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Old 11-27-2017, 04:28 AM
yammyfan yammyfan is offline
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Default Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

Hi all,

I'm sure that the answer to this question is "It depends..." but I'm wondering if there's any consensus regarding the tuning of rack toms for live settings.

Is it better to let the toms resonate as much as possible to cut through the mix or is a lower resonance preferred for some reason?

The drum kit in question will not be mic'd. Possibly the kick drum will be but nothing else.

The reason I ask is that I bought a drum kit specifically for gigging and it will be seeing its first action in a few days. The heads are new but should be relatively stretched out by now. I'd like to give the kit a final tune before the show and am wondering how to approach it.

I tune my practice kit to sound good in my practice room but this "B" kit will be used almost exclusively for gigs so I'd rather focus my effort on getting the best live sound from it. It's a basic Yamaha YD Series kit, as seen below.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:33 AM
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jdhardrummer jdhardrummer is offline
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

Genre? I would lean to ringing them out though if unmic ‘d... can always damp after the fact if you need but you can’t go other way around.
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:38 AM
yammyfan yammyfan is offline
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

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Originally Posted by jdhardrummer View Post
Genre? I would lean to ringing them out though if unmic ‘d... can always damp after the fact if you need but you can’t go other way around.
Great question - and a useful insight.

I'll be playing rock covers all night, mostly 80's but many others much older and much newer than that.
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:00 AM
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AzHeat AzHeat is offline
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

For the genres mentioned, definitely resonant if unmic’d. The opposite if mic’d
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:10 AM
yammyfan yammyfan is offline
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

This is why I love this place.

It never occurred to me that I could easily tame resonance at the venue whereas creating it from nothing would be next to impossible. I don't mind performing some minor tuning before sound check but not the kind of wholesale tuning like I did when I replaced the heads last week.

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

Additional tip... if going un mic'd, tune them higher than maybe you'd like naturally sitting behind the kit. Low toms do not cut through live if unmic'd, no matter how great you feel them in your stomach behind the kit :)

10 feet out, they will sound like cardboard unless they have a decent fundamental pitch.
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:37 AM
yammyfan yammyfan is offline
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

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Originally Posted by jdhardrummer View Post
Additional tip... if going un mic'd, tune them higher than maybe you'd like naturally sitting behind the kit. Low toms do not cut through live if unmic'd, no matter how great you feel them in your stomach behind the kit :)

10 feet out, they will sound like cardboard unless they have a decent fundamental pitch.
I have read that and acted upon it, indirectly leading me to create this thread :)

The toms are indeed tuned higher than those belonging to my practice kit for the very reason that you mentioned above. This had me wondering if it was too much of a good thing.

I think not but I'm going to grab some Gaffer's tape or Moon Gels tomorrow, just in case.
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Old 11-27-2017, 07:37 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

Yes to what "they" said.

Higher pitched with overtones for live unmic'd performances. Let them ring out!
Dampened for live performances when microphones are used.
I have my Yamaha set tuned high pitched. If the sound person wants to put mics on my toms I throw on the dampening rings.


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Old 11-27-2017, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: Consensus: High or Low Tom Resonance for Live Performance

I've found it always depends on the room a lot. Which is what I tune the kit to sound the best in. Unfortunately there's no one size fits all.

Have you ever had a great sound for a gig and then played another room or practiced and the kit sounds awful?

I'm the same as the OP micing wise (just bass drum usually). The most I'll use is 3 mics on the kit. A close mic Glyn Johns so I don't have to dampen unless the room is lively.

Another big thing is how the drums like to be tuned. Some sound better tuned high and some low.
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