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  #1  
Old 11-17-2010, 07:55 PM
NC68 NC68 is offline
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Default Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Was out of drumming for a while but got back into it and now have an acoustic kit. It's been some time since I have tried the black art of tuning a drum. Years ago I had a set of Ludwigs with power toms and back then used a round sticky foam ring that was about an inch smaller than the diameter of the drum. The ring adhered to the underside of the batter head, (inside the drum) and gave them a good thuddy sound but not too dead.

Fast forward to today and I am currently trying to get a good tom sound out of my mounted tom (13"). I'm starting there for now to see what head combination works the best. I found that both a coated Emperor over a clear Ambassador or a clear Emperor works well but there is a bit too much ring to the tom. It seems sacrilegious to stick something to the underside and the ring is not that bad but bad enough that I'd like to reduce it so my question is as follows:

Do you muffle your toms and if so what type of muffling device do you use? (moongel, gaffers tape, etc., and how or where do you use it)

I also realize that what the audience hears is not what I hear so the other question would be: will the small but somewhat annoying ring really matter? The obvious answer would be to have them set up at a gig and have someone else play the drums while I go out where the audience will be sitting to make that determination but I'd like to get these sounding as good as possible before trying to fiddle with them at the gig.

Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2010, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

I do not muffle any of my drums, including my bass drum. You can do all the tone control you need with thicker heads.
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  #3  
Old 11-17-2010, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

No muffling here. Although for micing purposes, I do still stick a blanket in the bass drum, but basically the drum is wide open with either a Remo powerstroke 3 or an evans eq3 on the batter side with a wide open resonant head. And sometimes I still use an old home-made ring on my snare. But that's about it. Toms are wide open, all the time.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Do, slightly...for my fusion sized kit

I have a cut 3" thick foam piece that is basically fitted on the bottom of my 20" bass drum that touches both batter and reso head surfaces. It only spans from the 5-7 o'clock, so it isn't much. Just a little to take some of the overtone out. Negligible at best.

I also use moongels on the snare, 10" and 12" toms. The 14" floor is open.
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  #5  
Old 11-17-2010, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

The need to muffle varies depending on the venue, genre, the drums themselves, whether the drums are mic'd, and the sound desired.

So to answer the question, sometimes I do... sometimes I don't.

When muffling, on snares & toms I may use a wallet, a cutout head ring around the edge of the batter, tissue or paper towel gaffed to the head, a towel laying over part of the head, the drum's own muffler (if it has one) and on rare occasions, moon gel. But most often I simply make a loop of gaff tape - sticky side out and in sizes relative to the size of the drum and the amount of damping I want - and place gently on the edge of the head so the loop stands up, using multiple loops as required. The kick may get a small or large blanket, small or large pillow, and because I used coated EMAD batters almost exclusively, I can vary the damping from the "business end" as well.

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  #6  
Old 11-17-2010, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
The need to muffle varies depending on the venue, genre, the drums themselves, whether the drums are mic'd, and the sound desired.

So to answer the question, sometimes I do... sometimes I don't.

When muffling, I may use a wallet, a cutout head ring around the edge of the batter, tissue or paper towel gaffed to the head, a towel laying over part of the head, the drum's own muffler (if it has one) and on rare occasions, moon gel. But most often I simply make a loop of gaff tape - sticky side out and in sizes relative to the size of the drum and the amount of damping I want - and place gently on the edge of the head so the loop stands up, using multiple loops as required.

Bermuda
I did that with duct tape for ...what seems like ever. Kind of looked like an Ohm symbol when standing on the drum head. I spent a great long while experimenting with moongel and seeing, depending on what head is on the drum, what position makes it sound like XXX. Unfortunate, not many of us are funded enough to have the freedom to experiment and change heads depending on the venue. I'd say a lot of up and comers have no clue what the venue is like before they arrive.

Curious...how do you use your wallet as a muffle?
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

No mufflers here either.

Though I did make a 1/2 inch ring out of my first DW stock head for the snare. Even then, probably won't even use that unless recording.

I noticed the other day that when the hats and cymbals start crashing, riding and chiming along with the drums - what was once a ring coming from the snare, has all but disappeared.

I went from stock DW heads (single ply AMBASS) to coated G2's on all toms. I concur with Deathmetalconga. Get some good double plys perhaps. Thick enough for ring control, but not too much where you've smothered the tone. Coated EC2's provide good ring control too.

Moongel is a popular fix because you can remove and adjust it easier than buying the wrong head. I have yet to pick some up though.
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  #8  
Old 11-17-2010, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

A set of Remo (or other brand) tone control or Zero rings are cheap and easily removable. That and the moongels can be tailored to suit your need or mood.....
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  #9  
Old 11-17-2010, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

I used to heavily dampen, then gradually as my tuning ability got better I started using less and less, I don't use any now.
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  #10  
Old 11-18-2010, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Generally no muffling.....
- sometimes a felt strip in the KD and a different beater (wood / felt / fluffy)
- sometimes aquarian rings on the toms and snare
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  #11  
Old 11-18-2010, 02:29 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

I muffle my kick, with a custom made muffler. It's like a homemade internal muffler like they used to put on old drums, except I adust it differently.

Everything else wide open.
I love ringing drums. I think they sound bright and lively.
Anybody tape the undersides of their rides?
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  #12  
Old 11-18-2010, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

I haven't used any muffling on my drums for a long, long time. Studio drums sound and feel weird to me but they need to be muffled. Thud. I always feel I need to lay into studio drums a bit more than on my own drums.

I like ringy, singing drums. Doesn't work for every kind of music, though, I guess.

Tape on cymbals? Aw, Larry.
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  #13  
Old 11-18-2010, 02:48 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

I usually don't use any muffling on any of my toms or my snare. I do however put a small blanket inside my bass drum. I also make sure to port the front head, which I believe also shortens the decay of the sound.
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  #14  
Old 11-18-2010, 03:12 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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Originally Posted by con struct View Post
I haven't used any muffling on my drums for a long, long time. Studio drums sound and feel weird to me but they need to be muffled. Thud. I always feel I need to lay into studio drums a bit more than on my own drums.

I like ringy, singing drums. Doesn't work for every kind of music, though, I guess.

Tape on cymbals? Aw, Larry.
+1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1!!!
The first time that I was in a studio way back in the 70's I played the House Studio kit with muted drums and tape on the pies. I said to myself, Never Again!
I now play my drums in a studio just as I play them live. I take the time to make them sound natural and organic. The way that drums should sound!
I recently had an offer to do a home studio thing. The only hook was that I would have to play an E-Kit. I flatly turned it down!
I am bringing my acoustic kit to the session this Saturday.
I don't know if I have won the battle and lost the war yet, but time will tell!
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  #15  
Old 11-18-2010, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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Originally Posted by sticksnstonesrus View Post
Curious...how do you use your wallet as a muffle?
Lay it right on the snare... oldest trick in the book!

Bermuda
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  #16  
Old 11-18-2010, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

JFTR, (just for the record) I don't tape the bronze. I've seen it though. Doesn't bother me as much as tape on drums does.

I always thought the wallet would get in the way, plus I would think it would move around, and if your snare is tilted, forget it. Obviously never tried it.
And I thought the oldest trick in the book was where someone pulled your finger. I'm not really trying to be argumentive, even though it sounds that way.
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  #17  
Old 11-18-2010, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

The wallet is the Ringo trick, right?
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  #18  
Old 11-18-2010, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Like Bermuda said the need to muffle will depend on the situation.

This is what i do most often:

Bass Drum: The classic Simon Phillips rolled towel.

Toms: Wide open

Snare: If needed, zero ring (i make them out of old drum heads).

Of course, a roll of duct tape is always around for any needed "adjustments."
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Proper heads and tuning will always go a long way to preventing needless muffle. Occasionally I'll throw a Zero Ring on my very ringy steel snare. And I have a rolled-up towel in the bass drum just touching the batter. Other than that - let em ring! And guess what? They sound GREAT miked up!
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:04 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Generally, my snare and toms are unmuffled unless the venue requires it. The only muffling I use on a regular basis is on my kick; a strip of felt on my reso and a (premuffled) SKIII batter head.

Actually, now that I remember, I have a Focus-X head on my floor tom reso. I tried it to tame the excessive overtones just a shade. It just so happened that it worked.
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  #21  
Old 11-18-2010, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

i muffle my snare...
i use a genera dry and hazy 300, the sound is bright, but has a ring in the end...
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  #22  
Old 11-18-2010, 06:38 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
The first time that I was in a studio way back in the 70's I played the House Studio kit with muted drums and tape on the pies. I said to myself, Never Again!
I now play my drums in a studio just as I play them live.
Oh heck, I just play the studio kits. The drum sound isn't up to me, it's up to whoever is paying for the session, usually the producer of whatever little tidbit of nonsense we're recording for some advertising agency. Great music, that stuff!
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Unlike a lot of folks who have responded, I haven't found the need to muffle my snare drum, but the band I am in prefers that I use Remo's rings on the toms for a darker sound. Sometimes in larger venues I can get away with taking them off, but generally they like them on there. Don't get me wrong, the drums sound good either way, even when mic'ed up, but it is simply a matter of preference, and it's not just my ears I need to satisfy...
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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Oh heck, I just play the studio kits. The drum sound isn't up to me, it's up to whoever is paying for the session, usually the producer of whatever little tidbit of nonsense we're recording for some advertising agency. Great music, that stuff!
No Way Man!
Every kit that I own is something that I have put together just for me,
I have made it my own!
My cymbals and drums are a part of me. We are one.
Every one of my kits is different.

I admit, I do play some crazy kits!
I take inexpensive drums and I combine them with great sounding cymbals and good heads and tuning to create "My Sound"
That is me!
I will not let someone violate that by putting tape all over my drums and cymbals because a quick and easy plastic sounding recording can be made.

I don't want to play E-Kits that are nothing more than a computer that makes a sound when you hit a sensor.
I just can't like it! I just can't do that.

I am not interested in playing drums for money. I have made lots of money repairing cars and investing. I don't care about making drumming a career.
I play for personal enjoyment. I only have to please myself. You can't put a dollar value on that kind of satisfaction.

I want my drums and cymbals to sound like drums and cymbals.
Drums ring, cymbals sing! snare drums buzz! Bass drums go Boom!
Those are the sounds that make drums sound real to me.
I prefer to let the natural sounds of the drums and the cymbals shine through.
My only vice is that I do use Aquarian SK II heads on my bass drums. I also use a small porthole on my bass reso. I do tune my bass heads on the tight side to get some boom from my bass drum.
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Last edited by bobdadruma; 11-20-2010 at 04:08 AM.
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  #25  
Old 11-20-2010, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Evans O rings on snare and toms, and a rolled up Ghostbusters costume against the reso side of the bass drum (pre-muffled PS3 batter).

I'm still a beginner and suck at tuning, plus I spend the majority of my time playing exercises out of books, so I don't have a lot of crashing and overall busyness to cover up the overtones.

When I'm doing a lot of play-alongs i'll usually take the ring off of the snare. With the toms, even if i can get them tuned evenly, and get a clear, clean note out of them they stil sound boingy and plasticy, the rings focus the sound and lower the pitch a little (EC2 SSTs over G1s).
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  #26  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:03 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
Unlike a lot of folks who have responded, I haven't found the need to muffle my snare drum, but the band I am in prefers that I use Remo's rings on the toms for a darker sound. Sometimes in larger venues I can get away with taking them off, but generally they like them on there. Don't get me wrong, the drums sound good either way, even when mic'ed up, but it is simply a matter of preference, and it's not just my ears I need to satisfy...
just in case, those rings are used for muffling
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  #27  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
No Way Man!
Every kit that I own is something that I have put together just for me,
I have made it my own!
My cymbals and drums are a part of me. We are one.
Every one of my kits is different.

I admit, I do play some crazy kits!
I take inexpensive drums and I combine them with great sounding cymbals and good heads and tuning to create "My Sound"
That is me!
I will not let someone violate that by putting tape all over my drums and cymbals because a quick and easy plastic sounding recording can be made.

I don't want to play E-Kits that are nothing more than a computer that makes a sound when you hit a sensor.
I just can't like it! I just can't do that.

I am not interested in playing drums for money. I have made lots of money repairing cars and investing. I don't care about making drumming a career.
I play for personal enjoyment. I only have to please myself. You can't put a dollar value on that kind of satisfaction.

I want my drums and cymbals to sound like drums and cymbals.
Drums ring, cymbals sing! snare drums buzz! Bass drums go Boom!
Those are the sounds that make drums sound real to me.
I prefer to let the natural sounds of the drums and the cymbals shine through.
now thats a magic combination of words <3
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  #28  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:23 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
I am not interested in playing drums for money. I have made lots of money repairing cars and investing. I don't care about making drumming a career.
I play for personal enjoyment. I only have to please myself. You can't put a dollar value on that kind of satisfaction.
Yeah, Bob, but you have to put a dollar value on having to play drums for money.

I rather miss having to play drums for money.

And I wish I could repair cars. Hell, I wish I could repair anything!
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  #29  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:42 AM
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Yeah, Bob, but you have to put a dollar value on having to play drums for money.

I rather miss having to play drums for money.

And I wish I could repair cars. Hell, I wish I could repair anything!
last week when I changed the clocks back I accidentally tuned my clock radio to a Pop station.
I couldn't believe the music that I woke up to the next morn.
It was so bland and phony! There were no real drum sounds in the music. There were hardly any guitar parts in the music.The music consisted mainly of vocals, crap guitar parts, and dubbed in electronic percussion sounds.
Is this the, "Music" that people listen to today?
It was horrible!
It sounded like someone took random loops from a computer program and they had a singer sing over them.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
last week when I changed the clocks back I accidentally tuned my clock radio to a Pop station.
I couldn't believe the music that I woke up to the next morn.
It was so bland and phony! There were no real drum sounds in the music. There were hardly any guitar parts in the music.The music consisted mainly of vocals, crap guitar parts, and dubbed in electronic percussion sounds.
Is this the, "Music" that people listen to today?
It was horrible!
It sounded like someone took random loops from a computer program and they had a singer sing over them.
For real music, I mean absolutely real no jive music, go here. It's happening right now. Roberto Gatto's doing it on the drums.
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  #31  
Old 11-20-2010, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

all that lady gaga bullshit is really annoying me
everyone thinks that all these famous electronic djs tiesto and guetta do music
it really annoys the hell out of me to hear those comments and to be surrounded by people whom think their so "called" mix or song is music

Last edited by ecpietscheck; 11-20-2010 at 08:18 PM.
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  #32  
Old 11-21-2010, 05:36 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

I've done a lot of quick fixes for cheap drums and drums in bad shape recently at college and here's a few things I've found out. If you take a piece of duct tape (gaff tape works too, but it's not as sticky so that could pose a problem later) and make a patch: step one take a piece of tap and roll it over (think for sticking something on the wall) then placed the little rolled tape on the head near the edge and cover with a flat piece of tape to hold it on. The end result looks like a bandage or patch that you could vary on size depending on the size of the drum or muffle desired. This tends to have the effect of a moongel or internal dampener.
Another trick is to make a tape ring on the INSIDE of the head. I always tried this on the outside, but never had satisfying results. Make like an octagon around the inside of the head (if you have coated or colored heads you wont even see this tape from the outside) and make sure the pieces of tape overlap somewhat. Your head will still tune, but have a slightly dampened, but much fatter drum sound. It gives single ply heads that double ply feel and you don't have to worry about an e-ring flying off, getting bent, etc. It also leaves the drum still sensitive enough to play all dynamic levels. You also could experiment by not making a ring all the way around either. This works wonders on old heads that you may not be able to replace at the time too, or kits with stock heads. This creates a Powerstroke style sound for floor toms that you may plan on using for club kit kick drums too. The benefit again is that you dont have duct tape all over the outside of the drum kit making you look 'unprofessional'
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  #33  
Old 11-21-2010, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

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For real music, I mean absolutely real no jive music, go here. It's happening right now. Roberto Gatto's doing it on the drums.
Thanks for the link Jay. I bookmarked it.
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  #34  
Old 11-21-2010, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

A soundman and drummer who I look up to once told me drums should not need to be muffled to sound good. So I try to muffle nothing, except my kick, which has a pillow. Some of my snares have heads with built in rings, like an Evans Genera or a Powerstroke, and some of the older ones have those built in muffle pads that you can tighten against the head (Ludwig Supraphonic). WHen needs require and the snare mic has high gain I will use one or both of those. But I quite like a little overring on the snare. Some of it usually disappears when the whole band kicks in.

For toms, I use nothing. I have found it difficult to tune single-ply heads without muffling, so I tend to stick to 2-ply for the toms. At the moment I have Evans G2's on my toms. There is very minimal overrring on the toms with those heads.
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  #35  
Old 11-23-2010, 01:45 AM
uniin's Avatar
uniin uniin is offline
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

i never need to muffle i can tune and get the sound i want from the skins i use.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:36 AM
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scorch whammin scorch whammin is offline
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Other than head selection (i.e., using an EMAD and a genera dry snare head (with ext. ring sometimes, ec2 SST on toms)...I don't muffle
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:39 PM
AudioWonderland AudioWonderland is offline
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Default Re: Muffling - Do You or Don't You?

Never on toms.

I use an Evans Pad on the kick batter with PS3's all around.

On occasion I will use a moon gel on the snare but usually not.


I find that because I use minimal mic techniques that the drums sound better when they are as open and resonant as possible.
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