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How to Fix Ringing Toms

Dec 25, 2019

Ringing toms is a common resonance issue that arises due to physical wave interactions between the drumkit and the recording space. We offer 3 tips for remedying this issue.

How to Fix Ringing Toms

Fixing ringing toms while mixing can prove to be quite challenging, but not impossible. Ringing is a mechanical issue that results from high-frequency resonance caused by a drummer striking their toms. The physical interaction between the drum tuning and the recording room is also critical. We’ll discuss 3 solutions to this issue.

1. Use Dampening to Prevent Ringing

Your best bet is to use a mechanical solution, like dampening rings, to prevent ringing. Dampening rings are rings of plastic that sit on top of your drumheads; they work to attenuate upper harmonic frequency content and reduce sustain level. If you prevent the problem at the source, you don’t need to deal with it later on. You can also try attaching small amounts of duct tape to the drumhead to dampen the sound.

Loose drum components can contribute to ringing as well. For example, loose springs can resonate in a way that creates an obnoxious high-pitched ringing sound. The following video demonstrates one way you can prevent drums from ringing and rattling.

2. Suppress Resonance with Dynamic EQ

If a client hands you a tom recording that contains ringing, you may have no choice but to work with what they’ve sent you. It’s possible to reduce ringing with a Dynamic EQ like the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ. Since ringing predominantly manifests itself in the form of high-frequency content, it’s possible to hide ringing by attenuating top-end resonant frequencies. The goal is to provide a similar effect as a dampening ring using plugins.

Using the F6, apply a boost with a bell filter using a narrow bandwidth, and sweep the band throughout the frequency spectrum of your tom. Set the center frequency of the band to whichever boosted frequency significantly worsens the tom’s ringing. Reduce the level of the band’s gain until the ringing is no longer noticeable.

For a more transparent solution, set the band’s gain to zero, and instead, reduce the threshold level to apply gain reduction. Now, gain attenuation will only be applied when resonant frequencies cross the band’s threshold level.

3. Gate the Toms

Ringing is typically most noticeable on the tail end of drum transients. Through the use of a gate, you may be able to hide ringing that’s present within the tail of tom transients. A gate will shorten the decay time of your toms. You can see once again that the goal is the provide the same effect as a dampening ring.

Setting up a gate like the one included with the C1 Compressor is extremely simple. Adjust the threshold level so that it sits right below the transient of your tom, and then adjust the release time to dial in how the tom decays. You want to reduce the effects of ringing while preserving the body of the tom.

Want more quick mix fixes? Get tips on fixing muddy electric guitars.

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