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  #1  
Old 01-30-2011, 11:11 PM
betard_foosier betard_foosier is offline
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Default Horrible room, or drums?

I don't exactly know how to explain my problem, but my drums sound HORRIBLE. I have Sonor Force 2001s with good heads all around, and I tune them with my Dial all the time, and they sound awful. Kick has no thump at all, just a klunk. My Pork Pie BOB snare is super harsh, even my cymbals sound harsh and tinny, and they are all A Customs. My room is a hardwood and sheetrock bedroom with a drum rug, with about 30% of the wall covered in Auralex foam. I always thought it was fine, till I heard my friends Tama kit yesterday in his basement, and they sounded WONDERFUL. Kick had a huge THUMP, snare was rich, and toms made your stomach rumble. They were on carpet next to a cement wall, and two sheetrock walls. Mine sound like a cheap electronic drum machine, no power at all. HELP!!!
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Take your kit over to your friends house and play it there. If you notice a huge improvement, it's your room's fault. If you don't notice a huge improvement, it's a number of issues with your drums, head selection, tuning, dampening. We need more info and maybe some pictures on these points to help. Good thing is, there is hope.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

I would experiment with different drum heads and muffling that you can. It turned out that when I moved my kit into a bigger room and suited it up with Evans G2's it made a world of difference so try that!
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodiggie View Post
Take your kit over to your friends house and play it there. If you notice a huge improvement, it's your room's fault. If you don't notice a huge improvement, it's a number of issues with your drums, head selection, tuning, dampening. We need more info and maybe some pictures on these points to help. Good thing is, there is hope.
Yep that sounds like a very good idea to me.
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  #5  
Old 01-31-2011, 01:01 AM
betard_foosier betard_foosier is offline
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Thanks guys, that is a good idea. I just think this bedroom is killing my kit, I have always been happy with my sonors, just that they have been in this room so long, I have forgotten what they really sound like!
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  #6  
Old 01-31-2011, 01:03 AM
betard_foosier betard_foosier is offline
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

As of right now I just have Hydraulics on my toms since anything else in this room will run rampant with overtones, but I have had g2s, pinstripes, and emporors on them as well. My snare is an HD Dry with a Diplomat bottom, and my kick is a Powersonic batter and emad resonant. I have just never, ever heard a kick with absolutely no oomph, not even a cheap cheap one. sounds like i have my beater up against the wall. :(
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:06 AM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

You could try to play it outside. I know in my room that my marching snare, no matter how you tune it ends up sounding the exact same unless you loosen the top head all the way down.
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  #8  
Old 01-31-2011, 01:18 AM
TwoCables
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by betard_foosier View Post
I don't exactly know how to explain my problem, but my drums sound HORRIBLE. I have Sonor Force 2001s with good heads all around, and I tune them with my Dial all the time, and they sound awful. Kick has no thump at all, just a klunk. My Pork Pie BOB snare is super harsh, even my cymbals sound harsh and tinny, and they are all A Customs. My room is a hardwood and sheetrock bedroom with a drum rug, with about 30% of the wall covered in Auralex foam. I always thought it was fine, till I heard my friends Tama kit yesterday in his basement, and they sounded WONDERFUL. Kick had a huge THUMP, snare was rich, and toms made your stomach rumble. They were on carpet next to a cement wall, and two sheetrock walls. Mine sound like a cheap electronic drum machine, no power at all. HELP!!!
Unfortunately, the room and its construction (and size) can significantly effect the sound of the drums and cymbals.

I have the lowly Yamaha Stage Customs which were manufactured in 1997 (before they replaced the shell-mount tom mounts with the YESS mounts on this series). I have since replaced the shell mounts with "RIMS" style mounts, and the sound instantly improved and so did the way my toms felt. However, I was fortunate: the room my drums were in at the time I installed these things allowed my drums to have a pretty good sound - relatively! But since that time, I've had my drums in dozens of different rooms and so I've experienced all kinds of sounds that range from absolutely amazing to extremely horrible.

But there was one time where I had my ideal drum sound. Everything sounded absolutely fantastic. It was at some gig that was outside in the summer under one of those giant canvas tents which are held up by like a half a dozen giant poles. The stage was just a bunch of risers that were 1 foot high. When I began tuning my drums, I could tell that they were out of tune, but yet they still sounded amazing. My face instantly lit up. Just tuning my drums was fun. When I finished, I had all I could do to resist playing them before the show started. The toms sang beautifully and sounded like high-end 100% maple drums in my opinion. The bass drum was just as awesome and so was my snare. Even the cymbals were wonderful. I did not want the night to end. If you're wondering what heads I had, then here they are: clear G1s for the toms (batter and resonant), Aquarian Super-Kick I, and a Regulator with an offset hole for the front head. For the snare, just a coated G1 with a Hazy 300 (Ambassador weight) snare side.

But then of course the night ended, we brought everything back to the practice space, I set my drums up later that night (err, morning) and played them hoping that perhaps my drums were going to sound a little better than usual. But sadly no: they were back to sounding absolutely cheap and disgusting.

Our practice space had three walls made from those huge masonry bricks/blocks, and then the wall behind me was sheet rock. The floor was cement. But that's not the worst of it: the room was 14 feet by 9 feet. Yeah, it was tiny. However, they did have nice squares of Auralex on the walls at seemingly strategic places.

I've also had a range of sound qualities in between those two that I just described, and I've noticed that it is always dictated by the room in one way or another as well as where the drums are in the room.

However, I am curious: do you think that you can start tuning by ear instead of relying on one of those drum dials? I mean, nothing can replace tuning by ear because only you know what sound you are after.
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  #9  
Old 01-31-2011, 03:21 AM
betard_foosier betard_foosier is offline
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Thanks for the reply, I am working with the dial to train my ear, some days I can tune with my ear, and some days i literally cant hear crap. I won't even be able to tell if my reso head is higher or lower than my batter! Again, it might have something to do with the room. For example, my snare doesn't ring, yet i cant hear both notes of a double stroke, because the snare wont decay in the room. I need to get them out of the house sometime and see what they sound like. I have always been very pleased with these sonors, considering what I paid for them, but I have been losing confidence over the last several years.
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2011, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Something to think about is, if the DrumDial is not actually giving you the correct results, you might be basing your tuning to a sound that is not even close to where it should be. I've heard drums tuned with a DrumDial that sounded atrocious. Make sure your standard is first correct or it will send you on a wild goose chase.

Dennis
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  #11  
Old 01-31-2011, 04:02 AM
TwoCables
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

I used the Tama Tension Watch back when I didn't know how to tune by ear for the same reasons: I figured it would help me learn how to tune by ear. But what I eventually discovered is that it wasn't helping me at all. Instead, it was just preventing me from learning. Or, I can say it was delaying the inevitable: the best way to learn how to tune is to practice tuning by ear. Tuning is a skill just like drumming: the only way to get good at it is to practice and experiment with different tunings.

Unfortunately, a drum dial can't provide any valuable tuning lessons because all it's able to measure is the tension of the head, not the pitch. After all, the pitch is what matters, not the tension. So if you're aiming for a certain sound, then all tuning must be done by the sound, not the tension (unless you're Buddy Rich who claims to have tuned by tension only). Of course, it does help to have fairly even tension, but in the end the most important thing is the actual sound of the drums unless all you care about is the tension. But I don't know of anyone who doesn't care about the sound of their drums. ;)

Now, I know it's frustrating. I agree! But that's to be expected since it's a skill that you're learning, kinda like drumming. There's indeed a learning curve. But what's nice is that if you get rid of the drum dial and instead practice and experiment by ear, then you'll begin to enjoy tuning.

So here's just a quick tip for now: try to keep the pitch by each lug the same (a drum dial cannot enable anyone to do this), and try to tune the resonant heads just a little higher than the batter. But again: always experiment. Try tunings that you know won't work. After that, try tunings you think might work. If you begin to feel tone deaf during a tuning, then that's always a sign that your ears and your brain need a break.

Either way, tuning by ear is really the only way to get desirable results.
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2011, 04:27 AM
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Nodiggie Nodiggie is offline
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
But I don't know of anyone who doesn't care about the sound of their drums. ;)


Either way, tuning by ear is really the only way to get desirable results.
Haha, I know a few.

and

Couldn't agree more, I have never used a drumdial but I guess they work well for some.
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2011, 05:27 AM
betard_foosier betard_foosier is offline
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Thanks for all the advice everyone!
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2011, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
I used the Tama Tension Watch back when I didn't know how to tune by ear for the same reasons: I figured it would help me learn how to tune by ear. But what I eventually discovered is that it wasn't helping me at all. Instead, it was just preventing me from learning. Or, I can say it was delaying the inevitable: the best way to learn how to tune is to practice tuning by ear. Tuning is a skill just like drumming: the only way to get good at it is to practice and experiment with different tunings.

Unfortunately, a drum dial can't provide any valuable tuning lessons because all it's able to measure is the tension of the head, not the pitch. After all, the pitch is what matters, not the tension. So if you're aiming for a certain sound, then all tuning must be done by the sound, not the tension (unless you're Buddy Rich who claims to have tuned by tension only). Of course, it does help to have fairly even tension, but in the end the most important thing is the actual sound of the drums unless all you care about is the tension. But I don't know of anyone who doesn't care about the sound of their drums. ;)

Now, I know it's frustrating. I agree! But that's to be expected since it's a skill that you're learning, kinda like drumming. There's indeed a learning curve. But what's nice is that if you get rid of the drum dial and instead practice and experiment by ear, then you'll begin to enjoy tuning.

So here's just a quick tip for now: try to keep the pitch by each lug the same (a drum dial cannot enable anyone to do this), and try to tune the resonant heads just a little higher than the batter. But again: always experiment. Try tunings that you know won't work. After that, try tunings you think might work. If you begin to feel tone deaf during a tuning, then that's always a sign that your ears and your brain need a break.

Either way, tuning by ear is really the only way to get desirable results.
This. ^

I used to use a Rhythm Watch too.

Very seldom do I bring it out anymore. When I installed a new head and tuned it up, I would occasionally double-check it with the Rhythm Watch. It nearly always matched my readings that I used, so I stopped using it. I always had to fine tune it from that point anyway.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Just because you use a drum dial and all your lugs read the same tension doesn't automatically mean a nice sounding drum.

Generally speaking, there are 3 different approaches to tuning drums...reso lower than batter, reso same as batter, reso higher than batter.

I don't care for the first way, they sound tubby to me. The 2nd way is an improvement but very one dimensional to my ear. I tune the reso higher than the batter, by a full octave to be exact, so it's kinda like the 2nd way, but more complex. You should determine which "way" you tune and experiment with the other 2 since you are unhappy with your tone.

Be aware of the phenomenon known as comb filtering AKA phase cancellation. This is a certain "dead zone(s)" your drum will pass through on the way to tuning. When the drum heads are tuned just so, frequencies from the batter head actually cancel out and negate frequencies from the reso head and the drum tone just dies. Tensioning just one of the heads differently will take you out of that zone.

For a reference point, and some real numbers, on single ply heads, I go batter 74, reso 83. This gives me (approximately) the octave difference that I prefer.
I use what I consider a medium-tight tuning. You might prefer them lower.

To sing the same note as a single ply at 74, a 2 ply head will require a higher tension. If you have 2 ply heads, try increasing the numbers by 4 or 5. Again, that will render a medium tight (to my ear) tuning. It's funny that even though the drum sizes increase, the tension on the heads are all basically the same, with my floor tom slightly lower.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Try different locations within your room. And try moving some baffles aroumd to various locations.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:53 AM
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Spectron Spectron is offline
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by betard_foosier View Post
As of right now I just have Hydraulics on my toms since anything else in this room will run rampant with overtones, but I have had g2s, pinstripes, and emporors on them as well. My snare is an HD Dry with a Diplomat bottom, and my kick is a Powersonic batter and emad resonant. I have just never, ever heard a kick with absolutely no oomph, not even a cheap cheap one. sounds like i have my beater up against the wall. :(
along with the drum dial.....
this is your prob right here.

hydraulics are known for being dry (dead) sounding
powersonic (also known for being dry with no boom)

go back to the g2's and tuning the drums for maximum resonance.

tune with your ears. remember the drum dial is a gauge and not a tuner
tune your drums until they exhibit a natural round sound.
(like larryace said tuning that resonant head considerably higher can result
in a nice fat warm sound)
don't worry so much about overtones just make them ring with a
solid fundamental with a clear note. You can always dampen later if thats your sound
but you can't liven up a dead thunk....

Also... take the foam off the walls.... all that auralex on the walls just make the sound even more dead. The true way to acoustically treat a room is to take care of the bass frequencies first and for that you need bass traps. Only use just enough aurlex to get rid of flutter echo...like only four squares per wall and the carpet on the floor is usually good enough to tame those nasties...

Dead heads = dead sound
dead room = dead sound

Last edited by Spectron; 02-01-2011 at 01:58 AM. Reason: what larry said...
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2011, 05:08 AM
TwoCables
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Also, if you happen to like John Bonham's overall sound, then check this out:

http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/j...cheltree1.html

http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/j...cheltree2.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodiggie View Post
Haha, I know a few.
Yeah, I do too actually. lol But I didn't want to mention exceptions because they're sad. hehehe

Quote:
Originally Posted by brady View Post
This. ^

I used to use a Rhythm Watch too.

Very seldom do I bring it out anymore. When I installed a new head and tuned it up, I would occasionally double-check it with the Rhythm Watch. It nearly always matched my readings that I used, so I stopped using it. I always had to fine tune it from that point anyway.
This.

I think that one of the reasons why I stopped using it is because I noticed that even though I was extremely anal and extremely careful about getting perfectly precise results, I still needed to tune by ear afterward. So I reached a point where I discovered that it was much faster and easier to get rid of the Tension Watch and just tune by ear.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:58 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Be aware of the phenomenon known as comb filtering AKA phase cancellation. This is a certain "dead zone(s)" your drum will pass through on the way to tuning. When the drum heads are tuned just so, frequencies from the batter head actually cancel out and negate frequencies from the reso head and the drum tone just dies. Tensioning just one of the heads differently will take you out of that zone.
My second tom sounded awful and just a dead thud, I literally slackened it 1/5th turn all the way round just on the batter and all of a sudden it came to life, reckon this may be why.

OP, one other suggestion, ask your friend to come over and play your kit whilst you stand back and listen to it, it'll sound completely different when you're the other side of it. Personally I'd love to have another drummer there whenever I tune my kit and I'd be audience side, listen, make any changes I felt neccassary then step back and listen again.
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  #20  
Old 02-01-2011, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

I don't understand the concept of these tuning tools like the Drumdial and the Tension Watch. I've never used them. Perhaps studying some of those Bob Gatzen vids where he shows you how to tune a drum without the aide of tools is in order? All you really want to do is get the heads evenly tensioned. And no matter what you do, both top and bottom will come out relatively the same pitch if you want maximum resonance.

It sounds like your drums can do that, so I'm leaning towards it being a room problem.
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:44 AM
TwoCables
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

I have to say that I agree about Bob Gatzen's tuning video. I bought Drum Tuning: Sound and Design when it was out on VHS, and then I bought his Drum Tuning Simplified DVD when it was released which includes both the original video plus some new material which is actually just meant to supplement the original. I mean, there's a ton of new stuff on this DVD, but the original video (Drum Tuning: Sound and Design) still needs to be watched first. He even says so. :)

I bought the original video on VHS when I started to experiment with tuning by ear so that I could get better at it. The end result was that Bob's lessons enabled me to get good enough at tuning by ear that I confidently sold the Tension Watch to a pawn shop without hesitating.

And now with the new supplemental material on his DVD, tuning by ear has become even a little easier. But to be able to effectively use the information in this new material, the first video really does need to be watched. It's a required foundation. I mean, without this foundation, it's like trying to make a rock float in water.
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  #22  
Old 02-02-2011, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: Horrible room, or drums?

This could also be a case of operator not experienced enough too. When I was kid (and I've been doing this for decades now) I used to sit around and tune my drums for fun. I'd take 'em all the way down to wrinkles and practice putting it in tune with itself. I think you could only do this when you're a kid because that's when you have all this time to burn. I didn't realize that until I was in my 20s and noticed that by then I was pretty quick at changing out heads on an entire kit and be ready to go for a gig. Like anything else, it takes time and practice. I have found that the room may affect the drums a bit, but not that much if it's really in tune with itself.
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