I finally understand....

Emmaticus00

Senior Member
So last Friday, we had a Cabaret night for the middle and high school jazz bands. I asked my director who's drum set was going to be there. He said a senior's. So I'm picturing a nice birch kit with Avedis cymbals. So he had me sit down on the kit, and it was a Pearl Forum with the brass Pearl cymbals. The only thing I liked about it was the hardware and Eliminator pedal along with a Paiste 32 ride. He had the kit muffled to crap. Stickers, tape, and rings. Bass drum was stuffed to the brim with pillows. It still had the stock Protone heads.

So I finally understand why people who don't have the bestest kit muffle; to get a decent sound. I did this too. But I guess people have to resist and let the drums sing.

Opinions?
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Opinions?
I completely understand. We all did it at some stage. Muffling is the go to solution to nasty rings/overtones when you don't know the options available to you. Also, less experienced players tend to tune such that it sounds good to the player's ears, completely forgetting about the audience. There's always a pressure to emulate recorded drum sounds too. So yes, I completely understand why players muffle their drums to hell :(
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
And just think - you know this at your age now. I know guys who were like this well into their 30s....

They don't play anymore.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
When you have an un-dampened, un-muffled drum set at home, in most normal rooms, the drums usually sound very noisy. By that I mean you will hear the boom, bang, ringing, overtones and crashes bouncing off the walls, ceiling and floor. And if you tighten the heads so that the drums are nice and loud, to the untrained ear they can sound like trash cans.

Consequently dampening the drums for home use usually makes them sound better, especially to the untrained ear. And actually if all you ever do is play drums at home without playing in a band, dampening them to the max might be the best thing to do. Just ask the neighbors and see what they say.

About a year ago I started playing drums in a house band for an open mic jam night. And for the first time in my drumming career I was able to hear my drums being played by someone else in a band setting from the audience’s perspective. It really opened my eyes (ears). This was basically loud rock and roll with no microphones on the drums.

I discovered what the best tuning was for my drums, and probably any drum set in a loud band setting. The best tuning was with no dampening or muffling on any drums. And the heads tuned for the purest, loudest tone possible. (I do have an Evens EMAD batter head on the bass drum.)

A drum set sounds different depending on where you sit. You will hear one sound sitting behind the set and a different sound sitting in the audience. I would advise any drummer to go stand in the audience and listen to his or her band playing while someone else plays the drums. (Even if all they do is bang on your drums and cymbals while your band plays) It will help you learn how to tune your drums properly for the kind of music you play.

Note: At the bar where I play drums, I went and sat in a seat around the corner from the room where the very loud band was playing. From this vantage point the loudest instrument was my drums.

.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Sometimes, a heavily muffled kit sounds great. It just depends on what you're going for. If it's a response to bad drums, worn heads or simply not knowing how to tune then it's only going to be appropriate by sheer coincidence...but I think we drummers have a tendency to think drums need to be big and open and loud all the time because they have the potential to be so. Doesn't always equate to an appropriate sound for the application.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
I completely understand. We all did it at some stage. Muffling is the go to solution to nasty rings/overtones when you don't know the options available to you.
In my limited experience of drumming and other drummers, I believe this to be absolutely true. I'd probably be doing it myself if it hadn't been for this forum.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Sometimes, a heavily muffled kit sounds great. It just depends on what you're going for. If it's a response to bad drums, worn heads or simply not knowing how to tune then it's only going to be appropriate by sheer coincidence...but I think we drummers have a tendency to think drums need to be big and open and loud all the time because they have the potential to be so. Doesn't always equate to an appropriate sound for the application.
Absolutely true Ben. I was responding to the OP's example of a kit muffled to within an inch of it's life. There are many examples of situations where muffling is either desirable or essential. Bass drum through a big PA is one, suspended stage floor is another. Then there's choices in recording, & shortening of notes dependant on playing style. It's all good, & the best players know what path to take in a given situation. Muffling to the point of the drums being completely dead however, is rarely a good choice outside of stadium bass drum & audio replacement.
 

Altar

Senior Member
Just gonna mention that the brass hats that come with pearl kits are frickin amazing... Really useful to have around.
 

Altar

Senior Member
No, honestly, and this is coming from a guy whose owned a whole lot of hats - They aren't bad. They're super thin, so they have a soft, pleasing chik, and a nice wash that isn't at all painful. For whatever reason, they are really great hats.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
No, honestly, and this is coming from a guy whose owned a whole lot of hats - They aren't bad. They're super thin, so they have a soft, pleasing chik, and a nice wash that isn't at all painful. For whatever reason, they are really great hats.
Ok, I'll take your word for it ;)

Seriously though, I am a fan of cheap cymbals in certain circumstances. Sometimes, the juxtaposition between something really bad amongst really good works very well.
 

Altar

Senior Member
Just to clarify, I'm talking about these:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pearl-CX-300-14-Hi-Hat-Cymbal-/281328670710?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item41807ed7f6

To the OP:

Muffling can help eliminate overtones AFTER a drum has been properly tuned. But I promise you, with good heads and tuning, that crappy pearl kit could sound great. Muffling drums in this case is just compensation for not being able to get them sounding right, which is generally just laziness or ignorance.

Also, good cymbals are, in most cases, a must. Good drums, however, are a luxury... Really don't need them to sound good.
 

uhtrinity

Senior Member
Been there, done that. I'll admit I dampened everything I have ever owned up until my current maple Ddrum set. The most extreme was completely covering the drum heads with a sheet, between the head and the hoop. That was needed mostly due to using low grade drums and crappy heads. The first time I ever jammed with someone else at full garage volume I couldn't hear the drums over the guitars and started unmuffling them.

My current set has no muffling other than and adjustable felt pad in the snare to lower the amount of ring. I also run an Evans bass drium pad along with a small, but dense pillow in the bass drum.

Back in the early 90's I had some of those Pearl Cx-500's on an electronic set. I'm pretty sure they sounded like crap. Even thought the Sabian B8's sounded great until I started using AA and better class cymbals over the last 3 years.
 

Altar

Senior Member
Back in the early 90's I had some of those Pearl Cx-500's on an electronic set. I'm pretty sure they sounded like crap. Even thought the Sabian B8's sounded great until I started using AA and better class cymbals over the last 3 years.
Pretty sure those are thicker, like Meinl HCS or Sabian's brass range, and I think we can agree that thick brass hats are absolutely crap.

I actually like the Sabian B8 pro hats for the money, but they do have that annoying, harsh overtone to them. Still, if you dig B8, they aren't bad.
 

uhtrinity

Senior Member
Pretty sure those are thicker, like Meinl HCS or Sabian's brass range, and I think we can agree that thick brass hats are absolutely crap.

I actually like the Sabian B8 pro hats for the money, but they do have that annoying, harsh overtone to them. Still, if you dig B8, they aren't bad.
My B8's are still setup on my dampened no name practice set. We use it for practice at a band members house and I dislike playing it. The drums have no life, the cymbals now sound harsh to me and lack musicality, but I compromise because it saves me having to move my main set each time we practice. Like the OP says, "My eyes (ears) have been opened."
 
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