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Old 7th April 2006, 07:26 PM   #1
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Default What makes drums sound like drums?

I have a pair of ProAC one clone speakers with a self-powered NHT 1259 subwoofer. The ProAC clone is driven by a home made Leach type amplifier.

When I play Eagle's Hotel California, the sound of drums at the beginning of the music is loud but soft. I have heard the same music on a pair of 6.5 inch closed box speakers without subwoofer. I could feel the drum beat on my body from the speakers.

I really like to recreate the impact that I felt with my speakers. Can someone point a direction?

Do I have to change to closed box speakers to get the impact? Or is there something that I can fine tune with my system?

What really will be nice is that someone can explain what makes drums sound like drums from speakers?

Bing
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Old 7th April 2006, 07:57 PM   #2
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Each instrument has it's own characteristics in part due to harmonics. Harmonics are other frequencies in multiples of 2X from the original that give each instrument or voice a particular "sound"

If you are wondering what to do about it, have you ever tried PA drivers? You'll find them everywhere from on stage to in the dance clubs. A PA woofer might not dip into the depths of the abyss but are fine for most music and are very efficient. They tend to offer you that real gut thumping I think you might be looking for.

I can't comment on your existing system or why you might not be happy with it.
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Old 7th April 2006, 10:01 PM   #3
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You're actually asking a different question from what you think.

"Feeling" the woofer's impact is based on the torso cavity resonance, around 130 Hz in adult males. (I've seen slightly different figures for this, but in the same ballpark. ) Speaker manufacturers have been known to deliberately put a peak there to help their speakers off the showroom floor. 130 Hz is certainly reasonable with a 6.5" sealed system, but is not deep bass of course.

And to the question you asked; a lot of things. Depends on the drum type, and the drumming. For example, rim shots have a very sharp leading edge, and don't require much low frequency ability. Snare drums with the snares engaged go quite high.

Tympani, struck with soft mallets, have a soft attack, and need response down to 40 Hz or less.

Kick drums usually sound "dead", and the deader they sound (without a "bong" component), the more accurate the speaker.

You can get good results with either sealed or ported boxes; it's a question of the complete design, and how well the box design matches the driver characteristics.

As mentioned above, tuning suggestions need a lot more information. Have you experimented with speaker placement yet? That can make quite a bit of difference in both low bass and mid bass. Factors to experiment with are placement in the corners on the floor, up a bit, out from the walls, etc. Thin speaker cable doesn't help bass either, especially if it is long. Good luck, I hope this helped.
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Old 7th April 2006, 10:42 PM   #4
ingrast is offline ingrast  Uruguay
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Default Re: What makes drums sound like drums?

Quote:
Originally posted by Bing Yang
......
I really like to recreate the impact that I felt with my speakers. Can someone point a direction?
......
This highlits neatly an issue seldom really discussed.

Do you want an accurate sounding setup or a pleasing setup?

If you want an accurate setup, what you should be looking for is the gut feeling (or lack thereoff) experienced in a live concert.

Conversely, you can allways process signals from the most basic equalizer tool to more sophisticated digital processors so as to strike the response and coloration that best suits your personal taste, something hardly to be universally endorsed but then your legitimate right to enjoy listening your way.

Rodolfo
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Old 8th April 2006, 09:30 AM   #5
Mursu is offline Mursu  Finland
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Default Re: Re: What makes drums sound like drums?

Quote:
Originally posted by ingrast


This highlits neatly an issue seldom really discussed.

Do you want an accurate sounding setup or a pleasing setup?
I think this is exacly the point here.

Drums are most difficult instrument to reproduce with spekers. They have it all. All the frequencies... Sharp trancients. Lots of energy.

If you really want to test your speakers put tehem next to acustic drum set and play it trough your speakers and acusticly... Even my deaf granmother can heat the diffirence while washing the dishes.

You really CAN NOT have accurate sounding drums because acustic drumsets do not sound flat. There must be a compromice.
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Old 8th April 2006, 09:51 AM   #6
Nordic is offline Nordic  South Africa
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In my experiments the amp also plays a great part here...

I simply can no longer leave an amp standard until I get the "dead" kickdrum clip to couple the air explosively for lack of a better term.... sometimes its as easy as replacing cheap signal caps with quality ones...

BTW my dad was a drummer for 25 years, so I am familiar with the sound of drums to the extreme...
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Old 8th April 2006, 12:22 PM   #7
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Hi,
playing drums myself, I know your problem. Here is the sad truth: it is only possible to a degree. Go for speed!
You whole system plays an equal role. You need a fast phonostage/CD-Player/source, proper interconnects, fast amp (tubes may be ok or not, in my case, they are).
I'm currently building the trappo (german only, sorry) which, after a long search, has that what you (and I) need. I heard it, and there is was: the gutskicking snaredrum sound I only heard with real drums so far.
It uses professional drivers for bass, and a tractrix horn for the rest which is virtually free from nasty side-effects.
But, as said, check the rest of your stuff with the speakers you like to see if it delivers the speed.
Rüdiger
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Old 8th April 2006, 12:26 PM   #8
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In the Eagles album, Hell Freezes Over, Hotel California was recorded live. The drum piece in question was a kick drum recorded near field and had a lot of amplification. It's been said that the audience experienced this kick in the chest feeling. This is one reason this particular track makes such a good reference piece for testing speakers.

I used it when designing and installing my 4-way active system in my car. While not loud, when that drum hits you definitely feel it. To get that level of detail I had to work very hard (fab'ing metal) to seal my doors so my 6" mid-bass would hit hard. This drum doesn't "kick" from the sub although some of the sound certainly is heard in the lower freqs.

The answer to the original question is that you need a very fast, accurate response in the 100-300hz region. Pay attention to reflections that might cause cancellation too. You can get good results sealed or ported, but good results with a a sealed enclosure will be easier (note I didn't say better).

-Ben
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Old 8th April 2006, 01:56 PM   #9
Paul W is offline Paul W  United States
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Have you checked frequency response at your listening position in the crossover range between the sub and main speakers? You might have a dip in response if one of the crossover frequencies is not set correctly or the speakers out of phase at crossover. As others have mentioned, that is a very important range for drums. Measurement is the best way of knowing.
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Old 8th April 2006, 04:21 PM   #10
soongsc is offline soongsc  Taiwan
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Default Re: What makes drums sound like drums?

Quote:
Originally posted by Bing Yang
I have a pair of ProAC one clone speakers with a self-powered NHT 1259 subwoofer. The ProAC clone is driven by a home made Leach type amplifier.

When I play Eagle's Hotel California, the sound of drums at the beginning of the music is loud but soft. I have heard the same music on a pair of 6.5 inch closed box speakers without subwoofer. I could feel the drum beat on my body from the speakers.

I really like to recreate the impact that I felt with my speakers. Can someone point a direction?

Do I have to change to closed box speakers to get the impact? Or is there something that I can fine tune with my system?

What really will be nice is that someone can explain what makes drums sound like drums from speakers?

Bing
What XO point between the Proac clone and the sub?
Do you have phase control on your self powered subs? If not, get a 300uF~600uF 100V non-polarized cap and put it in series with the amp output and the sub driver and let us know how it sounds. It's going to be hard to diagnos remotely.

The key is the phase relationship between the main and the sub. If the relationship is not right, the timing of the initial beat and the continued pressure is not matched, therefore it doesn't feel right.

Another thing to test is to reverse the polarity of only the sub. Then try only the Proac clone, the both and see how the sound varies.

These are just the simple things you can do.
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