Help! How do i get this tom sound?

i recently stumbled across this video of one of my favorite drummers. i fell in love with the sound of the toms. his rack tom specially. ive been experimenting with tuning around my kit and have fallen into a comfortable zone with all my drums except for my rack tom. ive tried lots of methods and used a drumdial to guide me etc. i just cant get the sound i want. my kit is maple shells and the heads im using now are a remo coated emperor over a clear ambassador. i know jason uses vintage coated ambs over regular coated ambs, but can my head selection totally stop me from tuning to that similar sound? i use a 8x12 rack tom. he uses a 13'' tom heres the vid...
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Silver Member
It's hard to tell from the vid, but my educated guess is that he's using a 13" rack and a 16" floor, so it kinda starts with those diameters. Many people have expressed frustration with 13s, and my guess as to why is that they can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to tuning. It's possible that a really well-made, tuned and mic'd 12" could do the trick, but I have a few 13" toms that all like that particular tuning range, regardless of the quality of the drum, and I'm hearing that same sound quality in Jason's kit. Besides, 13/16 is a time tested and very versatile tom setup that can be used for ANYTHING (part of the reason I gripe about some drum companies not offering these as a combo).

The other thing to consider is that you are hearing these drums under a microphone, and even a rank amateur like me with cheap drums and cheaper microphones can get a decent sound using close-up micing, where my best drums (DW Collector's) still sound like a cheap basement recording when using ambient mics.

Good heads and good tuning are still the bedrock of a good drum sound, but there are a few other things that really help it out, especially as you move towards that kind of production, and what you get off the floor will rarely (if ever) match the sound of a professional recording.