DRUMTALK

In general, I favor a powerful, low-pitched and sustaining sound from my toms. Ditto for my bass drum, but with a bit more control over the sustain.

That being said, this kind of sound requires music with the appropriate space in it, not to mention the production aesthetic to match, so that these sounds can bloom and contribute to the overall feel, rather than "muddy up" the ensemble sound.

For most mainstream stuff, I keep the low pitches but tame the sustain, because I want the drums to be distinct.

As for the snare drum, I like it ringy as all-get-out, high-pitched (but not table top-tight), and with lots of snare sound on the equation. The reason for the ring is that I particularly like all the different sounds one can coax out of the snare drum (think New Orleans) and I also sometimes like to mute the drum with my free hand right after a stroke, a technique that sounds like a gate applied to a timbale sound .One can always tame a ringy snare by hitting it dead-center, where there is just enough ring to prevent the drum from sounding lifeless, but you can't be as expressive on a heavily-muted drum.

All this applies to a kit that will be miked, otherwise the low-sounding drums will sound flappy from a distance. If the kit will not be miked, I always try to listen to it the way the audience would, and I bring the tuning up accordingly.

I also like the polar opposite, manifested in the small sound of a "jungle" type kit as a separate sonic footprint, enjoying its tightness, not to mention its inherent possibility for weird, machine-like sounds.

I have always thought that it's a good idea to tune for maximum sustain and invest in quality suspension systems, because you can trim the sound as much as you like later on, rather than sound boxy in order to please the perception others have about how drums should be.

By all means I try to accommodate knowledgeable soundmen and their requests, as well as fellow musicians, but when someone suggests that I stuff my bass drum with four blankets, just because they are ignorant, I don't take it very kindly.

Don't get me wrong; it's ok to experiment with sounds drastically different from the ones we like, when we do it to fulfill someone's artistic vision (maybe our own, too) but we shouldn't put up with ignorance. After all, it's good to be willing to adapt, but that applies to everyone, don't you think?

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