The Changing Sound Of Drums

incrementalg

Gold Member
My drums always sound better when I'm in the zone and playing well. My room and tuning is consistent, so I'm sure it's my mood and vibe I'm putting into the drums that impacts things most from day to day.
 

jimzo

Senior Member
My drums sound better when someone else plays them, no matter the humility...err..humidity in the room.
So, when I play them and someone says my kit sounds good, I just get up, and walk over to them and say
" ...How does the kit sound now... ?"
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
My drums sound better when someone else plays them, no matter the humility...err..humidity in the room.
So, when I play them and someone says my kit sounds good, I just get up, and walk over to them and say
" ...How does the kit sound now... ?"
Ha. Good one !


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MikeM

Platinum Member
I notice some days my drums sound better than on others. I might sit down one day and think the toms sound horrible, while other days I think, wow, my snare sounds amazing today.

And this is in the same room where nothing's changed.

I chalk it up to minor variations in tuning. Whenever there are two heads in sympathetic vibration, there's the potential for the relative pitches to stray from a pleasing interval and it really doesn't take much.

Snare drums especially do this, at least mine do. As the batter detunes itself over the course of playing it, it will run through regions where is sounds good and bad. Say for example, it starts where the batter and snare side are some number of octaves apart. Sounds great right there, but it doesn't stay there. Batter then detunes a little and it starts to sound crappy until it's a 5th from the reso and it starts to sound good again. As it keeps going down, it passes thru the 4th (a little less pleasing than where it started, but better than the flat 5th) and so on.

To complicate it even more, the snare side detunes, too, so just because you just got done snugging up the batter doesn't mean you're back where you started.

The constructive and destructive interference patterns that go along with these changes in relative pitch are a real and noticeable thing. Guitar players hear it right away when they're playing multiple strings that have drifted and instinctively stop to tune up as soon as they can. Drummers aren't so lucky and there isn't a quick stomp box that gets you back right away - and even if there were, guitars have just one tuning peg per string, where drummers have at least 6 per head.

There are an infinite number of micro intervals that sound nasty but only a few intervals that sound pleasing, so the days where the stars have aligned and things are sounding their best are to be savored since they're just passing through.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
There are an infinite number of micro intervals that sound nasty but only a few intervals that sound pleasing, so the days where the stars have aligned and things are sounding their best are to be savored since they're just passing through.
Ain't that the truth!
 

RacingBeat

Senior Member
I know what you mean Jim. One day I will be down in my studio and have my drums tuned so that I really like them. Then I come down the next day and I want to barf. Like what was I thinking? So now I just pay attention to what I want that day. Moods change. If the drums are keeping me from playing, I change them. I stopped trying to figure it out a long time ago. I'm certain it's me and my perceptions and wants varying. Humans are wacky organisms, not consistent.
I think it is more common with drums than with pitched instruments. Practically every other instrument gets just one strict tuning, period. With drums, there are no rigid tuning standards.

It's like the wild west still.
Man I love this. So true!
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I notice some days my drums sound better than on others. I might sit down one day and think the toms sound horrible, while other days I think, wow, my snare sounds amazing today.

And this is in the same room where nothing's changed.

I chalk it up to minor variations in tuning. Whenever there are two heads in sympathetic vibration, there's the potential for the relative pitches to stray from a pleasing interval and it really doesn't take much.

Snare drums especially do this, at least mine do. As the batter detunes itself over the course of playing it, it will run through regions where is sounds good and bad. Say for example, it starts where the batter and snare side are some number of octaves apart. Sounds great right there, but it doesn't stay there. Batter then detunes a little and it starts to sound crappy until it's a 5th from the reso and it starts to sound good again. As it keeps going down, it passes thru the 4th (a little less pleasing than where it started, but better than the flat 5th) and so on.

To complicate it even more, the snare side detunes, too, so just because you just got done snugging up the batter doesn't mean you're back where you started.

The constructive and destructive interference patterns that go along with these changes in relative pitch are a real and noticeable thing. Guitar players hear it right away when they're playing multiple strings that have drifted and instinctively stop to tune up as soon as they can. Drummers aren't so lucky and there isn't a quick stomp box that gets you back right away - and even if there were, guitars have just one tuning peg per string, where drummers have at least 6 per head.

There are an infinite number of micro intervals that sound nasty but only a few intervals that sound pleasing, so the days where the stars have aligned and things are sounding their best are to be savored since they're just passing through.
Thank you for this. It is just the kind of thing I was getting at when I started this thread.


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SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Lots of variables for sure. A snare depends A LOT on a room and where in the room for that matter.

Everything varies, though. That includes our own senses.

With an electric guitar, hot and humid summer weather usually has an effect and it's not for the better. Sounds muddy and unbalanced. Was terrible when I lived in Florida. Not so bad here, but this last week it was quite evudent.
Yeah, strings seem to do better in consistent slightly drier conditions. Whereas, wind instruments do well in wetter warmer conditions, the wooden/bamboo ones are less prone to cracking, everything seals better in the metal/plastic ones. Not to mention lips, which are always an issue in dry weather.

I think historically drums were dry weather affairs, except water drums which were meant to be played wet.

Cymbals do well in humidity.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I swear my drums sound different in my drum room per time of day-early morning better than evening. Same camera and settings just the time of day.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I swear my drums sound different in my drum room per time of day-early morning better than evening. Same camera and settings just the time of day.
Its the nature of Mylar, its ever changing with the elements. Temperature affects the tensile properties of Mylar. Hygroscopic Expansion/stability of Mylar and the effects of barometric pressure are always at work inside and outside of your shell(s) too. Atmospheric back pressure, drums are not immune, less immune are E Kits of course.

Call any of it minute, but it doesn't take much to affect semitones.

So say a guy like Andy at GURU might want to compile data on humidity and barometric pressure, theres no doubt an optimal range for best sonic performance when making demo vids, or so this science can be taken that far out, and prob will in the future as tech advances. Stuff that first grader aged drummers might be preoccupied with in the future.


My RESOTUNE II reveals a 1/64 turn of a tension rod is easily enough to take the head/drum out of tune.
 
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