snare and toms, using brushes or rods, and playing softer.

Keep other instruments soft so you're not all competing/escalating the volume. A small amount of sound will fill the room.

E-bass: Put the bass amp in a corner or right by a wall to reduce out of phase reflections, then turn it down as much as possible.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I have occasional gigs in churches with gospel choirs or jazzy pop settings in services.

In Switzerland (as in Europe in general) we have these old church buidlings
with eternal reverb etc. :). I've experimented with my sound, and there are
some advantages to the acoustics as well as disadvantages. But basically,
it's a very difficuld environment for a drumset (and e-bass as well).

So my question is: What would you say is the ideal equipment and tuning
for that kind of gigs?

Snare: I've tried low tuning and high tuning, muffled or unmuffled. The thing
is, the church rooms kind of only need a short attack, and it builds to a huge
sound automatically.

Bass drum: I've tried 18" muffled mostly. But actually there is not much
low frequencies in the room. Maybe I should try more of a vintage approach,
meaning 22" BD unmuffled with a big round fluffy beater for less attack and
more "boom"?

By the way: All unmiked!!

Suggestions and experiences are very welcome!
 
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