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  #1  
Old 01-14-2009, 09:05 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

I know that sounds crazy but I really am struggling getting a good sound from my Yamaha Recording Custom birch wood shells.
These are stained (no wrap).
The most difficult tom is the 10x12" (10" depth, 12" diameter).
I know how to tune - been playing drums for 31 years. I understand what happens when a drum is struck and how the vibrations travel through the shell and affect the resonant head and all that pretty much transpires to create the sound. My problem is, I simply can't get the warm satisfying tone no matter what I try. It always sounds like a semi-deflated basketball - very dead and papery sounding - sometimes there's even a subtle vibration coming from the head itself.
Currently I have an Evans resonant head on the bottom and the Evans G2 clear as the batter. I have tried Remo coated and pinstripes with not much luck. Same goes for the 16" floor tom - it sounds like a darn basketball being bounced on a paper bag.
I know these shells are advertised as the most recorded in history - I have listened to Carter Beauford's Recording Customs and they sound amazing - just like the sound I want, but I can't seem to get anywhere near that good a sound.
I have been trying for a year to tune these drums, between head changes and at various gigs to see if different acoustics is the solution. I am still frustrated because I will then sit down and play a friend's kit who I know has no clue how to tune a drum, has neglected tuning or even changing heads in years, and his drums sound amazing - they were Yamaha stage custom (maple) and the heads were beaten to death and really loose - yet they sounded awesome. I went home and tried to simulate his "tuning" with no luck.
I can't afford to buy every type of drum head on the market and experiment with what will work best with a birch shell - so this is starting to drive me crazy. I am beginning to think I actually have a good sounding drum but I have become such a perfectionist I can't hear the wood through the trees :p
Anyone with the same shells have any advice as to what type of heads work best for you? What kind of resonant and batter heads you use - I like a warm deep sounding kit all around that's pretty open. I just hate the initial "slappy paper" like sound I get now and brightness). I guess I am looking for a batter head that provides an deeper tone than the Evans G2.
Thanks for your time.
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2009, 09:27 PM
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veggo32 veggo32 is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

A whole year?
tough to say, but I would check my hoops make sure they sit flat and are not bent anywhere, rounder the better. Next, check the shells.
Lug casings?
I'm not sure how deep of a tone you can get with birch. if your looking for that deep maple sound then you need to buy a maple drum kit.

Bottom line either you are doing something wrong or something is bad with your RC''s.
sorry to say but it has to be one or the other.
Almost any head wiil sound great on that kit. some better than others but all will sound decent.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:35 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

thanks veggo32,
well a year of playing normally but experimenting with different heads along the way. I think you are right about the maple/birch wood sounds - I would love to have a maple kit in addition to this one. I do love my RCs - my bass drum sound is great - very deep and with an actual note when struck.
I will check the bearing edges and hardware.
UPDATE: I just removed both hoops and checked them for warpage - they are in perfect condition. I then checked the bearing edges as well and they seem to be in perfect condition also - I placed them on a perfectly flat surface and checked for any discrepancies - everything seems perfect. I was actually hoping to find something out of whack. Oh well.

Last edited by bustmyhead; 01-14-2009 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by veggo32 View Post
I'm not sure how deep of a tone you can get with birch.
I'm fairly satisfied with the tone of my 10" birch tom.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by bustmyhead View Post
I know that sounds crazy but I really am struggling getting a good sound from my Yamaha Recording Custom birch wood shells.
Join the club. I hear this complaint a LOT...
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2009, 10:17 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by Wavelength View Post
I'm fairly satisfied with the tone of my 10" birch tom.
Can you tell me what batter and reso heads you are using? I have yet to try coated emps (strangely enough).
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  #7  
Old 01-14-2009, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

NO OFFENSE INTENDED,but I have always thought they were great miked,very dead unamplified. I have heard them numerous times since their inception,and in the 80's thought I wanted a RC kit. Many recordings featured Yamaha drummers at that time,and I was inspired by their popularity. I never bought one,but heard them probably 50 times miked, and they sounded great. When I heard them in a small acoustic setting for the first time however,I passed. Birch custom Absolutes are another animal however...
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:15 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by tracer View Post
NO OFFENSE INTENDED,but I have always thought they were great miked,very dead unamplified. I have heard them numerous times since their inception,and in the 80's thought I wanted a RC kit. Many recordings featured Yamaha drummers at that time,and I was inspired by their popularity. I never bought one,but heard them probably 50 times miked, and they sounded great. When I heard them in a small acoustic setting for the first time however,I passed. Birch custom Absolutes are another animal however...
Very interesting you mention that - in mic'd situations my RCs sound amazing - acoustically they don't compare - not sure why - I am going to try the standard Remo Coasted Emps next - I will probably change the reso heads to something else also. I can get a pretty good sound from my 13" tom and sometimes will use that as my single mounted tom instaed of the 12". If I had to do it all again, I wouldn't buy 2 toms so close in diameter anyway - not sure what I was thinking 15 years ago when I bought them. I don't even use all 3 toms anyway. I would really love a 2nd floor tom - possibly a 14" but can't find one.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by bustmyhead View Post
..... I simply can't get the warm satisfying tone.....
Currently I have an Evans resonant head on the bottom and the Evans G2 clear as the batter...... I have tried Remo coated and pinstripes with not much luck.
If you want a "warm" sound, clear heads are not the way to go, especially with 100% birch shells. Now, you mention Remo coated, but Remo coated "what", being they make most of their heads "coated, smooth white and clear". A coated Pinstripe is still a very muffled head. A coated Powerstroke 3, less muffled, a coated Emperor, a 2 ply head, no muffling, a coated Controlled Sound, single ply, the "dot" gives the head some focus. A coated Ambassador (probably one of the most popular heads in the world). I owned a Yamaha R.C. (22, 13, 16) and loved it...........but it might not be the kit for you. You might want to shop for maple toms, if you love the sound of your kick. I know a few guys who play "mixed" Yamaha kits like that.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:38 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by harryconway View Post
If you want a "warm" sound, clear heads are not the way to go, especially with 100% birch shells. Now, you mention Remo coated, but Remo coated "what", being they make most of their heads "coated, smooth white and clear". A coated Pinstripe is still a very muffled head. A coated Powerstroke 3, less muffled, a coated Emperor, a 2 ply head, no muffling, a coated Controlled Sound, single ply, the "dot" gives the head some focus. A coated Ambassador (probably one of the most popular heads in the world). I owned a Yamaha R.C. (22, 13, 16) and loved it...........but it might not be the kit for you. You might want to shop for maple toms, if you love the sound of your kick. I know a few guys who play "mixed" Yamaha kits like that.
Hi harryconway,
what a great bit of advice - I never thought of mixing a maple tom into the kit - might be tough to find a maple yamaha in cherry but I love the concept. You are spot on about the myriad of heads available - this is what prompted me to start this thread. I can't possibly go out and buy every single one just to try them all - I hear your advice about avoiding the clear heads - I am leaning towards Remo Powerstroke or a simple coated ambassador - I currently experimented with a fiberskyn on my ludwig maple snare it it sounds awesome - I love the sensitivity they provide also. I may try one of those on the toms as well.
I am not giving up on these drums - I know I can get a good acoustic sound from them - but with 100% birch I think it really comes down to matching them with the right head.
Thanks bro.
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  #11  
Old 01-15-2009, 04:15 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

I'm realizing that my issue is due to the reso head - I currently have an Evans G1 which is a 10mils clear and after comparing it to a G2 or other thicker heads, it sounds very slappy - I replaced it with a G2 and I am starting to dial in that warmer sound - or it is at least removing the higher slappy tones I was getting.
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:22 PM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

Thats the craziest thread title I've ever read on this forum. You got tThe most successful drum set on this planet, and that doesn't work for you?????

It appears you're in very safe and capable hands of Mr. Harry Conway and Wave, so I wont add anything here except that its all in the heads and the tuning (!!!)
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:27 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Thats the craziest thread title I've ever read on this forum. You got tThe most successful drum set on this planet, and that doesn't work for you?????

It appears you're in very safe and capable hands of Mr. Harry Conway and Wave, so I wont add anything here except that its all in the heads and the tuning (!!!)
The drums totally work for me - I love them - it's really just this one 12" tom that I just can't seem to dial in - I wanted to find out what other Yammie players were using for batter and reso heads to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on every type of head possible just for experimenting - I found the thread here about everyone's favorite reso head and that has been a wealth of info.
I just found a matching 15" floor tom on ebay and placed a bid - so i am definitely committed to this kit - I just wanted to get some advice from other Yammie owners and their drum head choice.
So far this forum has been extremely helpful - thanks to all for the replies.
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:33 PM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

Ok, my 2 cents. Putting 2 ply on reso just sounds wrong to me. Specially on Birch.. I think the higher slappier tones might have more to do with tuning.

I play Yammie maples ( Maple+ thinner shells therefore different story BUT...), but I'd do a G2 batter ( EC2s, if you want less resonance ), very carefully tuned to a tone/note you like, and then take the G1 reso a 3rd of the pitch higher.

This HAS to work.
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:48 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Ok, my 2 cents. Putting 2 ply on reso just sounds wrong to me. Specially on Birch.. I think the higher slappier tones might have more to do with tuning.

I play Yammie maples ( Maple+ thinner shells therefore different story BUT...), but I'd do a G2 batter ( EC2s, if you want less resonance ), very carefully tuned to a tone/note you like, and then take the G1 reso a 3rd of the pitch higher.

This HAS to work.
But that's the thing - I know the note I like, I have a keyboard next to my kit and can tune the drum to the exact note - but once I tune it to that note, it is either tuned to low to create enough tension on the G2 clear to make it taught enough - the resulting sound is like hitting a drum with paper over it. It is already producing a fairly high note and to reduce the slappyness I have to tune it higher and it gets to a point where it sounds like a timbale or something. When I reach the note I want, the head is noticeably loose around the perimeter.
I just may need to go with a 13" tom for a deeper sound.
But if I use coated heads I can get a deeper warmer tone - so the G2 clear batter and G1 reso are just to slappy for me - really sound like I'm bouncing a 1/2 deflated basketball on wet pavement.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

Sounds to me like you're trying to get a lower note than the poor 12" RC tom can handle. I've owned a pre-YESS RC, and they can be a little hard to tune at times, if you want an open sound from them.
I'd seriously consider single ply heads (EC1 Coated are great heads!) on that baby! Tune it Weckl-style, to the point where the "wrinkles" disappear, and you have the drums lowest possible note. If that is higher than the note you want, then too bad. It's not going to work!

But I know that you will have a GREAT sounding drum, if you keep experimenting!
Good luck, my man! =)
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:00 PM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by bustmyhead View Post
I just may need to go with a 13" tom for a deeper sound.
But if I use coated heads I can get a deeper warmer tone - so the G2 clear batter and G1 reso are just to slappy for me - really sound like I'm bouncing a 1/2 deflated basketball on wet pavement.
Well 12", I find is an awkward tuning size for me too. ok, forget the piano note. How but you tune the batter to an ideal sound / stick response.. ( reso off ). Something that sounds/ feels nice to you?

Then crank the reso a little higher just past that note?
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by Zorlee View Post
Sounds to me like you're trying to get a lower note than the poor 12" RC tom can handle. I've owned a pre-YESS RC, and they can be a little hard to tune at times, if you want an open sound from them.
I'd seriously consider single ply heads (EC1 Coated are great heads!) on that baby! Tune it Weckl-style, to the point where the "wrinkles" disappear, and you have the drums lowest possible note. If that is higher than the note you want, then too bad. It's not going to work!

But I know that you will have a GREAT sounding drum, if you keep experimenting!
Good luck, my man! =)
Thanks Zorlee - it may be just that - too low a note for the shell size. I will consider the EC1 coated single plys.
:)
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:07 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Well 12", I find is an awkward tuning size for me too. ok, forget the piano note. How but you tune the batter to an ideal sound / stick response.. ( reso off ). Something that sounds/ feels nice to you?

Then crank the reso a little higher just past that note?
That's a great idea to remove the reso initially - I did that last night to prove to myself where the slappyness was coming from - that's when I learned it was coming from the reso head. Then I tried putting a g2 as a reso just to see how it would sound and it was much warmer and deeper.
I have tried tuning the reso so it was just barely taught as well as the same as the batter and will try again having it a little higher. it is comforting to hear others having some trouble tuning 12" toms - i always thought these were the easiest toms to tune for some reason which fueled my frustration.
Thanks again.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by bustmyhead View Post
Can you tell me what batter and reso heads you are using? I have yet to try coated emps (strangely enough).
I have used clear Remo Diplomats on the resonant side, and coated Ambassadors and clear Evans EC2s on the batter side. To get the lowest note the drum can deliver, tune the resonant side to its lowest clean pitch, then tune the batter head either to the same pitch or lower -- a perfect fourth interval always works for me.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by Wavelength View Post
I have used clear Remo Diplomats on the resonant side, and coated Ambassadors and clear Evans EC2s on the batter side. To get the lowest note the drum can deliver, tune the resonant side to its lowest clean pitch, then tune the batter head either to the same pitch or lower -- a perfect fourth interval always works for me.
is this what you use in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLlB2...e=channel_page
?
That tom sounds great!
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

BMH, you DO NOT need to get a Maple kit, and then your problems will be solved, etc.... The Birch Yamaha uses is'nt THAT far off hard maple. Most of my Yamaha Birch kicks could get a WAY better, and LOWER note than my DW's, MMX, Artstar Maple, etc.... It sounds like it is just 1. your tuning 2. the Yamaha bearing edge.

I've owned MANY Yamaha's including two RC's., and they were ALWAYS super tricky to get right. Try coated amb top, clear bottom, if you already have'nt.

You DO NOT have YESS, correct?
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:22 PM
bustmyhead bustmyhead is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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BMH, you DO NOT need to get a Maple kit, and then your problems will be solved, etc.... The Birch Yamaha uses is'nt THAT far off hard maple. Most of my Yamaha Birch kicks could get a WAY better, and LOWER note than my DW's, MMX, Artstar Maple, etc.... It sounds like it is just 1. your tuning 2. the Yamaha bearing edge.

I've owned MANY Yamaha's including two RC's., and they were ALWAYS super tricky to get right. Try coated amb top, clear bottom, if you already have'nt.

You DO NOT have YESS, correct?
Thanks - the kit is pre-YESS mounts - so no to YESS. The bearing edge looks fine to me - I removed the head yesterday and placed it on a very flat surface and there absolutely no indication of warping. I have inspected for nicks as well and they look near perfect to my naked eye.
I have been reading up on remo and evans heads and their characteristics and have been putting the coated ambs on the top of my list as the batter head and clear diplomats or coated ambs for the reso.

Thanks again for all the advice - this forum has helped me trmendously.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

Imagine this: I saw an early 90's RC kit on consignment. Aquarian performance 2's on them. They were as thuddy as anything from the 70's.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by bustmyhead View Post
is this what you use in this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLlB2...e=channel_page? That tom sounds great!
Yep, that's the Ambassador/Diplomat combo. The audio was recorded with a single AKG C1000 overhead.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by bustmyhead View Post
......I know the note I like, I have a keyboard next to my kit and can tune the drum to the exact note .....
You need to trashcan the keyboard idea as it relates to "that drum". Every drum has a sweet spot. And you have to work "within the parameter" of any given drum. Sounds like your "getting there", as far as dialing in this drum and it's sound. 15" floor tom. Wow. I'll say you've got commitment to this kit. I've always liked the 15" floor. They're "odd"! I think Zorlee's on the mark, try using your 13" tom to hit "that note". As far as using a 2 ply head reso., you'll be only the second drummer, if you "stick with it", to do so. But kudos for trying. That's how you learn what to do and what not to do. I'm a Remo guy, and I almost exclusively run Ambassadors reso. And all the usual suspects batter (Pinstripe, Powerstroke 3, Emperor, Controlled Sound, Ambassador). And once you find what you like....for me, I like many sounds. So, being it's easier (and cheaper) to change heads, rather than drum sets (easier to store too)....one week I have Emperors on my kit.....next week I'll have Powerstroke 3s. It's like getting a brand new drum kit.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

I think that the biggest mistake people make with choosing heads is that if they want a deeper sound they think directly of emperor or pinstripe or something like that (G2).

My oppinions (if you don't play metal at least), is that if you use a 2 layer head, your tone is going away, and the most beautifull sound of the drum goes away. if you want a good and deep, warm sound. Get coated Ambassadors and TUNE them lower!!!! you will get a much richer tone that is still warm and deep.

I almost have no experience with RC's, but the tom tom's of the RC's I heard a couple of times, had emperors on them, and it just sounded as crap. A RC kit I played that had ambassadors just sounded much better.

Try coated ambassadors and tune them lower!!!!! You will hear much more the quality of the drum and wood!!!!
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

UPDATE: I swapped my Evans G2s for Remo Ambs coated batters and clear resos - the sound difference is very noticeable - even tapping on the Evans and Remo heads while off the shell you can hear a distinct difference in sound - the Evans 2-ply are much slappier and paper-ish sounding while the Remo single ply coated have almost no slap and you can actually hear a deep tone from them (off the shell!).

On the drum it is a noticeable difference and a MUCH better sound than the Evans. Not slamming Evans at all here, but the Remos for my taste on these shells work so much better.

Thanks to all on this forum for your wisdom and advice. It helped me a lot!
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:22 PM
Pedro Pedro is offline
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Default Re: Can't get a good sound from Yammie RC drums

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Originally Posted by bustmyhead View Post
UPDATE: I swapped my Evans G2s for Remo Ambs coated batters and clear resos - the sound difference is very noticeable - even tapping on the Evans and Remo heads while off the shell you can hear a distinct difference in sound - the Evans 2-ply are much slappier and paper-ish sounding while the Remo single ply coated have almost no slap and you can actually hear a deep tone from them (off the shell!).

On the drum it is a noticeable difference and a MUCH better sound than the Evans. Not slamming Evans at all here, but the Remos for my taste on these shells work so much better.

Thanks to all on this forum for your wisdom and advice. It helped me a lot!
Aha! I'm glad I could help. That's just my experience with 2-plyed heads.....I like ambassadors much better, you can hear the drums much better. (probably evans G1 would be ok too, I don't know the differance between the two actually...)
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