Re: Flattening toms?
I don't have mine completely flat, but a slight angle towards me. Just enough so I can come down on it without a rim-shot. I also keep them a few inches higher than my snare.
I see great benefit to having toms flatter. When you strike the drum, the sound bonuses out from the heads, right?
So if your toms are angled facing you too much, the sound bounces back into your fact and will thus be louder for you, but not the rest of the band or audience.
By having your toms flatter the sound projects out more, and not all up in your face.
If I use only one rack tom, I also keep it on a stand, not a fan of the snare basket thing. I found that having the tom in a basket chokes the sound a little.
Also, I like having my tom over the kick a little, so a snare stand wouldn't work.