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View Full Version : Thin vs thick drum heads?


takkatakka
08-21-2012, 01:39 PM
I've considered to replace my drum heads and did some research earlier. I've found 2 sites that oppose each other.

One site say that thin drum heads ring and produce more overtones (currently, i don't know the difference between ring, overtone, and resonance)

The other say that thick drum heads ring more.

Since my current head makes a "donggggggggggg" sound (with every possible tuning method, unless i turn the batter head really really loose and the reso head really tight, and that would also speed up my batter head destruction).

Which would you guys recommend me to buy? Thicker or thinner drum head? And what about the reso head?

Cleforo
08-21-2012, 02:14 PM
What kind of music do you play?
what drums do you plan on using the heads on?
are you looking for a more open or muffled sound?

Sjogras
08-21-2012, 02:31 PM
Thin heads are more resonant, which means they are more easily activated. A light hit from the stick makes the drum produce a note, whereas the same strike would only make a muffled thump on a thicker head. (An extreme comparison, in reality the are more close to each other)

So, thick heads take more power to fully vibrate. They also sustain longer, given they are struck with enough power. And even though thin heads have less sustain, they may still not be what you're looking for since they are more sensitive to uneven tuning. They produce more overtones, which are tones that differ from the overall note that the head makes. Thick heads are more focused in terms of producing one single note.

But there are a few tricks to reduce sustain. The relation between the heads will affect sustain, if they are tuned to the same note they will vibrate in union, and therefore causing longer sustain. Try tuning the batter at least one note lower than the reso, or vice versa, some people prefer having the reso tuned lower. If that doesn't cut it, you can use moongel or tape for instance to muffle the drum head. I personally prefer to not alter the batter head, try dampening the reso head first and see if it makes any difference. You can also try cutting an O-ring from an old drum head and dropping it inside the drum so that it rests on the reso head.

Regarding head combos, most people use a two ply batter head over one ply reso head. I myself use Remo clear emperors over Remo clear ambassadors without any muffling.

takkatakka
08-21-2012, 07:16 PM
What kind of music do you play?
what drums do you plan on using the heads on?
are you looking for a more open or muffled sound?

I mainly play rock, alternative or punk. Nothing too heavy. BUT! I would love my drums to sound like "THUMP!" with a slight of ring and sustain, not for too long. They don't have to perfectly sound like that though.

Like in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvjuG_jMF6I&feature=player_detailpage#t=167s


Thin heads are more resonant, which means they are more easily activated. A light hit from the stick makes the drum produce a note, whereas the same strike would only make a muffled thump on a thicker head. (An extreme comparison, in reality the are more close to each other)

So, thick heads take more power to fully vibrate. They also sustain longer, given they are struck with enough power. And even though thin heads have less sustain, they may still not be what you're looking for since they are more sensitive to uneven tuning. They produce more overtones, which are tones that differ from the overall note that the head makes. Thick heads are more focused in terms of producing one single note.

But there are a few tricks to reduce sustain. The relation between the heads will affect sustain, if they are tuned to the same note they will vibrate in union, and therefore causing longer sustain. Try tuning the batter at least one note lower than the reso, or vice versa, some people prefer having the reso tuned lower. If that doesn't cut it, you can use moongel or tape for instance to muffle the drum head. I personally prefer to not alter the batter head, try dampening the reso head first and see if it makes any difference. You can also try cutting an O-ring from an old drum head and dropping it inside the drum so that it rests on the reso head.

Regarding head combos, most people use a two ply batter head over one ply reso head. I myself use Remo clear emperors over Remo clear ambassadors without any muffling.

I have O-Rings on my drums but they still ring, sustain. I've recently just added sticky tack to my batter heads and it does wonder! With 2 pieces of tack on my batter head and a little bit of tuning, I've managed to reduce the sustain and it sounds a lot better. Still, I wish I don't have to add unnecessary dampening to my drums though.

Dre25
08-21-2012, 07:24 PM
Evans ec2/remo pinstripe or ebony pinstripe.

Are ebony pinstripes even more muffled than regular ones?

wsabol
08-21-2012, 08:31 PM
(currently, i don't know the difference between ring, overtone, and resonance)

Overtones give sound character. They are what make sounds from different sources distinctive and different. The generic fundamental tone from an electric pitch pipe is a sound without overtones. By adding overtones in different varieties to that, you may get a sounds that sounds like a gong, a flute, a voice, or even a drum.

By their very nature, overtones are higher pitched than the fundamental. Some drummers prefer to emphasize the lower overtones, so they using dampening and/or thicker heads to achieve that sound.

Resonance and sustain are easily confused. Sustain is simply the length of the note. If a drum has lots of sustain, that means that after one hit, it produces sound for a long time.

Resonance has more to do with timbre rather than the length of the note. If a drum is resonant, you might also say it has body, or it is warm, fat, etc. Dictionary says: Resonance - the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.

In drum language, you usually associate resonance with the shell tone, and sustain with the head. So a really resonant drum would have a lot of the wood/shell character coming through in the sound. A really sustaining drum just sounds for a long time.

Ring is usually means a very pronounced, sustaining, high-pitched overtone. Ring is mentioned most often with snare drums and snare drum ring.

takkatakka
08-23-2012, 04:14 PM
Overtones give sound character. They are what make sounds from different sources distinctive and different. The generic fundamental tone from an electric pitch pipe is a sound without overtones. By adding overtones in different varieties to that, you may get a sounds that sounds like a gong, a flute, a voice, or even a drum.

By their very nature, overtones are higher pitched than the fundamental. Some drummers prefer to emphasize the lower overtones, so they using dampening and/or thicker heads to achieve that sound.

Resonance and sustain are easily confused. Sustain is simply the length of the note. If a drum has lots of sustain, that means that after one hit, it produces sound for a long time.

Resonance has more to do with timbre rather than the length of the note. If a drum is resonant, you might also say it has body, or it is warm, fat, etc. Dictionary says: Resonance - the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.

In drum language, you usually associate resonance with the shell tone, and sustain with the head. So a really resonant drum would have a lot of the wood/shell character coming through in the sound. A really sustaining drum just sounds for a long time.

Ring is usually means a very pronounced, sustaining, high-pitched overtone. Ring is mentioned most often with snare drums and snare drum ring.

Oh, I see now. I guess sustain is my problem. My drum sounds like for 2 seconds when hit.


Evans ec2/remo pinstripe or ebony pinstripe.

Are ebony pinstripes even more muffled than regular ones?

I did some research and found out that pinstriped (am I saying the correct term?) drum heads are already-muffled drum heads. I think I might buy pinstriped drum heads.

Pocket-full-of-gold
08-23-2012, 04:35 PM
Like in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvjuG_jMF6I&feature=player_detailpage#t=167s


Mic 'em up and EQ 'em and they will.

I reckon you might be confusing what a recorded and processed drum sounds like to what a drum really sounds like when you're sitting over the top of it.

Drums don't sound like they do on a majority of records, nor do they sound like they do when mic'd up in 20,000 seat arenas.

Drumolator
08-25-2012, 06:04 PM
To me single-ply batters have a more natural drum sound. The only two-ply head I will use is for bass drum batters, and I have been investigating single-ply heads for those too. Peace and goodwill.

Sjogras
08-26-2012, 02:22 AM
Oh, I see now. I guess sustain is my problem. My drum sounds like for 2 seconds when hit.

Oh... :)

I think your problem here (and this has been mentioned many times on this forum) is that you are not used to how a drum really sounds. The drum sound on records is often heavily edited, and you won't really be able to achieve that sound in an acoustic situation. In time, you will learn to appreciate the true characteristics of your drums, and soon those O-rings will come off. I used to dampen my drums too, mainly with O-rings, but nowadays I can't stand that sound.

Let your drums sing!

MJD
08-27-2012, 04:23 AM
1) what kind of drums do you have?
2) if you want that type of sound i'd go with emperor pinstripes or something double ply. It'll give you more of a thump sound. Muffle to taste.
3)Remember that microphones hear differently than your ears do. Especially drum mic's that are mounted to the rim.

wildbill
09-05-2012, 02:08 PM
Oh, I see now. I guess sustain is my problem. My drum sounds like for 2 seconds when hit....




Ha ha. Take a look at this thread: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94598

My Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 10" tom would sustain for about a minute. More like a cymbal than a drum.
I tried a bunch of different heads and ended up putting an Evans Hydraulic on it. Now it sustains for about 2 seconds, which seems way too short to me.

It sounds pretty dead now, but it also sounds like that head might give you what you're looking for. Buy one and try it, before getting a whole set of them.

Or - like others have said - learn to enjoy a longer sustaining drum. As long as the drum is giving you a tone that's close to what you want, a bit of sustain is a very good thing.