Topic: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?  (Read 10524 times)

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Tuco

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Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« on: March 18, 2007, 05:12 AM »
Hola everyone,

On a whim, I picked up a set of Bauer congas. Hand-crafted by Jack Bauer of "24" in his spare time! Sorry, it's late ;-) They are actually factory-made in Brazil by Bauer Percussion near São Paulo. Not too common in the US, but widely distributed in Europe and S. America.

Mine are similar to the congas shown on the linked page below, except mine are made out of a Marupá wood, which is a lighter in weight and color.

 http://tinyurl.com/2npv9u]http://tinyurl.com/2npv9u

Anyhow, I have no major complaints about these drums; they have good basic tone and are well built.

But there's one issue that bothers me. All three sizes (quinto, conga, tumba) have a too many overtones and high-pitched ringing going on for my taste. It's funny because Bauer makes a deal in their materials about "no over tones". I'm not entirely sure what they mean by that. Who wants a dead drum?

Different tuning doesn't help. So I did a couple of experiments. I put some gaffer's tape on the heads--that seems to help a bit. And a put cardboard baffle into the cavity just to see what would happen. That actually improved things more than I expected. It must be breaking up the sound waves that a creating the overtones somehow.

So here's my question . . . what, if anything, can be done to lessen the overtones and ringing effects? I'm looking for a tight, dry sound.
Tuco

b-cero

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Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2007, 03:24 PM »
  Do the marupa congas ring more compared to the various "asian oak " or fiberglass you have played or other types, oak or mahagony?   I have a set of 4 the Bauer rose cedar congas and only the 11.75" has any perceptable what I call "shell ring".  not unpleasant though.  I used have a set of fiberglass LP patatos, I hated practicing alone because of the ringing tones.   

Tuco

  • Guest
Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 04:53 PM »
You know, I've never played fiberglass shells or synthetic heads . . . just not my thing. I'm a wood 'n skin man.

I also wondered about Rose Cedar vs. Marupa . . . but I can't say if the Cedar has less ring or about the same. What I'm hearing might be more of a shell shape issue.

It's not a big deal really, the Bauers are good drums, just noticed it a bit and thought I'd mention it here. I also discovered (just yesterday) that this room is part of the problem. I played the quinto and conga miced up in a different room and didn't notice the ring nearly as much. So it seems, if you have a hard, live room, the higher overtones and shell ring are emphasized.

The bigger picture for me is that I'm looking for a dryer, mellower tone. And since I almost always play amplified, volume is not an issue. So I made arrangements to check out the Isla drums next time I'm in LA. But for someone who wants a brighter, louder sound, the Bauer's could be just the ticket. They are very handsome drums.

Offline chilledbongo

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Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 10:02 PM »
speaking of ringing, i have lp fiberglass galaxies w remo fiberskyn 3 heads, tuned tight. talk about ring. these things sound like hitting empty 50 gallon drums with a ballpeen hammer. i mean they dont really even sound like congas, to be honest.
it isnt really that noticeable when playing with other instruments. but by itself? ay carumba....
i wonder what i could do. on one hand, i dont want to lose any volume. on the other, these things dont exactly sound like classic wood blocks, if you know what i mean.....natural heads are out. im in miami. too much bother w humidity. any ideas? anyone use the galaxies and have solutions? 8)
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Tuco

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Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2007, 12:18 AM »
Chilledbongo,

Yeah, you've got the double whammy of fiberglass + synthetic heads. You might try this:

1. Place a Moongel on each head:  http://www.rtom.com/moongel.htm]http://www.rtom.com/moongel.htm

2. Stick an Auralex Wedgie in each drum cavity to soak up some of the overtones and ring:  http://www.auralex.com/acoustic_foam_wedgies/acoustic_foam_wedgies.asp]http://www.auralex.com/acoustic_foam_wedgies/acoustic_foam_wedgies.asp

I have not tried this exact combination myself (I'll be doing it soon here), but *theory* says it should help, and it's a really cheap potential solution, less than $15 per drum. Please let us know if it helps.

But at the end of the day, from all the conversations I've had so far, it seems like thick natural skins are the best answer. Makes sense, right?  Authentic instrument = authentic sound ;-)

bongojimi

  • Guest
Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2007, 02:29 PM »
Try Moongels.....even if you have to cut one in half just enough to take ring out without reducing tru sound

Offline chilledbongo

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  • Posts: 218
Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2007, 08:37 PM »
cool. im going to try some moongels. why havent i ever even seen these things in drum stores before? i hope guitar ctr or sam ashe has them. they could just do the trick, even if a little ring remains.
i agree w you tuco: natural is probably best. ive never experienced really good thick hides on a conga. only lp stock heads and remo synthetics. i imagine the sound is fantastic w some custom heads. odd, but most everybody i see around miami is using plastic.....  i mean, synthetic. ;)
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Tuco

  • Guest
Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2007, 09:08 PM »
Your local store may not have Moongels, but they are widely available online, just do a search. Same story with the Wedgies!

Offline Dave Heim

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    • daveheimdrums
    • daveheim
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Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2007, 09:37 PM »
Moongel comes in a little round plastic container about the size of a silver dollar - easy to miss.  It's probably hanging on a wall display and/or behind the counter.
Working with: Second Time Around, James Curley, Scraps of Brass, The American Wind Band, and other notable Chicago musicians.

Teaching through Quinlan & Fabish Music Stores.

congaron

  • Guest
Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2007, 11:38 PM »
Have you recorded the drums?  I've found some of the overtones I hear up close and personal don't carry very far at all.  I put duct tape on the inside of the quinto head of one drum..just a 2 1/2 or 3 inch peice. It got rid of what little was there on that drum.

You could also have some one else play them so you can listen from afar...maybe they sound just fine.

God bless!  -Ron

Tuco

  • Guest
Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2007, 01:02 AM »
Excellent point. I haven't recorded (yet), but I've run through my preamp / mixer / effects with headphones and that helps to some degree. My room is very live (many hard surfaces); not the best environment for judging these things. Close micing and listening through headphones is an improvement, so there must be a negative "room effect" that's hitting my ears when I'm not wearing cans.

Having said all that, I think thicker / different skins are still in order for these particular conga shells. In contrast, my Drumskulls djembe sounds fine in this room and rather impressive through the recording system! I love that djembe. Awesome.

My current recording / listening chain: Crown CM-700 and Shure Beta 87a mics (favorites so far) > Vintech 1272 preamp > ART Pro VLA compressor > Mackie Onyx mixer with Lexicon 550 effects on AUX > Adobe Audition. I mic both the top and bottom of the drums (out of phase). For udu, I drop a mic inside the cavity and I mic from the outside as well.

Offline Trey Yancy

  • Copper Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: Congas: how to reduce overtones and ringing?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 08:18 AM »
There is something that I wish someone had told me when I was starting out:

If you have an issue with overtones, check to make sure that the tension on all the lugs is the same all around. If your drum is tuned so that the pitch is the same when tapping the head near each lug, but you find that the tension on the lugs are not the same (such as one too stiff and another too loose), this is because your rims are out-of-round. Even it the pitch near all lugs is identical, you will get overtones because the drum is not perfectly round. (Imagine a perfectly round pond and an oval-shaped pond. When you drop a pebble into the round pond you get circular ripples. When you do this in an oval pond, the ripples reflect from the edges at different speeds, causing all sorts of points where the ripples collide. This is what happens to a drum head when the rim is not round.)

Remove the heads and use a ruler to measure with width of the top edge of the shell. Rotate the ruler in increments of 60º or so. If you find that the rim is slightly wider in one direction, that is a source of the overtones. Pop on the head and firmly tighten the lugs that are in line with the direction where the rim is wider. This way you can use the head to slowly bring the rim back into round. This can take time - even several months. In the meantime, you can tune up the other lugs for playing, but when not playing, loosen those lugs all the way down while maintaining tension on the other lugs.

Once the rims have been returned to being round and are stable, get into the habit of substantially dropping the tension on all lugs whenever you are not playing. This might seem like a pain in the neck, but when the rim is perfectly round, tuning is easy. When it is out of round, it is a nightmare.

 

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