Tuning for Your Audience...


Senior Member
I want to hear any and all your input regarding tuning the drums to sound great out front. My setup is 22x16, 10x10, 10x12,12x14 and whatever snare -usually a 14 and no deeper than 61/2 . I tune everything slightly higher than medium . I use one overhead mic and one for the bass drum.


Senior Member
I don't have any experience for gigs bigger than local clubs/pubs/etc. But I think if your drums sound good acoustic, they
will also sound good through a PA. You might have to deaden the kit a bit, but that depends entirely on the gig site (and for how
long your drums sing ofcourse (you'll probably hear it when you do soundcheck)). With only one mic for the bassdrum and one
overhead, the placement of the overhead mic will also be crucial to getting good sound.


Pioneer Member
I used to like the sound of my drums tuned pretty low but in the last few years, I have started tuning higher.

I got some good feedback from other musos on how my drums sound and that with so many lower frequencies, it was getting lost in the mix.

If you are reinforcing your drum sound then you can get away with lower tunings than you would unamplified.

Of course, a lot of this depends on the kind of music you're playing and what your preferences are in your own sound but here are a few tips for tuning for gigs:

Tune your drums from behind the kit for establishing your intervals between drums and an overall kit sound.

I then go out to the middle of the room where the audience will be and get my lowest tom to a pitch that I think projects well for the space. You can usually find someone who will hit your floor tom for you so you can establish your bottom. Then I go back and tweak my intervals based on the floor tom and go back to the middle to check it out again.

I can usually do this twice and get a good sound for the room. If my slightly higher tunings make my high rack a little boingy, then I tune the drum to itself, whereas I usually keep my reso heads just a little tighter than the batter sides.

If I tune low, I rarely use muffling and when I tune higher I will muffle the rack toms with a little bit of moongel to shorten the sound and tame the ring.

There are many many tuning methods and to be honest, in some rooms, I end up not as happy with my sound but it can be difficult sometimes because everytime I set up my drums in a different space, I don't always like the sound.


Platinum Member
Sounds like you are on the right track as far as tuning. Using just an overhead as opposed to close-micing can give you a lot of attack but little depth if you aren't careful. The low tones of the toms will be lost first in the sound of the band, so think about supporting those with your mic placement.