Woooo…bass drum tuning…Books have been written on drum tuning, and the bass drum took up a good part of them. I would say that in my experience there are about 3 basic bass drum tunings…
funk/studio: pretty easy to do this one…Just stuff the bass drum with a pillow and tension both heads rather loosely, almost to where they wrinkle. This is a situation where resonance is USUALLY a no-no…rules are always broken. This is usually better for a small room, etc.
rock: It’s good to depend on head selection for a good rock sound…I use a Powerstroke 3 on the batter with a Falam Slam pad and a clear Ambassador on front with no muffling inside…good all purpose combination for a few styles, also gets a good open, rock sound…good tuning eliminates bad overtones.
For classic rock, well, it depends really… whenever you see a headless bass drum (or other drums), it was often in the early 70s when they were just starting to experiment with close miking techiniques and were initially horrified at the overtones suddenly exposed by a mic’ placed a few inches from the head to make the most of the relatively new multi-tracking technology (read: isolation). A headless bass drum is often used in recording; it’s easier to tune, sounds clean, but it actually sounds higher and not so bassy when theres only one head. Sometimes this is desireable… and they also have EQ to help with a duller bass drum.
jazz: Usually a smaller bass drum (18" as opposed to 20" or 22") is used, and little muffling in the way of a felt strip stretched underneath the front head is employed. In jazz, the bass drum is usually played very lightly to complement an upright bass, and a lot of muffling takes away the overtones that are desireable in this case to add weight to the sound rather than punctuation.
As for toms, my opinion is that double headed toms sound best: They’re more versatile in that the sound is more mellow and blends into the music rather than full of attack from the sticks and overpowering the music. In the studio, where small rooms are often the norm, a little muffling is employed in the way of duct tape or O-rings to further define the tom sound, though here gain, rules are often broken, and muffling is often eschewed by some top drummers. I like to keep my toms unmuffled and detune one of the lugs to add a bit of “character” to the tone.
However, I should mention that the famous studio drummer Hal Blaine used single headed toms, and he made them sound like double headed toms by hitting lightly with pencil-thin sticks, thus keeping the attack down.
Crap, I could go on for hours…but, the point is that I personally use the powerstroke and the plain front head with no muffling for live playing…sounds a little boomy up close, but from a distance, all the boom goes away and a nice round sound is heard. Pillows are often more appropriate for studio use, as well as a single headed bass drum.
Here’s a couple links on tuning…