Mr Muff Muffins & Mini Muff
A little while ago, I reviewed another one of the products Mr Muff offers:
It’s a bass drum beater muffling device which, although it looks a little different, works well and produces a very specific, vintage sound.
I’ll confess that whilst I do enjoy listening to vintage drum sounds, I don’t have much call to use them myself at the moment. That said, if I’d have had these Muffins a few years ago, they would have been perfect for something I was doing which really warranted that sound and vibe.
Ringo’s sound is specifically referenced on the product page for these and I have to admit, the first thing that went through my mind when trying the Muffins was indeed Ringo.
Now, is there a drummer alive who doesn’t know who Ringo Starr is? Probably not. And one of the things Ringo was famous for – certainly in the Beatles anyway – was putting tea towels on his drums to produce a very specific sound.
The Muffins feature a wool felt ring paired with a 100% cotton cloth. The Muffins I tried were in a black checked finish. They look kinda cool and tea-towelesque.
They are designed to fit perfectly on all standard drum sizes, and they do; they’re quite snug to the hoop. They’re are very straightforward in concept and application, and seemed to be well made.
The Muffins have an integrated “pull-off label”, which means they can be quickly pulled off the respective drum if necessary, even within a song. I didn’t really try doing that, but the label is certainly big enough to grab easily in said context.
As far as using the Muffins is concerned, since they are both weighted and cover the entire head, they produce a very dead sound on drums.
I liked the sound on my 12 & 16” toms and the snare. The sound went from ringy to, unsurprisingly…that Ringo thing.
One consequence of having the Muffins on four of the five drums on my kit (10, 12, 16 toms and snare) was it really made me notice the unmuffled 13” ringing. It was very noticeable which was amusing and something I probably would never otherwise have noticed.
The Muffins can also be stacked inside each other for a greater muffling effect. From having tried this, I’m not really sure why you’d go that far with them because it turns the drum from dead to like playing a cardboard box. For me, one does a perfectly good job and any more seems a little pointless.
In addition, the 10″ muffin can also be used to dampen your cymbal and hi-hats (there are two holes cut out in the middle). Trying this on a few different cymbals (although not the hi-hats), I found the Muffin didn’t so much affect the tone of the cymbal, rather it caused it to decay almost instantly.
On a power crash, I got the initial attack and then it died off. On the larger, more ride orientated model in the video, the Muffin muted the cymbal down but left the pronounced stick sound. I quite liked it.
Muffins are available in following sizes: 10“ | 12“ | 13“ | 14“ | 16“.
The Mini Muff is a clip-on muffling device featuring fake fur.
It has a “velcro-clip-system” which you can easily attach to a rim and the company says that in every playing situation, the strong spring holds the Mini Muff securely in place.
With a magnet sewn in, nothing can slip or drop out and you can flip the MiniMuff up when you’re not using it. A velcro strip between the muff and the clip allows you to adjust the position of the Mini Muff between the rim and the centre of the drumhead.
You can adjust the damping effect from subtle overtone control to super rich sounds.
The clip is strong and sturdy, and doesn’t seem like it would come off a hoop too easily. The sound is much less definite than the Muffins, in that it doesn’t outright remove overtones and feel; it just dampens them. I’d also say it added a little bottom end too.
The main intent for these products is to produce a retro sound, and they do.
Whilst it could be argued a rolled up tea towel might actually be slightly more versatile to use in terms of how you can apply one to a drumhead, the Muffins work well and I think are a great idea. They are certainly very easily to get on and off a drum, and that is a definite advantage over a tea towel, so there’s pros and cons to each concept. Also, I’ll wager it’s harder to put a tea towel on a cymbal.
The Mini Muff is small, useful and versatile. Not much more you can ask of it really. I think I might actually get one for myself.
David Bateman August 2023