Drum depth preferences floor vs. rack toms

sillypilot

Junior Member
Hi all - A few days ago I posted a kit configuration for feedback regarding different drum sizes. After I read all the responses I searched through older threads to get even more opinions and I noticed something that has been confusing me. A lot of drummers prefer shallow rack toms, but deep floor toms. That preference confused me a bit. I would think that if you have shallow rack toms, you'd have a preference for shallow floor toms as well. For example, I'd would consider a kit with 10x8, 12x9 rack, 14x11 and 16x13 as musically sound. But the feedback from my initial thread (and then a few other threads) had drummers suggesting depths along the lines of 10x7, 12x8, and then huge jumps to square floor toms in 14x14 and 16x16. To add to my confusion, the bass drum recommended would be shallow (14" for example).

Anyway, long story short, if you are willing to share why the difference in depth preference from a musical perspective it would be appreciated!!!

Thank you!
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
its literally all personal preference and what sounds good to the player :) ive got 13x9 & 14x10 toms on one kit, with 16x15 and 18x16 floors, and on another kit i've got 12x11 and 13x12 toms with a 16x16 floor tom. both sound good to me and both have their uses :)

some feel the shallower toms are able to get more attack, less decay/sustain and shorter overtones :)
 

TK-421

Senior Member
To me, shallower floor toms remind me of the dark days of hanging floor toms, and all the evils those unleashed upon the world. It's taken well over a decade to get over that fiasco, and any reminder of those dark times sends a cold chill up my spine.

Plus deeper floor toms just sound better. Way more punch to them.
 
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sillypilot

Junior Member
To me, shallower floor toms remind of the dark days of hanging floor toms, and all the evils those unleashed upon the world. It's taken well over a decade to get over that fiasco, and any reminder of those dark times sends a cold chill up my spine.

Plus deeper floor toms just sound better. Way more punch to them.
So let me ask you this. If deeper floor toms have more punch, why wouldn't we go down the path of deep bass drums for more punch? I do hear a lot about a shallow bass drum for more punch.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
So let me ask you this. If deeper floor toms have more punch, why wouldn't we go down the path of deep bass drums for more punch? I do hear a lot about a shallow bass drum for more punch.
Ask someone with a 14" deep bass drum. Mine is 18" deep.
 

jdavis

Member
Just speaking as someone who's owned lots of both shallow and deep drums, I prefer shallow rack toms and bass drums. But, deeper floor toms and snare drums. Just going by sound. Go figure.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I dont think square floor toms sound great. They are okay, but their tuning is finicky and they have a strange ringing to them that I have never been able to tune out. Cut those floor toms down a couple inches, though, and all that strange ringing goes away. Same thing on deep rack toms. Strange ringing that can't be turned out. Make them a couple inches shallower and the fundamental tone is more predominant.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
I have 12x8 14x14 and 16x16....because thats what Tama offered as the configuration. I assume they know what they're doing.
I've not struggled with tuning the square FT's anymore than my old 14x12 and 16x14 DW's.
That said I would love to see what someone really proficient at tuning would do with them........
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I think a lot of the preference is psychological and not sonic. Many of us grew up seeing kits with square floor toms, so that looks "normal." Subsequently, the "hanging power toms as floor toms" era is seen as a fad, and while the stand mounting aspect is pretty much dormant again the shallower floor tom depths lived on.

With deeper and shallower drums the primary difference is that deeper drums have longer sustain. In bigger drums like floor toms (and bass drums too...) I find having all of that extra sustain isn't really necessary. I'll admit that on paper (and looking at the drums set up for that matter) that it probably seems strange to see drums getting shallower ratio-wise as the size increases, but I think it makes sense if you want a little more balance in the kit as a whole, especially if you're using several toms.

I've owned a few square floor toms that needed a little extra care in tuning to get the sustain under control. One in particular just rang for days and was completely out of balance with the rest of the kit. Based on tom toms I've owned and played I really think one inch less depth than diameter is pretty great sound-wise in every size I've tried. Right now rack toms that size certainly aren't popular (or easy to position sometimes) but I do find those sizes sound great.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I like shallow rack toms and deep floors.

Floor toms make big, rumbly, low notes. I like big, square, floor toms for that.

Rack tom placement for me is more important than depth. The shallower they are, the easier they are to put where I want. Standard depth is my preferred rack tom size. I can do the power toms, but don't care for the Lars Ulrich super angled setup. I want em flat.
 

sillypilot

Junior Member
Interesting responses. Thank you all!! My favorite sizes for some reason are 10x8, 12x9, 13x10, 14x11, and 16x14...along with either a 22x16 or 22x18 or 24x14 or 24x16 bass durm. I know some people hate the 18" deep bass drums, for some reason I like them. Either I don't know what I'm doing (very probable) or I just like them. So I'm weird, I like a slightly deeper bass drum but shallower floor toms and medium depth rack toms. Long like the hair metal and pop hybrid drum size!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Anyway, long story short, if you are willing to share why the difference in depth preference from a musical perspective it would be appreciated!!!

Thank you!
I can't steer you on preference, but I can provide a bit of clarity about drum depth. The affect of depth very much depends on the drum construction / design, but also pitch preferences, head choice, playing style, etc. In other words, depth choice is contextual.

That said, if for one moment we regard everything else as equal, outside of extremes, depth influences the amount / dominance of overtones, both the ones you want, & sometimes the ones you don't want. Deeper drum = more overtones. The more shallow the drum = likely the more dominant & cleaner the fundamental, and the easier it is for the drum to find sonic space in a mix.

The widely held view that deeper drums produce more low end is a myth, but correctly controlled lower overtones do add depth to the voice of larger drums especially. Set up correctly, think of them as akin to adding mild chorus to a bass. Like everything else it's a balance. Done right, the benefits of deeper drums are typically more readily apparent in more examining applications.

One aspect of floor tom depth choice is often missed, and that's the distance of the resonant head to the floor. If the head is further away, it allows those low frequencies to resolve more effectively. It's common to hear low tuned deep floor toms sounding like slaps out front if unmiced, yet to he player, they have a more full sound. This is often due, in part, to the low frequency cancellation affect of floor proximity. It's only one small consideration, but it is a real thing, and may have relevance depending on your playing context.

BTW, for the avoidance of doubt, I'm a fan of both deep and more shallow drums, so long as they're produced with their depth as part of the overall sonic design focus.
 
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