Can there be too much sustain?

Seb77

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The floor tom rubber feet touched on this.
So, is more sustain always better? You could talk about sounds other than toms as well, cymbals for example. Mic'ed might also be a different issue than unmic'ed. Does it depend on genre/style/tempo as well? Faster song/fill etc., shorter decay? (I prefer this term).

I think the answer is clearly yes, but how much is too much?
I recently recorded a soundfile with iso-mounted toms tuned medium-low, close-mics only, no muffling, and they rang out quite a bit. A drummer friend of mine commented it was too much, I actually liked it, very fusion/hi-fi sounding to my ear:
https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Froom-354drum-jam-eq1
 

Sequimite

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One reason I want maximum sustain is because for the last 5 years I've been playing very low volume gigs. In a high volume gig the resonance is pretty much lost on the audience. In an acoustic level gig these nuances are front and center. Now, of course style dictates how much resonance each drummer wants. In my case with an acoustic bass and guitars everything is percussive and I strive for sparse playing and a legato sound with long decay on toms and shimmering cymbals.
 
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karlcrafton

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I love drums that sound like this.
They sound like DRUMS.
Put music with it, and all the "extra" blends in and the music sounds alive IMO.

CAN there be "too much" sustain?

...Yeah, when recording our last cd, I had to back off on the tuning of my floor toms a little because the sustain was really long on them.
Our engineer said "they sound great, but 4 seconds is a bit much" hahaha!

I use those Pearl feet on the ft legs BTW hahaha!
 

noreastbob

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I think your sound file is no where near too much sustain. It's only too much if things get muddled and one drum interferes, as in burying the attack, over rides, or is dissonant with another.
I like to hear the silence, or space between and behind what's going on.
 

varatrodder

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The longer the better. I like drums that fill up the space and contribute to the richness of the sound, not just create rhythm.
 

Seb77

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Sustain? Yes.
Resonance? No.
Not the same thing.
What about sustaining resonance? I am serious. You could call it a long decay of the fundamental as in the file above. "4 seconds is too long", I would def. agree with that engineer.
 

DanRH

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It’s a great way to tell if a drum is in tune with itself. But yes. I’m a huge believer in moon gels to get just the right amount of sustain from the drivers seat.
 

langmick

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Many classic recordings were one with very dead drums, with deadringers and hydraulics and gaff tape and numerous other substances to stop any sustain. I think the dead drum stays out of the way of the vocals and melody, speaks and gets out.
 

dsop

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If you're close-micing you can definitely have a problem with too much sustain, especially if playing medium to low volume. If you're playing loud stuff, the mic's level will be such that the sustain won't/shouldn't be an issue.
 

ARGuy

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What about sustaining resonance? I am serious. You could call it a long decay of the fundamental as in the file above. "4 seconds is too long", I would def. agree with that engineer.
I look at sustain as a quantity of sound. I look at resonance as a quality of sound. If you want to combine the two and come up with a term for it, fine, but I'm still going to think of them as two separate things. Kind of like pitch and volume.
 

Iristone

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You will understand if you stamp on the bass pedal at a backline kit and it rumbles through the PA for approximately 5 seconds...
 

Seb77

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Yeah, I think we're only obsessed with tom sustain. Nobody wants a bass drum or snare to ring out as long a spossible (virgin bass drum and snare suspension stands might have more to do with the resonance mentioned above.

RIMS and other supension systems have advanced drum sound a lot, no question. (In the file in my first post here I did, gretsch NC mounting has some rubber, ad iso feet).
However, right now I use none of them (Pearl 80s maple). I don't think my sound is choked, but it's also not the longest sound possible - maybe not even the most resonant sound possible. But it works best for the sound I want within the music.
 

hsosdrum

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In a live, unmic’d situation, resonance/sustain helps the sound carry out to the audience. Think timpani in a symphony orchestra.
This. Right. Here.

Even when recording, a drum's sustain helps the drums cut through the rest of the stuff in the mix. And just as important, a drum's sustain makes it easier for a drummer to hear themselves, which reduces the likelihood that they will hit harder than is necessary. So allowing your drums to sustain away is a win-win! :thumbup:

P.S. To the OP, I think your drums sounded great in the recording you posted! And your playing was beautiful.
 


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