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  #1  
Old 10-22-2014, 01:53 PM
GrebGoneBad GrebGoneBad is offline
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Default Best Snare Head...

Hi all!

I'm wondering what your opinions are on the best snare heads (Batter and reso) for a metal snare drum, as in the snare is made of metal. I have a Tama Lars Ulrich Signature snare and have been trying and failing for some time to find the right combination of tuning and heads to get this snare sounding the way I want, which is as follows:

- Plenty of 'snap' when you first strike the drum
- A deep 'boom' sound after

The only way I can think of describing the sound is, well, like how Lars's snare sounds in the Enter Sandman album. I know, I know, there's effects and all sorts of things at play, but I should be able to at least come close?

What I want to know is, what are your personal recommendation for both the batter and reso side heads, and how would you tune them? Both the same, Batter higher than the reso or reso higher than the batter?

Any advice is GREATLY appreciated! =)
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Old 10-22-2014, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

I love the Evans reverse dot batter. I use it on all my snares. Evans Hzy 300 or the Remo snare reso head. I also use Puresound 20 strand snare wires.

As far as tuning goes a good start place that works for me is tuning the reso to an A note and the batter to a C#.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:13 PM
GrebGoneBad GrebGoneBad is offline
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bsticks View Post
I love the Evans reverse dot batter. I use it on all my snares. Evans Hzy 300 or the Remo snare reso head. I also use Puresound 20 strand snare wires.

As far as tuning goes a good start place that works for me is tuning the reso to an A note and the batter to a C#.
It's funny that you should mention Evans drum heads, because I have actually settled on Evans for all my drums bar the snare so far. =)

With regards to the reverse dot, which model were you on about specifically? I can see three different models on their website...

My wires are fine for the moment, no need to change them at this time, however I shall remember your suggestion when it comes to replace them. =)

I'll see what I can do about tuning my snare to this standard, I might have to borrow a guitar tuner from my friend of course unless you know of an easier way?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:33 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Dude, if you want the sweetest sounding batter side snare head, you have to go with the Genera Dry. It's a single ply, giving you a very tasty level of sensitivity yet if you tune it a bit low.. bottom an A4 and top maybe a F or G prior to that A, it will sound freakin' ridiculous (in a good way). I'm running one on my 6.5" deep Birch Starclassic and my 1968 5" deep Supra. The results are equally astonishing on both snares.
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Last edited by Defender; 10-23-2014 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:41 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Defender View Post
Dude, if you want the sweetest sounding snare side head, you have to go with the General Dry.
Snare side or batter?
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:48 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Defender View Post

...you have to go with the General Dry...

Do you mean Genera Dry? http://www.evansdrumheads.com/EvProd...f-79f2993066cb

I've used a Genera HD Dry,
http://www.evansdrumheads.com/EvProd...uctname=HD_Dry
but it really dampens the drum. Good for the ringiest of snares though.
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

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Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
Do you mean Genera Dry?
I'm sure he does. I'm not convinced he means for a snare side head though.

A 10mil head with a dampening ring on the bottom? Way too thick for all but the most specific of purposes. May as well ditch the snare and play a cardboard box.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:07 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

I can't imagine he means resonant side.

Evans's "dry" heads are certainly more muffled than the average head. If you struggle with errant high overtones, they might help, but personally I'd use something I can adjust like a DrumClip.

There is no best snare head. I've never heard a good-sounding snare with the batter tighter than the resonant head. It sounds like you will want a medium/low-tuned top head with a bit of muffling, probably a ring of some kind.

Make sure you're doing rimshots.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Quote:
Originally Posted by porter View Post
I can't imagine he means resonant side.

Evans's "dry" heads are certainly more muffled than the average head. If you struggle with errant high overtones, they might help, but personally I'd use something I can adjust like a DrumClip.

There is no best snare head. I've never heard a good-sounding snare with the batter tighter than the resonant head. It sounds like you will want a medium/low-tuned top head with a bit of muffling, probably a ring of some kind.

Make sure you're doing rimshots.
Good advice here....agree there is no best snare head. Also would be careful about predamped heads...dry, dots, etc.

I have the Tama lars and it is a monster.....love that drum. I use remo coated ambassadors on all my snares then find the right batter/ res tuning ratio for the drum. Generally tight on the bottom and medium on top.

Starting with an open head is usually best and you can carry a couple rings if they are needed in a pinch...different inner diameters on the rings. Also a real great trick is to have some duct tape along.....pull a piece and roll it over on itself so all sticky on the outside.....then find the right spot on the batter.

I've the same tape on my Acro for several years....it just gets the job done
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:53 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

The head depends on the drum, and the sound you're going for.

I have a very ringy Force 3005 snare and had a vintage Premier Olympic Model 1005 snare, both were very open-sounding snares. I used heavier heads on those, like an Evans Genera G2, to tame down the ring.

An old Ludwig Blacro and my Sonor Delite 14x6" snare both sound best with a Coated Ambassador head. I'd rather use a piece of Moongel on a head than a muffler ring, tape or heavy head, because it's easier to position or remove, to taste...and looks less ghetto. Another tip: Go to the dollar store and buy some Halloween or Christmas-themed window gels; they come in various shapes & sizes and are the exact same material as Moongels...at a fraction of the price. I put them on certain drum heads & cymbals to get the sound I'm looking for. I'll never buy ripoff-priced Moongels again!
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Yes guys, I meant Genera Dry on the Batter Side.. Sorry about the confusion. And I use Hazy 300's on the snare side.
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2014, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrebGoneBad View Post
It's funny that you should mention Evans drum heads, because I have actually settled on Evans for all my drums bar the snare so far. =)

With regards to the reverse dot, which model were you on about specifically? I can see three different models on their website...

My wires are fine for the moment, no need to change them at this time, however I shall remember your suggestion when it comes to replace them. =)

I'll see what I can do about tuning my snare to this standard, I might have to borrow a guitar tuner from my friend of course unless you know of an easier way?

Thanks for the help!
The Power Ceneter Reverse Dot.
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2014, 03:07 PM
GrebGoneBad GrebGoneBad is offline
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Wow, so many replies since I last checked! Thanks guys!

@ Defender- I think I might try out a Genera Dry, I listened to the sound clip on Evans' website and I think it sounds great! I think the only problem I'll have is my own tuning skill. =P

@ porter- You are right, there is no flat out 'best' of anything really, I was just wondering is someone with a similar snare to my own had any recommendations. =)

I thought tuning the batter side higher than the reso side would be a bad idea, but I have heard of some who do it so I just wondered. XDe

@ shemp- It really is a great snare isn't it? I couldn't believe how heavy the bleeding thing was when I first got it! XD I use a remo ambassador at the minute but I just don't seem to be able to tune it quite right to how I want. This could of course simply be my own lack of tuning skills? I've got the batter lower than the reso at the moment, but maybe I'll have a paly around and see what I can do.

I use moon gel pads for dampening, I find they work best. I don't know about you but I've always found the Lars Tama to have an awful amount of ring to it no matter the tuning, but a couple of moon gel pads eliminates it completely! I would definitely recommend them for a more permanent solution!

@ Coelacanth- Ironic how you should mention moon gel, my reply to shemp should explain why. XD
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

I tried the genera head, just a bit too dry for my taste, however if you do get one and it dries your drum out too much you can cut the extra muffling ring out in the inside of the hoop. Opens the drum up a bit more. Good luck.
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrebGoneBad View Post
I use moon gel pads for dampening, I find they work best. I don't know about you but I've always found the Lars Tama to have an awful amount of ring to it no matter the tuning, but a couple of moon gel pads eliminates it completely! I would definitely recommend them for a more permanent solution!
Don't be surprised if you eliminate both moon gels from your snare with the Genera Dry head. I used to use 1 moon gel on each of my snares, with this head I use ZERO moon gels.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

I'm not all that picky when it comes to snare heads since most of the way the drum will sound is dependent on how the heads are tuned. I am pretty finicky about snare sounds though, it's just that I can get that sound with most heads as long as they're not of any of the "dry" variety.

I haven't played many heads outside of Remo and Evans, but any of the single ply 10-mil heads like a G1, Ambassador, or any reverse dot works great. Ditto for the 2-ply G2 or Emperor. Snare sides are either Ambassador or Hazy 300. I have never tried any other weight snare side as I've never felt the need to look beyond these. They just work and there's probably a reason 99% of snares have these.

For tuning, I go very tight on the reso and medium tight on the batter. After you experiment around and find that spot you like, and with some additional reps (experience) you'll be able to speed up the time it takes to get that sound.

Lastly, I pretty much avoid pre-damped heads as they take any available headroom off the table right out of the box. I'd rather use a moongel or piece of duct tape to tame it down, but rarely ever do.

As with many (all, actually) instruments, the sound you're going for is one that sits in a musical context just right. What that means is that a head/dampening/tuning combination that sounds great in your bedroom might be lacking something with a band, and the snare the sits just perfect with the band may positively sound like ass all by itself. I would even argue that this is usually the case. The reason for this is actually pretty simple: drums produce a lot of crazy overtones that might not be pleasing to the ear in isolation, but there's so much going on sonically with a full band playing that most of them get washed out. So if you're obsessing over getting rid of every weird little overtone, you'll likely end up killing some of the ones you want in the end. My approach is to get it tuned where I think it will be pretty close and finish dialing it in while practicing with the band.
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Last edited by MikeM; 10-23-2014 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

This is why I like this forum...so many great insights and ideas.

Fwiw, I wanted to add one further insight into the pre-damped heads. In all candor, I've only been drumming for 5 years but I have been a gigging musician for over 30. Also, as an obviously sick and obsessed gear freak, I spend lots of time messing with gear; especially snare drums.

To me....and this is just my experience...in addition to stepping on the tone, the pre-damped heads take away some of the stick feel I enjoy in a snare. I certainly notice a "damped" stick feedback and thud that I don't care for. This is subjective mind you.

Additionally, I'm an Evans head user on every drum..except snare batter..and that is because my ears and hands detect a sweet spot when that coated ambassador starts to wear, lose some of it's coating and "break in". The weakness of the coating compared to the Evans G1 actually works in my favor....to the point that I stopped experimenting with heads.

None of this makes a hill of beans worth of a difference to anyone in a band I work with or in any audience...but it is interesting to me and fun to wiggle into the sweet spot with my gear.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

I like a coated head because I do a lot of brush and sizzle work. Currently I am using an Evans dry head and I think it's a hazy reso, but it could be a remo... I just asked for a nice thin reso and I can't remember what it was.

I rarely break or dent heads therefore I don't change them out too much.
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Old 10-24-2014, 02:37 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
...I pretty much avoid pre-damped heads as they take any available headroom off the table right out of the box. I'd rather use a moongel or piece of duct tape to tame it down, but rarely ever do.

As with many (all, actually) instruments, the sound you're going for is one that sits in a musical context just right. What that means is that a head/dampening/tuning combination that sounds great in your bedroom might be lacking something with a band, and the snare the sits just perfect with the band may positively sound like ass all by itself. I would even argue that this is usually the case. The reason for this is actually pretty simple: drums produce a lot of crazy overtones that might not be pleasing to the ear in isolation, but there's so much going on sonically with a full band playing that most of them get washed out. So if you're obsessing over getting rid of every weird little overtone, you'll likely end up killing some of the ones you want in the end. My approach is to get it tuned where I think it will be pretty close and finish dialing it in while practicing with the band.
This^^^^ This^^^^ This^^^^^

Well said! Last gig, I decided to go with the Chad Smith Signature snare (5x14 steel, Evans coated Powercenter Reverse Dot)). I normally use about 1/4 Moongel at the very edge, but for this room, I decided to take it off and go wide open. It sounded rather "ringy" when played alone, but fit in with the whole band perfectly!
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:09 PM
GrebGoneBad GrebGoneBad is offline
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

More great replies! Thanks everyone!

@ 2bsticks- I might be buying a variety of heads suggested here and just try them out over the next few months. To that effect I'll certainly remember your advice about the muffling ring!

@ Defender- Really? No Moon Gel? O.o What kind of sorcery is this? XD No, but seriously, if I can get to a point where I don't need the Moon Gel, I'll be thankful. Not that they're overly annoying or anything but something just doesn't sit right with having to put 10 bits of rubber on a 600 snare drum. Probably just my OCD talking...

@ MikeM- Not that I've ignored the rest of your comment, but with regards to your last paragraph specifically, you are right. I can see a noticeable difference in sound while rehearsing, but I don't know if it's the heads I'm using, my tuning, or something else entirely, but even the other band members have pointed out that my snare seems to have alot of 'ring' and overtones to it without the Moon Gel. However, I do plan on buying a variety of the heads mentioned here, and I'll definitely take your advice about tuning to the 'good enough' stage at home and fine tuning with the band!

@ shemp- Definitely. Best drumming forum I've come across so far!

I'm not a major fan of pre-dampened heads either for the same reason you stated, however at the same time while the Moon Gel pads certainly serve their purpose I would rather have to not use them at all. For now they're a necessary evil for me. Without them my snare sounds like a tin can. XD

@ GeoB- I'm the same as you with regards to how often you change your heads. I don't get to play the drums half as often as I should (I maybe get 3-5 hours in a week on a Saturday, and that's if I have enough money to rent out the room...) because I don't have a dedicated place to set up and use my gear without p*%$ing everyone off! XD

@ FreDrummer- Unfortunately I've not had the chance to gig yet so I don't know how the sound of my kit will differ from the relatively 'acoustically balanced' environment of our practice room to the sound in, let's say, a local bar during an open mic night. I think this is just another issue I'll have to overcome in time. =)
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  #21  
Old 11-04-2014, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

So, GrebGoneBad... What have you tried and how did it work?
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  #22  
Old 11-10-2014, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

I recently visited my local drum shop to purchase a new batter head for my bronze 14x6.5 snare drum. I've always used Remo CA. I decided to go with the G1 coated level 360 just because the Remos never sat comfortably on my bronze sensitone bearing edge I had a noticeable wobble. and it kind of bothered me. + to see what all the hype was about. The G1 sat perfectly all around for starters. Then I rotated it to see what all the fuss was about...not bad. At this point I installed the G1 over a hazy ambassador but found the sound to be to narrow and focused and kind of dirty if you will, it didn't possess that dry crispiness I get with the remo ca it was rather muffled. Mind you at lower tunings the remo ca's kinda made the drum sound thin almost papery.

Then I swapped out the hazy ambassador for a clear Aquarian reso and bam! The sound opened up to the point where it blew the remo ca out of the water. Meety dry crisp what can i say, I can't get enough of the sound, its absolutely awesome and have found the perfect head combo for me on that particular snare. No more papery sound at lower tuning. I rarely tune my snare low to med only for certain applications, I usually tune medtighttight reso and med tight batter if that makes sense and its giving me that snapsnap crack.
Sorry for the long post but i just wanted to give everyone a little background info as to how I arrived at this head combo. Highly recommend this for Remo CA fans.

Batter= Evans G1 coated level 360
Reso=Aquarian classic clear reso or any clear 300 weight reso head I guess.

hope this helps and if anyone tries this please post any feedback, I would really like to hear your opinions. Thanks and god bless.
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  #23  
Old 11-10-2014, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

For batter head, it depends on the application. For snare side head, the best head for ANY use is: http://www.remo.com/portal/products/.../ss_clear.html
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  #24  
Old 11-10-2014, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: Best Snare Head...

Size of drum, wood type, genre, metal type. Too many reasons toe toon just one
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