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  #1  
Old 11-19-2009, 04:57 AM
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Default Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Hi all --

I'm a fairly new member to the forum and just returning to drumming after a long hiatus. I recently purchased my first kit in 20 years -- and the first one I've owned in almost 10 years: a Ludwig Element SE Retro Downbeat in Mod Orange (8x12, 14x14, 14x20, 5x14). My question is about the bass heads, specifically the reso. I've seen a lot of praise for and got some direct advice to use PS3s as both batter and reso, so I went ahead and bought two PS3s for my kick (though I haven't yet put them on).

However, I'm considering using a Smooth White Emperor on the front instead, and I'm somewhat ashamed to admit my reasons are purely aesthetic -- I want a bright, solid white head, and smooth rather than coated so I can apply a vinyl graphic logo. From the research I've done, though, the prevailing opinion seems to be that an Emperor as a reso is not the best choice. I certainly don't recall seeing anyone recommend it.

I don't want to create a bad sounding bass in order to get the right "look." So I'm posing the question to you before I spend $30 on another head: Could a PS3 batter/Smooth White Emperor reso combination sound good on a 14x20, or should I stick to the PS3s front and back? Is an Ambassador a better alternate choice? How might the smaller size play into the choice of weight, in terms of tone and pitch?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

-- Mike (aka Doop)
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2009, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

It's not bad, persay... it's just that it will naturally be higher pitched with overtones. So you'll need to muffle the inside of the drum somehow. If you port it, it might mitigate the problem somewhat.
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2009, 06:53 AM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

If you were ever cut a whole in the head, you could have problems with the ply's separating.

But sound wise, I don't think it would be bad. The two plys would give a slight muffled sound which would be beneficial for a bass drum.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Try the PS3 on the batter with the Ludwig stock "coated, power-collar" reso up front. See what that gives you. If it's too dead, I wouldn't use a PS3 or an Emperor up there, but rather an unmuffled single-ply head like an Ambassador. If it sounds OK, use a smooth PS3.

-Ryan
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2009, 05:38 AM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by volvoguy View Post
Try the PS3 on the batter with the Ludwig stock "coated, power-collar" reso up front. See what that gives you. If it's too dead, I wouldn't use a PS3 or an Emperor up there, but rather an unmuffled single-ply head like an Ambassador. If it sounds OK, use a smooth PS3.

-Ryan
Hey Ryan --

You replaced the stock logo coated head with a regular vintage logo head, right? What weight is that head, and how do you like it? Does it also have a collar? Ludwig's part no. on that is LW4220V. They have a head they describe as a heavy single-ply smooth white, good for marching bass drums, with the part no. LW4220. Perhaps the same head but without the logo?

-- Mike
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2009, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

You really should experiment with the PS3 and the stock head. It will give you a good baseline towards finding the sound that *you* want.

On mine, I've got a Fiberskyn PS3 on the batter side. With the stock Ludwig resonant (which is coated and has a power collar), the sound was kinda dead. Though, I had the kit set up in a funky spot in the house.

I decided to give the Heavy smooth Weathermaster a go, since I have one on the Classic Maples.... plus, the coated stock Element head was too "white". :-) The smooth Weathermaster doesn't have a power collar. It's basically a smooth ambassador.

With the the smooth Weathermaster on the front, the sound is much fuller.... I like it a lot. Not sure how well it'll work with the band, though. I don't know if the Fiberskyn head is punchy enough.

-Ryan
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  #7  
Old 11-20-2009, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Hey Ryan --

I'll most definitely experiment. I already have two PS3s, so I'll test both together for sure. If I end up only using one, well, then I already have a replacement next time I need new heads. Yes, the stock reso head with the Element SE is odd, isn't it? The coating isn't so much "coating" like you expect on Remo heads, for example, but more like paint, and pretty thick at that. I'm not surprised the bass sounded dead. I might end up going for the smooth Weathermaster or smooth white Ambassador as an alternate. I'll try some combinations out. Are you using any muffling?

-- Mike
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  #8  
Old 11-21-2009, 02:17 AM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

You could just get an Aquarian Regulator bass drum head... They come in white.

http://www.aquariandrumheads.com/pro...play.asp?id=13
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  #9  
Old 11-21-2009, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

I use a non-ported coated Emperor as my resonant head and I love it. It gives my bass drum a lovely big boomy sound. All I use for muffling is a bean-bag placed between the bass pedal and the batter head.
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  #10  
Old 11-27-2009, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

The powerstroke 3 does come in smooth white, and they sound quite good, but the muffling ring shows through on the front. However, Aquarian makes a reso head called the Force II that you can get in smooth white where there's no ring showing in the front. They always have these in stock at Musicians's Friend.
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  #11  
Old 12-15-2009, 06:11 AM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doop View Post
Hi all --

I'm a fairly new member to the forum and just returning to drumming after a long hiatus. I recently purchased my first kit in 20 years -- and the first one I've owned in almost 10 years: a Ludwig Element SE Retro Downbeat in Mod Orange (8x12, 14x14, 14x20, 5x14). My question is about the bass heads, specifically the reso. I've seen a lot of praise for and got some direct advice to use PS3s as both batter and reso, so I went ahead and bought two PS3s for my kick (though I haven't yet put them on).

However, I'm considering using a Smooth White Emperor on the front instead, and I'm somewhat ashamed to admit my reasons are purely aesthetic -- I want a bright, solid white head, and smooth rather than coated so I can apply a vinyl graphic logo. From the research I've done, though, the prevailing opinion seems to be that an Emperor as a reso is not the best choice. I certainly don't recall seeing anyone recommend it.

I don't want to create a bad sounding bass in order to get the right "look." So I'm posing the question to you before I spend $30 on another head: Could a PS3 batter/Smooth White Emperor reso combination sound good on a 14x20, or should I stick to the PS3s front and back? Is an Ambassador a better alternate choice? How might the smaller size play into the choice of weight, in terms of tone and pitch?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

-- Mike (aka Doop)
Mike,

You know that you could get an Ambassador in smooth white as well. Understand the asthetics do matter.....I have used the PS3 as a front, ported head with mixed results.

Also, just because noone has recommended it, doesn't mean that it is wrong. You might pleased with what you get.


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  #12  
Old 12-15-2009, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

When you try the PS3s bear in mind that they do not sound their best at a JAW tuning. Take the reso up a little higher than JAW, to where it starts to have some bottom end and sustain, then tune the batter a smidge higher. Should work fine on your drum, and you should see what they sound like before spending more on a new head.
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  #13  
Old 12-15-2009, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

I use a PS3 coated batter and an white coated Ambassador reso with a 4" port. Inside the drum I have a small heavy pillow aginst the batter and a t-shirt sleeve lightly touching the reso...It is a phoenomal sound...you should definitally experiment with an ambassador reso / PS3 batter combo
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2009, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicotine25 View Post
I use a PS3 coated batter and an white coated Ambassador reso with a 4" port. Inside the drum I have a small heavy pillow aginst the batter and a t-shirt sleeve lightly touching the reso...It is a phoenomal sound...you should definitally experiment with an ambassador reso / PS3 batter combo
Second that. I had a 20x14" Classic Maple kick. I used a clear PS3 batter w/ an un-ported coated Ambassador reso. It was boomin', for such a small kick drum.
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  #15  
Old 12-15-2009, 08:02 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

I've used a smooth white Emp as the front head on a few different bass drums and it was a great sounding head. I painted some, and used vinyl graphic on others.

It's just a bit lower pitched than a single ply head.

The stock SW Ludwig head sounds different than a SW Remo Amb too.

The Remo has a slightly lower pitch overall, and the usual projection etc...
The Ludwig has a slightly brighter sound to the top end, with good punch and projection.

The SW Emp is a deeper overall tone but "similar sound" (used on front) to the SW Amb.

On a 14x20 are you going to put a mic port in it?
I wouldn't think you'd need one, but if you did, I would use no larger than a 4" and install a HOLZ.

It protects the head from any one tearing it trying to mic it, and it'll keep the 2 plies tight--even though I never had a problem with ply separation when I used a SW Emp.
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  #16  
Old 12-26-2009, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlCrafton View Post
I've used a smooth white Emp as the front head on a few different bass drums and it was a great sounding head. I painted some, and used vinyl graphic on others.

It's just a bit lower pitched than a single ply head.

The stock SW Ludwig head sounds different than a SW Remo Amb too.

The Remo has a slightly lower pitch overall, and the usual projection etc...
The Ludwig has a slightly brighter sound to the top end, with good punch and projection.

The SW Emp is a deeper overall tone but "similar sound" (used on front) to the SW Amb.

On a 14x20 are you going to put a mic port in it?
I wouldn't think you'd need one, but if you did, I would use no larger than a 4" and install a HOLZ.

It protects the head from any one tearing it trying to mic it, and it'll keep the 2 plies tight--even though I never had a problem with ply separation when I used a SW Emp.
And here comes the reliable Karl to make my point!


Mike

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  #17  
Old 09-18-2012, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

I "accidentally" ordered a Coated Emperor and unknowingly installed it as the reso head of my 22" vintage Ludwig bass drum thinking it was a Coated Ambo.

It sounds killer. I may move it to the batter side and experiment with it there, but I suspect that may be my new Resonant head of choice for a while.

FWIW, I prefer non-ported reso heads both aesthetically, for sound, and feel.
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  #18  
Old 09-18-2012, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by exit2studios View Post
I "accidentally" ordered a Coated Emperor and unknowingly installed it as the reso head of my 22" vintage Ludwig bass drum thinking it was a Coated Ambo.

It sounds killer. I may move it to the batter side and experiment with it there, but I suspect that may be my new Resonant head of choice for a while.

FWIW, I prefer non-ported reso heads both aesthetically, for sound, and feel.
Most any head combination will work well if they are tuned properly. I too enjoy the sound and feel of an unported bass drum resonant head.

Dennis

Last edited by audiotech; 09-18-2012 at 11:56 PM.
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  #19  
Old 09-18-2012, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by con struct View Post
I use a non-ported coated Emperor as my resonant head and I love it. It gives my bass drum a lovely big boomy sound. All I use for muffling is a bean-bag placed between the bass pedal and the batter head.
+1 Same result for me, on a 22 inch.
I bought the Emp by mistake (thinking it was an Amb ....READ the package!), but tried it anyway, and it does fine. The Emp is also ported though, and the plies do not come apart. I paired it with a PS3, a batter head I absolutely love. Only muffling is a felt strip on reso.
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  #20  
Old 09-18-2012, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Emperor as bass resonant: Bad idea?

How can that be a bad idea? If you like it, it's not a bad idea. No need to get vindication from anyone else on the subject.
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