What's with the shrinking floor toms?

M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I think on a 5 piece kit (with snare) a 16x14 looks fine. My Renown is like that, and sound wise I cant tell a difference between it and the 16x16 Catalina I used to have. But 14x12 and 16x14 floors together look odd to me.
14x12 does not qualify as a floor tom. 16x14 is running a very close second to that.

I get all the psychoacoustic reasoning going on about shallow depth drums (sort of) and even then I say it's a good bit of marketing to convince new people to our sport that things have been improving immensely. I mean heck, one company in the market has got everyone excited about vertical plies - which I only ever associated with those cheap stencil kits that came out of Japan in the 60s. Even diagonal plies have been introduced with the same hoopla as well. I don't believe it!

Heck, I don't even consider 14x14 an actual floor tom. Taking a rack tom and putting legs on it does not make it a floor tom. Although it's odd that a 15x12 rack tom can be made to sound like a really nice floor tom - it's amazing what one more inch in diameter can do to a drum.
 
S

savage8190

Guest
I posted basically this same thing not long ago...I really thought I needed bigger sizes. Then I tried my Live Customs the first time (14x11 and 16x13 floors) I thought they sounded huge! I played a Sonor with 16x16 and 18x16 floors next to it...the Yamaha's had all the thump of the bigger toms but were tighter and more controlled. I don't think I'd ever need an 18 now but he'll, ya never know...though I still want to add a 13 and shove the 10 over.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I posted basically this same thing not long ago...I really thought I needed bigger sizes. Then I tried my Live Customs the first time (14x11 and 16x13 floors) I thought they sounded huge! I played a Sonor with 16x16 and 18x16 floors next to it...the Yamaha's had all the thump of the bigger toms but were tighter and more controlled. I don't think I'd ever need an 18 now but he'll, ya never know...though I still want to add a 13 and shove the 10 over.
I had DW Collector's floor toms in those sizes you mentioned and I absolutely hated them. I could not get a nice sound out of those, and I had to attribute that to John Goode's marketing technique because I bought an additional 16x16 DW Collector's floor tom and was very happy with it. Maybe my brain just can't get around those new-fangled sizes.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Andy, where art thou?
I've been travelling - more specifically, with Dean at our shell shop & transporting more precious shells to our finishing shop (6 hour drive).

Shell depth is just one element of many that needs to be considered when designing a drum. A deeper floor tom does not necessarily produce more bottom end. It all depends on the construction of the instrument, and in particular, management of overtones.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
There it is again! Why the shallow bass drum, but then you insist on deep floor toms. I do not get this philosophy/marriage of different ideals. Don't get me wrong, i think deep toms/ft's sound great, but I think deep BD's sound great too.....Can! Can sound great too.
These drums are '69-'71. I'm pretty sure the 16" deep bass drums didn't appear (Ludwig lineup) until the 80's. It's not a philosophy/marriage so much as what was offered in that era.​
Over the years, I've had 20x14, 22x14, 22x16, 22x17, 22x18, 22x20, 24x14, 26x14, 26x16, and 28x14. And maybe some I forgot. For the most part, I'll stick with traditional sizes.​
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
There it is again! Why the shallow bass drum, but then you insist on deep floor toms. I do not get this philosophy/marriage of different ideals. Don't get me wrong, i think deep toms/ft's sound great, but I think deep BD's sound great too.....Can! Can sound great too.
I dig my deep bass drum ( Mapex Saturn 22x20 ). I use to have twin 24x14 Ludwigs and the Mapex sounds much better than those did. I'm really enjoying people's opinions on this short floor tom thing as it basically started out as a bit of a rant on my part. LOL
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Love my big Ludwig floors, 16 and 18. The 18 is the easiest to tune out of the two. I tune the batter head fairly high and the reso head very high and you still get a low end to die for.

I also have a kit with fast floor toms 14 + 16 which are just as good.

It's all about getting the head choices right for the sound you're after and getting the relationship between batter and reso heads.

Practicality comes into it as well, it's much easier to transport smaller size drums but at the same time drum companies now make silly depth bass drums as standard with smaller toms which defeats the object.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
Does it have legs on it? It's a floor tom. Size is irrelevant. Doesn't mean you have to like how it sounds.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Andy "thin sounding" compared to what? Without headphones it sounds pretty thin, but with them I think not. But now you mention it the 18 floor does sound thin compared to that monstrous 14 in mounted tom. I never noticed that before. Still I love this kit-you didn't sell it to Matt did you? He seems to be enjoying it-and this is in your "personal collection" isn't it? I'd love to hear this kit in person-I wanna I wanna I wanna.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Andy "thin sounding" compared to what?
Of course, I'm being sarcastic ;) It's just one example of how a more shallow (compared to diameter) drum can really deliver low end. The reason it produces such a thunderous sound is simple, it was designed to do it, & it's depth was absolutely part of that design.

Equally, deep drums can deliver to order too, but same rules apply. Depth of shell is all about where you want the drum to be in the fundamental vs. overtones spectrum, then ultimately, how you manage those overtones, or not, as the case may be.

As a footnote - never underestimate reso head to floor proximity influence on a floor tom's sound - especially the lower register stuff.

......them drums......mmmm......hmmmm......
Addictive - especially "in person" :)
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Most of my gigs I play a 13" floor tom (11" deep). Sounds great.
My bigger kit has a 14 X 12, also sounds great.
It has a lot more to do with heads and tuning.

I'm sure the smaller drums are quieter than larger drums, and this is an advantage for me. I don't have to restrict my playing for small gigs, and use mic's for big gigs. Maybe the change to smaller tom sizes (and 16-18" bass drums) has followed the increase in powerful, compact PA systems.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
I have always had 16" FT and did have the 16 and 18 combo in the 70s. There is no way I can comfortably play 2 down anymore. When I bought my new set last year I purposely went smaller to save my back and to take up a little less room. I also like everything closer now with a less flexible body.

But I did not want a 14" FT. Don't like them. So I bought a 15 x 15 FT. I love it! Boomy and resonates very well. In fact I am paying more attention to making adjustments to get better definition.

Andy can you expand a bit on the reso to floor distance? I am guessing the greater the distance the more lower register? and maybe greater resonance?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Andy can you expand a bit on the reso to floor distance? I am guessing the greater the distance the more lower register? and maybe greater resonance?
The greater the distance, the more room there is for the sound to resolve, especially the longer wavelength stuff. That equates to a more balanced sound delivery, & yes, a little more head sustain. Sometimes, a similar situation occurs with toms directly over the bass drum.

Hold your floor tom by the hoop in one hand, hit the head with a stick, then using both hands (drum level), move it quickly towards & away from the floor, several times, within the length of the head sustain note. It somewhat exaggerates the affect, but you'll get the idea.
 
I had never considered the distance from floor to reso as a factor, but it makes total sense. Assuming that this doesn't come into play when your drums are set up on a carpet, is there any argument for getting your floor toms off the carpet?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I had never considered the distance from floor to reso as a factor, but it makes total sense. Assuming that this doesn't come into play when your drums are set up on a carpet, is there any argument for getting your floor toms off the carpet?
It absolutely does come into play when drums are set up on carpet. Reflection from a hard floor adds a further dimension to the affect though. If I wasn't so damn busy, I'd make a little video clip.
 

Highway Child

Senior Member
Andy demonstrated the floor proximity effect to me when I visited his place. Admittedly Andy's demo room has hard floor and walls so maybe that enhanced it but even so I was surprised at just how much the drum's sound changed.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Referring to the title of this thread - I bought a 1968 kit on the weekend. It has a 14" floor tom. So its not a new thing.

Someone in 1975 probably wrote "What's with the growing floor toms?"
 
Top