Now if the drum sounds good close up but sound different in the room, there’s a strong likelihood that in your average bedroom there’s going to be some acoustical challenges that come with it. But don’t rush out for that Auralex room kit just yet! The theme emerging (hopefully) is to identify the problems first and then try to fix them. So in this case, you might be dealing with a room mode where you’re stood or where the drum currently is. Move the drum around the room and find a spot where it sounds the best in the room. You already know that the drum alone sounds good having listened up close so that’s one variable down already! Hopefully you’ll eventually find the best spot in the room, but failing that, maybe you need to try a different room or even adjust the sound of the room itself. Take some of the things out, bring more things in, hang some quilts if it sounds too bright/harsh, open doors/curtains/windows and see if you can improve on what you have only changing one variable at a time. Think like an engineer!
Once you’re happy, bring in the rest of the kit piece by piece and repeat the process, re-evaluating at every stage. It’s worth keeping in mind that the sound of a drum can change depending on the drums you put around it. Sound ridiculous? Check out Ryan at Creative Sound Labs demonstration on how a Snare can affect the sound of the whole kit.
The final variable to consider will be the drummers themselves. Velocity is a form tonal control that often gets forgotten about in the real world, assuming you have a consistent drummer that is! Seasoned drummers will be able to balance themselves on whatever kit they play on, but there’s no harm in helping out your fellow musician with some considered equipment choices or tactical dampening if needs be.
Ultimately you’re looking for a balanced overall sound throughout the kit, both dynamically and tonally with each individual part sounding good in its own right. Taking the time to get the drum sound you want acoustically will make the stages that follow a great deal easier.