Re: Black coated heads...
I have the black suedes on my home kit (BRX) right now, and the "coating" or "coloring" (whatever it is) doesn't come off on the sticks, but one gripe I do have is that from the first couple hits the heads start showing marks as a dark grey color from your sticks. I use wood tipped sticks only. The marks that show really put a damper on the aesthetics of them.
They sound fair enough, but really - if I knew it was going to do that, I would have just ordered a set of G1's or Ambassadors and called it good. I do agree that these blackies sound like the warmth of a coated head with the attack of a clear head. They are not quite perfect as you'd think, but they are somewhat of a different animal.
If they stayed newer looking longer, I'd say thumbs up. But I don't think I'd buy them again.
2004 Pearl Masters Studio
14" Free Floater, Yam. Musashi 13"
Sabian AA, Meinl Byzance, Zildjian K