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drum tuning... and heads
Old 1st November 2002
  #31
Lives for gear
 
Fibes's Avatar
 

Re: In the ballpark?

Quote:
Originally posted by Crushed

Edited: Sorry, Fibes. I meant to ask if "the ball-park" is better than where I am now? (The Parking Lot))
FWIW I use the coated 2 ply remo weatherkings for rock (except for snare) and single ply ambassadors for jazz and ringy needs.

The drum dial ballpark is damn close. You'll hear it immediately. It still helps to tweak a bit. I've been using the Kenny Aronoff cheat sheet.
Old 1st November 2002
  #32
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

The drum dial sounds cool (great link, Jules).

Fibes, what is the Kenny cheat sheet? Where to find one?
Old 1st November 2002
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Fibes's Avatar
 

The cheat sheet came with the drum dial that the drummer had. It outlined PSI suggestions for different size drums with different heads + an assortment of famous drummer suggestions. He bought his in the late eighties so it's a New Wave and hair band oriented pamphlet. 'cept for kenny. My 10 inch tom has never sounded so good. Same with the floor tom...
Old 2nd November 2002
  #34
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 

What's the difference between the Drumdial and the Tama Tension watch? Which one works better or is more sensitive??

Fleaman
Old 2nd November 2002
  #35
I know a roadie that swears he tunes drums before shows with a Boss gtr tuner..

Old 8th November 2002
  #36
Here for the gear
 
The Specialist's Avatar
 

My .02

OK, hear's my comments on this thread:

First, my main thing is drums, both playing and tweaking for sessions.

Velocity and power, if applied with proper technique will not completely waste heads in an unrealistic fashion. A diplomat should only last a short while played by a bruiser, but the tone payoff should be worth the effort. BUT, I started using WAY LESS heads once I played drums like I play golf. It's all about the follow through. That's how your light players get a big tone, and your really good heavy hitters get a big LOUD tone. Also, that's how heads survive, as well as cymbals. I tour and record with my "stoner-rock" band and come to use less heads and cymbals than ever by talking my technique with a drum teacher (guru) who equivicated drumming with sports. Follow the stroke through and you have more power and dissipate the energy properly. I also believe Steve Smith has commented this in interviews. I have worked on recordings he has played on, and I was amazed at his volume and power, while watching him almost play "through" the drums.

Anyway, back to engineering. One major problem I have encountered while tweaking drums for sessions is head quality. Remo does seem to be the least consistent (I'm not slagging, I play Remo). Every other head manufacturer seems to have consistent coating and glue application, but buying a Remo head is like picking out a Zildjian. When I have the luxury, I have the studio bring in at LEAST two of each head they think they are going to use. Just tonight, we had a coated emporer that would not lose the glue sound. We went to an ambassodor that had no glue problems, but clearly had less coating that the ambassador we used on the snare.

I have to say in Remo's defense, they have the loudest heads on the market. Every time I used any other heads, My band would immediately start complaining the drums were not loud enough. I also played twice as hard, both wearing myself out, and destroying heads. Aquarian sent me several sets of heads to try out. The ones on my little jazz kit sound great, but the 26" kick head they sent me was so wimpy, I destroyed it in 1 gig, I put my foot right through the sucker. Aquarian heads are NOT for savages. Evans, I find do not last as long either. Also, they seems to be much less "shell friendly". They can make a mediocre drum sound totally crappy. I sometimes use a Tama Rockstar snare live. I usually slap a PS3 on it and, through the PA, you think I had my Black Beauty on the stage. Everytime I tried an Evans, it sounded like absolute crap, to the point that I was distracted from playing. They seem to be this way on all midline and low level drums. Remos seem to be more forgiving all around.

Also, my experience with the tension tools, be it the tension watch, or the lug tools, is that they can decieve in the studio. If the drums is perfectly round and the bearing edges are fine, you can do pretty well. If you are recording little Mr. Tre Cool Jr after he dived into his 5th hand Pearl Export kit last night, with 2 year old heads crusted with duct tape, forget it. If the drums are suspect, use your ears. I have had guys insist everthing was perfect tesionwise, but the drum at hand needed to be pulled way out of perfect tension to sound right. If you think it sounds wrong, it probably is.

After all that typing, I realized all the red-bull and Jameson's at the session after the power went out really kicked in. In conclusion, there are no rules, but only notes one can refer back to. All studio owners should have a kit they know intimately at their disposal, and be willing to convince the band that their kit sucks, and the need to rent. By intimately, you must know how she takes her head, what type she likes, how hard she can take it, and where she does it best in the room. This will make those $150 a day 18 hour sessions barely tolerable.

Vadim
Old 8th November 2002
  #37
Han
Lives for gear
 

Drum dial??? I have a Premier Genista (birch) kit that sounds best with the Premier CS heads. But those heads are a bit "fragile", so I use the Ambassador heads. (Evans only on kick)

Anyway, there was this band who had won a band contest, so they came for recording two days.
The Premier kit was tuned properly and it sounded great (I'm a drummer myself).

The first thing the drummer of that band did was "tuning" the drums with the drum dial he had brought with him.

Even the kick was re-tuned with this piece of shit. Oh yeah, according to his drum dial meter everything was perfect, there was only one small problem, the kit that had sounded very good, now sounded like shit.

What's wrong with tuning and use your hearing?
Old 8th November 2002
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Fibes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Han

What's wrong with tuning and use your hearing?
I think there has been some selective reading comprehension among our newest thread visitors.

The drum dial WHEN USED PROPERLY can GET YOU IN THE BALLPARK. You have to use your ears/touch after that.

I can appreciate that I know my 10 inch Fibes tom needs a 55 top 45 bottom tuning to start with. I then tweak until I'm on the money. I spend way too much time doing other shit than having to remember BY EAR how to get to the sweet spot of the drums. The dial gets me there (I'm a new convert) in minutes as opposed to hours. That's my .02.
Old 8th November 2002
  #39
Gear Head
 
heylow's Avatar
 

I will say this and only this:

I once had a drummer who used the drum dial exclusively and religiously IN PLACE of proper tuning.....he never could figure out why he always hated his drums' sound.

Personally, if I know the kit....like mine, for instance; I subscribe to tuning to pitches. Sounds great...always consistant once you find where you want them. Never worry again.


heylow
Old 9th November 2002
  #40
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Hey alpha and all,

OK here is the ultimate best head combination you can buy:

Evans on snare
Remo PowerStroke 3 on kick
Aquarian Response on toms

I totally agree with you Alpha, I never cared for Evans heads on toms, Remos are better but they do tend to lose their coating quickly and they've gotten very inconsistent. Aquarians KICK ASS on toms, especially if you like them deep and full.

I really do love the Evans on snare though. Haven't tried their kick head, I've always been so happy with the PowerStroke.

The point about seating the tom heads properly is very important. I usually put my heads on, tune them up as tight as they will go and let them sit overnight, then tune them down to where I want them. I've done the hair dryer thing in a pinch and it sounds great, but a lot of drummers seem to feel you can ruin your shells that way if you do this regularly, so I don't.

Drum dials.... ugggh. Learn to tune drums by ear and don't get dependent on those things. Just loosen all the lugs, then tap the head gently next to each lug and loosen or tighten them until the pitch is the same at each lug point. Then tune the drum up to the pitch you want by tightening all the lugs a quarter turn, hit it, listen, if it's not high enough tighten them all another quarter turn, etc.
Old 9th November 2002
  #41
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by lflier
Hey alpha and all,

OK here is the ultimate best head combination you can buy:
LOL...

Puhleeze
Old 9th November 2002
  #42
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Sorry Jax, I was being a bit, uh, facetious.
Old 9th November 2002
  #43
Gear Head
 
heylow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by lflier
I've done the hair dryer thing in a pinch and it sounds great, but a lot of drummers seem to feel you can ruin your shells that way if you do this regularly, so I don't.

With all due respect, this is ridiculous.

Nothing personal, but I cannot understand how a bit of heat will ruin shells.....I mean we are talking about a BIT of heat.....it doesnt take much heat to "help" form a head. Consider, if you will, the stress that a typical shells takes even while sitting there doing nothing. I doubt the shell even sees much of the heat.

Unless one were being a complete jackass with the dryer, I can't imagine the harm. Again, we are talking about a BIT of heat.


heylow
Old 9th November 2002
  #44
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

lee, the evan EQ3 kills the PS3 on the kick... i nearly shit my pants at the difference.
Old 9th November 2002
  #45
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Heylow,

I have no idea if this is true or not, but the most common worry I've heard is that the glue that is used in multi-ply shells could become undone with heat, among other things.

In any case if I'm tuning another drummer's kit for a session and they freak out at the sight of a hair dryer on their expensive drum, I don't really think it's my place to argue! And I've seen enough freakouts that I don't try it anymore, unless some bonehead comes in with really ancient heads and expects me to change them for him before the session starts - in which case he's probably not going to care what I do to his drums anyhow. Luckily that doesn't happen too often!
Old 9th November 2002
  #46
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
lee, the evan EQ3 kills the PS3 on the kick... i nearly shit my pants at the difference.
Really? I'll haveta try that... and you haveta try the Aquarians on toms!
Old 10th November 2002
  #47
Quote:
Originally posted by lflier

In any case if I'm tuning another drummer's kit for a session and they freak out at the sight of a hair dryer on their expensive drum,
It's just a non-argument IMHO.
All you need to do is press down as firmly as you can on the head. You can hear it snapping and slackening.
Otherwise you can try the overtightening method.
Old 1st January 2005
  #48
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by heylow
Consider, if you will, the stress that a typical shells takes even while sitting there doing nothing.

heylow
Old thread, I know, but this line caught my eye because there are now at least 2 drum manufacturers (Yamaha and another) who build drums that allow the hoops and lugs to be disengaged from the shell in seconds.

The purpose is for quick head changes, but the even more pragmatic thing this accomplishes is allowing relief to an otherwise tension-stressed head and shell when the drum is not in use.

I know several drummers who turn off their snare strainer when they're done playing for similar reasons: to keep the snare wires in good shape for longer, and to prevent unneccesary stress on the shell when it's not being used.

Drums and (especially) heads can potentially have a much longer lifespan if they get to live stress free.... so would I, for that matter!
Old 1st March 2005
  #49
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As a long-time Evans user, I'm gonna go back to Remo too.

The Evans heads, which in my experience, tune up very easily and have been really consistent from head to head, have two main weaknesses which I'm tiring of. They are:

1) Often won't conform to the bearing edge of the drum satisfactorily. At the moment I've got an EQ3 on my Gretsch kick, and at low tensions, it removes itself from the bearing edge, giving a very dead sound. I have to tune it up quite a bit - which is actually my preferred kick sound - but after hard playing will loosen up a bit and need retuning. It's like the head has a preferred profile it wants to conform to and is therefore "fighting" against where you want it to be.

2) The heads sound "pre-EQ'd". Like they're not quite a "natural" drum sound. Actually, the kick heads remind me of the sound of a D112 - that "pre-EQ'd" sound that is there whether you like it or not. My EQ3 definitely has that "ping" that has been mentioned before, but since I have a solid front head (well, not quite, two 1" holes near the perimiter of the head as a 26" drum moves a lot of air) I don't mic my kick from the inside anyway, so the "ping" that you get from internal miking is negated. And I've never found an Evans head I've liked for snare - Ambassadors have always just sounded and felt best to me.

So, anyway, back to Remo as I said. And the reason for my post is to know if anyone's had any experience with the Renaissance heads. How are they different to Ambassador/Emporers - warmer, brighter, rounder?

Just curious.

Cheers,

bdp
Old 2nd March 2005
  #50
i´ve been using emperor on top and ambassador on bottom on my toms (pearl mlx; 12", 14", 16" deeper than traditional) for the last eight years and i love the sound (been using clear/white emperors, ambassadors and diplomats in various combinations. powerstroke, those life-denying horrible heads with a black dot, evans with oil on the inside). the heads last forever and can stand hard hitters well in the studio. i tune the top heads higher and i never go for a low pitched thud sound. they sound really good in the studio, rehearsal, live.
on my other kit (rogers londoner, traditional depth, now sold, needed cash and space) white ambassadors on top, diplomat on bottom sounded nice.
evans genera dry sounds nice on snare for that short crack-attack sound i think but did´nt last as long as remo heads. nowadays white ambassadors do the job on my wooden roxy and supraphonic though. i guess i´m to cheap to spend cash on heads that do´nt last.
Old 2nd March 2005
  #51
Lives for gear
 
brendondp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by brendondp
And the reason for my post is to know if anyone's had any experience with the Renaissance heads. How are they different to Ambassador/Emporers - warmer, brighter, rounder?
Don't you hate having to answer your own post?

Apparently (according to the mighty internet), Renaissance heads are "warmer" and "rounder" than Remo's other coated heads, though much less so than say, the Fibreskyns.

So there you go.

Cheers to me,

bdp
Old 2nd March 2005
  #52
Here for the gear
 

ok

did you ever think that using a 2 ply over a 1 ply is going to be a higher pitched sound?

when you move up in ply's the pitch is going to change, higher.

such as the different from a 20 ply snare and a 50 ply

the 50 ply will sound loud and have a huge tight clack sound

rather a 20 more crunch, and so on.

get a 1 ply evans? I use evans and I really like what I have gotten out of them, although when it's time to buy new sets of heads im going to try our remo's just because its what i started with, and we'll see. but thats just a thought.
Old 2nd March 2005
  #53
Moderator
 
toolskid's Avatar
 

After years and years of trying every head I could get my hands on, I pretty much reach for a coated ambassador, or JackDeJohnnette Aquarian. I've never really dug evans heads for most of the reasons posted above. If I need to go 2ply, I usually go for a clear emperor. Diplomats are awesome, but what Bob Ohlsson said. With a great kit with flexible toms I can get the ambassadors ridiculously low without flapping. I much prefer the concentration of tone and feel of these heads. The JackDeJohnnette sig heads, feel like they have a slightly thicker coating, awesome focus and depth with those babies.

Re: tuning I wouldn'y necessarily make any hard and fast rules for yourself, like the bottom head always has to be higher than the top. If you just play one kit, then maybe thats ok, BUT, if you're out working with different kits thrown at you each gig, you have to really learn pretty quick what tunings these new drums are going to behave with. For example, it may be that the 16x16 ayotte tom you have on the hire kit just sings at finger tension on both heads, whereas the premier genista needs a little more attack from a tighter bottom head.

all the best
Old 2nd March 2005
  #54
Han
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by lflier
Really? I'll haveta try that... and you haveta try the Aquarians on toms!
Yep Lee, Barrett is very right about that, the EQ3 is the best I've heard so far.
Old 2nd March 2005
  #55
C/G
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C/G's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by heylow
I will say this and only this:

I once had a drummer who used the drum dial exclusively and religiously IN PLACE of proper tuning.....he never could figure out why he always hated his drums' sound.

Personally, if I know the kit....like mine, for instance; I subscribe to tuning to pitches. Sounds great...always consistant once you find where you want them. Never worry again.


heylow
I use the Tama tension watch. I don't use it to tune my drums, I use it to get me in the general tone of the skin I had on there before. I know which tension settings work for each of my drums. When I need to change a head in the middle of a rehearsal, I swap it, tension it to the psi I am used to, then I tune it by ear. That way I get almost exactly the same tone out of the drum with no time wasted . The tension meters help, but wont get the head exactly in tune. That is what your ears are for.
Old 2nd March 2005
  #56
Here for the gear
 
richsorr's Avatar
 

I didn't have a chance to read all the posts in this thread, so sorry if this was said...

If your looking for that nice fat low sound out of your toms, try pinstripes on the top and diplomats on the bottom. thats all i will ever use, those and a powerstroke 3 on the bassdrum with a remo cavlar impact pad. snare heads depend on the snare i am using. but try those out for toms, the pinstripes are double ply and give a nice fat sound. the diplomats are very thin and allow the drum to have more resonance.
Old 18th March 2005
  #57
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Kris's Avatar
I just got a drumdial for my b-day... I LOVE it... drums have always been alien to me as a guitarist... but over the years as an engineer I have grown to love drums and now even own my own kit, a nice hand made (orange sparkle) AHA.

Anyways, after 20 minutes last night with the dial, my drums have never sounded better. Most definately a time saver... for my sessions setting up and tuning drums is almost always the most time consuming process.

I have recently been experimenting with different drum heads... for my kit, Aquarian Resonse on Toms are my favorite... Evans G2s...don't like as much...Evans hydrolics are a bit too dull... Remo Ambassadors always work nicely... Evans st dry on my snare is super fat (1970s ludwig) ... Evans eq3 or EMAD on the bass drum is killer... got to try some pinstripes next...
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