Originally Posted by SLEEPY BRiGHT EYEZ
Ya, I was going to assume they had great attack because of the density. But I had wondered if it was a double edged sword at the cost of resonance.
I'm listening to a sound clip on that website and they sound nice.
Ordinarily, a dense shell gives attack and projection at the expense of richness and resonance. However, because of the solid shell construction and uniform grain direction, you get the richness and resonance of a mellower wood. Each grain of wood acts as a tiny micro-resonator.
One of the drawbacks is that tuning is difficult. The drums produce lots of tones and they must all be carefully balanced or else they will sound really, really cacophanous, particularly for the toms.
I have found these ironwood drums do not appear to have many acceptable tuning settings. They sound good low, then there is another midrange tuning region, and finally a high one. Between these ranges, however, you really can't tune the drums to a pleasing set of frequencies. In a traditional maple or oak drum, you wouldn't be getting as many tones to deal with, so there is less potential for conflict. In a softer mahogany drum, you have more frequencies, but they're not at such high volumes, so there is less conflict. Also, traditional drums contain glue, which absorbs some of the tones.
These drums toss back at you everything you put into them - which has its own set of trade offs.