Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
I'm in the "taking a bass drum and tuning it to sound how you want it to sound with very little to no muffling at all" camp with my bass drums.
Since 1996, I've used single ply Coated Batters, and a regular SW (or Ebony) head on the front of my bass drums. The deeper (20", sometimes the 18" depth) bass drums get a 4" HOLZ, but the 16" depth is usually full front. I do like the feel with a small hole on the 16" depth though. It sounds great either way.
I use a small piece of foam at the bottom of the shell to soak up the bounce around, but other than that, I don't muffle my bass drums. The foam doesn't touch the heads.
Sometimes I use a small roll thing between the pedal posts and head to tighten the sound/action up a little. It's small, so it doesn't really "muffle" it.
Never have a problem, always sounds great.
I don't care for pre-muffled heads at all. They sound and feel dead to me behind the drum. Out front, they can sound good, but a Clear PS3 99% of the time has that plastic-y slap/smack sound, and I hate that. I really only have to deal with that on back line kits at festivals, so not that big a deal.
The Coated PS3 doesn't seem to have that annoying sound though.