Re: To Port or not to Port...
I have both a ported and unported on both my 20" Gretsch and my 22" Yamaha. In general, on the 20", when I use the ported head (Aquarian Regulator with the small hole) I get a punchier sound from out front. I use the Aquarian Super Kick II for the batter. It doesn't sound as full to me behind the kit with the port, but it's the sound out front that counts. The full resonant head is a Remo Powerstroke 3. It gives me a fuller and warmer (for lack of a better word) sound. Right now my Gretsch is my practice kit and I'm digging the full head sound. If I was to use it again for gigs I would probably go back to the ported head.
On the Yamaha I ported the stock logo head but instead of just having a port I installed a Kickport. The head is like the Powerstroke in that it has the extra layer of film on the outside. My non-ported head is a Remo singly-ply head (not sure the model but I'm thinking Ambassador). It's white and came with a shield and some stick-on letters to add my initials to. Very Gene Kurpa-esque. In either case I use a felt strip front and back for muffling. Used the head with the Kickport last Friday for the first time and got many compliments about the drum sound.
I started with nothing and still have most of it left.