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Old 25th July 2018
Gear Maniac

Every drum and every drum head will have its own resonant frequency, which will “hum” whenever sympathetic vibrations at that frequency (or related intervals of the frequency) are transferred from neighboring drums (or any other instrument for that matter). The head on your 12 Tom is a different size than the head on your 10 Tom, so they have different resonate frequencies. The fact that you are tuning your Toms to the notes of a chord probably isn’t helping the situation, since chords are based on notes at related frequency intervals. Also, keep in mind Toms never ring out at just a single frequency, but consist of multiple tones which change over time as the vibrations speed up and then slow down. Thus, it is actually possible to get annoying ringing at the end of Tom hits rather than at the beginning.

The best solution is to take out any drums that you don’t need for the recording. They can’t ring sympathetically and screw up the sound of the other parts of your kit if they aren’t there to begin with.

The second best solution is to tune them to minimize this effect, and/or find sympathetic frequencies which actually sound good together. This may or may not be possible for a given song or setup.

The third solution is to dampen them so they only make a sound when you hit them, not hit something next to them. You only have to dampen enough to make the problem not noticeable in the mix as a whole. You usually don’t have to make your drums completely dead sounding.

You could also experiment with different drum heads. Remember, different materials and different sizes at different tensions equals different resonant frequencies.

Good luck.