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Old 08-14-2010, 08:51 PM
thehumbledrummer thehumbledrummer is offline
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Default Head Selection

Hello everyone, new to the forums.

I've recently started getting serious about drumming, and having been upgrading my setup. My kit for the last three years has been a Pearl Export, but recently I forked over the money and bought a Sonor Force 2007 birch kit. (Pics soon!) However, the stock resonant heads don't sound especially good, and the snare head is especially lacking. So, I've decided to get all new batter and reso heads.

EDIT: Whoops, forgot to add sizes. I have 8", 10" and 12" rack toms, a 22" BD, and 14" floor tom. (Planning to add on a 16" FT when I have the cash. :) )

I've been looking at doing Coated Emperors over Clear Ambassadors for the toms, Coated Ambassador over a Hazy reso for the snare, and a PowerStroke 3 batter for the bass drum. (Keeping the Sonor reso head for the kick as I like the logo. xD)

I'm a big fan of Gavin Harrison, and I love the sound of his drums, especially his toms. However, I understand that I can't exactly just throw on the same heads and immediately get the same sound, and I also understand that his drums are maple, not birch. :P I'm just saying this to give an idea of drum sounds I like, which perhaps will help with head choices. Note that although I'm into metal, I really, REALLY hate "dead" drum sounds, especially dead sounding toms. EDIT: Also note that I don't like extremely "ringy" sounding drums either. ;)

As for my playing, I play everything from prog, jazz, and soft rock to extreme metal, so I'd like heads that will give me good variation. (Although, again, I realize there is no one head that would fit all genres perfectly.)

Anyway, I'd like to know if anyone has any input or suggestions on my choices, or if anyone might have experience with the same heads on the 2007's. :)

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Old 08-14-2010, 09:02 PM
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Winston_Wolf Winston_Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Head Selection

I think your instincts are right on target. Coated Emperor over clear Ambassador is a versatile tom tom set up, and the Ambassadors on the snare is just about as standard as they come, because it's a great sound.

I'd suggest a coated Ambassador on the 8" tom, just because in my experiences with 8" toms I've gotten a more open and balanced sound with thinner batter heads.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:42 PM
thehumbledrummer thehumbledrummer is offline
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Default Re: Head Selection

Thanks for the advice,
I'll definitely look at using a Coat Amb for the 8". :)

Does anyone have any input on snare side heads? I don't have much experience with them, so I don't really know what the difference in sound between different heads is.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:10 PM
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drumtechdad drumtechdad is offline
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Default Re: Head Selection

You're on the right track, humbledrummer. Even if you get the itch to experiment with different heads down the line, your choices are an excellent baseline from which to do it.

I concur with Winston's suggestion of a coated Ambassador on the 8" tom--it's often hard to get toms that size to sing.

Snare side heads typically come in three thicknesses, all of which are very much thinner than tom batters or resos.

"Standard" snare sides are 3mil, such as the hazy snare-side Ambassador or the Evans Hazy 300.

"Thin" snare sides are 2mil, such as the hazy snare-side Diplomat and Evans Hazy 200.

"Thick" snare sides are 5mil, such as the hazy snare-side Emperor or Evans Glass 500.

Most guys use the standard 3mil snare side. A thin 2mil snare side will give the drum less sustain, a smidge more brightness and, perhaps, a bit more sensitivity. I haven't figured out what anybody uses the thick 5mil snare sides for, unless it's to play backbeats all night in the center of the head.

GH's tom sound is to die for but, IMO, his snare sound not so much. He uses a 12" snare with a coated CS and studio rings. To me it sounds boxy and constipated both live and on record. That's a matter of taste, of course.

In my view, any good snare drum such as yours deserves to be tried with a single-ply coated batter and standard reso. Some guys think this makes their snare too ringy, but good tuning makes that ringiness attractive rather than obnoxious. It's also a fact that most of that ring is gone from 20' away. (Try listening to your snare--and your whole kit, actually--from 20-30' away in a venue-sized room with somebody else playing it. It's really a wake-up call.) A snare with a heavily muffled batter head often sounds soft and lifeless from the audience, while a "ringy" one sounds loud 'n' lively.

So I say go ahead and try out, at least, the coated Amb/hazy Amb combo and see what you think. You might end up liking it better than GH's drum.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:22 PM
thehumbledrummer thehumbledrummer is offline
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Default Re: Head Selection

Thanks for the tips, drumtechdad. Actually, I love/hate Harrison's snare. Sometimes I really like his snare sound, other times... meh. He seems to have a different snare sound in every live performance too. :P I really like the sound of his 12x5 Designer snare in the "19 Days" video from his DVD ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMGGE2AdGZY ), I don't this this is the preferable snare sound for me however.

Thanks for the clarification on snare side heads, sounds like I'll just go with Coated Amb over Hazy for now, and perhaps experiment later on. :)

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 08-15-2010, 07:36 AM
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Doug Masters Doug Masters is offline
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Default Re: Head Selection

Originally Posted by drumtechdad View Post
To me it sounds boxy and constipated both live and on record. That's a matter of taste, of course.
LMAO. "Your snare is too boxy, put some Ex-lax on it."
DW Performance
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:31 PM
austin412 austin412 is offline
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Default Re: Head Selection

for ss i personally like the sound of remos suede ss the suede texture seems to give more snare response but its still very sensitive as opposed to using a coated
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