Originally Posted by TColumbia37
I'll tell you what I ALWAYS use, and it never lets me down.
Remo Hazy Ambassador snare side, and Remo Coated Ambassador batter side. They're both thin heads, but they give a great open sound, with a great crack. It's a steel snare, so you'll probably get more ring out of it than the Mapex, but don't be afraid of that. If you tune it up well, that ring can work to your advantage. It really helps the snare cut through in a live playing situation, as well. If the ring ends up being too much, you can look into two ply batter heads like Emperors, or dampened heads like Pinstripes and Evans' EC2s. I would ALWAYS go coated for snare batter heads, though.
Might I also add that you may want to look into upgrading the snare wires, as well. It can make a HUGE difference. Right now, I am using Puresound Customs, and they sound GREAT.
I agree with that you said, but I would go with a Remo X14. It's single ply like the ambassador, but it is a thick as an emperor. It cuts a tad bit of ring, but still gives a nice open sound, it's more durable, and it is one of the loudest snare heads on the market.
I would also go with an ambassador hazy for the bottom, with puresound blasters.