Re: holes in the kick drum....
I recently cut a hole in the front head on my kit. I hated doing it but did it for the same reason you did, sound guy talked me into it. I have a Yamaha Stage Custom Standard kit that's natural wood and it has a HUGE sound, especially from my bass drum, which is a "22. I've noticed a difference too because I tune mine like yours for a big sound. I use a little bit of egg-crate foam and probably don't have to use that in it. I also use drum heads with built-in rings so I don't get that awful ringing sound from plain heads. I'm like you man, I hated doing it but it sounds ok. I should've just left it alone and let the sound guy deal with it but oh well, you live and learn.
"Are you kidding me? All drummers are animals!"--Buddy Rich