Playing good vs. Sounding good?

beeter

Senior Member
My drum set is in an untreated basement, therefore I'm not sure if my playing isn't good enough which may be why I feel I don't sound as good, if that makes any sense. I'm sure a compressor would make every drum hit sound as if balanced due to the compressor effect, right?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Playing well is a more important goal than the kit sounding good, ideally you'd have both. But if your playing isn't good, no amount of EQ or other fixes will make it better.

Bermuda
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
How long have you been playing? Have you played with others? These scenarios may better answer your question.

You can always try deadening the basement a bit, even with cheap foam mattress toppers hung close by the drums and maybe a rug to cut down on reflecting sound. You mentioned compression, so assuming you’re recording. I don’t think compression will help you determine if your playing dynamically. If anything it’ll give you the opposite results. The loud and faint are pushed more to the middle, so less variation between the two.

If you can get a recording and post here, that’d be more helpful.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Just play with ear protection and it will "tame" your room for you....to your ear.

Easiest way out.

Then you can better judge what you are trying to judge.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
My drum set is in an untreated basement, therefore I'm not sure if my playing isn't good enough which may be why I feel I don't sound as good, if that makes any sense. I'm sure a compressor would make every drum hit sound as if balanced due to the compressor effect, right?
Untreated rooms will always make the drum sound harsh and ringing, but won't make your drumming sound better or worse. Put on ear protection and it'll help a lot. You don't need compression, you probably just need practice.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Save the money you're about to spunk on a compressor (and everything else that will be needed to go with it) and spend it on lessons.

At the moment you're "all show and no go" as the old saying goes. You keep accumulating gear you have no idea what to do with.

Time to change that.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
Just play with ear protection and it will "tame" your room for you....to your ear.

Easiest way out.

Then you can better judge what you are trying to judge.
Bonus: you protect your hearing (which you should be doing anyway)

I suggest a good pair of isolation earmuff-style protectors, like what runway workers at the airport wear. Vic Firth makes a good one.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Does your basement have carpet? That alone would make a difference in sound clarity.
 
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EricT43

Senior Member
Bonus: you protect your hearing (which you should be doing anyway)

I suggest a good pair of isolation earmuff-style protectors, like what runway workers at the airport wear. Vic Firth makes a good one.
I agree with this. I got some earmuff protectors from Lowe's and my drums sound amazing when I wear them.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
As someone who went from a concrete room with a metal band to many basements, studios and jam rooms I have tried everything. Lucky for me now I have a great room with a ton of treatment I have done.

First off. Hang some blankets from the roof. Preferably a foot or so in front. You can also hang carpet over the walls which is nice and heavy. I had a friend use that in a jam space before and it helped. Carpet on the floor if it's concrete as well. Unfinished basements sound bad because of the sound reflecting off the walls and floors. It's an echo chamber.

A cheap easy option is some earplugs/isolation phones. It will at least bring the volume down and save your hearing, but it does help some of the harshness.


Now. You mention compressor. You didn't even mention recording. Whats your goal? I had one of my first bands record in a concrete room. It turned out fine. A compressor will squash your loud hits and even out the volumes yes, but remember when you OVERcompress it changes the sound too. It's a very obvious and specific sound.

Once you have a goal and plan you can kindof set up around that. Are you planning to mic every drum? overheads are often not as happy with that many reflections which is why drummers will record in a studio. Adding reverb/delay is easier than removing it.

Last. One life changer for me was building sound baffles out of Roxul Safe and Sound insulation. You can google/youtube it. It changed the sound of my recordings drasticly.

There are plenty of resources for sound. But the biggest advice is play quiet. If the room is boomy learn to play so quiet it doesnt' sound like a wall of noise. Playing good > sounding good at home. At live gigs as long as my drums are in tune the sound guy makes that happen.
 

TMe

Senior Member
As everyone else has said, treating the room will make a big difference, but so would using ear protection. Most ear protections lops off the high end frequencies a lot more effectively than the low end frequencies, making the kit sound warmer and less harsh.

There's no substitute for a good room, be we have to work with what we've got.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Lots of questions that need answering here.

In any case. If you have room try treating the room a bit. Pillows, carpets, big cardboard boxes for bass traps. Something in ceiling if it's low and reflects too much. A big mattres in front of the BD, a big fat couch.

It won't be perfect, but it will certain help.
 

beeter

Senior Member
I guess studio headphones could work too like the ones I already have: Beyerdynamic DT770 (open ears) and the Sennheiser HD280 (closed ear). Although the wires might be a bother dangling around.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
The HD280s will definitely not work, as they let in far too much. You’re far better off with Al’s recommendation of the 3M Peltor and some ear buds.
 
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