roto toms

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roto toms

Postby rick » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:09 pm

I was watching a video I was in the other day from the days when dinosaurs roamed free,
one of those lets setup in the studio and shoot the video like we were recording it for real things

I noticed the damn roto toms miked up with u67s , now I know we didnt do that for the records
but I cannot ever recall getting a good sound from those skinny bloody tom things ,
not even sure if those things made good acoustic sounds

So Roto toms .. still ?
how to ..?
whose fault where they any way ?

drummers .. engineers .. do tell
I am all ears :)
Last edited by rick on Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: roto toms

Postby mylesgm » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:13 am

Often found in classical or 'art' music percussion setups. Not sure how/why/where they come about but they can be great for a variety of things. Firstly the ease of tuning and the simplicity of the pitch make for a very useful gestural tool depending on how many of them you have. I have seen up to 5 used per player maybe more. In every classical situation I have been in they have never been close-miked and definitely not by u67s. They are punchy, less resonant, almost always have thin transparent plastic heads. Cant see why anyone would use them for rock though I could see them in an indie context.
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Re: roto toms

Postby Drumstruck » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:53 am

What a timely thread - I'll show you my 7 roto kit when you're here Rick :-)

I love 'em - just listen to Bruford or Bozzio for how good they can sound in prog music. Latin they suit perfectly too when tuned up but I'm sure they could be massaged into any style with the same techniques (we) use on any drums.

I've got Evans g1 coated on my current kit but they worked well with black dots on the kit I had in the 80s. No lack of resonance in mine. I though they sounded dead with oilskins or pinstripes..... Remo made the originals (6"-18") and there are also cheap chinese copies around now in 6"-10" that don't resonate as well - I think it must be cheaper the castings not ringing properly.

I've been using mostly just the overheads (NT1s) and was using an underhead NT2a for a while on the floor rotos (can't afford 441s but I reckon they'd be excellent for closer micing).
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Re: roto toms

Postby Text_Edifice » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:36 am

Have seen them used in classical / 'world' ensembles - couple of 'gypsy jazz' bands around town use them up here. Unqualified thought is that they'd work well in contexts where the goal is a tuned transient that will cut through a busy arrangement without adding too much resonance?
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Re: roto toms

Postby Manning » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:09 am

The intro to "Time" on the Dark Side of the Moon album was played on rototoms, as was a lot of Queen stuff (my favourite being the tom fills on "Fat Bottomed Girls")
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Re: roto toms

Postby jkhuri44 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:33 am

the latin caixa snares....rototoms....

junky sounding percussion is awesome when balanced with good bass...

latin music is a great example.
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Re: roto toms

Postby mylesgm » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:40 am

in regards to resonance I was contrasting them to toms with shells and rotos dont have the length of resonance that a shelled drum has. The resonance of the roto is due to the tension of the tuning (theres a sweet spot based on ring size, tension and skin type {no jokes please}) and the ringing of the metal ring.
Had forgot about brufords use of them.
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Re: roto toms

Postby wez » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:28 am

it's all in the reverb! as indeed it was for the 80's rock drum sound in general. take away the reverb (and EQ), and you'd be surprised what little is left of the sound sometimes!
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Re: roto toms

Postby Drumstruck » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:39 am

Yes, perhaps we're merging resonance and ring into the one meaning - rotos certainly have plenty of ring (duration) and quite a pure note but having no shell or bottom skin that part of the projected resonance must be absent.

There was a pitch pedal that allowed the larger rotos to be used as a practice timpani - still looking for two of those to complete my rotokit...... %-(
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Re: roto toms

Postby The Tasmanian » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:16 pm

Ive got some killer sounds from Rototoms on a few dub albums - you need to get the proximity effect so you can hear the note bending. If the mic is more than a few inches away then its all plastic and no note.
A healthy bit of low end EQ added and whammo.
Definately not U67's
I still have one in my arsenal for such albums
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Re: roto toms

Postby Djembe » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:39 pm

I did a gig with David Jones on the weekend. Unbelievable drummer!!! Incredible technique but listens to everything and masterful use of dynamics. He uses one small rototom in his kit, which the sound guys miked with a 57 and it sounded pretty good to me.
We were chatting about rototoms and I made the comment that I foresaw a big resurgence in their popularity, and he pointed out that they were becoming harder to find.
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Re: roto toms

Postby rick » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:51 pm

Right then here is the plan in cunning detail ..

everybody on the forum runs out and buys any unloved roto tom they can find for $12 each
when we are sure we have got the entire australian collection under lock and key
I am going to go on to gearslutz and start the rumor that they are just incredible
especially the ones that were shipped to Australia as they are the best sounding most collectable ones

each forum member with a set can then choose wether to sell up at the front or hold out till later to make the big bucks ...
kar khing .. money in the bank I tell you .... money in the bank !
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Re: roto toms

Postby wez » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:32 pm

i'm in. we'll need to act fast.
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Re: roto toms

Postby Alistair » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:52 pm

I can't see any problems with this plan at all. I would just like to add, that I heard from a friend of a friend, that the Melbourne roto toms are more 'open' and 'airy', and definitely the ones to get.
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Re: roto toms

Postby Drumstruck » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:25 am

so now I've got to lug them to the outback to get a dry sound? #:-s
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Re: roto toms

Postby Djembe » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:32 am

Yes, the only thing that will keep our economy buoyant in times of financial uncertainty is rototom futures.
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Re: roto toms

Postby ChrisW » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:49 am

Love roto-toms. :x

They have a sound, which is percussive and a tad thin, so I wouldn't try to make them something they are not (big sounding toms).
I believe they are still available new, but the same quality as the 70's/80's versions may not be there. The smaller toms are easiest to find (8, 10 & 12), but I'd love to own a full set down to 16" & 18".
Long may they be recorded though.
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Re: roto toms

Postby SteveL » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:48 am

Djembe wrote:I did a gig with David Jones on the weekend. Unbelievable drummer!!! Incredible technique but listens to everything and masterful use of dynamics. He uses one small rototom in his kit, which the sound guys miked with a 57 and it sounded pretty good to me.
We were chatting about rototoms and I made the comment that I foresaw a big resurgence in their popularity, and he pointed out that they were becoming harder to find.


I just spent a couple of days last week working with David Jones at some workshops and a concert at our local conservatorium. Incredible drummer, truly one of the great Australian musicians. I never knew how amazing drums could sound played finger-soft, and what he can do with a $2 tambourine blew me away..... oh, and the roto tom things he did was awesome. There were about 22 mics on his kit (actually 2+ pdp kits).....

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Re: roto toms

Postby HA_DA_JA » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:17 am

I pulled out the roto toms hidden in the back room of the church and used them the other morning during the service. Brought many a tear to the eye.
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Re: roto toms

Postby Drumstruck » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:06 am

recently sold all my rotos - I miss them and still love the sound, but you can only fit so many drum kits into a shoebox ....
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Re: roto toms

Postby Thirteen » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:07 pm

Jon Farriss worked a lot of INXS magic with his rotos....
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Re: roto toms

Postby Paul Berton » Thu May 23, 2013 1:20 am

Curtis Mayfield...Superfly!!! Closest thing to the West African talking drum...I love them!
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Re: roto toms

Postby dBlever » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:46 pm

Alex Van Halen made them cool - check out the 'Jump' video:

http://youtu.be/wlq0lYB3iSM
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Re: roto toms

Postby wez » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:34 pm

Ends in 15 minutes, get in quick!

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Roto-Toms-an ... 90d&_uhb=1

I'd be all over this but I'm not sure if they are the correct Australian import version with the unique sound that is so sought after.

That and I don't really want them. Except, wait... I kinda do.
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Re: roto toms

Postby wez » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:11 pm

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Re: roto toms

Postby heathen » Sat May 30, 2015 7:20 pm

Roto toms are ok but a little flimsy sounding, depends on the music.
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Re: roto toms

Postby waitup » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:11 pm

I'm playing the Rototoms live on a couple of songs with one of my bands, but on the record we just used some high tuned toms and it sounded heaps better, ha!
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Re: roto toms

Postby Chris H » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:52 pm

Ok, time to resurect the roto tom's thread because!!!!!!

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/rye/per ... 1163715088

Sorry Rick...... not quite $12 each though. I definitely think the seller is a luddite living in the past
He wants $300 for 6, 8 and 10 inch Remo roto toms.
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