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View Full Version : What is the BEST all-round snare head?


KONA
05-16-2011, 04:14 PM
Sorry if this has been posted here - but if it has I can't find it so far.

I'm looking for some feedback on what you have used over the years and what's a really good all-round head.
I use mostly a Remo Coated Ambassador (CA) for a snare batter head on most of my snare drums. I tried an Aquarian New Orleans Jazz - it's nice but I went back to the CA. I like the stock heads that came with my Gretsch Custom USA (Permatone) on the toms but, again, I'm using a CA on the snare. I play some Jazz, Latin and Rock....a bit of everything. I like Parade drum (Drum Line) but I don't play it so I don't need a Kevlar head for instance.

Maybe the CA is that head but I'd like your opinion.

Thanks,

diegobxr
05-16-2011, 05:01 PM
Yeah, I'll keep an eye on this thread to see how many don't say "Remo Ambassador" as their first answer. ;)

There are many good snare heads, but "good ole' all-around"? Coated Ambassador that is.

Cheers!

caddywumpus
05-16-2011, 05:10 PM
While I have liked the Coated Emperor on certain snares lately, the best all-around snare head is the Coated Ambassador, for sure...

KONA
05-16-2011, 08:52 PM
Anyone here use the following heads?

Evans Genera Dry?

Evans Vintage Coated Ambassador?

Ludwig Weather Master Coated Medium?

Or an Aquarian Snare head other than the New Orleans Jazz?

alextroke2099
05-16-2011, 09:00 PM
I love the sound of the Evans Powercenter Reverse Dot. It's a 1 ply head with a 2 ply center. Sounds great. I'd use this, personally, but I can see how a lot of people would disagree. A friend of mine uses Evans G2 over Remo Ambassador, and it has a real crack to it, even at the medium tuning he uses. It's a Yamaha Rydeen snare. And another friend of mine uses Remo Black Suede Ambassador over Clear Ambassador, it it also sounds great, but sounds more metal to me. Maybe it's just the snare tension or the way he has it tuned. It's a 14x5 Tama Superstar snare.

I'd stick with an Ambassador, if I were you. It's probably the best all around head out there. Seems to do the job, my school has one on it's Yamaha Stage Custom snare, and it sounds great.

Winston_Wolf
05-16-2011, 09:32 PM
When I think "All Around" snare heads, I think versatile, easy to tune, and something that works on a wide variety of drums. Something that doesn't get in the way of the drum's natural sound, and allows the player to modify it based on playing/tuning/muffling/ etc... Which sums up the coated Ambassador perfectly. It's something of a blank slate, and can sound great wide open, covered in duct tape, or anywhere in between.

As for these others...

Evans Genera Dry? - Yes, it's a great snare head if you're looking to tame the ringiness, especially a steel shell snare.

Vintage Ambassador? - No, but I've heard nothing but good things.

Ludwig Weather Master Coated Medium? - I have one on my Super Sensitive, and I like it. I find the lower collar and crimped hoop construction makes for an easier to tune head. Same reason I love Ludwig snare-side heads too.

New Orleans Jazz - I've never even heard of this head before today, so no idea.

I often use an Aquarian Modern Vintage medium and I like the sound quite a lot. It is a little more controlled and warmer than a normal 10-mil head, but still plays like a one-ply.

KONA
05-17-2011, 02:50 AM
Thanks - good stuff!
The Aquarian New Orleans Jazz head is here:
http://www.aquariandrumheads.com/products/specialty-snare-drumheads
I tried it....a nice head but I didn't like it with brushes.

When I think "All Around" snare heads, I think versatile, easy to tune, and something that works on a wide variety of drums. Something that doesn't get in the way of the drum's natural sound, and allows the player to modify it based on playing/tuning/muffling/ etc... Which sums up the coated Ambassador perfectly. It's something of a blank slate, and can sound great wide open, covered in duct tape, or anywhere in between.

As for these others...

Evans Genera Dry? - Yes, it's a great snare head if you're looking to tame the ringiness, especially a steel shell snare.

Vintage Ambassador? - No, but I've heard nothing but good things.

Ludwig Weather Master Coated Medium? - I have one on my Super Sensitive, and I like it. I find the lower collar and crimped hoop construction makes for an easier to tune head. Same reason I love Ludwig snare-side heads too.

New Orleans Jazz - I've never even heard of this head before today, so no idea.

I often use an Aquarian Modern Vintage medium and I like the sound quite a lot. It is a little more controlled and warmer than a normal 10-mil head, but still plays like a one-ply.

abugrape45
05-17-2011, 03:59 AM
Shame no one else shares my love of the Powerstroke. Very wide tuning range and sounds like heaven to me when I swish a brush across it.

ineedaclutch
05-17-2011, 05:49 AM
Shame no one else shares my love of the Powerstroke. Very wide tuning range and sounds like heaven to me when I swish a brush across it.

I like the PS as well as the CA, but I think Brady's baby seal head would sound great with brushes. Ouch! http://drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76061

DragonDrumNinja
05-18-2011, 04:59 AM
Shame no one else shares my love of the Powerstroke. Very wide tuning range and sounds like heaven to me when I swish a brush across it.

I also use the Powerstroke 3 Coated as my batter and a Remo Ambassador on the reso. I got it a couple days ago, I still need to find that PERFECT tuning, but Im getting close. I love it.

2bsticks
05-18-2011, 05:36 AM
My choices are Remo coated ambassador or the ambassador X. Both great heads.

audiotech
05-18-2011, 05:56 AM
I can't just pick one because my playing encompasses a multitude of different genres. The head I use on most of my snares is the Evans Power Center Reverse Dot. The other snare batter heads I use is either an Evans G1 coated or a Remo Coated Ambassador. The last two I definitely use when doing a lot of brush work. All of my snare drums have wooden shells except for one.

Dennis

bamdrummer
05-18-2011, 06:08 AM
The obvious answer is ambassador, im not sure there's even an equivalent to how standard all/around good it is, but i guess it's like the 5A of heads? maybe?

Bull
05-18-2011, 07:24 AM
My favorites are Coated Emperors and CS Coated..

daredrummer
05-19-2011, 04:08 AM
Anyone here use the following heads?

Evans Genera Dry?

Evans Vintage Coated Ambassador?

Ludwig Weather Master Coated Medium?

Or an Aquarian Snare head other than the New Orleans Jazz?

The evans genera dry is a cool head, but definitely not an all around head. As the name suggests, its dry and tight, but still keeps a fairly low fundamental tone, which is what I like about it. If you like a nice dry tight sound but don't like the brightness that comes with it, this is a good head. However, it doesn't handle jazz particularly well, because even at low tunings it's got a short sustain and focused attack. It's also not good for very hard rock or metal because it can sometimes choke when played very hard, and tuned tightly.

Shedboyxx
05-19-2011, 09:36 PM
The Aquarian version of the Ambassador is the Satin Texture Coated head. It's single ply with a bit thicker coating than the Ambassador.

Great all around head. Absolutely the longest lasting coating for avid brush players.

For steel snares I absolutely love what the Aquarian Jack DeJohnette head does. A bit darker in sound (coating is black as well).


Jim

Mr.L
05-19-2011, 09:46 PM
Best all around snare head is very debatable.
I like Coated Ambs, Vintage Amb, and Coated Emps on my 76' Supra for stuff that I play though. I'd also love to try a Vintage Emp, anything gooder/bader/differenter about them? Besides the thickness difference, of course.

Bo Eder
05-19-2011, 10:22 PM
I've had great success with a clear Evans Hydraulic with a black dot on top. It sounds especially great when used with brushes!

;)

JMalriat
05-19-2011, 10:57 PM
Aquarian modern vintage medium. I bought one for my snare and then bought one for everything else. great all around head, especially on the snare. and its perfect for brushes once its broken in a little.

Doug Masters
05-20-2011, 03:17 AM
The head I am using now is by far the best head I have ever used...

sticks4drums
05-20-2011, 03:35 AM
Well my favorite head right now is the Powerstroke 3 coated on my bronze snares. It looks and sounds great. I don't like snares that ring though, so this works for me. Not for everyone.

scorch whammin
05-20-2011, 03:37 AM
For me..it's the Evans Genera Dry snare head!...great drum head!...

sticks4drums
05-20-2011, 03:46 AM
For me..it's the Evans Genera Dry snare head!...great drum head!...
That is the one my buddy uses. Does the same thing as the PS3. They sound very similar. I just like the black rings around the head. They go great with my black hoops.

brady
05-20-2011, 03:56 AM
I like the PS as well as the CA, but I think Brady's baby seal head would sound great with brushes. Ouch! http://drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76061

Thanks for the endorsement. I club them myself...

Seriously though, for the OP, I've used quite a few Aquarian heads and can't really say I've found a bad one. The best all-around heads would probably be the Texture Coated or Texture Coated w/ Power Dot. If you want a more durable head, try the Response 2.

KONA
05-20-2011, 08:21 AM
I'm using the AQ Modern Vtg. Med. on my 58 Gretsch snare when I want a change from the calfhide. I will agree with you 100% there..."once its broken in a little." That's exactly what I found.

And....thanks for the response everyone so far. This is good information all of us.



Aquarian modern vintage medium. I bought one for my snare and then bought one for everything else. great all around head, especially on the snare. and its perfect for brushes once its broken in a little.

Odd-Arne Oseberg
05-20-2011, 03:54 PM
yeah Coated Ambassodors are all you need for anything really. lol Some reservations for the bass drum, but they're ok there, too.

Biscuit
05-20-2011, 05:33 PM
I really don't have a favorite. I have two that i use religiously...Evans PCRD and yes the Remo CA. I also like to use the Evans Genera Dry on occasion. The Remo CA gets played the most though.

Pollyanna
05-20-2011, 05:44 PM
Great all around head. Absolutely the longest lasting coating for avid brush players.

Yes, when it comes to brushes I find both the Aquarian and Evans heads have a more durable coating than Remo, which starts off too rough, sweetens up after a while and then wears off quickly.

sticks4drums
05-20-2011, 05:55 PM
Brushes. What are brushes? Just kidding. I have seen them before I think. :)

Pass.of.E.r.a.
05-20-2011, 06:59 PM
How has no one said the Remo Coated Controlled Sound yet!?! It's a great sounding all-round head, but my current favorite for my Tama Warlord Masai is the Evans ST Dry. Single ply I believe (so similar to the Coated Ambassador) but with the holes around the edge to just suck up any overtones a small bit. It has a very sharp attack without being harsh, so it cuts through the rest of the band very easily. Check it out!

larryace
05-20-2011, 08:19 PM
Surprised not more people said coated G2's or coated Emps. CA's sound a little thin sometimes to me. I don't like 2 ply on my toms though, just the snare. My coated G2 on the snare...the coating is starting to wear off in the center and the drum is taking on a different tone as a result. I like it alot. They should make a coated head where the coating is not applied to the center 1" or so, it's a cool tone.

05WideGuy
05-22-2011, 08:18 PM
Try the Aquarian coated Focus X!

KONA
05-23-2011, 02:38 AM
I just chanted out my American white calfhide batter for an Aquarian American Vintage Med. on my 58 Gretsch 3ply snare. What a difference! The drum opened right up....sensitive and tons of tone. I was having no luck at all with the calfhide on this drum - batter or resonant head. The toms are a different story - the calfhides on the 12 & 14 are smokin hot....nothing like them so far I'm finding. The bearing edges are different on the bass, toms and snare on this kit. That might be part of the difference right there.

But ya......The Aquarian head on this snare is very good.

Mrcoffee
05-24-2011, 02:40 AM
If I need the ring, I go with Evans G1, let's say on most wood snares. If I don't want the ring, lets say like now I'm trying something new on a stainless steel snare (my new Dunnett:o)) or the Pork Pie BigBoB Brass snare, I go with Evans Genera Dry.

I'd say that whether you go with CA or Evans Genera dry, or G1, they're all good heads and when a band is playing with you, the members and the audience will probably never notice anything from one to the other... I think we get our ears (and emotions) too close to our drum... we get finicky... I think a good drum (or very good), well tuned and well miked will get you gigs with LedZep... no matter what head you use. That's my two cents...

drummaman1
05-24-2011, 03:21 AM
In my quest for the best all around snare head, I have decided...wait for it...that there is NO real all around snare head. The coated ambassador is the closest, and even then I don't use Ambassador, the make the snare sound too "papery".

My all around head that has proven it for me is the:

CS Coated with Black (or White) Dot underneath. Ambassador thick for sensitivity, Black Dot for controlled sound (duh) and head durability. I've also played the Evans (Power Center Reverse Dot) and the Aquarian (Texture Coated w/ Dot underneath) equivalents.

I have also have had good results with Evans ST Dry (not as thick as HD I think, so a little more open) I liked the Aquarian New Orleans Special, and that head would be great were it not for: brushes. Brushes sound weird on the NOS head, and I can never put a clear head on snare. I also love very much, the Aquarian Jack DeJohnette signature head. It's Ambassador thickness, but the coating they use on that head is thicker, which helps take the edge off and warm up the snare sound. And brushes, oh my! Playing brushes on this head, sounds like you mic'ed up the snare! One gig I played ,we started so soft, that my brush sound absolutely overpowered the ensemble at that point!!!

I also like Black Suede and Black X heads. They give the snare a really dry, throaty, sound. What doesn't make it all around, is, again, brushes. Not a great brush sound. I guess after playing the JD head, everything else pales in comparison...

How's that for my ADD response? OK, slap a CA, I mean, a CS Ctd on that snare and GO!

KONA
05-25-2011, 08:14 AM
Thanks everyone.......lots to pick from - good!

Drummaman1
I know that 'weird' brush sound on the Aquarian New Orleans Special....they make a squeeking sound.........for me anyway. They sound good with sticks and dowelled sticks (hot rods....tala wands etc.).

thanks

Nodiggie
05-25-2011, 08:25 AM
In my quest for the best all around snare head, I have decided...wait for it...that there is NO real all around snare head.

+1

I always start with the coated Ambassador and go from there. I have snare drums with G2 coated, G1 coated EC2 coated rev dots and power center rev dots. I have a snare that came with my previous kit that no matter what I put on it, it just wouldn't play ball so it has been stored away.

EvansSpecialist
06-02-2011, 03:39 AM
The coated Evans G Plus is my go-to head for snare these days. The slightly thicker film offers a bit more body and durability while still speaking like you would expect a snare drum to.

JesusMySavior
12-08-2012, 02:18 AM
Short answer?

Legendary - Remo Ambassador
My preference - Remo Vintage Ambassador
The go-to head for anyone that asks me - Evans HD Genera Dry (there isn't a BAD tuning with it)

tard
12-08-2012, 09:07 PM
Aquarian studio-x also available in a reverse dot for the heavy hitters.

JesusMySavior
12-08-2012, 11:19 PM
New video I posted

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKVRNQbkpJk


Demo'ing SEVEN different heads in alike tuning on a 13" Oak Snare.

con struct
12-08-2012, 11:22 PM
Another vote for the coated Ambassador. Tunes right up and plays great.

Sparkboss
12-09-2012, 06:12 AM
Coated controlled sound is a very common snare head too. Basically just a coated ambo with a 5 mil dot.

I think I've personally seen this one more than the ambo

lsits
12-11-2012, 04:17 AM
Another vote for the Aquarian Focus-X. Maybe a little dry for some tastes, but it sounds good to me. The coating lasts a lot longer than the CA.

CBC
12-13-2012, 08:58 PM
Remo Controled Sound and the classic Coated Ambassador

porter
12-14-2012, 01:19 AM
I use a Coated or Clear Controlled Sound but I'd like to try an Ambassador sometime. Personally I prefer the extra density of the sound that the dot on the CS brings to it, and it also seems to dry out the 1-ply section of the head so I can do nice ghosts on those.

JesusMySavior
12-14-2012, 02:46 PM
I use a Coated or Clear Controlled Sound but I'd like to try an Ambassador sometime. Personally I prefer the extra density of the sound that the dot on the CS brings to it, and it also seems to dry out the 1-ply section of the head so I can do nice ghosts on those.

Try a Vintage A for a change. They definitely have a sweeter tone and believe it or not it is a 2-ply head. That does NOT make it any LESS open though...the first ply is 10 mil and the 2nd ply is 3 mil. It basically takes the Ambassador, warms it up a small bit, and injects a lot of juice into the tone. It's what the Ambassador was and should be today.

Again, check out my vid : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKVRNQbkpJk

The CA in comparison to me sounded flat and pale. JMO.

mandrew
12-15-2012, 09:13 PM
The classic answer is the coated ambassador, but I love the Evans Strata 1000 and the Genera dry.

porter
12-19-2012, 02:18 AM
Try a Vintage A for a change. They definitely have a sweeter tone and believe it or not it is a 2-ply head.

They do seem like they'd be an interesting option, my school set has them on the toms, and they have loads of dry, deep attack.

bobdadruma
12-24-2012, 05:19 PM
I tried a coated Ambassador X for the first time today.
I put it on my Sonor Special Edition Maple 5.5x14.
I cranked it up tight to about 88 in Drum Dial speak for a reference.

I really like it.
A moderate level of dryness with just a hint of ring.
Has a nice fat crack for a Rock back beat.
Very nice feel for buzz roll sensitivity.
The brushes like it a lot too.
Very little sympathetic buzz even with the strainer at looser tension.
Has a warm sound when the throw is off.

Great all around versatile head.

DrummerDylan95
12-29-2012, 10:31 PM
The best snare head I have used is without a doubt the Remo 14" coated Ambassador. I've tried a coated Pinstripe, coated Emperor, and coated Ambassador X and nothing compares to it. I've been using them for years now and they haven't failed me yet, other than the coating coming off in the center but hey thats any head. Get one of them and tune it really tight, you won't be disappointed.

Dirtysticks
01-15-2013, 09:42 AM
For me, Remo X14! It is like an Ambassador on steroids, but with a warmer tone. It can go from low to high, great body, great durability, but still open just enough since it is 1 ply like the coated ambassador.

alparrott
01-15-2013, 03:29 PM
The coated Evans G Plus is my go-to head for snare these days. The slightly thicker film offers a bit more body and durability while still speaking like you would expect a snare drum to.

I love my G Plus batter heads as well. I have a coated on my 14" main snare and a frosted on my piccolo... great sounding heads.

scottellis94
01-23-2013, 03:17 AM
Remo coated amb or coated controlled sound?

oldrockdrummer
01-23-2013, 03:29 AM
coated emperor for rock been using it since the 70s