Tone for a Beginner

Hyperion

Junior Member
I just recently purchased a drumset, the very first i have ever owned. It's Tama's Imperialstar IS52C2. So far, it seems very solid and well built. However, i have one problem with it.

It sounds terrible, aside from the snare. The bass drum is resonant and loud, the toms sound too exotic, i really don't know where to start fixing this. I've grown up listening to a lot of black/death/extreme metal, and i understand most of the higher produced albums are triggered, but there has to be a way to get better sound out of this kit. Coming from someone who has been playing guitar and piano/keyboards for over 7 years, i am a HUGE stickler for the right tone. I spend countless hours making sure everything sounds just right. I would really like to know any tips you might have for giving this kit a bit more of an authentic metal sound to it. It would increase the enjoyment of practicing tenfold.

Thanks.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I just recently purchased a drumset, the very first i have ever owned. It's Tama's Imperialstar IS52C2. So far, it seems very solid and well built. However, i have one problem with it.

It sounds terrible, aside from the snare. The bass drum is resonant and loud, the toms sound too exotic, i really don't know where to start fixing this. I've grown up listening to a lot of black/death/extreme metal, and i understand most of the higher produced albums are triggered, but there has to be a way to get better sound out of this kit. Coming from someone who has been playing guitar and piano/keyboards for over 7 years, i am a HUGE stickler for the right tone. I spend countless hours making sure everything sounds just right. I would really like to know any tips you might have for giving this kit a bit more of an authentic metal sound to it. It would increase the enjoyment of practicing tenfold.

Thanks.
First and foremost, I'd experiment with TUNING and HEAD SELECTION. There are loads and loads of threads dedicated to these two vital components of a great drum sound. Search the forums for threads on both, you'll be there a while. Happy reading.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I just recently purchased a drumset, the very first i have ever owned. It's Tama's Imperialstar IS52C2. So far, it seems very solid and well built. However, i have one problem with it.

It sounds terrible, aside from the snare. The bass drum is resonant and loud, the toms sound too exotic, i really don't know where to start fixing this. I've grown up listening to a lot of black/death/extreme metal, and i understand most of the higher produced albums are triggered, but there has to be a way to get better sound out of this kit. Coming from someone who has been playing guitar and piano/keyboards for over 7 years, i am a HUGE stickler for the right tone. I spend countless hours making sure everything sounds just right. I would really like to know any tips you might have for giving this kit a bit more of an authentic metal sound to it. It would increase the enjoyment of practicing tenfold.

Thanks.
First question - have you replaced the stock heads? If not, that would be my first step.

When you do replace them, I would recommend clear Emperors or G2s, depending on your taste, with clear Ambassador or G1 resos. Then spend a lot of time tuning the toms to themselves, then against each other. You would probably want the toms tuned as low as they can go before wrinkling or losing tone (what is referred to as JAW, or Just Above Wrinkling), and the resos slightly tighter.

For the snare, I would recommend an Evans Power Center head - great sensitive and LOUD heads that are a bit more durable than the average single-ply. Tune to taste. A tighter tuning on the snare side head can yield less snare sensitivity, but more ring, depending on the snare.

The bass should get a Powerstroke or Evans EQ2 head, and the reso that's on there should be fine. Tune the batter to one to 1 1/2 turns past wrinkling, and the reso can be set almost to wrinkling.If you're looking for a clickier sound, try a small pillow inside, an impact pad under the beater, change the beaters to hard plastic or wood, and cut a small port up front.

But you are absolutely right - most recorded metal drummers either heavily sample, trigger, or EQ their drums. It will be nigh impossible to get that sound naturally. But remember, what you hear behind the drums is very different from what your audience will hear. For the best approximation, play your set while wearing isolation headphones or shooting earmuffs.
 

Hyperion

Junior Member
Thanks for the tips. I knew the stock heads would have to be replaced, but i don't have the monetary means at the moment.

One question though, whats the difference between coated heads, or the ones such as are on the snare, and the clear ones i currently use. From what i've heard from other drummers, the coated heads are leagues above the clear ones.
 

Sopranos

Senior Member
Thanks for the tips. I knew the stock heads would have to be replaced, but i don't have the monetary means at the moment.

One question though, whats the difference between coated heads, or the ones such as are on the snare, and the clear ones i currently use. From what i've heard from other drummers, the coated heads are leagues above the clear ones.
It would be naive to say that coated heads are any better than clear ones from a manufactured standpoint. Its all subjective and personal preference really. It comes down to the desired sound.

My guess is that coated heads, in fact, would suit you better. A 2-ply coated head (such as EC2 or Aquarian Super 2) might interest you for a dry (minimal resonating), controlled thud within a decent tuning range.... often better for untreated bedrooms and garages where the drums seem to resonate and echo forever. If your budget permits, try an acoustic treatment in first reflective points for a better sound quality in your space.

With that said, however, I have heard plenty of phenomenal sounding drums with clear heads (even in single ply) when tuned properly.... great for mic'ing and gigs.

Good luck!
 
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alparrott

Platinum Member
There's no "leagues above" difference between coated and clear. Generally speaking, they are the exact same heads with some coating sprayed on. Some people prefer the feel or sound properties of a coated head, but that is a matter of taste and opinion.

Coated heads on toms tend to warm up the sound, at the cost of muffling it somewhat. Clear heads are clearer and generally emphasize attack more.
 
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