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  #1  
Old 06-04-2006, 09:58 PM
quick_learner quick_learner is offline
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Default Good heads on cheap drums?

hi! i was wondering if it is possible to get a good sound out of cheaper drumkits, using better quality drum heads.
eg: will a Tama Starclassic sound THAT much better than a Tama Rockstar fitted with good heads. does the wood affect the sound so much?
i live in India and the better quality kits are generally not available so easily and cost quite a lot when converted to indian currency. i'm basically looking for a good trade-off between price and sound quality.
if any of you experienced guys can help me.... Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2006, 10:56 PM
Colonel Bat Guano
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

You can make "cheap" drums sound a lot more than just "O.K." with good quality heads. Don't be afraid to try a few different head combinations and to spend time trying different tunings. It's not as exciting as actually playing your kit, but you will learn a lot about your specific kit's capabilities, the nature of drum tuning in general and how to really listen. Eventually you will find something that sounds good. And I mean truly good. You will also be a much better player for it, especially when you realize how many drummers can't tune their drums worth a damn.

Many years ago, my first kit was a CB-700 with what I assume were Luan wood shells. I experimented with lots of different good quality head combos and learned a lot about how to tune drums. I had that thing dialed in and it sounded good, I kid you not. I played that kit until it literally fell apart.

When finally I got a professional quality kit, I had all that tuning knowledge in my drumming "bag of tricks". Only then was I amazed at how easy it was to get a good sound out of a "pro" kit (which is one of the big differences between "cheap" drums and "pro" drums). It's something to look forward to, but it doesn't mean you can't get great sounds out of your current drums.
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  #3  
Old 06-04-2006, 11:00 PM
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ege_the_drummer ege_the_drummer is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

Wood is a major factor in overall drum sound, but I read somewhere that the heads are the main source of a good tone. It is entirely possible to have a Rockstar sound good with good heads and good tuning. Bad tuning can really make a set of drums sound horrible. For good heads I would recommend Remo Pinstripes or Emperors or Evans EC2s or Genera G2s. As far as tuning goes, this is probably one of the best out there (besides drummerworld, of course :) :

Tuning Bible

Hope this helps!
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  #4  
Old 06-04-2006, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

Yeah. I have a cheap $350 TKO set, I dont know what kind of wood it is, but with good heads and good tuning you can get a pretty nice sound out of them. You can learn a lot about tuning with a cheap kit.

And as for me, I like my Evans G1s.
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  #5  
Old 06-04-2006, 11:20 PM
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radeq radeq is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

definitely try it! I played a while on the lowest tama series, with remo coated ambassador - and the sound, was very very good...
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2006, 11:26 PM
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harryconway harryconway is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

Most drummers start out with entry level kits. Play the stock heads until they're 3 times dead and then buy new heads and learn how to make their kit sound as good as it can sound. You might not be able to appreciate the difference between a Rockstar and a Starclassic right now, but you will with time. It's almost the evolution everyone goes thru. Get yourself a good entry level kit. Work with it for a few years and step up when you can.
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  #7  
Old 06-05-2006, 08:31 PM
quick_learner quick_learner is offline
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Default Thanks Guys! Need some more info...

Thanks for your input
I don't have ANY experience with foreign kits.... so this will be a big investment. based on your experience with kits i'm thinking of taking a chance.
I've got a chance to play with a band that is looking for a professional quality sound, so i guess i can't keep the stock batter heads on... i'll need to change them right away probably

:-(

i was thinking about :
Evans HD Dry for the snare
G2 clear for the toms

As for the bass drum, i was wondering if anyone can recommend a batter head that can give me a good punch as i play heel down. i need it to get picked up on the mics.
i've heard that 2ply heads compared to 1ply can pack a better punch, is it true?

Is the reso head that important... or might i consider keeping the stock reso head on?
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  #8  
Old 06-05-2006, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

im in the learnign stage myself and have come to surpass the stock head sound. Im trying to get a low resonate sound with my Evans G2s by searching for a good reso head for them. This is getting tough, im tryin to loose the ring of the toms without adding any dampening cloths or what not. Any suggestions on reso head types?

My advice is to keep tinkering with tunnings and head types, your gonna come across a great sound somewhere down the line.
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2006, 05:48 AM
its jazz 240 its jazz 240 is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

for a good bass batter head i would strongly reccommend the evans emad bass drum head. i myself have an evans eq4 clear batter that has a good low end punch that i am happy with but my friend has a coated emad on his kit (he has my same kit) and it blew me away.
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2006, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

I've said this before, and a lot of people disagree, but great drum shells make a huge difference. Sure you can make ok drums sound better with good heads, but you can't replicate the sound of good drums with good heads.

I think heads can be helpful in masking bad drums characteristics. For example, slap some pinstripes on any low end kit and tune them low, and they don't sound as bad as if you put some G1s on there and tune them up in the singing range.
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  #11  
Old 06-22-2006, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

I have a cheap drum set. It's not that cheap I'm pretty sure it's maple but it's a terrible brand. I have Remo ebaony ambassador which is the same exact head as the pinstripes just single ply but sound pretty alike. I don't tune very well at all and they sound fine Evans EC2's sound like they would be good for cheap drum sets. I n 2 months im getting those
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  #12  
Old 06-22-2006, 08:40 AM
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NUTHA JASON NUTHA JASON is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

good heads do make a huge difference but where cheap drums fall down...

a) lugs...cheap lugs buzz, break or lose their tuning...yuck.

b) number of lugs. more lugs on a drum mean more refined and even tuning and also less chance of warping. cheap drums go for minimum lugs. you can tell a pro kit from the bass drum. 10 lugs on anything 20'' or bigger = pro kit. cheap kits even at 22'' size will still have 8 lugs on the kick. snares as well. for me it is ten lugs or else it has to be very special sounding before i will buy it.

c) at live volumes the wood shells make little difference but in the studio the expensive kit begins to really stand out.

all that said last year at a battle of the bands i ran into a drummer with a DW in red onyx...not brand new but perhaps a couple of months old. the kind of kit we all slaver over. his dad was rich and supported the whole band. to my horror i discovered he still had factory heads on the whole kit, and they were taped up, and they weren't properly tuned. one of the other drummers was playing a bog standard aging pearl export with top quality remo heads...and his kit sounded far and away better than the dw.

good skins are more durable and reliable. if all you can afford is less than the best drums get the best out of them with the more expensive heads...anything elseis just false economy.

j
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  #13  
Old 06-22-2006, 08:50 AM
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finnhiggins finnhiggins is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

Ah, this is my kind of thread.

Good heads on cheap drums certainly can do the trick. For proof, check out my "Yamaha Rydeen in not sucking shocker" thread over on the Your Playing forum.

They don't sound like expensive drums, but they don't sound at all bad, either. Assuming you get a half-decent cheap kit that is, and not one of these Pulse/Percussion Plus/Century kits that literally disintegrate before your eyes and are impossible to tune.

A good cut-off point is seeing if it comes with free brass cymbals. If it does, RUN AWAY! If not, give it a whirl and see how it treats you and then buy the best heads you can afford for it. Keep in mind that most of these cheap kits are made of Luan and as such they're going to sound a lot more warm and muffly with the same heads than a harder maple or birch kit with sharp bearing edges is going to. So if you're normally an Emperor type of guy, try some Ambassadors. If you're normally a coated Ambs guy, try clear.

Beyond that, I can only recommend the cheap kit approach if money is tight.
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2006, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

i had a tama rockstar for a long time... and that particular set isn't made out of wood, it's made from some kind of composite material. With good heads, all the composite did to the sound was deaden it a little bit. the drums sounded sweet though, and i used 'em for quite a while.
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  #15  
Old 07-01-2006, 06:03 AM
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2sticks4strings 2sticks4strings is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

I have a Ludwig Accent set and with stock heads I swore I wasted money. I replaced the heads a few times to find the "right" ones for the sound I wanted and now the kit is not bad sounding. Mind you not a great kit but now I like playing it.
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  #16  
Old 07-01-2006, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

I have a cheap CB Drums ... I try EC2 , G2 Clear and G1 ... The best sounding I have found was the G1 coated ...

It's sound very correct now.
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  #17  
Old 01-18-2007, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sticks4strings View Post
I have a Ludwig Accent set and with stock heads I swore I wasted money. I replaced the heads a few times to find the "right" ones for the sound I wanted and now the kit is not bad sounding. Mind you not a great kit but now I like playing it.
I too have the Accents. I replaced the Heads with Evans. G2's on the toms, HD on the snare, and EMAD on the bass. With some Moongel, I and others have commented on the decent sound for a set labled "beginner"

I dissagree with you on one point however. I feel that for the $$$, the Accent is a very capable kit. I know guys that gig with em, and have had no issues to date. IMO, a great set of drums for someone starting out or cash strapped.

Last edited by Dr.Hook; 01-18-2007 at 08:27 PM.
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  #18  
Old 01-18-2007, 05:47 PM
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Deathmetalconga Deathmetalconga is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

A cheap drum with good heads will sound better than an expensive drum with cheap heads, assuming they are tuned with equal care.

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  #19  
Old 01-26-2007, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

finhiggins - I recently purchased a used Rydeen as an upgrade from my Pearl Rhythm Traveler, and I'm wondering, what heads did you use on your kit?

I'm thinking about coated Aquarian Satin Finish Texture Coated heads, but if what you say about the warmth is true (and generalizes to the Philippine mahogany shells the rydeen is made out of), then a clear head might be better to use.

Suggestions anyone?

S
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  #20  
Old 01-27-2007, 11:19 AM
Osh Osh is offline
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

Before xmas, I was looking for a new kit, and I had only owned a cheap Dixon Tempo before so I didn't have preference for manufacturers so I listend to some bands with diferent drums and came to the conclusion that I hated Pearl, and loved Tama drums. Problem was, all the tama drums were starclassics and I could not aford one of those. I went for the Superstar, but was worried that I was too optimistic with the sound, and was expecting it to sound like the miced up starclassics I'd been listening to.

Anyway, it arrived with stock heads and I thought, "wow these are nice." Then I stuck my pinstripes on the toms and OH MY GOD. They blew me away, seriously. No doubt the drum is a MASSIVE factor is how good the sound is - the superstars are still 900, they are not cheap drums. But the diference between the drums with stock heads and with Pinstripes (or whatever head you like) was unbelievable.
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  #21  
Old 01-27-2007, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: Good heads on cheap drums?

My m-birch's still have the stock heads after a month, i really like the sound, i hope i'm as impressed as you when I get some new heads!
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