O-Rings are a cheap, quick, and easy way to reduce ringing and sustain, fatten up your sound, and control hard-to-tune drums.
Rings of plastic that sit on top of your drumhead, o-rings cut out the overtones that occur around the edge of the drumhead, and reduce the sustain to provide a much more focused sound. O-rings will remove the ringing with medium and higher tuning, or will allow you to tune very low for a deep fat sound. If you’re having a hard time tuning your drums, these will help. Easily removable, with no sticky reside – stop using duct tape on your drumheads!
Make them yourself with your old drumheads – cut them into flat rings (thinner for a more open sound, thicker for more dampening).
There are also different inexpensive retail options available if you don’t have old drumheads lying around. Remo RemOs and Evans E-Rings are cut to different sizes to suit your drums, and are (probably) more consistently cut than home-made o-rings from your old drumheads. The Evans version is slightly thinner than the Remo rings (with Evans therefore giving slightly less dampening) – keep this in mind if you’re choosing between the two.
Another option is the Remo Muff’l control rings, which give a more extreme amount of dampening due to the foam rings mounted to the underside. These will cut overtones and sustain more, and give a warmer tone.
For an even more dramatic change to your sound, see the Big Fat Snare Drum.