The bass drum sound most often associated with styles outside of traditional jazz, such as rock, funk, blues, R&B, etc., is a more dead, controlled sound. For that type of sound, try a combination of the following:
You want it pretty loose. Start out with the batter head just tight enough to take any wrinkles out of the head. If you get decent response from the head with the beater, go with that. It will be thick and phat, with that in-your-chest feeling. If you're not getting enough rebound from the beater, try tightening two or four tension rods. Sometimes that's all it takes. Tightening the front (resonant or audience) head can also give the batter head more rebound.
Hole in front head
Cut a hole in the front head. This allows air to escape the drum very
quickly and drastically reduces resonance. Any hole in the head much bigger
than six inches will yield the same result as having no front head-- almost
no resonance at all! If that's what you want, go ahead and cut a big hole.
It's much easier to move pillows and microphones around inside the drum
with a big hole.
If you want to keep some resonance or at least have the option of keeping some resonance in the drum, make a hole about six inches. It's big enough to move small pillows in and out of, and big enough, through which, to place a microphone.
Find that compromise between sound and feel-- you can have both. Experiment. Again, personal preference!
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