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Thread: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

  1. #1

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    Question Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    i play punk rock and alternative.and metal sometimes. i just cant get that good enough sound to my bass drum. i tune fairly low, to have a punchy sound without flappiness, with both heads. my only muffling is a square couch pillow standing up leaning on my batter head. i dont like ringing wide open bass at all. closed, but not too too closed. i still cant achieve " that sound ".... any tips guys? what are your setups? im thinking about also burning a porthole for less resonance and placing like a rolled up shirt against the reso head too. any tips?

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    What heads are you using? The Aquarian Super Kick II and the Evans EMAD are both fantastic batter heads. As are the Regulator and EMAD resos.


    Both would probably give you the sound you're after without any internal muffling.

  3. #3

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    I agree with Marko about the head selection. Tune low with a regular pillow inside the drum. I like my pillow the long way so it touches both the batter and reso head.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metalic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    For the record...I use SK II on the batter and the Regulator on the reso. I tune just a bit higher than past wrinkle stage.

    My kick has just a touch of resonance but I think it sounds really good. Nothing inside the drum.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethangrobb View Post
    i play punk rock and alternative.and metal sometimes. i just cant get that good enough sound to my bass drum. i tune fairly low, to have a punchy sound without flappiness, with both heads. my only muffling is a square couch pillow standing up leaning on my batter head. i dont like ringing wide open bass at all. closed, but not too too closed. i still cant achieve " that sound ".... any tips guys? what are your setups? im thinking about also burning a porthole for less resonance and placing like a rolled up shirt against the reso head too. any tips?
    It is my belief that if you are muffling a drum you are defeating the purpose of the drum. A pillow inside the drum will not allow the shell to resonate correctly, hence it will not sound as good as it could.

    My current kit is a Sonor Special Edition kit. These drums are the lowest of the low that Sonor makes. A complete 5 piece kit with two boom cymbal stands, hi-hat stand, snare stand, and kick pedal sold for only $500.00. I bought two of them and added a Pearl Masters snare. The shells are Basswood ply's, a cheap imitation of Maple. On my kick drums I use the stock Sonor logo head Made by Remo on the front, and an Evans EQ 3 on the batter. Both heads have sound control rings on the inside. That's it , no muffling at all and they sound great. I get a great punch as well as nice depth. I also use the plastic side of my beater on my pedal to get a bit more slap.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by NPYYZ View Post
    It is my belief that if you are muffling a drum you are defeating the purpose of the drum. A pillow inside the drum will not allow the shell to resonate correctly, hence it will not sound as good as it could.
    Kinda, sorta, not really. The shell will still resonate, but the softness of the pillow/quilt, whatever will eat up some of the overtones. Is this better or worse? It's opinion really.

    This is what makes drumming great. Some guys like the attack and little/no resonance, while others like the big everlasting BOOOOOOOM!
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metalic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethangrobb View Post
    i play punk rock and alternative.and metal sometimes. i just cant get that good enough sound to my bass drum. i tune fairly low, to have a punchy sound without flappiness, with both heads. my only muffling is a square couch pillow standing up leaning on my batter head. i dont like ringing wide open bass at all. closed, but not too too closed. i still cant achieve " that sound ".... any tips guys? what are your setups? im thinking about also burning a porthole for less resonance and placing like a rolled up shirt against the reso head too. any tips?
    You don't say what size of bass drum you're using. 20"? 24"? I tune my batter head a couple of turns above finger tight and my reso head just above wrinkle-free. I have a piece of 1" foam wrapped inside my bass drum about 3/4 of the circumference. It's more than loud enough with more of a "thump" than anything else.

    I use an EMAD head (including the smaller foam ring) and the stock black Remo Ambassador (I assume; it's a medium weight) on the reso side.

    I have tried tuning to just above the wrinkles but that sounded like ***, to me. But it works well on some drums.

    Hope that helps.

    Rich
    DW drums and Paiste cymbals.

  8. #8

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    I'm using the Evans Emad batter bass drum head. At first, I had the narrow foam ring with no pillow and it sounded ok. Next, I tried using one Evans EQ pillow with the flap side just grazing the batter head with the narrow foam ring and it had good attack and the EQ pillow soaked up some of the overtones but I still wasn't satisfied.

    My last experiment involved removing the narrow foam ring and the EQ pillow and re-tuned my batter head just a 1/4 turn passed the wrinkle stage and BOOM....I got the sound I wanted. I was a bit concerned about how open and boomy the bass drum sounded so I had my wife sit behind the kit and I went out front while she played the bass drum and the boomy resonance dropped off fairly quickly.

    I'm suspecting that if I were to stick my Audix D6 bass drum mic into the reso port hole, I'll probably have to resort to using the EQ pillow to control some of the overtones but since I don't mic my kit for band practice, the added sustain that I get without pillowing the bass drum helps me hear it better from behind the kit.

    I guess the key for discovering what sounds best for your tastes is to keep experimenting with different types of bass drum batter/reso heads. This may prove to be a bit expensive but in my opinion, it's the bass drum that is the heartbeat for any groove or feel.

    Taking the time to nail down the bass drum sound you prefer might take some experimentation, but I found one important fact. What sounds good coming from an unmic'd bass drum may have an entirely different result if the bass drum was mic'd under the same tuning or damping scenrio.

    I found that I get more attack with my bass drum pillowed. If I feel the need for more bottom end, I'll adjust the EQ setting at the PA head and fatten the sound from there.
    Last edited by late8; 03-10-2011 at 03:48 PM.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    An eBay score........ My new reso head for the Ludwig Vistalite kit..... BOOM Baby!

    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metalic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  10. #10

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    cool head
    DW, Zildjian, Vic Firth, Remo
    https://www.reverbnation.com/jonpnorris

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    try the felt strips. one on each head. they go inside. still may be a little ringy. I use very little muffling. I can't say what I put inside to get my sound. trade secret
    RED DIRT MOUNTAIN
    http://reddirtmountain.com/
    UFiP

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    My bass drum is an old Tama Royalstar (the ones that seem to be identical to the old impreialstars) 14x22", new Tama reso head, Remo CS batter and a blanket in between the rim and the shell. Everything tuned low. You could use the coin trick, put a coin and tape it just where the beater hits the head, the issue is that it will last just a couple of speed/thrash double bass songs, or maybe more single bass drum metal songs, depends on how hard you hit your drums.

    Use decent earphones or speakers and check the boom sound:

    http://www.drumchat.com/showthread.p...ine-20539.html

    Cheers!
    Tama Royalstar: 14x22" Kick, 16x16" Floor Tom, 8x12" Tom, 9x13" Tom, 5x14" Snare

    Zildjian A Custom: 20" Medium Ride, 18" Medium Crash, 16" Crash and 14" Hi-hats

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  13. #13

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    I've done so many bass drum experiments I can't recall them all. But after all of them, I found that one need not stuff a drum to get good attack and minimal resonance. The old felt strip trick really works, I use it on the reso side with a simpel coated head, and use an EMAD batter. But if you don't have a dampened batter head (like an EMAD or similar) the felt strip works there too, even on a 1 or 2 ply head (Emp, GS2...etc). It can be time consuming, but all the experimentation helps you learn whats really happening in your kick drum.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by CycleDude View Post
    An eBay score........ My new reso head for the Ludwig Vistalite kit..... BOOM Baby!

    Yo CD, that is freeking awesome mate!!!
    ~BWB~

    ~Sabian - Mapex - Pro-Mark~

  15. #15

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    I just picked up an Evans EQ Pillow in an effort to cut down on beater bounce without deadening the drum too much. The pillow makes contact with the batter hear head only. Good results in my opinion. I hated sticking the Velcro to the inside of the drum, but I'll get over it.

  16. #16

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    I really struggled with my bass drum. I tried various heads, various muffling (towels, eq pad, pillow) a bass port, etc. If I could get the deep thumpy sound using muffled heads or through muffling the drum, then it lacked volume and sounded dead out in front of the set.

    I also noticed that when I played my drum teacher's crappy set it sounded way better than my bass drum. But the biggest thing I noticed was that it felt better. I ended up using his tuning theory and now my drum sounds killer with no internal muffling at all and without using heavily muffled heads. It has plenty of volume, sounds awesome and feels great.

    The key was getting the batter head right. The batter is loose. On my drum dial it's at 67. It's a fine line though between too tight and too loose. I do see wrinkles if I push on the head. The batter contributes to the attack and the feel. I then tune the resonant head for the tone. Right now on my drum dial I have the resonant at 77. But you can go higher or lower on the resonant head to get your desired sound.

    I'm currently using an Evans EQ3 batter with the extra muffling ring removed. I'm using a Power stroke 3 resonant head. I'm using no internal muffling. I do have a port in the resonant head. I think the concept of going loose on the batter and medium tight on the resonant is more important than the exact head choice. I think you could get similar results with a lot of different non muffled or lightly muffled heads.



    I think heavily muffled heads (Aquarian Super kick, EMAD, etc) sound good from behind the set regardless of how they are tuned. But I think out front they lack volume, dynamic range and sound dead in comparison.

  17. #17

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    My bass drum has a PS3 batter and an Aquarian 2ply reso with no port hole. Batter is 1/4 turn over wrinkle and reso is 1 turn over wrikle. I have a small foam pillow ( 2 x18 1/4 ) and it just barely touches both heads and the sound is nice loud with no overtones.
    Keep on drumming and have fun doing it.

    5pc Pearl MCX Chestnut Fade 12x9, 13x10, 16x16, 18x22 14x6.5 matching snare
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  18. #18

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    Head selection is key. Get something with a Foam muffling ring, it'll give the punch and lack of sustain but keep the pitch low.

    The only two constants I have are DW and Zildjian.

  19. #19

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    SKII + Kickport = Nuff said

  20. #20

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    dude, forget everything you read above , they are all opinions , if you noticed everyone gave you a different way to make YOUR drum sound like theirs. do as Late8 said . experiment with your drum . its yours and you want your sound . what sounds good to you isnt going to sound good to other people. get to know how your drum works and you'll find YOUR SOUND.....
    Tamaholic

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomcorr2 View Post
    dude, forget everything you read above , they are all opinions , if you noticed everyone gave you a different way to make your drum sound like theirs. Do as late8 said . Experiment with your drum . Its yours and you want your sound . What sounds good to you isnt going to sound good to other people. Get to know how your drum works and you'll find your sound.....

    exactly!!!!!

  22. #22

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    for what you want it seems some dampening is in order, i personally like a deep punch with little resonance and recently found the right sort of pillow, and cut an appropriately sized hole in my resonant head for repositioning.

    i'd say play with some different dampening agents, pillows or what have you of differing density, size and placement.
    you'll find what your looking for.

  23. #23

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    +1 to muffling defeating the purpose of the drum.

    My bass is tuned rather high compared to most peoples. It doesn't matter if I use a powerstroke 3, 4, and Aquarian Super Kick 2. Most tune to the lowest note that they can hear behind the kit. I think thats dumb. Pitch drops over distance, so why not tune high so the crowd gets a good thud? Look at Bonham, he tuned his 24" kick even higher than i tune mine, and his sounded like god clapping. That being said, I tune my batter rather high, and a resonant side, just a step higher. That gives me a nice punchy feel and a great boom when you hear it from a distance. Plus, you get great rebound off of a tighter head.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xoferif09 View Post
    +1 to muffling defeating the purpose of the drum.

    My bass is tuned rather high compared to most peoples. It doesn't matter if I use a powerstroke 3, 4, and Aquarian Super Kick 2. Most tune to the lowest note that they can hear behind the kit. I think thats dumb. Pitch drops over distance, so why not tune high so the crowd gets a good thud? Look at Bonham, he tuned his 24" kick even higher than i tune mine, and his sounded like god clapping. That being said, I tune my batter rather high, and a resonant side, just a step higher. That gives me a nice punchy feel and a great boom when you hear it from a distance. Plus, you get great rebound off of a tighter head.
    Muffling is your friend, but the purists seem to believe that muffling, rather than working to improve the tone, robs it of something, which is hardly the case. If done correctly muffling only robs the nastiness that would otherwise be there.

    And this might be sacrilege or heresy to say this, but is John Bonham's bass drum sound really the ideal anymore? And was it really the drum, or was it a combination of the drum, plus miking, plus EQ, plus compression, etc? A lot of nastiness can be EQed out.

  25. #25

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    Default Re: Good bass drum muffling/tuning

    Well are we talking about playing in the studio or live ? I can see dampening in a studio setting or maybe a very small live setting, but for a venue that is large and loud you already have eq. The rest of the band is going to take away all those nasty sounds. Why not make your drums as lively as possible so the cut through well? I know it's all opinion. Different strokes for different folks.

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