The Drum Dial makes tuning faster and easier. I have been tuning drums by ear for years. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But it always is a little “hit and miss.” Not an exact science to be sure. I have known about Drum Dial for years. But I never bought one. I finally decided to get one to try out. They make an analog version which costs around $60 and a digital version which costs around $85.
I really like the Drum Dial for several reasons
It measures drum head tension using tympanic pressure rather than lug torque. There are too many variables when it comes to the mechanics of lug screw tension. You can dial in a specific head tension at each lug based on a tuning range for each drum. Once the tension is the same at each lug, you know the general head tension is consistent and balanced. From there it is really easy to fine tune by ear. Even with a balanced head tension you should always tune by ear. Additionally, it allows you to get the top and bottom heads at the same or different pitches (tensions) as desired.
BE ADVISED: Different drum sizes and thicknesses of drum heads – even at the same drum dial tension – will result in different pitches. A 14 mil 2 ply batter head will be much lower in pitch than a 3 mil snare side head. And a 16″ diameter head will be much lower in pitch than a 12″ head. Finally, once I have the sound (tension reading) that I like, I can write that number down and quickly duplicate it whenever I change heads. The Drum Dial is a really handy device that I recommend to quickly and easily dial-in your drums. Don’t wait as long as I did to get one.
You may want to view youtube video: Drum Dial Tuning Part 1