Tuning in a dead room.

The Scorpio

Senior Member
Hello all! It's been a while since I've posted, but I ran into an interesting situation recently and I am looking forward to hearing your feed back. Here's the situation: a few weeks back I played a gig in the absolute most sonically dead room I've ever encountered in 16 years of gigging. All the drums were hollow and lifeless, none of the typical rich and cutting character I am used to. I'm no slouch at tuning, and I have a firm grasp of room acoustics, so this room absolutely baffled me. I asked the sound tech if he had any insight, and according to him that room is notorious for taking great drums and making them sound awful. Luckily he is an amazing and creative engineer, and according to a few of my musician friends in the audience my drum sound that night was "epic". The whole gig was quite uncomfortable for me because my drums didn't sound like my drums at all. Do you have a dead room story? Does anyone have any tuning tips that might help in the future?




"Uncle Larry"
I have nothing. The best I can think of is to not muffle and tune high, the same advice I recommend for all live playing.

Mapex Saturns are supposedly able to correct room acoustics automatically.

You haven't been away THAT long where you forgot about the power of Saturns have you?

The Scorpio

Senior Member
Haha! I have not forgotten the power!! How could I lol? But I even question their ability to overcome in this room!

I suppose I can only hope that if and when I run into a situation like this again I will have a great sound man to bail me out!!


Silver Member
I played in a place that was kinda dead, but what really hit was how shrill it made the drums sound. Less low end but more high, even during a quick sound check. Luckily, my cymbals sound amazing so that was no issue.

Maybe this isn't so strange. I've only played three gigs ever, so what do I know?

Also, congrats on what sounded like a killer gig.


Pioneer Member
Is there a lot of sound absorbing materials in the room like carpet,curtains, couches and such. Any chance there is an option to setup in a different spot on the room to see if it's just where they had you setup?

Anon La Ply

A long narrow room, by any chance, Kyle? Long, narrow dead rooms aren't very inspiring. Small dead inset stages are nasty too.

The studio we rehearse in is quite dead while my home space is very live (still working on dampening). Going between the two rooms takes some adjusting. I find that loosening the snares adds a touch more life in a dead room. I like my toms high and open these days anyway so not much more can be done there.

Have to say that going from Guru toms in my live living room to the Rhythm Traveler toms in a dampened studio is challenging. Playing five inch deep single headed toms in a dead room really forces me to focus on getting my touch right - otherwise I get *boink* :)