How to get MORE low end in drum practice room...

SgtThump

Platinum Member
I started a thread recently saying bass drums aggravate me. Well, I'm starting to realize that it's my drum room more than anything that's sucking the good low end that should be coming out of my bass drum. When I take kits to rehearsal, we're in a living room and the sound of my kit is tons better...

My drum room at home is pretty big on the half of the basement that's unfinished. What I've done is take some thin rugs/carpeting and put it all over the concrete walls with construction adhesive. I've also covered most of the concrete floor with rugs/carpet. Not thick stuff, but rather thin.

The ceiling is the typical unfinish basement ceiling with the floor joists, plumbing, etc... exposed. No covering on the ceiling. I built a little "wall" with large plastic storage bins to separate one unfinished side of the basement from another unfinished side and covered it with a thick blanket to help with the sound.

One thing I'll try very soon is rearranging the room with what's already there (move my drum kit around, move that wall, etc...) But what are some other inexpensive things I can do to help get more low end out of this room?

We also sometimes rehearse at my place and while sound isn't reflecting all over the place or anything, it just doesn't have the low end I want.

Thoughts on inexpensive things to try? Do I want MORE padding/muffling/absorbing stuff around the room or what? Does that increase the lows?
 

Trip McNealy

Gold Member
I'm not a sound expert but I know exactly your plight, I love more low end and I've noticed some rooms and places are more accomodating. From past things I've read:

- They make those foam "bass traps" for use in studios, etc that you put in the corners of the room and stuff.. Auralex, etc... You could try some of those.
- You have the right idea - move the kick around the room and thump on it and listen to the response and tone.. you might find a sweet spot in the room!
- Rectangular and square rooms are the worst (or rooms with a lot of right angles); they cause a lot of echo/bouncing/reflection - you could try making the space "uneven" by some of your tactics to rearrange furniture, shelving units, etc.

Hope that helps.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
Thanks Trip! About those bass traps for the corners, does that actually decrease or increase bass? For some reason, I always thought it decreases the low end in the room?

I'm gonna screw around a bit tonight, because this is starting to really drive me nuts. I tune, tune, tune, tune only to never get it sounding just right. Then I use the exact same set and tuning just about ANYWHERE else and it sounds better. LOL
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hey Sarge, I have a possible solution for kind of cheap. Build a riser. I built one using 2 x 4's laid on their short side, with 3/4" or thicker plywood screwed on top. Don't put the 2 x 4's too far apart though, 12" is nice and stable. Mine is about 5' x 7'. It's a natural subwoofer. A cross brace under where you sit helps too.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I was getting a lot more focus and low end when I had my kit pointed into the corner. Although it sucks when you jam with friends and you have your back to them.

The other thing I notice when I set my kit up in the practice studio every week - when you set your drums up facing the centre of the room you don't want to be too close to the wall behind you.. Can hardly hear the kick at times when I'm too close.
 
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SgtThump

Platinum Member
Hey guys, thanks for all of the advice! I rearranged my room tonight, but haven't had a chance to really test anything out. I'll report back, though.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
The other thing I notice when I set my kit up in the practice studio every week - when you set your drums up facing the centre of the room you don't want to be too close to the wall behind you.. Can hardly hear the kick at times when I'm too close.

I have also noticed that a wall too close behind a kit hampers the real true round sound of your floor tom. It sounds way better away from walls... at least a meter or so.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Hey Sarge, I have a possible solution for kind of cheap. Build a riser. I built one using 2 x 4's laid on their short side, with 3/4" or thicker plywood screwed on top. Don't put the 2 x 4's too far apart though, 12" is nice and stable. Mine is about 5' x 7'. It's a natural subwoofer. A cross brace under where you sit helps too.
yup you'll be amazed at how decoupling the drums from the floor with a riser opens up the sound of them!
 
T

TwoCables

Guest
Yep, it depends on the floor that the drums are on. I had this officially confirmed for me when I read the Mike Mangini interview in the latest issue of the Musician's Friend catalog.

Musician's Friend: Jumping back to snare drums, your Pearl Signature 10-inch is a birch and your Zildjian signature sticks are lacquered birch. So clearly you have an affinity for birch. Can you explain that a bit?

Mike Mangini: An affinity for birch in my drum kit is totally the truth. The reason is that there are multiple surfaces and environments that a drum kit fits on. For example, some of the better studios have hardwood floors, but the hardwood floors are on concrete slabs. That's the worst possible thing for a drum kit.

My point is that the floors are a decisive factor and I notice that birch always had a particular clarity and consistency, no matter what floor it was on. A maple kit can be the single, best-sounding drum set that you or I have ever heard, but it depends on the setting it goes on. For me, some floors, the maple is a little harder. It just doesn't resonate the same as it does when it's on a riser or something, but birch doesn't have as much of a variance.

The drumsticks are birch not by my doing. The drumsticks are birch because I needed a 63-gram stick in the diameter of a Zildjian Super 5A. What that means is that I'm never going to get one. It's utterly impossible. So the Zildjian team developed an idea of soaking a porous wood with resins, not only to get the weight up, but to strengthen it. Birch was perfect because birch is more porous than hickory and the resins strengthen the stick like crazy.
I only included the part about the sticks because it was mentioned near the beginning and I didn't want to leave anyone hanging.

So yeah, this confirmed it for me that the floor really does have just about the biggest impact on the drum's sound. I have noticed this to be true even with my drums which are the original Stage Customs from 1997, made back before Yamaha decided to begin improving their quality. These drums have been in places where the floor enabled them to have a FANTASTIC sound (rivaling some of the best drums I've ever heard), and then of course they've been in places where they have such a horrible sound that I don't want to play them at all.

In other words, I think your solution is to get the drums on a riser of some kind. Perhaps you can built a large board and you can put that board up on some paint cans or even up on some sheetrock buckets. Or, make your own legs. Just get the drums off the floor.
 

Bonzobilly

Senior Member
I'll echo what others have said. Once I put my kit on a riser it was like the tone knob got jacked to 11. Seriously. Get em off the floor.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
I haven't experimented ALOT with rearranging the room, but I did rearrange it and put my drums in the corner (my back to the corner.) That definitely made a big difference! Still have more experimenting to do, but I somehow forgot that moving things around can make a big difference. I needed to be reminded of that!

Thanks everyone!

Chris
 

AZStickman

Senior Member
I have a small practice room and had the same problem. I originally had my bass drum muffled with a pillow and had tuned both the batter and reso heads on my bass drum fo a medium resonant tone when unmuffled........Wanting more low end like you I started doing some research and came across a podcast by Danny Thompson "The Drum Tuning Guru"....... His recommendation was to tune the reso head to a desired tone. The batter head he recommended tuning just above wrinkle....... I did this and also added a kickport to the reso head and have zero muffling in the drum. ...... I have attached a couple of recordings I did where you can hear the before and after results....... The recordings were done with a Tascam DR-07 recorder placed about 3 feet in front of the bass drum about 18"high....... Terry
 

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johnnylaw

Senior Member
I think the idea of moving you kit further from the wall is a great (and cheap) step in the right direction.

Another factor is the punch or "point" on each bass stroke. Bass traps help preserve its definition. You should stack more bins vertically in the corners 45 degrees to the walls. Make sure there is a 4" distance between the corners of the bins and the walls' surfaces. Drape the bins (front and back) with blankets, carpets, etc. Also CHEAP. I guess you can tell I'm a Yankee!

Tuning can be your friend here too. I think experimenting is useful. My practice space is tiny, and I found that having my resonant head tuned higher than my intuition may have expected gave me a fuller tone with a crisp attack. My batter head is at the pitch where the shell becomes easily excited even with a gentle pedal stroke.

Cheers, and Thump on.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
I think the idea of moving you kit further from the wall is a great (and cheap) step in the right direction.

Another factor is the punch or "point" on each bass stroke. Bass traps help preserve its definition. You should stack more bins vertically in the corners 45 degrees to the walls. Make sure there is a 4" distance between the corners of the bins and the walls' surfaces. Drape the bins (front and back) with blankets, carpets, etc. Also CHEAP. I guess you can tell I'm a Yankee!

Tuning can be your friend here too. I think experimenting is useful. My practice space is tiny, and I found that having my resonant head tuned higher than my intuition may have expected gave me a fuller tone with a crisp attack. My batter head is at the pitch where the shell becomes easily excited even with a gentle pedal stroke.

Cheers, and Thump on.
Thanks for that advice! I moved my kit to where my back is in the corner. I'm probably getting some of that bass that should be trapped. I'll move it out a little more, then stack up my drum cases behind me in that same corner. That sounds like a good idea!

I also like the storage bin idea! I thought I was pretty damn smart to use those to build a "wall", but your bass trap idea is fantastic too!

I like cheap and easy... :)

Also, I did read a tiny bit about bass traps. Turns out they trap the bass and "clean it up", sometimes giving the perception of MORE low end in a room. I didn't realize they worked that way.

PS - As far as tuning goes, I'm a tuning freak. I spend ALOT of time experimenting with tuning and the lack of low end in my drum room drives me insane. I can have them tuned to sound perfect in other rooms, then nowhere near as good at home. Drives me nuts!
 
T

TwoCables

Guest
Thanks for that advice! I moved my kit to where my back is in the corner. I'm probably getting some of that bass that should be trapped. I'll move it out a little more, then stack up my drum cases behind me in that same corner. That sounds like a good idea!

I also like the storage bin idea! I thought I was pretty damn smart to use those to build a "wall", but your bass trap idea is fantastic too!

I like cheap and easy... :)

Also, I did read a tiny bit about bass traps. Turns out they trap the bass and "clean it up", sometimes giving the perception of MORE low end in a room. I didn't realize they worked that way.

PS - As far as tuning goes, I'm a tuning freak. I spend ALOT of time experimenting with tuning and the lack of low end in my drum room drives me insane. I can have them tuned to sound perfect in other rooms, then nowhere near as good at home. Drives me nuts!
Oh, y'know I think he's dead-on about the tuning. I tune my bass drum much higher than most people, much more like the way John Bonham tuned his. So, I tune it more like a tom-tom for low to medium resonance, meaning that I tune the resonant head almost a lot higher than the batter - which is very high for a bass drum head due to the high batter tuning. I also use Aquarian's Super-Kick I batter with a full Aquarian Regulator Aquarian (that is, it doesn't have a mic hole). I use this because I heard a bass drum thundering from the drum department at Guitar Center just as I was about to leave the building and I turned right around to see what the hell was allowing that bass drum to be so awesome and it was a bass drum set up to demonstrate the new "Super-Kick I Kick Pack" or something like that. That demo bass drum had no internal muffling, but I discovered I need it at a miked gig once (I had Regulator with a small offset mic hole back then). lol

So, here's my muffling:

http://home.comcast.net/~twocables/Bass%20Drum%20Muffling.png

The result is a bass drum that produces an "in your chest" sound. Although, it still depends on the room and the floor. It's definitely not going to have that amazing sound everywhere I go.

Also, you'd think that with a much higher tuning that a bass drum would sound smaller and choked, but it doesn't. However, the beater response is much bouncier (but I like that).
 
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