Ringing overtones on a cheap kit

I've been really unhappy with the sound of my entry level pdp drum kit so recently I've been trying out some different tuning combinations. The main issue I'm having is with the 16 inch floor tom. The ugly overtones and ringing it puts out are driving me crazy. Its almost like I'm using an empty oil drum for a floor tom. I've been able to tune my 12 and 14 inch rack toms to sound pretty good with nice sounding overtones, but the floor tom is driving me nuts. I have coated remo emperors on my batter side, and coated ambassadors on the reso side, with the exception of the 13 inch rack tom which has a clear ambassador on the reso side. Strangely I think it sounds the best out of all my toms, and has the least amount of ringing coming from it. I don't use anything like tape or moon gels on them but I'm considering trying something along those lines if I cant find a tuning that works for these drums. I realize there are many threads on tuning however I've put in many hours of tuning and I'm still trying to find a way to make this drum sound good. Any ideas of what I could do to make this drum sound better?
 

groove1

Silver Member
There's a damping material (comes 5 to a pack) called Moon Gel that you can use. Just take
out a piece and sit it on top of your head near the rim. Try different locations to get different
damping. It's very handy in getting rid of harmonics you don't want to hear in cymbals also.
If you try them and don't get just what you want, try cutting them in 1/2. A smaller piece works better on my toms.

Being from the old school of drumming I came up with adjustable mufflers built in drums and
still like having them. I always install adjustable mufflers in any drums I buy that don't have
them, although I don't always use them all the time....they are just there when you want them. Normally when I use them I adjust them at the "edge" of where they are just beginning
to dampen the head slightly.
 

BigDinSD

Gold Member
Try some O rings or Ritchie rings. That will definitely dry out the overtones. As long as your drum is in tune, it will dampen it big time. I use old drum heads.

On my 16" Floor tom, I had to put 2 rings because it just rang forever. There is one on the batter, and also another one inside the shell on top of the reso head.

Good luck!
 

B-squared

Silver Member
In most cases, I don't recommend heads because of all the things in drumming, the choice of heads involves the most variables to consider. However, the one case that might be an exception is entry level drums. This is the place for hydraulic heads. I don't like the feel of them, but they will deaden most noisy overtones. The sound isn't the greatest, but they tend to do rather well if you mic them and use a lot of compression. Good luck! I admire your persistence.
 
Thanks for the responses so far guys. I'll probably invest in some moon gels and the rings that you are talking about to see if they can keep the ringing and overtones under control. I just bought the heads that I have on my kit right now so I'm going to try to work with what I have, but if the rings and the gels dont cut it I might just break down and try the hydraulic heads that your talking about. Whats the deal with them? I did a quick search on them and I saw some stuff about oil filled heads. A buddy of mine had oil filled heads on his pearl kit and they didn't sound half bad. Another thing I forgot to mention originally is that the tone control arm ( I believe thats what its called, the arm with the felt biscut that rests on the batter head) is broken off on my snare drum. I removed it because it served no purpose anymore. Could I just buy a new arm or is my snare basically a lost cause at this point? It too has a ringing to it, but I've been able to make it sound somewhat decent.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Before you go so far as to even buy Moon Gel, simply get a rag (an old t-shirt works great) ..... cut about a 4x6 inch piece out ..... roll or fold it ...... and tape it (cloth hospital works great, but anything will work) onto the head, close to the rim. Quick fix.​
As far as snare repair, depends on the make and model. Some parts are order-able .... some are not. I'd ask your local drum shop.​
 

TNA

Senior Member
Just put some duct tape on the head. Duct tape solves everything! I use it all the time to eliminate overtones. I also used to have the hydraulic heads someone mentioned. Them really do make your kit sound dead. I actually ended up leaving it on my floor tom though because it gave me a really fat low wet sound which was great.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
If this is a live kit, & used unmic'd in an amplified band, leave it fully open. It is what it is, & all those overtones will be lost in the band mix. If it's for recording, or fully mic'd live, then a touch of gaffer tape "management" is as good as anything.

High overtones are generally a product of poor shell resonance, bearing edges, & tuning. The tuning can be improved with experimentation, but moving to a fairly slack batter head & much tighter reso head usually calms things down a bit. If you're really in the mood for getting on top of those tones, then rounding over the bearing edges, & ensuring they're as even/flat as possible, is an investment worth making. There's not a lot you can do about the shells, but in order of importance at the budget end, tuning & edges are the priority.
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
I find that sometimes new heads need to be played in a bit, and then retuned, that is why before people put on new heads they often stretch them.

Anyway I've always had problems with ringing on my yamaha, and I ended up putting an O-ring on the inside of the drum on the reso side as well as the batter side and it sounds top now.
 

davidr

Senior Member
I would definitely recommend moongel over duct tape or O-rings because you can move it about to get different sounds and experiment. You can remove it easily without any residue for different situations. It works very well for cutting out overtones. My tip is to use two halves of a piece, one on either side of a drum head, moving them into the centre for more dampening or nearer the rim for less. On my floor tom they are about 2" from the rim for most rock/pop/funk etc. playing situations.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
Every time I see duct tape used as a muffling device it screams that the player needs desperate assistance with their tuning skills. Unless the shells or hoops are damaged, you should be able to tune those drums. I'm seeing more and more amateur players coming into the studio with pieces of duct tape on the heads, the professionals not so much. Last week we had a player that had hugh "X's" of duct tape placed on both the batter and resonant heads, it was probably one of the worst sounding kits I ever heard. We were able to get most of it off, but just the residue alone was killing the tone of the heads. If you Need something to lightly control the harmonics, try using MoonGel, it's easy to reposition, won't harm the heads, it's reusable, washable and inexpensive.

Dennis
 

David Floegel

Silver Member
Did you make sure that the tension on every lug is pretty much the same? when my drums "rang" in the past it mostly was because the tension was uneven.
If it's not the case, THAN you should move on to o-rings, moongel or duct tape. Tuning is a process that requires a lot patience - but it's worth the time

but I always asked myself: Why is duct tape bad? I mean, moongel is ok and duct tape is a no-go? I often heard that people said "duuude don't use duct tape.. only noobs put duct tape on their heads, use moongel" and I was like "hm.. difference? moon gel looks better or what?"
I totally agree with you Dennis, using too much duct tape is a habit from people who can't really tune their drums.
But as far as I know, duct tape is a legal tool and used a lot in studios, too. (I can speak only for german studios right now, of course)

All the best
David
 
I would agree with almost everyone else in this thread. I used to use those vinyl dampening rings remo makes to control the overtones when I first started playing 14 years ago when I had a beginners kit. I recently recorded with my new band and the engineer really turned me on to moon gels. I wouldnt use duct tape simply because it looks unproffesional in my humble opinion, but if that doesnt bother you, than to each his own. The Evans hydralic heads are also a great way to take care of this problem. I found that they worked really well in eliminating overtones if you completley remove the resonant heads and just use the hydralic heads on the batter side.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I addition to learning how to tune, I also suggest re-learning how to accept the overtones and "hear past them" to the fundamental of the drum. If you are unmiced, the tiniest piece of tape or muffling on the head just kills your tom tone. Kills it dead. Whereas if you leave it unmuffled, with your overtones in all their glory, your toms will sound like toms in the audience. Your choice.

Basic truth, overtones are your ally. Learn to love them. Muffled, unmiced drums sound like you're hitting a piece of wet cardboard in the audience. That is no exaggeration. Ringy drums are good drums.

If you mic your drums, then muffling won't hurt your tone.
 
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PDPx7Drummer

Guest
I've been really unhappy with the sound of my entry level pdp drum kit so recently I've been trying out some different tuning combinations. The main issue I'm having is with the 16 inch floor tom.
Which kit did you get funky? Is this your first re-skin on the kit? Did the 16 always give you troubles when tuning? How tight are you making the skins? Also how do you tune? You don't want to go too tight on the bottom when you tune looser on the batter and tighter on the reso or vise versa. It only takes a little bit of a difference at a medium tension to get a pitch bend, maybe 1/8 to 1/4 turn at most. As I practiced my tuning skills on my X7 I noticed there is a pretty small gap between too loose and too tight where it creates horrible over tones which I think the thin shells play a big roll in. I'm pretty decent with just a normal drum key but I picked up an Evans Torque key and it's great. I'm finding my way through what I think these thin shells like and I'm thinking single ply batter and reso and tuned the same tension.

To be honest it's tough to say whether or not what you're hearing is bad or not. I'm not sure how skilled you are with tuning or how new you are to drumming but drums resonate and have a ring to them, that's just the way it is. It could be that your head is bad. I got a 14" Pinstripe where the top ply was fluttering like crazy at loose or tight tension and created a horrible noise, so maybe your Emp is bad. It would be great if we could hear your 16 by way of an MP3 file or a video on Youtube.
 
Which kit did you get funky? Is this your first re-skin on the kit? Did the 16 always give you troubles when tuning? How tight are you making the skins? Also how do you tune? You don't want to go too tight on the bottom when you tune looser on the batter and tighter on the reso or vise versa. It only takes a little bit of a difference at a medium tension to get a pitch bend, maybe 1/8 to 1/4 turn at most. As I practiced my tuning skills on my X7 I noticed there is a pretty small gap between too loose and too tight where it creates horrible over tones which I think the thin shells play a big roll in. I'm pretty decent with just a normal drum key but I picked up an Evans Torque key and it's great. I'm finding my way through what I think these thin shells like and I'm thinking single ply batter and reso and tuned the same tension.

To be honest it's tough to say whether or not what you're hearing is bad or not. I'm not sure how skilled you are with tuning or how new you are to drumming but drums resonate and have a ring to them, that's just the way it is. It could be that your head is bad. I got a 14" Pinstripe where the top ply was fluttering like crazy at loose or tight tension and created a horrible noise, so maybe your Emp is bad. It would be great if we could hear your 16 by way of an MP3 file or a video on Youtube.
To be honest I'm not sure what the exact model of the kit is. I feel like its an older kit, I got it used off of a friend and the only makings on it simply say pdp. This is the first re-skin of the kit, I usually tune the reso head at least a half turn higher than the batter head, it all depends on what gives me the best sound. I realize that drums make ringing noises and overtones, I myself am not a huge fan of the muffled sound, but this floor tom is just driving me nuts, the ringing and overtones seem to go on forever. I would post a video but all I have is a crappy camera phone to record with, so it really wouldn't do it any justice. Also I'm positive that I have the tension even on the lugs on both heads. I'll probably spend more time today meticulously making adjustments to it. Usually I go at a half a turn at a time when I tune, but from your experience it sounds like I should be going even less than that. I might try a small piece of a t-shirt rolled up just to see what that does.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
but I always asked myself: Why is duct tape bad? I mean, moongel is ok and duct tape is a no-go? I often heard that people said "duuude don't use duct tape.. only noobs put duct tape on their heads, use moongel" and I was like "hm.. difference? moon gel looks better or what?"
I totally agree with you Dennis, using too much duct tape is a habit from people who can't really tune their drums.
But as far as I know, duct tape is a legal tool and used a lot in studios, too. (I can speak only for german studios right now, of course)
I hate duct tape because of the residue, but I think I'm some kind of OCD glue-o-phobe or something. One of the reasons I buy so little used gear is because drummers are so tape-happy, everything's always gunked up. I just use O-rings when I need muffling because they're the cleanest choice.
 
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PDPx7Drummer

Guest
No problem on the recording funky and not knowing the model of the set. Have you tried taking a tape measure to the drum? I actually read a thread on Drumchat.com (bleh) where one guy with a DW set had out of round shells etc and so on. I never thought to do this myself but did this yesterday after I tossed out my Pinstripes and put my Emperors back on. Everything looked fine, I believe my 16 as well was the only one that had a bit of fluxuation on the measurements, like a 1/16 but nothing to create unwanted overtones through out the tension settings. Maybe take a tape and measure across at a few points of the drum, make sure to go through the middle or longest point across. Check for an average measurement and if there's a spot more than 1/8 or 3/16 of an inch from the rest of the measurements, that could give you trouble as well when tuning.

Maybe try putting both heads at the same tension. Start finger tight on both heads, do 1/8 or 1/4 turns at a time on each head and see what happens. Maybe 3/4 or less on top and bottom. Just throwin ideas around is all, hope you get her figured out.

PDP
 
Well its taken me half my weekend, but I think I finally figured this drum out. The ringing is gone, and the overtones are finally under control. I wound up re-tuning the entire kit and it's sounding better than ever. I took your advice pdp and gave each lug very small turns. I would advise anyone that isn't happy with their tuning to be patient and just spend a weekend making very slight adjustments. It might be a royal pita but its defiantly worth it.
 
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