Can we talk vent holes?


"Uncle Larry"
If you took a drum, and put 1 vent hole in it, how would it compare to the same exact drum with say, 3 vent holes in it. Or 5. Where is the threshold for of noticeable change in tone? (2% of the shell area for example) OK maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I still want to know what thoughts are floating around out there. I'm trying to figure out how many holes I should put in my future Vaughncraft shells. Thanks.


Administrator - Mayor
The threshold I can't tell you. All I know is that the more holes, the less the resonant head is going to move. Just like a bass drum with a 4 inch port or a 10 inch port. Air escapes before it pushes down on the resonant head. On a snare I would think the smaller or fewer holes the better.


Platinum Member
Those snares with loads and loads of ports all the way round are supposed to be really loud, aren't they? Why is that?


Platinum Member
Someone I know has one, and he says they're extremely loud, so I assume they do...probably less low end, but maybe it lets the high frequencies out without getting in their way as much. That would make sense.


Platinum Member
I think the consensus is; the more holes there are in a drum, whether it be in the head or the shell itself, the more "dry" and punchy it will sound.

Sonor's "resonance gate" feature plugs the vent hole should you want more resonance - whether or not it makes a difference is another question. It could just be a selling-point as part of the massive price tag.

Hit one of your toms with your finger over the vent...then without. Did you notice a difference? I tried it, I can't hear anything myself.


Platinum Member
If you had no holes in the shell, the note you create on the drums should sound and then lower in pitch over a second or two. That's due to the pressure within the shell and how it engages the heads fully. No air would escape the shell (or, very little would leak out, perhaps), so it will sound quieter in general, because the only sound waves coming off the kit are coming straight off the heads. With a thinner-shelled tom, the shell itself would resonate as well.

The more holes you add, the more air escapes after the initial attack of the stick, and there's less resonance. It may sound louder because there's more air escaping (in the directions of the holes), but you sacrifice that energy being passed back and forth between the heads and through the shell--there goes your tone!

If you check out some of Spaun's shells they have out now, they can have a few huge holes or many small holes. They'll be crisper and drier sounding. They also will be a bit louder, but that loudness won't sustain over time like it will with a less-vented snare.


"Uncle Larry"
OK then what I'd like to do is make an adjustable vent, or possibly extra vents that I can plug with dowels or something, so I can strike a balance between resonance and crack. I really value all your guys advise, thanks so much. When I get these shells, I'm gonna document the whole project, start to finish.