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  #1  
Old 10-07-2010, 02:09 AM
AnalogousGumdropDecoder AnalogousGumdropDecoder is offline
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Default Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

Hi. I'm Cody, and I'm new to the forum. I've been playing a lot of instruments for a long time, but I'm still a sort of novice at drums. I'm especially ignorant when it comes to the equipment. My drumset is nothing special, just an old set of Pearl Exports. I'm about to change drum heads for (more or less) the first time and I have some questions. First I want to give you an idea of what I'm trying to do here.

While I don't know much about drum gear, I know enough about music to know what I'm going for with my drum sound. I'm looking for a sort of deep "thud" sort of tribal sound. I'm going to be playing much more on my toms and much less on my cymbals than is normal for most rock and jazz players. Although the sound I'm trying to create isn't very much like any specific player, or even especially "retro", my favorite drum sounds tend to be from older records... Frank Kirkland, Maureen Tucker, Ed Blackwell, Billy Higgins, Jaki Leibezeit, Ralph Molina, Kenny Buttrey, Elvin Jones, "Drumbo" John French, plus many more. So I'm looking for a sort of old, crusty thumpy sound... but I still want the potential for dynamics, so I don't want to get my heads too thick. I really hate BIG CLEAR MODERN drum sounds, especially the ones used for most hard rock and metal these days. I don't like bass drums to "click." At all.

I was thinking of getting Remo Fiberskyn heads because they're supposed to simulate calfskin and be good for brushes. Assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that I'm on the right track here, I've got some ???'s...

General:
1) Should I be using the Fiberskyns as both batter and reso heads, or combining them with another head on one side? What are the advantages and disadvantages and differences?
2) I've heard that the fiber is added after the fact to the regular drum films, so a fiberskyn diplomat is more like the thickness of a regular ambassador. is this true? does this mean I should drop down a size in thickness?
3) I've heard mixed things about the fibebrskyns and brushes... They're perfect. They're bumpy and the brushes snag. They're too smooth and you can't brush at all. What's the real situation here?
4) Is it true that these heads require less (or no) muting, baffling, dampening, or whatever drummers call it?

Snare:
5) Do I need a special snare head for the bottom side of the snare? What would be appropriate in the event of using a fiberskyn batter?
6) Is a regular coated head better for brushes? Is there another reason I should consider a coated head or a renaissance instead of a fiberskyn for the snare batter head?

Kick:
7) I've heard that fiberskyns make good reso heads. Do they also make good batter heads? Are two of them at the same time good? Should one or both of them be the powerstroke type - why or why not? Which one?

Other:
Any additional insight you guys have into these heads would be a tremendous help. Thanks a ton.

Cody Gaisser
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2010, 02:58 AM
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uniin uniin is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

1) it depends what drum. personally i wouldn't put a fiberskyn on any resohead except bassdrum - but this is just from my own experiances you may like the sound it produces.
2) -
3) usually people have coated heads for brushes as the substance they coat the drumheads with give the brush that sound. havn't seen fiberskyns used for brushes
4) i don't dampen ANY of my drums EVER. i have an aquarian super kick on my bass drum which comes with a foam ring and i've found that that is all the dampening i need. i LOVE my toms and snares to resonant and ring out.
5) every drum company makes snare reso heads (bottom side) they are VERY thin (.3mil if i recall correctly) remo's one is an ambassador snare side evans have one called a 300 hazy snare side, rmv have one called snare side, and im pretty sure aquarians call theirs snare side too. it's called snare side because the snare wires rest on them
6) people generally use coated heads on snare drums not only for brushes but also because the coating on it makes the skin a little bit thicker which eliminates a bit of over tones.
7) my drum teacher uses a fiberskyn for his bass drum - he plays in a blues band, and live it sounds AMAZING. im fairly certain he uses a remo powerstroke 3 on his batter side. me personally i just use the black ambassador resonant on my bass drum with a superkick I it gives me the sound i want. if you want a big boomy sound just a regular powerstroke 3 will do fine, power stroke 4 if you don't want as much boom as its 2 ply will give more thud, but not the pop or click (you need a lot of pillows inside your bass drum for this most of the time)


experimenting by yourself or talking with other people is the best way to learn! the internet is full of crap go to your local music store and seek as many opinions as you can then make your decision
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2010, 04:56 AM
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double_G double_G is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

if you like a deep thud & are moving away from clears heads with a lot of click / attack....then i think you will probably like the Fiberskyns. i would check out the thickness, tho as Diplomats are like Ambassadors or slightly thicker & so on. if you can, check out a snare or tom w/ the heads on at a music store for the ultimate test...tune them up / down. i did NOT like Fiberskyn for brushes as they are pretty smooth...but i am into coated Dips w/ lots of open tone, cranked high, etc. going to try out a Fiberskyn Ambassador for a resonant head on a 20" kick as well.
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  #4  
Old 10-07-2010, 06:57 AM
AnalogousGumdropDecoder AnalogousGumdropDecoder is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

Sorry for the myriad of questions! I greatly appreciate the help. I understand if no one can (or feels inclined to) answer them all. I realize that the best way to find out what I need is to go play these things, but I'm trying to narrow down the spectrum of possibilities so I know what I actually need to be trying out and comparing. There are near infinite possible choices and combinations....

I'm pretty locked into Fiberskyn kick reso and tom batters I think. I gather that for the reso side of my snare I'm going to need a Diplo or Ambassador "Snare Side," and if I want to play with brushes I'll probably need to use a Coated batter head.

More ???'s:

8) How do the Renaissance heads do with brushes? Is it best to stick with coated?

9) Is it better to match your head thickess across the whole kit or to use heavier skins on the kick and/or snare?

10) What are opinions on using Fiberskyn for both batter and reso on toms?

11) I'm still kind of shaky on the concept of powerstroke 3. I gather it's some kind of self-dampening head, but I have no real world experience with it. What's its effect on the sound of a kick versus a similar non-ps head? If I use Fiberskyn for the Reso side of the kick drum, what are the potential differences in sound if I use the following on the batter side...
a. another Fiberskyn
b. Coated Ambassador
c. Coated Powerstroke 3
d. Renaissance Ambassador
e. Renaissance Powerstroke 3
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  #5  
Old 10-07-2010, 10:23 AM
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uniin uniin is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

8) definantly go coated if you're playing with brushes. you need the grain to make 1/2 the sounds brushes make.
9) i use a thinner head (coated ambassador) on my snare, and coated emperors on toms, and a either superkick I or powerstroke 4.
superkick I is essentially an ambassador with a foam ring.
the thing you will find with drums is it's not "That is better for that" or "no don't get that, they are shit get these instead" its all up to yourself. the only situation that those kind of quotes will come up in is say a pearl forum going up against a DW collecters or something. (low range drums vs high range)
10) go for it, if thats the sound you want. i've never tried it so i can not justify anything. but if you don't like it at least you have a 2nd batter skin on each head as a backup/replacement later ^^;
11) a) no idea
b) coated ambassador will be similar to the powerstroke 3 but there still will be a slight difference
c) coated powerstroke 3 will eliminate more overtones giving it an all around "warmer" sound (coat = thickness = warmer sound)
d) no idea
e) no idea.

a clear powerstroke 3 is still very boomey without any pillows inside your bass drum. infact on my practice kit i have a powerstroke 4 on it with a pillow inside, if you really want tomorow after work i can take that off and put my spare powerstroke 3 with no dampening on it and give you a small test with a camera mic (sorry no akg d112's D:)


your sound isn't only going to come down to the skin it's also:
- what sticks you use (thickness, wooden tip, plastic tip, lenght)
- what grip you use
- where you strike the drum
- how high you strike the drum from (volume)
- how you strike the drum (rim shot, backstick, normal stroke)
- how you tune the drum
- what wood the drum is
- the sizes of the drums
- which way the grain goes
- what kind of mounting system
- how thick the drum is.

etc the list goes on
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  #6  
Old 10-07-2010, 05:13 PM
AnalogousGumdropDecoder AnalogousGumdropDecoder is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

Thanks. I totally realize that much (or most) of my sound will come from the way I play and that the tone of the drums and heads and sticks and all that contribute as well. It's the same with guitars - tone wood, neck joint, fretboard material, hardware, pick-ups, strings, height of strings off the neck, pick/fingers/combo, pick thickness and material, right and left hand techniques, pedals, amplifier, even the placement of the amp, etc, etc, etc...

Right now I'm just wanting opinions on the things I've already got my eyes set on so I know what to look for and to maybe make some refinements in my choices. I'm pretty much already locked into fiberskyns for most heads, but because of advice on here I'm probably now going to check on a coated snarne head instead. I've also heard that maybe Evans coating lasts longer? Is this true? What's the Evans equivalent of diplomat? (I can probably dig this up on my own later by comparing thicknesses on the company websites).

I'm also going to look into different sticks, brushes, and more. When I used to play, I always bashed with big fat sticks (I think for the same reasons that kindergarteners write with huge pencils). I'm wanting to start messing around with skinny sticks though because I've heard about them possibly leading to increased dexterity, dynamics, difference in the way the sticks bounce of the heads, and less wear to the drum heads. I've also noticed a lot of jazz guys use them, and I usually find jazz techniques more interesting that rock techniques and I figure there's probably a reason those guys use small sticks. I also want to try thinner heads for the same reason, and figure lighter sticks and lighter touch may compliment the lighter heads more. I know NOTHING about tip sizes and shapes though. I'll research it. Fantasizing about agop cymbals too unless I find something better in the price range.
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  #7  
Old 10-07-2010, 05:58 PM
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Shedboyxx Shedboyxx is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

I can only comment on Fiberskyn heads in reference to snares since I've never put them on any other drums (ala Jeff Hamilton).

I've tried to like Fiberskyn's but always end up with the same issues.

The first is that they don't get the stick sound I look for on snares. The attack is muted and therefore a bit mushy for back beat style playing. Not as much an issue if all I'm playing is straight ahead jazz stuff. Also it may be a bit different if you like your snare cranked (I don't).
The second is that they inevitably de-laminate or bubble up. This happens after a fairly short period. Every time.

I do like how they feel under brushes out of the box. However, they don't have as much grit as I like for certain brush playing situations.

My favorite snare head continues to be a single ply coated head. The only caveat is that I will sand the head with fine grit sandpaper to get it to where I like it. Then it's perfect for any situation.

You sound locked into Remo heads but I'll also recommend that you take a look at Aquarian Modern Vintage heads. The Mediums would give a bit more warmth and 'thud' (although I equate that term mostly with heavier, 2-ply heads) and also are geared toward the sound you are writing about. the Thins are closer to Diplomats. I've used these heads several times on different snare drums with success. I still had to sand them down as the coating could snag brushes like any other new coated head I've used. BTW: Aquarian's coating has lasted me the longest. I've gotten in incredibly small amount of heads over the last 9 year using them where the coating came off right when I played them. These heads were from bad production runs. Getting in touch with Aquarian prompted Roy Burns to fly into action. I received healthy replacements within days and a call from the man himself. Great customer service.

HTH

Jim
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2010, 09:32 PM
AnalogousGumdropDecoder AnalogousGumdropDecoder is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

I'm completely open to any brand of heads, especially on the snare. Possibly the kick batter side as well. I was just particular intrigued by the fiberskyns as a synthetic calfskin. I was already curious about the Evans coated snare heads, and now I'm curious about Aquarian as well. Since I'm not really a drummer, I'm way more familiar with Remo terminology so when I say "Diplomat" or "Ambassador" or something else I mean "or equivalent from another brand."

Thanks for the recommendations on the Aquarians. I'll check into it.


EDIT:
What causes the fiberskyns to bubble? That sounds horrible.

Last edited by AnalogousGumdropDecoder; 10-07-2010 at 09:35 PM. Reason: additional question
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2010, 01:05 AM
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Winston_Wolf Winston_Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

The Fiberskyns bubble because the top calf-looking layer eventually pulls away from the bottom ply. I've seen it happen quickly, or never at all, the de-lamination can be just dumb luck sometimes.

I'm playing Aquarian Modern Vintage, and I absolutely love them. They're very warm, mellow, and they are plenty rough enough for brushes.

If I were ever to go back to Remo, it would be playing Renaissance. I think they're the most interesting (and problem free) head they make.

Evans makes a head similar to Renaissance called Strata, and I really like those too. They're warm, but a little brighter and not quite as thick as the Modern Vintage heads.

Either way, I like matching calf-like heads top and bottom. It really increases the effect of the warmth and rich tone you're getting from those kinds of heads.
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  #10  
Old 10-08-2010, 02:13 AM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

I second (or third?) the Aquarian suggestion.

I use them on my snare and, as Shedboyxx said, they do give a nice warm sound. 'Thuddy' comes close to describing it, but doesn't do it justice. To me, it's just a low, fat, 'vintagey' sound. The absolute best head I've ever used for brushes.

I used to use Fiberskyn heads but got sick on the de-lamination issue on every head (yes, every one). I switched to Aquarian a few years ago and like them so much better. I've had only one issue with a chipped coating, and again, as Shedboyxx alluded to, Aquarian sent me a replacement head, no questions asked.

Conversely, I had contacted Remo when I was using the Fiberskyns and received absolutely no help. They weren't willing to offer any sort of replacement at all. As a result, I don't use any Remo products.
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2010, 05:11 PM
AnalogousGumdropDecoder AnalogousGumdropDecoder is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

Are the Rennaissance and Modern Vintage similar calfskin type heads?
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2010, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogousGumdropDecoder View Post
Are the Rennaissance and Modern Vintage similar calfskin type heads?
No.

I honestly don't get how Remo can say both the Renaissance and Fiberskyn heads simulate calfskin when they sound completely different. The Rennaissance heads are quite a bit brighter. I would almost compare them to Evans' J1 head in that it's not really coated; it's etched.
They don't give that warm sound that you get from the Fiberskyns or the Modern Vintage heads.
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2010, 12:23 AM
AnalogousGumdropDecoder AnalogousGumdropDecoder is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

Do the Modern or American Vintage heads have that calfskin type sound (the site claims so)? What's the difference besides color? Are they suitable for brushes - or will I still need a regular coated snare head?

Thanks for all your help.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:57 AM
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Winston_Wolf Winston_Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Modern Vintage heads have a different film from the other Aquarian heads, but I think the key to their sound is the coating, which is pretty thick and much rougher than any other coating I've seen on any brand. The heavy coating gives them a warm, low, mellow sound, and once they've been played in a bit they mellow out even further and sound even better.

The Modern Vintage heads work great for brushes, almost too great if you're used to a regular coated head. The MV coating is much rougher, and until it wears a bit brushes have tons of projection.
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  #15  
Old 10-12-2010, 04:50 PM
AnalogousGumdropDecoder AnalogousGumdropDecoder is offline
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Default Re: Questions about Remo Fiberyskyn and more.

I picked up some fiberskyn batter heads for my toms, but I ended up needing some other drum parts so I cheaped out with clear ambassadors for resos. I'm probably buying a snare tonight, so I'll probably be picking up some heads for it (prolly Modern Vintage) in the next week or so and I'm going to get some fiberskyns for my kick then. I'll post my thoughts once I get everything replaced and tuned up. Then it will be on to saving for a ride cymbal. I accidentally messed around and heard what some turkish hand-hammered cymbals sounded like, so when I went to the shop and tapped on a bunch of regular mass produced Zildjians and such, I just couldn't feel it. More on that in the future. Thanks all for the input.
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