Location, Location, Location

TColumbia37

Silver Member
Of course, we all know that our instruments will sound different depending on where they are. Some rooms just cater to our sound more than others, and there are a lot of factors that go into this, but I learned something today that I had not thought of before.

I've been rearranging my practice space, to give everybody more room. I have a six piece band that practices there, and it can get pretty tight. So I've gotten rid of a few large things that were taking up a lot of space, and I'm in the process of cleaning and moving things around, so I unfortunately haven't had much of a chance to play this week. But today I had the strongest urge. I HAD to play. So I set my drums where I had planned for them to be situated once everything was finished, and WOW.

This kit is the stencil kit that I salvaged and rewrapped. I was already in love with the kick drum and the floor tom, but the rack tom wasn't quite where I wanted it. It didn't sing quite like the rest of the kit. Everything really opened up and sang like I've only heard from multi-thousand dollar professional kits. I thought the bass drum sounded huge before, but it was like a cannon this time, and the rack tom had just the perfect tone and resonance.

The kit was originally in the middle of the room, and then I moved it against one wall, facing the wall opposite. I didn't think it would make that big of a difference, but I'm just blown away. I guess there are even MORE things to factor into sculpting my tone now.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
My kit (or any of my kits) sounded a bit crap in the middle of the room too. You have to experiment really but I find I like my kit facing the wall with a bit of sound dreading to hush the reverb.
 

julius

Member
When I practice, my kit's in the corner of a square, relatively live room; when I hit the bass drum even lightly it's got some guts. When I play gigs it sounds really limp in comparison, sadly enough.

Hm, this makes me want to do some math on bass drum frequencies and sound wavelengths and room sizes...
 

JimFiore

Silver Member
Room resonance modes can have a huge impact on what you hear in the lower frequency register. I do a demonstration for my Science of Sound students on this. I set up a subwoofer in the lab which is fed from a sine wave generator. I pump in various frequencies between 40 and 100 Hz. For each frequency we walk around the room and note where the nodes and anti-nodes are (loud and quiet spots). I use an SPL meter to take measurements. Sometimes we'll get differences of up to 20 dB between two spots that are only a few meters away from each other. The spots shift with each frequency though so it's not like there is one "bassy spot", although in general you will tend to get strong bass response at boundaries (i.e., against a wall or where walls meet).

For a more true and even sound it would be advisable to add some low frequency absorption (rigid fiberglass or rock wool bass traps) in the room corners.

Here is a link to more info:
http://www.gikacoustics.com/what-are-room-modes/

Here is a link to an online calculator:
http://www.hunecke.de/en/calculators/room-eigenmodes.html
 

Zickos

Gold Member
It has been my experience that the same snare drum will sound differently in different venues and in the same venue depending on its distance to relative objects like a wall. I recently did a pit gig where my kit was up against and facing a rough brick wall. I tried several snares and they all sounded like crap. No amount of tuning helped. I finally had to settle on the one which sounded the least like crap. All of these drums sounded great back home. Location makes a difference.
 
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