Depths: Science or Clever Marketing?

Evilbagua

Silver Member
However larger diameters work with deep shells. I love my 14x14 floor tom.
This. I was running super short stack 10x5 and 12x5 toms recently. They didn't sound bad or anything, just wasn't doing it for me. I swapped them out for a good old 14x10, and I am enjoying that much more. I will say I've had good luck recording power depth toms, last week got a 15x13 (or 14 not sure) rack tom to just roar. Sure it looks a little silly but hey nobody is looking there eh?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I agree. Depth doesn't make that much difference, and like you, I've tried them all. I've even discovered that once you're mic'd up with a band playing, nobody can tell a difference at all. The longer bass drum concept seems to sound a bit different, but then, at what cost? Now you have a bass drum that's too long to be practical for transporting in any easy way, and when you stick a mic in there, it'll sound like the same size but only 14" deep, so depths is the drummer's 'fashion statement'. What do you want to portray?
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
The funny thing is, I do think there is some evidence that longer shells make punchier drums, but I would rather not drag all of that extra plywood around just to save on using moongel or something like that. I would rather start with as much resonance and tone as possible, and dial it down from there. I'm guessing traditionals would be well suited for that.

By the way, I didn't get short stack toms for their sound, though they sound great, I got them because they were 50-100 bucks cheaper per drum than anything else on the DW price sheet, and I like a LOT of toms:) Armed with the extra money, I would probably go with traditional depths, including 9x13, 12x16 and 13x18 hanging floor toms.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Smaller diameter toms never worked for me when the shell was deep. Muddy, and inarticulate. It looked cool in the 1980's, but tonally was a byatch to deal with.
Standard depths are easier to tune and get a nice tone out of.
Seems 8" is a magic depth for a 12" tom.
However larger diameters work with deep shells. I love my 14x14 floor tom.
Depth makes a big difference - we've been through the gamut with different depth x diameter options - what's leftover are certain magic sizes - 8x12 will sound great no matter what - other sizes are 8x10, 13x15, 14x14, 14x20 14x16, etc.
 
But for years sonor had been doing power tons. The delite series is very thin shelled drums and they have a studio pack which I own in a 9x10, 10x12 14x14 and17.5x20 bass drum. They sold this config for like 15 plus years. Why would Sonor do it that way with. Wry thin shelled drums?
 

illustrator X

Senior Member
But for years sonor had been doing power tons. The delite series is very thin shelled drums and they have a studio pack which I own in a 9x10, 10x12 14x14 and17.5x20 bass drum. They sold this config for like 15 plus years. Why would Sonor do it that way with. Wry thin shelled drums?
Purely based on personal experience. I've owned 11 kits and have been playing drums since 1974. My comprehensively technical assessment would be: power toms = sucky.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Nice thread. I'm guilty of obsessing over tom sizes. I grew up in the late '70s/'80s, the era of power toms, but I also hated power toms--my refuge was Stewart Copeland using "jazz" sized toms (8x10, 8x12, 9x13).

I really dislike how standard kits nowadays come with 9x12 toms--as a short dude, I prefer 8x12 toms for placement reasons over my bass drums. Regarding sound, though, I wonder how big a difference there is. Jazz traditionally has used the 8x12 tom, but in the video below you'll hear an absolutely wonderful, open jazz sound from this 9x12 Oak Custom tom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ2xK7zRseI

So, to a degree, tuning and head choice can really do the trick...and make that ugly 9x12 size just a little more acceptable after all.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Nice thread. I'm guilty of obsessing over tom sizes. I grew up in the late '70s/'80s, the era of power toms, but I also hated power toms--my refuge was Stewart Copeland using "jazz" sized toms (8x10, 8x12, 9x13).
Well, if you look at your history, when Copeland joined up with Tama, your only choice then were those sizes. Standards were your only choice. It wasn't until maybe a year later, Tama started to produce the power toms, and then it got out of control. But for many people who started playing back in the day (like me), that was your tom sizes to choose from. We could spend more time trying to figure out what color we wanted ;)
 

Netz Ausg

Silver Member
I went through the exact same thing, but I went the other way. I had a Rockstar, wanted to upgrade and wanted easier positioning for lower/flatter toms. My original plan was to get a kit w/ 20" bass, but NO ONE stocks those, so you have to order them... And I was impatient, so I got a superstar/hyperdrive (they ARE stocked and its the same 2" height diff, the 2" is just removed from the toms instead of bass).

I like my kit a lot, but lately I'm starting to think the whole low/flat thing isn't all its cracked up to be, for me anyway... When I got the kit in the summer I positioned everything as low and flat as it would go (and it was a noticable difference from the Rockstars). Then a few weeks ago, at my lessons on my teachers kit, I noticed that I was having an easier time hitting the rack toms with them slightly higher and angled (like they were before); the toms were closer, it was less of a stretch. So I went home and changed accordingly.
I know what you mean. I don't like my rack toms flat, but I like the ability to strike down at them by having them near on the level of my snare:



What I don't want is to jump on the flat trend, a la Travis Barker - Just a little flexibility in my tom height positioning. At present I have exactly the right level but I'd like to be able to bring the toms a little further over my bass drum and cut down the gap between my 12 and my 16.

*EDIT* I just had to search for this - here is a drummer who needs some hyperdrive toms! This kit looks barely playable with the toms flat and high! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3TnkmFrtMA&feature=plcp&context=C352813aUDOEgsToPDskJnpQy4h6VNtc9dxDQD6KK_
 
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