Boy the room makes a difference


Senior Member
For the last couple of years we have been rehearsing in a room that had a fairly high ceiling with plastered walls and ceiling.

Recently the room was refurbished and they put in a lower ceiling with effectively more office ceiling type tiles.

WOW what a difference it has made, before the kit sounded great, it was big and round with a nice warm ring, now it's like a dead fish

I always great caught out by this when we gig, being the drumm I always get there first and set up well in advance of the sound check, then have to spend hours trying to get the kit to sound as I like it.

A short while ago we played a hall which the last time we played was one of the better sounding halls we have done, the kit felt great and sounded warm

This time they had a huge curtain behind me that could not get removed so when I came to play the kit was once again dead and lifeless.

Irronically I was told it sounded better out front but I am not so sure, it's personal, and I have always loved drums to sound like drums and not pillows, however, many don't like that and it can make sound engineers pull their hair out.

However even after 25+ years of playing I was still shocked how different our rehearsal room was.

Anyone else experience difficulty in trying to maintain a constant sound in different venues?

That Guy

Platinum Member
It was definately an issue for me when playing an unmic'd gig. I would spend at least an hour trying to found the sound I was used to in our rehearsal space. Most of the time my band members told me that I was being paranoid and I do agree. Eventually, I just asked my band to please stand at certain spots in the place we were playing and asked them how it sounded. After I started doing that, my tweaking only lasted about 15 minutes tops. I trusted my band members and they never failed me when it came to the sound of my drums and the audienced agreed most of the time.


Senior Member
I would love to be able to get mine to do the same, but we spend so long getting the guitar, sax, vocal, keys set up and working with the monitors and PA that I always find very little time to get the drums sorted.

I think they just feel that drums are loud and will sound pretty much the same and they don't have knobs on that you can endlessly tweek

It drives me mad, we always suffer from technical issues before a gig that mean we spend far too much time trying to sort out our various monitor mixes and when I suggest someone going out front to listen to me I get about 30 seconds of yep, sounds great to me!!!

I usually mic the full kit and I have a good mixer set up behind me that pretty much never changes, so from gig to gig my sound is as constant as poss, it's just the tuning that has to be tweeked to get the right amount of resonance.

Never fails to amaze me how long that simple thing can take...

That Guy

Platinum Member
Sadly enough I think most band members are just like yours and wrapped up in thier own thing rather then spreading the wealth. Of course the things you mention require attention but if they can't spare 15 minutes then thats what you have to live with.


Pioneer Member
This happened to me with the last band that I auditioned for. Their rehearsal space was an incredibly dead room and with all the crap in that place it just ate up the drums. I played with them six times before I didn't get the gig. We weren't a musical fit.

In any case, they would amp up really loud but in the 20x30 room they said that they couldn't hear me. I ended pummeling the drums every time we played and they still said it wasn't loud enough. As soon as we played at another location, everybody jumped my shit for being too loud.

Some rooms are like a black hole for drum sounds.

I used to play at an old firehouse that was like a youth center night club in the 80's (think acoustics of a basketball court) and another band's soundguy said that the shape of the room made for a lot of self cancelling in some frequencies.

He hung up a 4 x 8 foot piece of foamcore from the ceiling and it was amazing how much better the room sounded. We ended up hanging sound baffles like these all over the club to improve the acoustics.


Platinum Member
I found this thread interesting. I have always had the opposite problem. Even when I play outdoors. My drums sound slightly different in different rooms. I tune them slightly and I'm good to go but they have never been poor sounding or lost. I call it "Tune for the room" I do have to mic the bass and use an overhead condenser sometimes. Usually my sound is to big and I have to be tactful on my sticking. I use 7a's or Blasticks. My tom sizes are 12, 14 and 16. Snare 14 bass 22. Playing in front of a large window is the hardest. The drums bounce of the glass like a Superball!