And I thought there was something wrong with ME

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I have a friend with 3 DW kits. He will tell you that each one of them sounds different. I took a couple of lessons with a DW endorser. He said he has sent back a couple of kits because they just didn't sound as good as his other ones. Larry, maybe you just lucked out and got a set that sounds good and tunes up well. My 10", 14', 16" and bass drum all sound great. I can tune them anywhere. I just happen to get a 12' that isn't quite up to par with the rest of my kit.
What I am trying to determine is: the drums in question, the not so good sounding drums, are these drums round and true with good edges and they just don't sound good?
If so...I am having a hard time with that. I can maybe understand if the drum is ovalish and/or high low spots on the edges. But if the drum is right, how can it sound bad? I contend that it may be tuning issues. Owning 3 DW kits....doesn't mean you are a seasoned tuner. Please, enlighten me, because it doesn't add up to me. I admit that DW's are more finicky than my thicker shelled Pearls to tune. The thin shell flexes if it is tuned too much at a time, making wonky tones.

I have old Luds that are so far from perfect compared to the DW's...the tolerances aren't even in the same league, yet I can get good tunings from them. They don't have nearly the precision and smoothness of my DW's, and I can't get as many good tunings from them, and they don't hold tunings nearly as well... But my point is that even a bad DW can't be nearly as imperfect as my old Luds, so again, I am not understanding the problem with "some" DW's, if they are round and true.

Anyway, Doug, there's that pesky 12" tom issue I see popping up again. Tell me, does the drum sound good off the mount? Are you mounting it from a stand or on a BD tree? I am seeing a major pattern here with 12" tom problems, brand notwithstanding.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
What I am trying to determine is: the drums in question, the not so good sounding drums, are these drums round and true with good edges and they just don't sound good?
If so...I am having a hard time with that. I can maybe understand if the drum is ovalish and/or high low spots on the edges. But if the drum is right, how can it sound bad? I contend that it may be tuning issues. Owning 3 DW kits....doesn't mean you are a seasoned tuner. Please, enlighten me, because it doesn't add up to me. I admit that DW's are more finicky than my thicker shelled Pearls to tune. The thin shell flexes if it is tuned too much at a time, making wonky tones.

I have old Luds that are so far from perfect compared to the DW's...the tolerances aren't even in the same league, yet I can get good tunings from them. They don't have nearly the precision and smoothness of my DW's, and I can't get as many good tunings from them, and they don't hold tunings nearly as well... But my point is that even a bad DW can't be nearly as imperfect as my old Luds, so again, I am not understanding the problem with "some" DW's, if they are round and true.

Anyway, Doug, there's that pesky 12" tom issue I see popping up again. Tell me, does the drum sound good off the mount? Are you mounting it from a stand or on a BD tree? I am seeing a major pattern here with 12" tom problems, brand notwithstanding.
My 12" tom sounds like that whether it's on a tom stand or mounted on the bass drum. I've been meaning to put it on a snare stand and see how it sounds. When I'm holding it and hitting it, I'm too close and it's hard to tell how it sounds. As far as how it can be well made and still not sound good? I think that't just the nature of wood. I have taken the DW factory tour a couple of times and I was told that they do reject some drums because they just don't sound good when all is said and done. They were made the same way, given the same detail, and attention, but something in the wood of that particular shell just didn't add up. I remember watching a show on PBS one time about a guy that makes violins from scratch. He goes out in the wood and cuts down his own trees and everything. He said he puts the same effort into every violin he makes, yet some of them he sells for student models and some he can sell for thousands of dollars. He said you can never tell how it is going to sound until it's done and you play it for the first time. Like I said, it's just the nature of wood. Maybe John Good will figure out some day why that happens and then his drums will live up to the hype, but until then he has to do like the violin maker and play it before he knows if it's any good or not. Lets, be clear, I'm not bashing DW. I own a set and I love the way all the drums sound. I just love my 12" a little less when I try to tune it in the middle.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
Here is my suggestion to anyone that's having problems tuning one or all of your rack toms. If you feel that they sound different when placed back on your kit, just get a spare cymbal stand mounted tom arm and tune the drum with it hanging from the mount away from the kit. You'll be able to have it free floating in the air and you'll be able to turn it in any direction you please while adjusting it's tension rods. You can dampen the the lower head with your finger if you feel you have to. If nothing else is wrong with your mounting system on your kit, that drum should sound exactly the same on the kit as it did on the cymbal stand where it was tuned.

The only difference of course is with it's proximity to the other drums on your kit, which can and will create problems known as comb filtering to some extent. This is one of the reasons why drums sometimes sound much different on the drummers side of the kit in relation to that of the audience side. Comb filtering is similar to phase cancellations, but instead of cancelling or lowering entire groups of frequencies, comb filtering will put ruts or valleys into the waveform or in this case the drum sound. It would take me far too long to give details on exactly what produces comb filtering, but it's a combination of amplitude, phasing and frequency. This Can make a properly tuned drum sound vague or lifeless depending on it's placement in relation to other drums on the kit. Sometimes all the drum really needs is to be moved or tilted an inch or so to resolve some of your problems. This is also the reason why some like to put their rack toms on snare stands. I rarely hear of problems with anyone's 14" or 16" floor toms because they emit a lower (and longer) fundamental frequency and they usually just sit there all by their lonesome, lol.

I have a 12" x 8" rack tom on my DW Classic kit and it's one of the easiest drums I ever tuned. I tuned or assisted in tuning more DW Collector kits in studios and on stage over the years than I can remember. Just experiment a bit because there are a great many other influences besides the drum itself that could be causing some of your problems.

Sorry for the book, I shouldn't get started this late at night. Good night, I have to get up in four hours, lol.
Dennis
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
And there is something wrong with you.

I thought you were going to come to the meet up at NAMM, and I would finally get to meet you. But you didn't, and so I didn't, and well, that was that.

:p
I planned on it. Really! I was in the middle of a crucial schmooze! I did catch up with Bermuda on Sunday though! You're local - how bout a lunch at Pro Drum?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Here is my suggestion to anyone that's having problems tuning one or all of your rack toms. If you feel that they sound different when placed back on your kit, just get a spare cymbal stand mounted tom arm and tune the drum with it hanging from the mount away from the kit. You'll be able to have it free floating in the air and you'll be able to turn it in any direction you please while adjusting it's tension rods. You can dampen the the lower head with your finger if you feel you have to. If nothing else is wrong with your mounting system on your kit, that drum should sound exactly the same on the kit as it did on the cymbal stand where it was tuned.

The only difference of course is with it's proximity to the other drums on your kit, which can and will create problems known as comb filtering to some extent. This is one of the reasons why drums sometimes sound much different on the drummers side of the kit in relation to that of the audience side. Comb filtering is similar to phase cancellations, but instead of cancelling or lowering entire groups of frequencies, comb filtering will put ruts or valleys into the waveform or in this case the drum sound. It would take me far too long to give details on exactly what produces comb filtering, but it's a combination of amplitude, phasing and frequency. This Can make a properly tuned drum sound vague or lifeless depending on it's placement in relation to other drums on the kit. Sometimes all the drum really needs is to be moved or tilted an inch or so to resolve some of your problems. This is also the reason why some like to put their rack toms on snare stands. I rarely hear of problems with anyone's 14" or 16" floor toms because they emit a lower (and longer) fundamental frequency and they usually just sit there all by their lonesome, lol.

I have a 12" x 8" rack tom on my DW Classic kit and it's one of the easiest drums I ever tuned. I tuned or assisted in tuning more DW Collector kits in studios and on stage over the years than I can remember. Just experiment a bit because there are a great many other influences besides the drum itself that could be causing some of your problems.

Sorry for the book, I shouldn't get started this late at night. Good night, I have to get up in four hours, lol.
Dennis
Superb post Dennis, & so right on many levels. In my earlier post, I referred to a phase cancellation type affect (what I actually meant was comb filtering, but I refrained from using the correct terminology) sometimes experienced at specific tunings due to an internal reaction between shell & rerings. Although rare, I've experienced that first hand with the benefit of a control sample to work off. The same is true of proximity to other objects/surfaces as you pointed out Dennis. The bass drum is the usual offending item. Guys, you can test this out for yourself. Take any well tuned tom with good head sustain, hold it by the top hoop in one hand and hit it. Once it's singing, quickly lower it towards the floor (stopping a couple of inches above the floor, & best experienced on a hard surface) supported evenly but lightly by both hands under the top hoop, then rapidly raise it up again. Listen to how your perception of the tuning changes, & what it does to the sustain. Now try the same, thing but this time present the drum quickly at an angle to the floor. Note the result. Repeat the exercise but keep the drum static & at different distances from your bass drum. Note the reduced affect, but as you've done the floor surface test, you should now recognise what's actually going on.

Non of this will really help you, but it is fun to do in a nerdy sort of way :) & might encourage you to consider placement options.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
IF I could afford a DW kit, I'd be so anal and paranoid it would get banged up, beat up, thrown up on, etc. etc. etc. I wouldn't enjoy actually playing it. Every scuff, scratch, blemish, stain, ding, dent, fingerprint I would cry over. Just like getting a scratch or dent in your brand new car.

Hypothetically speaking, IF I got said DW kit and attempted to tune it, my memory would kick in and I'd remember the horror stories I've read on this post about tuning DWs, I'd be so biased and already have a negative opinion I couldn't enjoy that aspect of drumming either. Hmmm...maybe it's me that has the problems...nevermind....
 
A

audiotech

Guest
IF I could afford a DW kit, I'd be so anal and paranoid it would get banged up, beat up, thrown up on, etc. etc. etc. I wouldn't enjoy actually playing it. Every scuff, scratch, blemish, stain, ding, dent, fingerprint I would cry over. Just like getting a scratch or dent in your brand new car.

Hypothetically speaking, IF I got said DW kit and attempted to tune it, my memory would kick in and I'd remember the horror stories I've read on this post about tuning DWs, I'd be so biased and already have a negative opinion I couldn't enjoy that aspect of drumming either. Hmmm...maybe it's me that has the problems...nevermind....
The trouble is most certainly the head, but I won't say who's, lol.

Dennis
 
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