Drum Dial Settings For Snare Tuning

ulubatli

Member
Hi guys,

I recently got a Drum Dial to help me tune my drums and I'm experimenting with it to help me learn how to listen to the drums while tuning.

I'm curious about something. The booklet it came with it has some recommended settings. I'm trying to tune my 14x6 maple snare and currently the meter is reading at 90 bor the batter side.

The booklet recommends a tension between 85-90. Does that mean a 90 is the highest tuning and 85 is the lowest tuning? So if I'm going for a medium tuning should I take it to somewhere between 87-88 and then fine tune?

Basically I'm trying to discover the lowest and highest tunings of my snare.
 

ulubatli

Member
I know they are recommended settings but I'm wondering does that mean that it is recommended for a medium tuning (between 85 and 90 it is pretty medium..) or does that mean that if I want a low tuning the recommended is 85 and if I want a high tuning the recommended is 90.

I'm trying to figure out the tension and sound ranges here.
 

Zickosdrummer

Senior Member
I am new to using a drum dial. Only a couple of weeks. The best use I have found so far is to get the head in tune with itself. The rest is all subjective.
 

Cyannetica

Member
I know that 90 on my snare batter sounds alright but the lugs were getting a bit tight so I backed off to 87 and the sound was perfect. Find a number, play it with your whole kit, with other instruments if possible, and then play with other settings. Once you find that sweet spot you'll be able to get back to it pretty easy. Soon you won't even need the dial because that sound will be imprinted in your mind. I think of the dial as tuning training wheels.
 
When on the go and/or experimenting, I use my ears, but when I find the sound i want, or want to even out tension I always use my drum dial to 'record' that sound.

Obviously it won't always be the same with every head/drum/material/ and everything, but it's usually really close to what I want.

I literally just tuned my snare and with stock heads (Ludwig Black Magic) so I'm pretty sure it's close to Ambassador equivalents on both sides.
90-Batter
85-snareside
It has a nice crack, but I'm not sure because of the head or the 1mm brass shell, but it has a nice ring.
 

ulubatli

Member
I'm still experimenting and learning. But I like the training wheels analogy. What I'm currently doing is first getting the batter head to around 89 in tension which seem to be a nice medium to high tuning, OK stick feel. Then I tune the resonant head by ear until I like overall sound of the snare. Once I get the resonant side where I think it should be I'm going looser or tighter with the batter side by the ear.
 

markdrum

Silver Member
I borrowed a friend of mine's Drum Dial and I was amazed how close I'd already gotten that drum to being in tune with itself without it! I can see the appeal of these tools but the most important ones are on each side of your head.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
uggh. too many people will tell you not to use tools and "use your ears" while this is SORTOF correct, it's hard to use your ears when they are not trained. Drum Dial and Tunebot are fantastic tools to train your ears and even once you know what you are doing. I sold my drum dial years ago for a tunebot and find it much more easy and accurate to get a drum in tune fast.

Use the dial as a starting point and tweak from there. I always found 85 a tad on the low side for the reso head though. I like my reso pretty tight. about 390 on a tune bot, but the batter can be anywere from 250-380 for me. A piano is another way (or a tone generator online) will be good to start with specific notes and try for a perfect 4th or 5th.

Guys will argue this, but my snare always sounds great, I can make it sound like a gunshot, and I tune to notes. A dab of moongel if it is too lively (depends on the snare).
 
Usually mine is around 88ish for the snare batter, but it'll be different depending on the head. I don't use the drumdial much now though, I've memorized what I want my ideal snare to sound like and I tune to that. And I can tell if it's too loose or too tight so I just tune to the sweet spot between that.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I know they are recommended settings but I'm wondering does that mean that it is recommended for a medium tuning (between 85 and 90 it is pretty medium..) or does that mean that if I want a low tuning the recommended is 85 and if I want a high tuning the recommended is 90.

I'm trying to figure out the tension and sound ranges here.
What is medium? It means something different to each person. Tune it and listen.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
I have a drum dial and here's how I use it. Tighten the rods and drum dial tells me when they are all the same tension. Then use my ear to tune them to the same pitch. Keep in mind, just because they're all at 85, doesn't mean they're in tune. The drum dial for me just gives a starting point.
 

Mikejkeil

Member
uggh. too many people will tell you not to use tools and "use your ears" while this is SORTOF correct, it's hard to use your ears when they are not trained. Drum Dial and Tunebot are fantastic tools to train your ears and even once you know what you are doing. I sold my drum dial years ago for a tunebot and find it much more easy and accurate to get a drum in tune fast.

Use the dial as a starting point and tweak from there. I always found 85 a tad on the low side for the reso head though. I like my reso pretty tight. about 390 on a tune bot, but the batter can be anywere from 250-380 for me. A piano is another way (or a tone generator online) will be good to start with specific notes and try for a perfect 4th or 5th.

Guys will argue this, but my snare always sounds great, I can make it sound like a gunshot, and I tune to notes. A dab of moongel if it is too lively (depends on the snare).
Word Brother. The tool and your ears plus mics should be the final product. There’s no harm in using a tool to set a baseline.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Seems strange that they recommend the batter tuned higher than the reso on snares. Most folks run the reso 20 - 25% higher than the batter give of take. I had one ages ago. I dropped it and it broke. Didn't try to get it repaired or replaced.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Seems strange that they recommend the batter tuned higher than the reso on snares. Most folks run the reso 20 - 25% higher than the batter give of take. I had one ages ago. I dropped it and it broke. Didn't try to get it repaired or replaced.
Zombie thread, but I'll jump in. Since the DrumDial measures tympanic pressure, the higher reading for the batter head may not necessarily indicate a higher pitch than the reso head. Head thickness affects the reading. In other words, a thicker head at a given pitch may give a higher reading than a thin head at that same pitch.

Always important when using a drumdial - it doesn't measure pitch, at all.
 

Mikejkeil

Member
Zombie thread, but I'll jump in. Since the DrumDial measures tympanic pressure, the higher reading for the batter head may not necessarily indicate a higher pitch than the reso head. Head thickness affects the reading. In other words, a thicker head at a given pitch may give a higher reading than a thin head at that same pitch.

Always important when using a drumdial - it doesn't measure pitch, at all.
Thanks for helping us newbies out
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
The best tuning results I've had for my snare drums was just last week; first time ever using a ruler along the snare-side bearing edge to keep the hoop perfectly level as I tighten up the lugs.
 
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