Do you tune your drums differently at a live show then you would in the studio?

Gooosseeeyy

Junior Member
Title says it all.

Just looking for different opinions. Also does your choices with heads and amounts of muffling change as well.

Thanks.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I tend to muffle less (or not at all) if not close miked at a show. I tend to muffle more if not miked, but in a small, reflective room. I also will tune just a scoche higher if not close miked. But as ineedaclutch said, it's all variable based on any number of things. (Sometimes I WANT a ringy, echoey sound when recording. Crazy, huh?)
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Yes. Tuned differently for studio and live performances.

Live: Open and un-muffled with 10mil batter heads so that the drum sound will carry out into the audience.
This will sound boingy from behind the kit, but it sounds great in the audience when the band is playing.

Studio Recording: However the engineer, producer and band leader wants them to sound. Usually tuned lower. And muffled with dampening / control rings.
These days a studio engineer can modify the drum recording to sound like anything imaginable.

The simple way is tune for live performance and bring some dampening control rings to the studio.

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Trip McNealy

Gold Member
Yes. Tuned differently for studio and live performances.

Live: Open and un-muffled with 10mil batter heads so that the drum sound will carry out into the audience.
This will sound boingy from behind the kit, but it sounds great in the audience when the band is playing.

Studio Recording: However the engineer, producer and band leader wants them to sound. Usually tuned lower. And muffled with dampening / control rings.
These days a studio engineer can modify the drum recording to sound like anything imaginable.


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This is how I do it as well. Only exception is I use Vintage Emperors instead of single 10mil heads.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
In a perfect world, my drums are tuned the same, all drums wide open. If I recorded, and I had my way, I'd record them exactly the same with the mics a few feet away at least. So I had that same atmosphere...air...and yes overtones...in my drum sound that I do live. Plus the kit sounds like a kit should...connected, sympathetically vibrating, organic, real.

Which begs the question, with a soundman or an engineer who has polar opposite thoughts on drummicing/tone, who should prevail?

Of course, naturally I would think that the guy playing should flat out be the boss of their drum sound. Especially so if said drummer has definite preferences. It's a minefield of a negotiation if ever there was. Do it wrong and it blows up in your face. But I'm sorry, I feel the engineer's job is to do get the sound the drummer wants.

A soundperson who knows only one way to get a drum sound...that's like me showing up at a gig and announcing, hey guys, I know this is a jazz gig, but I can't do that, so I'll be playing blues to your jazz arrangements. That would not fly. Same thing IMO.

I know that sounds laughable but I really mean it.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
To a point Larry, but live stage priority 1 is to deliver an overall sound that's in line with the venue's requirements + whatever delivers the best audience experience. Priority 2 is to present the band in a way that they wish to be presented within the constraints of priority 1. Priority 3 is to represent individual band member sounds as they would like them to be, but within the constraints of priorities 1 & 2.
Yes Andy, you make a great point here.
I'll bet sound people have a lot more horror stories to tell about sound and live bands, than musicians have to tell about sound people.


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Trip McNealy

Gold Member
To a point Larry, but live stage priority 1 is to deliver an overall sound that's in line with the venue's requirements + whatever delivers the best audience experience. Priority 2 is to present the band in a way that they wish to be presented within the constraints of priority 1. Priority 3 is to represent individual band member sounds as they would like them to be, but within the constraints of priorities 1 & 2.
This is a good point for Live situations.

On the other hand, for studio recording, it's the opposite way around. Joe Porcaro (in a MI vault video on Youtube) stressed that it's the engineer's job to capture the magic and the way that you play and your drums' sound... not for him/her to tell you how to tune your drums. I'm sure this arrangement doesn't happen for *every* single session but is probably an ethical best practice.
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
The simple way is tune for live performance and bring some dampening control rings to the studio.

This has been my SOP. Especially when I go in cold, not knowing who will be at the controls.

Start with a well tuned kit. Then dampen, and EQ, as necessary to get the right sound for each track.
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
I don't have a hard set rule about it, but I almost always find myself tuning a tad higher in a club as opposed to the studio or our rehearsal space.

I think I just feel better knowing I dont have to rely solely on the PA to be heard in the back. Plus you're doing the engineer a favor by freeing up some of the low end headroom.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
The nature of the studio being more microscopic in terms of how clearly everything is heard and how extra tweaking of tuning and dampening is usually required I would say yes by necessity. Although the last time I was in a studio I remember the sound came together quite quickly without much tweaking so I guess it depends on the session/engineer and the music.
 
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