Tuning toms lower? Flatter sound?

thelavender

Junior Member
I have a 12', 13', and 16' floor tom. Im trying to get a flatter sound out of them and less of a resonating sound. I am replacing the batter heads with Evens G2 Coated heads. I was goin to replace the reso heads with Evans G1 heads although I havent ordered them yet. Suggestions? How can I get a more flat sound?
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
It's hard to say just from "flat". Can you point out some examples? Do you just want a dead tom sound without resonance?
 

thelavender

Junior Member
I think the big issue I have is the toms naturally even at their lowest tunable sound seem to be higher than I like.

Here is a good idea of the sound I am looking for. Obviously I know that the kind of wood used for the drums will make a difference as well? This kit is made from Poplar wood I believe.

https://youtu.be/udooOap4m2c?t=590
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
In that example, they actually go over the methodology for that sound, so I won't go over it again. I'll also say I think they did a bit of EQ for the video.

At any rate, firstly, in my experience, each drum has it's "sweet spot" where it sounds best. The issue often is that people simply don't like that sound and probably need a different drum for the sound they're after.

Secondly, I find that coated heads have a bit more of a papery, thin overtone and a less "rounded" sound from the clear plain ones. You might be happier with a muffled clear head... Might not... I can only use my own ears!
 

thelavender

Junior Member
I went back and actually muffled my toms the way they did and they sound better. Not as low as I would like but much better at least to my ears.
 

thebarak

Senior Member
That flat, detuned, studio sound that was so popular in decades past is easily acheived with drum heads that were developed for that sound. Double-ply, oil-filled etc.

I respect that some drummers like this and want this, but it seems such a shame to take a $500 tom and make it sound like a $5 cardboard box with a towel inside. I just love the sound of high-tuned resonant drums. So clear and non-mushy. To my ear, a thud is not a note.
 
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thelavender

Junior Member
My toms still have some tone to them. It does not resonate nearly as long. Once I change the heads, I will see how they sound as well.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Two issues are at play here - the first being that you are hearing a studio-processed sound that can't easily be achieved by naked acoustic drums, and the second being that a drum sounds completely different to the audience than it does to the drummer.

Before EQ'ing, a drum has a full spectrum of frequencies within its sound - as do most sonic events. In the studio, the rich deep tone of the tom is isolated and tweaked to make it dominant, and other frequencies are minimized if not completely removed. That is difficult to do with the naked ear, but I have found that wearing good hearing protection (such as acoustic muffs) helps with the effect.

Secondly, the higher frequencies within a tom sound help it to cut through the amplified guitars and other instruments of the band to reach the audience, especially when unmiked. I tend to tune my drums a bit higher than seems intuitive, but it invariably seems to turn out better when performing live.

None of these things necessarily matter if your primary audience for playing right now is you yourself, and perhaps your bedroom wall. I suggest tuning the drums in such a way that they sound as pleasing as possible, but don't worry too much about getting an exact sound such as you hear in a video or on a recording.
 

BranoFabry

Junior Member
Just to add to the previous post.

From the engineer's (my) point of view, the two main drum's frequencies are its fundamental frequency (e.g. 100Hz) and the first harmonic frequency (200Hz) (I suppose this is not completely accurate since drums are circular membranes and have different modes than a string, but so far useful for me).

Live you hear predominantly the harmonic frequency (200Hz) while on records and through a PA you hear mostly a fundamental frequency (100Hz), because an engineer did it like that intentionally for a better sound. And on records there is plenty of 5kHz added to cut through.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My first thought was to put on a thinner resonant head, like a 7 mil diplomat. That will make for a shorter note and less head sustain. That sounds like what you're after.
 
If you are playing by yourself, that is a fine sound if you like it. If you are playing unmic'ed with a band, your toms will get lost - not enough higher frequencies to be heard outfront. And, remember the sound you are hearing behind the kit is not what people 20-50 feet in front of the kit will hear.

For grins and giggles, try tuning your reso's lower than your batters. You will find that you will have shorter notes that are more distinguished and may help you with what you are looking for, as well.
 
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