Tone sucking rooms

michaelg

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Have you found that certain rooms seem to suck all the life out of certain drums.

Tonight my 16 floor sounded god awful thin and choked. Sounded great earlier in my living room.
Sometimes I can tweak a few rods and find where it sounds fullest but tonight was just impossible and uninspiring :(
 

JDA

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make of drums was---make year and model I know you have some good stuff..
 

Ptrick

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Sometimes it can even just be position in the room. Drums can sound vastly different in one part vs the other, from great to poor. Although some rooms do just sound bad. Acoustics are strange and can be rather frustrating at times!
 

James Walker

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One of my gigs is teaching at a community music school, and we hold our recitals at a place dubbed the Marian Anderson Recital Hall, in honor of the world-renowned contralto. It's a space that previously was the main room in the town library. It's a beautiful acoustic space for solo piano, but absolute death for snare drums. Carpeted floor, rectangular shape, high ceiling...I'm not sure what it is, but I have yet to get a snare drum to sound good in there. I've tried over a dozen different snare drums over the years, and the best (or, "least worst") results have come from a decidedly nondescript 14x4 I built with a Keller maple shell scrap. It's the only snare drum of mine that hasn't been reduced sonically to an inglorious "splat" by that room.

My only conclusion is that Marian Anderson must have hated snare drums.
 

CC Cirillo

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I’ve found small bar venues can do strange and callous things to snare drums once the venue fills with people.

In particular, Kryptonite to my beloved Acrolite. My remedy is either my Classic Maple or Black Beauty. Nothing cuts through a wall of soggy drinkers like these two drums.
 

drumgadget

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Try not to let it freak you out. The important thing is what the drum sounds like out in the room, which can be an "unknowable" unless you have some trusted ears out there to help out. I find that snares and floor toms seem particularly susceptible to this problem; drums that sounded OK in your practice space are suddenly lifeless in the venue. They are probably fine ...... or at least, as fine as they're gonna be in that space.

Mike
 

drumbum91

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I was just thinking about this a few weeks ago. We played a room that had been renovated recently. They added a whole bunch of stuff around the stage and my drums sounded dead. I hate those kind of rooms because it messes with my head and it ends up being a lonnggg gig.
 

scaramanga

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Years ago I played a show amongst the bowlers at Asbury Lanes in NJ and the sound of my drums almost completely disappeared out from under me.
 

BennyK

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This thread describes the main reason I've become ambivalent toward aluminum and brass for rooms with lower ceilings over largely absorbent surfaces . After the initial sharp attack of a metal shelled drum is soaked up, what are you left with ?
 

jptrickster

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I'm usually running drums back through a monitor or two. This takes care of it. If I can hear I don't have to play so hard when the sound is sucked into the vortex which it so often is.
 

AJMcHardy

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There's one place I play at regularly that just sucks the life out of the kit.

Heavily carpeted stage set in the corner of the room with heavy drapes on the two back walls.

In this room I close mic the kit and rely on the PA & monitors completely.
 

Treviso1

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There's a gig local to me that has the worst sounding stage...everything is super dead and dry. They have a ton of sound dampening foam on the walls and the ceiling along with some bass traps on each side of the stage. Everything you bring to the gig is guaranteed to sound like shite on stage...yet, the sound upfront coming out of the rather large mains sounds very dialed in and just right. It's just so odd. I have brought my brightest sounding drums and cymbals and they all sound like wet paper bags on stage. It doesn't matter what you bring...it all just sounds and most importantly, feels like mush. You just have to ignore it.
 

ThomasL

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Tune the drums higher than normal?

For me, playing acoustic jazz, lively rooms seem to be more of an issue.
 

JimmySticks

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I'm sure glad you made sure to put the letter "n" in the word "tone" in your thread title, or this would have been a whole different conversation!!!:blink::blink::blink:
 

halldorl

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Some rooms simply suck. You just have to bite the bullett and trust the drums will sound good out front. They usually do.

Regarding snaredrums; I almost always bring two (except when I know the venue, how it responds and what to bring), a metal drum and a wood drum. Some rooms respond very differently depending on snare type.
 

Cauldronics

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I recently moved my Renown kit back to the practice room in the city. It had been living in a garage for about a year and sounded great in there with the exception of the kick.

Back in the practice room, the kick got it’s low end back, which had mostly vanished in the garage. I wouldn’t have expected this, given that the garage is almost twice the size of the practice room.

I’m fairly sure that the difference is made up for partly by the amount of amps and gear in the one room and the lack of anything to absorb the sound in another. That and room dimensions that reinforce low frequencies in different parts of the room probably account for it.

From behind the kit in the practice room, the kick sounds massive, while in the garage it was a struggle to hear the lows.

I’ve had the same kind of thing happen at different gigs where the kit sounds unpredictable at best until you know the venue and what to expect.

The best thing I think you can do at the gig (if there’s time) is tune and control the sound when you get there, if you don’t know the room well. I saw a drummer doing this long ago and she improved her drum sound quite a bit. Her drums sounded great for their set.

Otherwise, knowing the room gives you ample time to get the kit ready to sound good. More often than not, I find it means higher tunings that cut and more controlled heads or dampening. But not always.
 

drums1225

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Acoustic environment can make as much, if not more, difference than the drums themselves. Also, staging and/or drum riser itself has a huge impact on the drum sound.

Last Saturday, the difference in acoustic environments was on full display as I played a double with two different bands on two different (outdoor) stages using the same kit. My 12x11 Superstar tom usually sounds fat and resonant, at a medium-low tuning, but at gig #1 (an outdoor event at a town park in North Jersey, on a "Showmobile" mobile stage), it sounded choked, as if someone had their finger on the reso head. I couldn't coax any real tone out of it, and chalked it up to the environment, so I tuned the batter just a bit lower than normal to fatten it up a little. I figured the FOH guy would make something happen out front, which he did. Acoustically (and to some degree, feel-wise), it was disappointing, but through the PA and my in-ears, it sounded fine.

Packed up, met some friends for an early dinner, and headed to the 2nd gig; an outdoor private event on a permanent wood stage under a pavilion. Out of the case, the 12" tom sounded good. I tried tuning back up to where I normally keep it (med-low tuning), half expecting it to choke out again, but it didn't. All the tone that was missing on the Showmobile stage was there. Same drum, two different outdoor stages, completely different sounds.
 


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