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  #1  
Old 10-11-2008, 06:45 PM
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criz p. critter criz p. critter is offline
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Default Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

Hey all...

I'm currently in experimental mode with my Vistalites. Got the toms sounding great but would like to get a better sound from the 24" kick. I'm gonna spend some time this weekend playing around with it.

First off, yes I know Vistalites are loud and bright, and I like that about them. (I also have a mahogany kit for when I want a warm sound.) But I do want to "warm-up" the 24" Vistalite kick. I had a Superkick 1 on the batter and a ported Ambassador on reso. I was pretty happy with that sound. Then last week I tried putting a PowerStroke 3 on the batter (keeping the ported reso), and now I have a very crappy sound. A lot of slappy attack and no warm resonance/overtones. (Oh, and I want to use clear heads because it's a Vistalite...) I don't want to deaden it too much: I've tried a SuperKick 2 and found that too dead. I'm looking to maximise what open-ness, warmth and resonance I can, to get the most deep, round sound possible out of acrylic.

I'm first going to try a clear Emad for the batter and unported clear Ambassador on the reso. I'm hoping that will be a nice combo. But I also want to try other ideas, and that brings me to my two questions for all of you...

1) Any other suggestions for the batter? I'm thinking of maybe Evans EQ1, or even (god forbid!) a Hydraulic.

2) The port/no port question: I don't really like the feel of an unported kick. The rebound is a little too much for me. I've heard of DW "vented" heads. I'm wondering if that would be the ticket for my reso head. Do they come in clear? And without the DW logo? Any other vented choices out there? (And I mean literally vented... lots of little pinholes or whatever in the head. As opposed to a vented muffling ring, like Aquarian uses.) Has anyone tried punching their own pinholes in a reso? If so, I assume you just keep adding holes until you get the feel (lessening the batter rebound) until it feels right?

Your feedback will be much appreciated.
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Last edited by criz p. critter; 10-11-2008 at 06:55 PM. Reason: correction
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2008, 09:36 PM
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harryconway harryconway is offline
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

Are you using a plastic beater? Felt? Wood? These things are gonna affect your kick sound, as well as having a "flam" patch on the batter, or not. If you,re going for that "Bonham" vista sound, remember, he had an old school felt beater (Speed King), Controlled Sound (black dot) head batter, and a felt strip. I ran clear Pinstripes (mostly) on my vista's batter. 22x14's and 22x16's. Ambassadors reso (sometimes ported - sometimes not). And always a felt beater.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

You say you were happy with the Super Kick 1. Why not stick with that? Put a ported Aquarian Regulator on the front.
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2008, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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Originally Posted by harryconway View Post
Are you using a plastic beater? Felt? Wood? These things are gonna affect your kick sound, as well as having a "flam" patch on the batter, or not. If you,re going for that "Bonham" vista sound, remember, he had an old school felt beater (Speed King), Controlled Sound (black dot) head batter, and a felt strip. I ran clear Pinstripes (mostly) on my vista's batter. 22x14's and 22x16's. Ambassadors reso (sometimes ported - sometimes not). And always a felt beater.
Harry: it's the standard beater for a DW5000 pedal, plastic with a felt striking area. Do those sound different that the old-scholl round felt beaters? No flam patch. I'm not going for the Bonham sound, although I love it. I just want a real full resonant low end.

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Originally Posted by wolfmoon View Post
You say you were happy with the Super Kick 1. Why not stick with that? Put a ported Aquarian Regulator on the front.
Wolfmoon: cuz it's a little flat and dead. I was happy with it, but I'm looking for improvement now. Since I'm between bands, the kit is sitting at home, and I'm taking advantage of that to give them a good cleaning and going-over. Like I said, the toms are sounding great, and I've got a Supra 402 which is flippin' awesome(!!), and so I just want to see if I can get the kick up to a higher level.
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Last edited by criz p. critter; 10-12-2008 at 12:59 AM. Reason: cuz I can!
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  #5  
Old 10-12-2008, 01:01 AM
wy yung wy yung is offline
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

I think on the vistas you can't beat a good old emperor clear on the kick and batter side of toms. Clear ambassadors on the reso side.
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2008, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

So I've been playing around a bit, and I've gotten a really good result. I pulled the heads off my Gretsch to try them on the Vistalite. It's the stock heads that came with the kit: emad batter, and what I guess is an EQ1 reso. (Don't know for sure, cuz the head doesn't say Evans, but I know Evans makes heads for Gretsch.) Anyway, it sounds totally huge, a lot more low end and resonance going on. The reso isn't ported, so I'm getting some beater bounce, but it's not as bad as I've experienced on my Gretsch, because the Gretsch is a virgin kick, while the Vistalite has basically a 1" port on the top, because I'm not using the kick-mounted tom holder. I've also got an Evans EQ pad in there that's slightly touching the batter, but not the reso.

Only problem is, the EQ1 is black, doesn't come in clear, and I want a clear head, so I need to buy another reso. I'm thinking an Aquarian Full Force 1 will be a good choice. It's practically the same thing as the EQ1. I tried my PowerStroke 3 as the reso, cuz it's about the same thing as the EQ1 and FF1--about the closest thing Remo makes to them anyway--but it just doesn't sound as nice as the EQ1.

I've ordered a FF1 and it'll be here in a week. Hopefully it sounds as nice as the EQ1. If so, I'll have achieved what I set out to, and I'll be really happy with the new sound.

..... and so I guess my earlier question about DW and/or other vented heads is a moot point, since the Vista does have that 1" hole. But I'm still curious if anyone has any experience with the DW head, or with poking holes with a pin.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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Originally Posted by wy yung View Post
I think on the vistas you can't beat a good old emperor clear on the kick and batter side of toms. Clear ambassadors on the reso side.
Yeah, I'm curious about what that would sound like, cuz back in the day I always used to run a coated Emperor/Ambassador setup on my toms. I think my drum shop will let me try a pair like that and bring them back if I don't like 'em. I'll try it out...
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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Originally Posted by criz p. critter View Post
Harry: it's the standard beater for a DW5000 pedal, plastic with a felt striking area. Do those sound different that the old-scholl round felt beaters? No flam patch. I'm not going for the Bonham sound, although I love it. I just want a real full resonant low end.
Clear Ambassador reso. and, if you're happy with the Emad batter, cool. As a Remo guy, I run Powerstroke 3's batter, a lot. Especially on kicks. If you're using the felt side of the DW beater, the sound difference between it and a full hard felt beater probably won't be that much. If you're using the plastic side, don't. When I had my DW 5000s, first thing I did was replace the beaters with old school hard felt beaters. I much prefer those, and you might find you get less bounce with a hard felt over the DW stock. I know I did. Larger kicks also tend to bounce back more. Adjusting your pedal technique (getting the beater off the head faster), a HOLZ reso. port, lots of stuff to play with. For years (30+) I played nothing but 22" kicks. Only recently did I get into 24, 26 and 28s.
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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Originally Posted by harryconway View Post
Clear Ambassador reso. and, if you're happy with the Emad batter, cool. As a Remo guy, I run Powerstroke 3's batter, a lot. Especially on kicks. If you're using the felt side of the DW beater, the sound difference between it and a full hard felt beater probably won't be that much. If you're using the plastic side, don't. When I had my DW 5000s, first thing I did was replace the beaters with old school hard felt beaters. I much prefer those, and you might find you get less bounce with a hard felt over the DW stock. I know I did. Larger kicks also tend to bounce back more. Adjusting your pedal technique (getting the beater off the head faster), a HOLZ reso. port, lots of stuff to play with. For years (30+) I played nothing but 22" kicks. Only recently did I get into 24, 26 and 28s.
Thanks for the further info, Harry. Well, I think I nailed it down, the sound I was looking for.

I was off on a tangent thinking of putting an EQ1 (or Aquarian Full Force) on for the reso. First, I was mixing up the EQ1 with the EMAD reso... it's the EMAD reso that doesn't come in black. That would have been my first choice for the reso if I could get it in clear. Too bad... But on further reflection and research, I've decided that the EQ1 and FF1 are too heavy. They are really made for the batter side.

So I'm going with the Ambassador for the reso, like you suggested. Keeping the EMAD, cuz it's sounding really nice. I did try the PS3/Ambassador. That's what I had when I started this thread, and I really don't like that combo. The EMAD really adds a lot of low end. So I'm really happy with the heads...

I've also got a Holz port, cuz I just couldn't get used to the beater bounce. I really did try, cuz I had the idea going in to this that I wanted to run un-ported, but even when I'm letting the beater rebound quickly, there is still this little multiple-bounce thing happening right on the initial stroke. It just feels and sounds too weird. I tried playing with the tension of the batter, and putting the Evans EQ pad more firmly against the batter, but nothing really got rid of that irritating bounce.

So I went back and forth with a ported and unported Ambassador, and found that by dialing in the tuning just right, I can get the ported setup to sound just like the non-ported. Given the large 24" size, like you said, I don't think I'll ever be rid of that bounce without a port. So, that's a no-brainer for me.

Final verdict: EMAD batter, tuned rather low, just above wrinkle stage. Ambassador reso, tuned higher, and with a Holz port. Evans EQ pad inside, lightly touching both heads. Looks like the main factors that have changed my sound for the better were: the EMAD, and the tuning.

I still am going to to a tiny bit of tweaking next weekend. I'd like to try one of those old-school round felt beaters. Seems like that will have a bit less bounce and a bit less focussed attack "slap" sound. And then I'd also like to try one of those foam-style port holes that Evans makes, instead of the Holz. But basically for now, I'm really happy with the new sound!

I'm inspired! Now on to the next project... re-tuning and tweaking my mahogany Gretsch!
I stole the clear EMAD off the Gretsch, so I'm getting a coated EMAD to replace it. If I take the principles I've been learning and apply them to the Gretsch, I bet I'll be able to get that kick sounding killer!
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

Btw, I'm going for a record in this thread: "The Most Number of Times Replying to Your Own Thread" award...
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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Btw, I'm going for a record in this thread: "The Most Number of Times Replying to Your Own Thread" award...
As long as you don't start referring to yourself in the 3rd person, it'll be OK. Glad you got your sound sorted out. Pick up a few different types of beaters. It's the easiest and fastest way to change your sound. I really dislike the DW style plastic/felt jobs. They just don't feel "right" to me. The only felt/plastic combo I have are mounted on my Off-Set pedals, which are part of my e-kit. Since they're hammering reverse on a Pintech Ergo kick, it's about the total anthisis of an "organic" kick drum. I have some 11 different beaters in my box of trix. Hard felt, soft felt, round, square, combo felt/wood, all wood, etc. You can change out a beater way faster than you can change out a drum head. Is your Gretsch a Purewood?
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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Is your Gretsch a Purewood?
Yeah, I've got the Purewood African Mahogany in the 4-pc configuration: 16x24, 9x13, 16x16, 6.5x14. I think I might be the only one on the forum other than Kona that has one, and he's got the 6-pc fusion sizes. I wanted the big kick, and 4-pc is my ideal setup. My Vistalite kit is the same exact sizes. (Well, the Vista kick is actually 14x24...)
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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.... Purewood African Mahogany in the 4-pc configuration: 16x24, 9x13, 16x16, 6.5x14.
Really sweet kit. So African Mahogany on one side.....and acrylic drums almost the polar opposite of the spectrum. Nice variety.
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

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Really sweet kit. So African Mahogany on one side.....and acrylic drums almost the polar opposite of the spectrum. Nice variety.
Yeah, it's great having both. The Purewood just stays at home where it's safe. That kit isn't replaceable. If I ever do any more recording, though, I'd love to use that kit. The Vistas are the gig kit. I wanted something that looked and sounded cool, that I wouldn't have to worry too much about (they're not in collector's condition). It was either them or an 80s Tama Superstar, and the Vistas won out.

Hey, what's your Rogers project I've seen mention of? Do you have a link to another thread? I had two Rogers kits back in the day, a blue sparkle and a white kit (that looked like bathroom fixtures). I've always loved the older script-logo Rogers drums. I find myself nowdays looking at auctions and drooling.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: Looking for new heads for 24" Vistalite kick

I played clear Vista's for 25 years, as my "stage" drums. And when I sold them, I sold them for as much (or more) than I paid for them. Treat they with just a modicum of respect, and they'll serve you fine, for gigs. Most of the time I never even used cases. Just common sense and a little bit of careful. You can find my Rogers project here: http://harryconway.typepad.com/ which started out innocent enough, as me just building a jam room. One thing morphed into another...
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