Most people have heard of moon gels and just recently they've become even more expensive which is a real shame because there pretty useful.
The moon gels consist of a sticky gel pad a bit like those spider toys thay you throw at walls and they crawl down on the sticky feet. The gels retain they're tackyness through out if you take care of em and don't let them get really dusty you can wash em of. And there stick all over you can cut them in half if one whole one is to much dampening. They work almost perfectly on drum heats as well as cymbals and anything else that may rattle or vibrate in you studio. I can tune my snare so low it sounds awful then chuck 2-3 of these on and it dampens the horrible overtone enough that you end with a drum sounding twice it's size in pitch. The stick the underside of toms nicely baring mide they need be new fresh ones or nice and clean drum head included. And they come with a hand case to keep them in. Now they use to be about £3-4 now there going for round £8 which really annoys me as they're a great product but this is far to much I suggest buying in bulk with some mates to keep the prices down.
Moon Gels are small, semi-adhesive dampening pads, useful for controlling overtones on percussion instruments. I've used them successfully on snares, toms, djembes, doumbeks, cowbells, etc. Placement of the pads has a strong effect on the amount of dampening. When working with a drum, experiment with positioning the pads next to the rim for less dampening, or an inch or so farther in for more dampening. When using two or more pads on a single drum, the relative placement of the pads also has an effect, presumably interacting with the resonant modes of the head. With particularly ringy snares, for instance, two pads about ninety degrees apart often works well.
The pads are gummy to the touch; combined with their bright blue color, they almost seem like a children's toy when you first take them out of the case. This gumminess lets them adhere to drum heads, metal, etc. while still allowing them to come off very easily. Dirt and dust (which will naturally accumulate over time) reduce their ability to adhere, but a quick wash with soap and water brings them back to almost-new condition. They come four to a pack for $6 in the USA (it sounds like they're more expensive in Europe); I have several packs, and they definitely come in handy.
As a touring drummer, I have had the luck to get to pick the brains of many drum techs throughout the industry, and while I do see moon gels used often the consensus is there is not a better sound than correctly tuned drum heads. These are great for a quick fix when you are playing live, and don't have enough time to properly tune. While in the studio, they do a good job eliminating overtones if that is the sound that you are going for. That being said, using strips of gaff tape will have the same effect in the studio without costing 7 dollars for 5 supposedly reusable pieces of gel. Over all they are a quick and easy way to kill overtones. I don't discourage using them, but there are cheaper alternatives.
What can I say about these moongels other than BUY THEM.
For just a few bucks that you'd spend on a coffee or something at Starbucks, you can get seriously good drum control for studio or stage. They work and sound WAY better than any "O Rings" and sure as heck better than duct tape and tissues. They leave the drumheads responsive, so drummers dig them, and you can get a few of them on a drum to really dampen it up and it STILL leaves the drum talking.
I've got probably two or three of these little containers sitting around and they get used a LOT. Never fails me.
First silly putty, then slime, now these. I got these first when a relatively cheap drum set entered the house--and esepcially a very cheap starter pack of Zildjians, which way more than flabby tom heads are the chief offenders. And they are in fact a very effective way to control the tone of drums and cymbals.
What they do on toms and snares can sometimes seem almost magical, and give you a lot of variety when hunting after various nodes. On cymbals, well, the best I can say is that they eliminate some offense of a cheap cymbal, but they don't improve the sound per se. I am afraid the only answer there is better more expensive cymbals.
As other reviewers have noted this space-age goo DOES degrade, as have all other functional space age slimes and goos. One worries about toxicity. If the degradation goes well, you are left with a sort of ineffective pad that won't stick anymore. If it goes poorly, you may be left with a stain...
Play around around a lot with placement; play around with multiple pad on single heads. They really do help you locate problems and solutions.
And I know I speak for the masses when I add that the little carrying cases are truly multifunction and their usefulness far outlives the actual gel.
Several companies make "moon gel", a tacky gel-like substance designed to dampen drum heads and other percussive instruments. It can be used to reduce unwanted resonances, as well as to purposely dampen drums when seeking different timbres.
RTOM MoonGel pads measure 35mm by 24mm, approximately 2mm thick and have negligible weight. Four pieces are provided in a small, airtight plastic container. They are manufactured in the USA. Price varies considerably from country to country; in Australia expect to pay AU$10 or more, which is a tad on the pricey side.
Most drummers and engineers will - at one stage or another - become well versed in the gentle art of coaxing an unruly drum kit into submission by swathing its heads in gaffa tape or by using tone rings. MoonGel fulfils a similar purpose, albeit with some notable advantages.
Unlike tone rings, which are by nature 'all-or-nothing' in their dampening, it is trivially easy to 'dial in' the desired amount of dampening using MoonGel due to its compact size. A single piece up against a snare's rim, for example, will cut down extraneous resonance without unduly affecting the snare's overall character and tuning. Moving the MoonGel in 20mm-40mm towards the centre of the head will increase the dampening effect, shortening the decay of the drum. Using two or more pieces spaced around the head results very pronounced dampening, and a very tight, short and noticeably "thick" tone.
MoonGel can also be easy cut in half with regular scissors should more subtle dampening be required.
Snares and toms are obvious candidates for MoonGel, but it can also be used on a variety of other percussion. I've found a single piece placed within the belll of a cowbell can shorten the decay, tighten and "dry up" the sound considerably, making it less intrusive in a mix.
MoonGel is moderately tacky, holding its place on a drum head securely but is easily removed - unlike gaffa - without damaging the skin. MoonGel is however very much affected by dust and grime and I'd recommend keeping the pieces inside the provided case when not in use. The pads can be washed with soap and water to restore tackiness; after 3 years mine have deteriorated somewhat, but are still very much usable.
MoonGel compares favourably to a similar product I've also used - Pro-Mark's 'Drum Gum'. Drum Gum is supplied in 3 largish 75mmx20mm strips which in most cases will need to be cut down into usable pieces. It also is tacky on one side only, whereas RTOM's MoonGel is tacky all over. Ultimately its main disadvantage over RTOM's product is the price; the Drum Gum was nearly AU$20, which I consider seriously overpriced, especially given both ultimately achieved the same sonic result.
MoonGel is no replacement for a properly tuned drum kit, of course, but whether it is used to tame a problematic resonance at a live gig, or explore new timbres in the studio, a pack or two at hand is a wise investment. Traditionalists will opine that gaffa works just as well, but a roll of decent gaffa tape isn't exactly cheap these days, nor is it so easily repositioned or removed.
You really can't go wrong with these guys. I know a lot of people say a properly tuned drum is superior, but sometimes you've got old heads, imperfect baring edges, warped drums, or just overly ringy drums. These guys are the answer.
Take a little bit of ring out, or make a straight up thud, one or two of these little babies will do the trick. Don't go into the studio without them.
I like to put two on the floor tom, about halfway in from the rim to the center. Keeps a badass low tone, with more attack and less decay.
Better than a towel or a wallet on the snare cause it preserves action, and kills the drum only as much as you want them to. Better than tape cause you can take it off in an instant when you go to a new room and doesn't ruin your heads. Better than a damper cause you can move it to suit your needs.
Did I mention they're just about the cheapest treatment you can get for you drums? Too expensive? Just get some of those sticky hand things you played with as a kid and cut them up.