1 inch

drummingman

Gold Member
How much does 1 inch in the depth of the size of a tom effect it's sound? For example, 12x8 vs 12x9. Or 16x13 vs 16x14. Would there be a huge difference in the sound of these vs examples? I'm talking about with maple drums.
 

Homeularis

Gold Member
If you had two of the same make/model drums in the same material and the same heads and tuning, I think you would be hard pressed to hear a real difference of only 1 inch depth. Although thats probably exactly what you'ld get. A little deeper tone, a little more resonance and a bit less attack.

I could be wrong though. Of course I havent ever had the oportunity to do an A/B. I cant imagine many have with these exact circumstances.

I am curious to hear other opinions though.
 

Nodiggie

Gold Member
Live I'm not certain you would be able to tell the difference. In the studio, yep. The deeper the toms, the longer the sound wave. Some Engineers don't like these deeper toms cause they are harder to mix separation giving a muddy feeling on tom work. At least, that's what I've been told by more than one; I'm not an Engineer so who knows.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I think you would be hard pressed to hear a real difference of only 1 inch depth.
I second that. You wanna "change the sound" ... drastically? .... put different heads on the drum ... or just tune it differently ...​

I've put 16x14 and 16x16 floor toms side-by-side, and got them to sound exactly the same. And I've also put identical 16x16 floor toms side-by-side, and tuned them to sound way different .... so a 1" depth difference ... almost a moot point. Might as well just buy what you think looks better, 'cause sound wise, it ain't gonna matter enough for the human ear to hear the difference.​
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I second that. You wanna "change the sound" ... drastically? .... put different heads on the drum ... or just tune it differently ...​

I've put 16x14 and 16x16 floor toms side-by-side, and got them to sound exactly the same. And I've also put identical 16x16 floor toms side-by-side, and tuned them to sound way different .... so a 1" depth difference ... almost a moot point. Might as well just buy what you think looks better, 'cause sound wise, it ain't gonna matter enough for the human ear to hear the difference.​
Geez, I keep trying to convince everybody there is no difference between regular toms and fast-sized toms for a while now. Maybe everyone will listen to Harry instead!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
If you had two of the same make/model drums in the same material and the same heads and tuning, I think you would be hard pressed to hear a real difference of only 1 inch depth. Although thats probably exactly what you'ld get. A little deeper tone, a little more resonance and a bit less attack.

I could be wrong though. Of course I havent ever had the oportunity to do an A/B. I cant imagine many have with these exact circumstances.

I am curious to hear other opinions though.
Pretty much on the money IMO.
With thinner shells, there's an increase in shell resonance with greater depth, but not really on a thicker shelled drum. The biggest difference is overtones, both the ones you want, & the ones you don't. Shallow toms present a more pure fundamental. There's less overtones, so the drums "voice" is more distinctive. Deeper drums deliver more overtones. Typically, the lower frequency overtones are the ones that "fatten" the sound. Think of them as being similar to adding a chorus effect. The additional higher overtones are the ones you don't want. These are the ringy/boingy ones that are a pain to deal with.

Homeularis's correct on the attack too. Deeper drums tend to swallow attack by virtue of their overtones taking a higher place in the resolved sound. Getting deeper drums to sound good is all about managing the overtones. Getting shallow drums to sound good is all about getting them to sound like deeper ones, lol!

1" really isn't worth talking about in terms of overall sound difference. Yes, you can probably pick it up in a very accurately controlled A-B test, but in the real world, there's bigger things to get hung up on. 3" - 4" depth difference, ok, now you're really going to hear that.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Shell depth will have a more drastic effect on the feel of the drum. A deeper shell is going to give a bit more sluggish rebound compared to an identically tuned more shallow one.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Geez, I keep trying to convince everybody there is no difference between regular toms and fast-sized toms for a while now. Maybe everyone will listen to Harry instead!
No, probably not. People want to believe ... what they want to believe.​
Now, if the difference was between ... say ... a fast tom (hyperdrive) ... 13x8 ... and a power tom .... 13x12 then, yeah a 4" depth change .... that you'll hear.​
hype - er - drive ... pretty much says it all, right in the name.​
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
All good news to someone who plays kits with 'old sizes' of 12x8 and 13x9 rack toms.

A friend of mine used to play a Camco kit with two 12 (diameter) rack toms. He tuned them to different pitches. So picking up on the OP's original question - how much difference does 1" difference in diameter make?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I was just contemplating a similar question. On my next kit I was thinking of getting 2 racks, a 10" and a 12", but both only 9" deep. With a 22" bass drum, and rack mounted toms, the 9" depth puts the racks where I want without being too high and without hitting the bass drum. So it should sound just fine I would think.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
The difference in sound increases as you get to smaller and smaller depths. In other words, The difference between a 12x1 and 12x2 is much more substantial than a 12x11 and a 12x12.

Theoretically, smaller depths will be faster (shorter sustain) and thinner (less body). The difference between a 14x8 snare and a 14x3. Or the difference between a thin crash and a thick crash.

Like everyone else has said. Practically speaking, the real difference will be minute, if its noticeable at all.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
I was just contemplating a similar question. On my next kit I was thinking of getting 2 racks, a 10" and a 12", but both only 9" deep. With a 22" bass drum, and rack mounted toms, the 9" depth puts the racks where I want without being too high and without hitting the bass drum. So it should sound just fine I would think.
This is one reason why I stick with the 'old' depths. I play a 20" bass drum on both my kits and find anything deeper than 9" just doesn't sit where I want it. On the occasions where I play other peoples kits with 22" bass drums I lose a rack tom and move the remaining one way over to the left so that I can lower it to a comfortable height for me.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I was just contemplating a similar question. On my next kit I was thinking of getting 2 racks, a 10" and a 12", but both only 9" deep. With a 22" bass drum, and rack mounted toms, the 9" depth puts the racks where I want without being too high and without hitting the bass drum. So it should sound just fine I would think.
I think that's fine Larry. All three of my top toms on the Guru kit are 10" deep. The different diameters gives me all the pitch range I want, & the depth gives them a tonal family feel.
 
S

sticks4drums

Guest
Too me I like the look of the toms when they drop slightly in size. I do have 3 8" toms up top that only differ in depth, which allows them to sound different from each other, yet have that cascading affect visually.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
I think that's fine Larry. All three of my top toms on the Guru kit are 10" deep. The different diameters gives me all the pitch range I want, & the depth gives them a tonal family feel.
OK I'm really intrigued now as to the relationship between shell diameter; shell depth and the pitch range in which a drum 'sings' particularly as you (Andy) seem to have a great deal of expertise in the physics of drum sounds. Does the ratio of head area to shell area matter? Is the primary driver of pitch the drum's diameter - and if so why do we play 14 inch snare drums? And what do you think has driven the move (over the last couple of decades) towards smaller diameter drums (I'm thinking in particular of the move to 10.12 rather than, as was conventional when I first started playing, 12, 13).
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
One of my kits has 7x10 and 7x12 rack toms,
another has 8x10 and 8x12 rack toms.

I have experimented with these toms side by side and I find that 1 inch makes a very small difference in the tuning.
It is hardly noticeable and there is good seperation of sound between the 10 and 12 inch toms.
If I put say the 7x10 and the 8x10 toms next to each other their is only a slight diff in the sound.

1 inch of depth does not make a large difference like 1 inch of diameter does.
 

Retrovertigo

Senior Member
The deeper the toms, the longer the sound wave. Some Engineers don't like these deeper toms cause they are harder to mix separation giving a muddy feeling on tom work. At least, that's what I've been told by more than one; I'm not an Engineer so who knows.
just thought i should mention that the length of a sound wave is entirely dependent on pitch/tone and not the length of a drum (you could say the tom length effects it in so much as it may change the pitch of the drum.) the lower the note the longer the sound wave is. and engineers don't hate deeper toms for any reason at all. (except if they aren't sounding right for a song... but thats more of a producers job)

the sound wave from a drum is very complex also. it's not predictable in terms of distance from one peak of the wave to another. this is because a drum produces a lot of different tones all at the same time. it's not like a sine wave, which is just a pure sound wave at given frequency.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
What about 2 inches when it comes to bass drum depth? 20x18 vs 20x20? Would I have to kick a 20x20 harder then a 20x18 to make it open up all the way?
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
What about 2 inches when it comes to bass drum depth? 20x18 vs 20x20? Would I have to kick a 20x20 harder then a 20x18 to make it open up all the way?
Not really. Between a 14 or 16" depth would be different than 20" depth though.
That's how it is with mine.
The 18 and 20" depth shells are pretty much the same.
If you have a solid foot, it doesn't really matter, you can adjust pretty much after 2 or 3 strokes anyway.

After having 8-9 & 10x12, and 9-10 &11x13" shells (and a couple 14's), I prefer the sound, feel and action of the "traditional" (8x12, 9x13, 10x14) sized toms.
I like shorter floor toms also for the sound and feel.
For me, the 2" shorter floor tom is fatter, and cleaner sounding for multiple strokes also.
 
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