Boxy Sounding Drums?

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I've read how certain heads can make a drum sound boxy, but either I don't know what boxy is, or it means something different to each. I bring this up, because I've read so many say UV1s sound boxy, whereas Ambassadors sound worm and open. I have a set of ambassadors and a set of UV1s and have gone back and forth with them a few times and I don't hear boxy. The Ambassadors have slightly more high overtones, but that's about it. With this in mind, the UV1 has an odd sound to me on my Bubinga snare. Just not a good mix with that shell for some reason.

I'm not trying to turn this into an Evans vs Remo thread (It's what I have two complete sets of to compare). Just genuinely interested in the definition of boxy.

Here's a UV1 demo video. It's focusing on their new kick drum heads, but snare and toms are also outfitted with UV1s. Toms and snare sound really close to what I hear with my UV1s. https://youtu.be/sqRsWvsOoBE

Adding a beter video. Less marketing, more playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrE7cCv9a-c&start_radio=1&list=RDsqRsWvsOoBE

To me, the more you deaden the heads like the UV1 EMAD, the boxier they sound. This evidently isn't the definition of boxy, so what does it sound like?
 
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8Mile

Platinum Member
Boxy to me means they sound like a cardboard box. The sound you heard on so many of those 70s records, especially the studio drummers of that time.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
They use term to describe amps, guitars, and recording too don't they-you folks gotta keep me up with the jargon? Anyways boxy in drums, to me, is thuddy quick decay-no overtones-like a plastic box. But it has some boom and for some music is just right.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
^^ 8mile/GetAgrippa, these have been my understanding of boxy as well, but I tune my FTs to minimum sustain (according to TuneBot) and they have a ton of punch and at least 15 seconds of sustain regardless of which of the two heads (UV1 or Ambassadors) I use. I thought my EC2s were more in the realm of boxy, but still far from it. Yet, I keep reading about boxy sounding UV1 heads, so we're not talking about the same things evidently!
 
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cutaway79

Silver Member
I agree with 8mile... It's that 70s "way too much duct tape/muffling on everything" sound. A lot of old Eagles songs have this sound.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Fifteen seconds of sustain is "minimum"? Am I mis-understanding something here?
There's something to be said about well made drums, but yeah, that's crazy sustain. I don't have sophisticated recording equipment, but reducing the gain on my mic, I can limit it to about 5 seconds. It impacts everything else though...

I saw a video with Purdy, playing his George Way drums. He looked to have had about 50 pounds of tape all over the heads and they still sang like crazy, so it isn't just me. I just use the TuneBot recommendations as a guide and play with the heads to shorten even more, then use a piece of moongel. Brings me back to my what is boxy initial question.

I haven't noticed anything different, unless I go with a 2ply with rings, but I'm not looking for "boxy."
 

ConcertTom

Senior Member
I always think of the term "boxy" meaning mid rangey and hollow sounding. Like you're listening to it from the inside of a small box.

But that may be because i love and currently strive for that wet cardboard sound....
 

opentune

Platinum Member
To me, Boxy is the tom sound on the fills in the Eagles Victim of Love.
I'd insert you tube link here, but all their material seems pulled.
I do think some of this was some sort of standard recording procedure on a lot of 70's records, mind you not everybody was doing that (think Andy or Glyn Johns)
 

Merlin5

Gold Member
UV1s are great and not boxy. I've no idea why so many people slate them. They're super durable and are resonant, you just have to tune them right.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Because it was the only set they had that would fit my "odd" sized "fusion" kit, I bought some EC2's over the weekend.

Those sound like boxes to me. I had to fiddle with the bottom head to get any tone and the attack is really card-board-y.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
To me, Boxy is the tom sound on the fills in the Eagles Victim of Love.
I'd insert you tube link here, but all their material seems pulled.
I do think some of this was some sort of standard recording procedure on a lot of 70's records, mind you not everybody was doing that (think Andy or Glyn Johns)
The irony here is Glyn Johns produced the first 2 and a bit Eagles albums. The drums sound great. On the Eagles documentary one of the reasons they got rid of him was because he didn't mike each drum (Glyn Johns technique). They showed you Henleys kit, no bottom heads caked in gaffer tape.......poor workman blames his tools! Kit sounded awful on every album since.

I was listening to Jethro Tull Aqualung earlier, great drumming crap boxy as hell sound
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I’ve used the Evans Hydraulic heads for a long time and if they’re not tuned right, will sound “boxy”.
I’ve learned that any head or muffling system that gives a fat, wet sound will come off that way.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
It's probably a different type of descriptive when talking about drums vs something like a guitar or bass.

I think of boxy sounding drums as being tuned a little higher, but having less sustain, something like a concert tom, but if I think of a different instrument, like vocals, I think of something like Wall of Voodoo - Mexican radio.

I think of a boxy guitar as having that "back porch" type blues sound.

I think of a china cymbal like a Swish Knocker or the type Bernard Purdie uses as being a boxy sound.

I think of a cowbell as boxy.

I think of the sound of a crow as being boxy.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
The irony here is Glyn Johns produced the first 2 and a bit Eagles albums. The drums sound great. On the Eagles documentary one of the reasons they got rid of him was because he didn't mike each drum (Glyn Johns technique). They showed you Henleys kit, no bottom heads caked in gaffer tape.......poor workman blames his tools! Kit sounded awful on every album since.

I was listening to Jethro Tull Aqualung earlier, great drumming crap boxy as hell sound
Exactly. If interested in this stuff, have a read Glyn Johns Book 'Sound Man' if you haven't already.
http://www.glynjohns.com/books

Each chapter is his experience with many different artists. Glyn never cared for the Eagles right from the get go, and didn't even want to work with them. he was coerced. Not just the drums micing issue, but he never like their musical direction, nor allowed dope smoking in the studio on the job, on which the Eagles insisted. This is all counter to the impression given in the Eagles documentary. One gets the impression Glyn couldn't stand Frey and Henley.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
When I think boxy, I think no tone, no sustain, no resonance. Just thud. The sound doesn't spread out, it sounds like the drum is a box, being hit while inside a box.

There's certainly applications where one might want to produce a boxy tone on purpose, but overall I think it's not desirable for live performance unless you're close-miked and compressed and EQed to heck and back.
 
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