How do I get rid of ringing Toms?
What's the best way to get rid of tom ring (a ringing noise after the tom is hit) picked up by the tom mics on a
recording of a drum kit? I did my best to cure the problem at source, but now some is on the recording. Obviously,
it is essential to control excessive ringing from toms, snares, kick drums and whatever else is in your studio using
damping before you start to record anything — it is extremely hard to fix what are inherently mechanical problems
picked up on a recording using EQ, compression and other kinds of processing later on. It's also important to
remember to check the sound of individual drums throughout the session to make sure nothing has changed.
As to the best approach in this situation, if the majority of your drum sound is based on the signals from the
overhead mics, with the individual close mics simply adding impact and definition rather than the core sound, then
you need to check the overheads by themselves to see how obvious and unacceptable the ringing is there. If the
overall sound from the overheads is acceptable, then you can concentrate on treating the signal from the close
mics so that the attack of the hit is preserved but the ringing decay is eliminated.
You can accomplish this using a gate or, at a stretch, the Strip Silence function found in nearly all DAW software,
set with a higher threshold than normal. For preference however, I would use expanders on the close mics to chase
down the ringing and subjectively tighten everything up. An expander is essentially a compressor in reverse — it
decreases the level of low-level signals and increases the level of high-level signals, thus increasing the dynamic
range of the signal. The SPL Transient Designer is a very good tool for this kind of job, too.