Dry vs. Wet Sound

CreeplyTuna

Silver Member
I'm just curious: What is the difference between Dry sounding drums and Wet sounding drums? I just never heard those terms before I joined the forum.
 

tard

Gold Member
I agree with both. I personally like my snare dry unless the song I am covering actually needs it to be wet, in which case I remove the aquarian studio ring / remo 0 which adds a little "ing" to the sound, and being a singer as well as a drummer I like my monitor mix to be wet with a little reverb and delay on my vocals..
 
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edvia

Senior Member
Au contraire, mes amis. "Wet" is generally used to describe a certain kind of attack you hear from the tom, that sort of reminds me of slapping the surface of water. These are usually caused more by the head and tuning than by the tom itself. The most prominent example of a wet tom sound would come from a clear 2-ply head at low to medium tuning (especially an Evans Hydraulic head). The rest of the note may or may not have a lot of overtones, it's the initial attack that makes a tom sound "wet".

"Dry" on the other hand is not the opposite of wet in this case. It's sort of like what caddywumpus said, meaning the lack of a significant amount of overtones, and usually accompanied by a short sustain. However Bo is also correct in that dry has a different meaning in the studio, i.e. the lack of effects ("recording the drums dry" as they say).

Hope this helps.
 

KBadd

Silver Member
Hey all! I turned 50 a few weeks back. Through the years I have heard "Dry, crack, washy, ping, boom, thud, whack, tommm, splash, ding, trashy, ring, pop, 'dome', but I have never heard wet before. Am I alone?
 
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Doctor Dirt

Guest
Effects on ==Wet!!! Effects off==Dry. Never heard the expression dry to be about muting drums with rings or gells. In the studio or live wet is about the use of any effects. What others are talking about are "overtones" and that has to do with an individuals drum decay time, thats all. Doc
 

tard

Gold Member
Never heard the expression dry to be about muting drums with rings or gells.

Really? Well I would say it was basically coined by Evans as a drum term and used mostly for describing 1 of 2 distinct snare sounds. I can only describe it as a "pick pick pick" sound is dry and a "pink pink pink" sound is wet.

Genera Dry
Evans™ Genera™ Dry snare heads feature a single ply of 10mil film in combination with a 2mil overtone control ring on the underside that "floats" with the head, eliminating excessive overtones and controlling sustain. Precision-drilled dry vents around the perimeter of the head further reduce overtones and sustain.

ST Dry
Evans™ "Super Tough" snare heads feature two plies of 7.5mil film. The ST™ ensures durability and a full-bandwidth rimshot sound. It delivers all the volume and ring needed, yet responds to even the flick of a fingernail.. Precision-drilled dry vents around the perimeter of head reduce overtones and control sustain.

HD Dry
Evans™ Genera™ HD™ Dry Snare heads feature two plies of film. An outer ply of 5mil film and an inner ply of 7.5mil film, in combination with a 2mil overtone control ring on the underside that "floats" with the head, eliminating excessive overtones and controlling sustain. Precision-drilled dry vents around the perimeter of head reduce overtones and control sustain.
 
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daredrummer

Gold Member
"Dry" means when you hit the drum, there's no ring or sustain. It's like WHACK!

"Wet" means when you hit the drum, there is some ring or shell noise. It's like WHACKANG!

I don't think that's necessarily true. I consider dry to be a sound with a lot of articulation, not covered up by wash. A lot of times these have short sustain but not always.

This cymbal is very dry, but it still has a lot of sustain.
http://mycymbal.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_37&products_id=5347

I'm using cymbals as an example, but the same thing applies to drums.
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
I've only really ever heard these terms used to describe the sound produced by a snare drum.

Wet snares have a lot of sustain and the sustain is accompanied by an equal amount of snare response. The term sustain is used as opposed to ring, which I would use to describe high frequency tones that I would normally associate with a very dry, high-tuned snare.
 

tard

Gold Member
I've only really ever heard these terms used to describe the sound produced by a snare drum.

Wet snares have a lot of sustain and the sustain is accompanied by an equal amount of snare response. The term sustain is used as opposed to ring, which I would use to describe high frequency tones that I would normally associate with a very dry, high-tuned snare.

Sorry Cold, I have to disagree somewhat as I have heard wet snares with very little sustain and dry snares that were tuned very high as well as very low.

I don't think that's necessarily true. I consider dry to be a sound with a lot of articulation, not covered up by wash. A lot of times these have short sustain but not always.

That is true as well Dare, cymbal makers have also used the "dry" term to describe cymbals with reduced wash characteristics.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I always imagined that a wet snare sound is basically what Don Henley used. THWACK in a soggy sort of dead-ish way. It's that soggy part that makes it wet. A dry snare would to me is one tuned high enough to not be soggy, but still dead (or severely lacking in overtones). These are just my impressions, though. I don't have the definitive drum adjective dictionary in front of me.

Similarly, put tape on a cymbal for a dryer sound. Or get a cymbal that resists agitation for a dry sound without tape. Both get enhanced articulation and minimized overtones. I've not really thought about the opposite as being wet though. That's just washy. Maybe washy = wet? Who knows.

I also agree with Bo about the term used in a studio context. That's a little different. You can have a dry snare made wet through the use of outboard gear (or software).
 

daredrummer

Gold Member
I think in terms of "what does a dry snare or wet snare sound like?" it's pretty open to interpretation. With 10 different people you will probably get 10 different answers. Just like other terms like warm, washy, pingy, dark, bright, etc.
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
Sorry Cold, I have to disagree somewhat as I have heard wet snares with very little sustain and dry snares that were tuned very high as well as very low.

The primary difference between your example of wet and mine is that a snare that has less sustain but an equal amount of snare response would feel like it's drier due to the lack of sustain, regardless of the sustain of the snare response. I can agree that I probably worded my opinion of dry snares incorrectly, cranking the head is just one way- like that marching snare thread a while ago -to achieve a drier sound.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I always imagined that a wet snare sound is basically what Don Henley used. THWACK in a soggy sort of dead-ish way. It's that soggy part that makes it wet.


See, it all depends on who's reading it.

A wet sound is muted/thuddy? Could make sense.

How about numbers (1-10) to describe a drums tone, with ten being ringy/open?
 

tard

Gold Member
If you listen to the audio files on the Evans web site the difference between their regular (which I assume would be wet) and their dry heads is basically the change in the tone, high and low tuning and resonance characteristics dont seem to come into play at all with their definition of the term, they even have a graph showing everything the same just a difference in the tone, personally after listening to the Evans files I can only explain the difference between them as: some dry sounds = pick, pack, puck, pock, and some wet sounds = pink, pank, punk, ponk. If the sound were to have more of an ing, ang, ung, or ong to them then I believe that would be a better description of resonance or ringing rather than wet.
 
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