Author: Dawson, Michael
Date published: February 1, 2010
Journal code: MDDR
Drummers have long explored different ways to muffle their drums in an effort to produce warmer and more focused tones, whether it's by covering the heads with tea towels, stuffing shells with cotton bails, or duct-taping tissues near the rim. Some even swear by using no muffling at all and rely on proper tuning and head choice to achieve an even, clean sound.
We tested the Killer Rings on a variety of drums with different shell types and drumhead thicknesses, On a set of maple Slingerland froms from the '70s outfitted with coated single-ply batter heads, Killer Rings were the perfect finishing touch for dialing in a deep, punchy sound that still had some tone and resonance. This sonic blend worked great on a session for a tune that was built on a driving, tribal tom groove. We also tried the Killer Rings on a set of acrylic toms that had coated 2-ply heads. We expected the rings to provide too much muffling on these drums, since the heads already had a pre-muffled sound. But the Killer Rings added just the right amount of dampening to focus the tone into a very clear and distinct "doom."
We used the rings at a gig on a set of rose gum drums as well. Without the rings, the toms and snare were too loud and their attack was a bit too harsh in that particular room. With Killer Rings, the toms immediately sounded fatter, warmer, and much richer, without losing presence. On the snare, the ring had a similar effect, toning down the high frequencies without making the drum sound muffled.
Personally, I didn't care much for the graphics printed on the Killer Rings, so I ended up using them upside down. (The underside is solid white.) But sonically the rings proved to be much more effective at achieving a controlled, focused tone than your run-of-the-mill drumhead O-rings. Killer Rings are available in 10'', 12'', 13'', 14'', 15'', and 16'' sizes. List prices include $19.98 for a set of 10'', 12'', 14'', and 16'' rings; $29.98 for six 14'' models; and $8.98 for two 15'' versions.