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  #1  
Old 01-24-2010, 01:32 PM
thatguykalem
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Default Need help selecting drum heads

I'm planning on buying a Yamaha Stage Custom soon, and I need some advice on drum heads for every drum.

I usually play hard and fast. Punk, metal and alternative are my main three uses for my kit. I'm a bit unsure on the exact meanings of 'sustain', 'attack', etc., so some clarification on that would be good, too.

I want a good short hitting sound with none of that annoying ring after the hit. Like I said, punk metal and alternative are my styles, so what would be the best heads to buy? I'm talking snare, bass, and toms.
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2010, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Most guys playing your kinds of music like 2-ply clears over 1-ply clears, such as Remo Emperors over Ambassadors, or Evans G2s over G1s. Using coated versions of these batters will warm up the sound a little.

These will likely have what you refer to as "annoying ring." But did you know that the better you learn to tune, the more that "annoying ring" becomes a "nice lively sound?" And that a nice, lively sound projects better than a muffled, dead sound?

If good tuning won't take away enough "annoying ring" for you, there are a variety of premuffled heads you can try. Remo pinstripes, Evans EC2, many more.

Any good snare will sound good, and give you a wide variety of sounds, with a coated Ambassador or G1, but here again there's that pesky annoying ring. I'll let others advise you for heads that will get rid of that since I think muffled heads on anything but a cheap snare is a waste of a good drum.

BTW, "attack" is the initial sound of the stick striking the head. "Sustain" is how long the main pitch of the drum continues after striking it. I think of "ring" as how long the upper overtones continue after striking the drum, although some drummers use these interchangably.
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2010, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

+ 1 on everything DD said. That thud / wet puddle sound you seem to strive for is usually the product of building the sound from hours of adding outboard effect in the studio. Live, it's a waste of time. Even in driving rock, you may think your kit sounds great but the audience will just be hearing amplified EQ'd attack.

The "annoying ring" is largely lost in a live environment. If you want a degree of control (assuming you tune your drums well), on toms, try Evans EC1's. They offer some control but still allow a good level of sustain. On kick, try Evans Emad. No dampening whatsoever in the shell. Take the foam ring out for live & put it in for studio stuff. Tune the batter head to just above lowest fundamental tone & use the reso to give more or less sustain. Remember, hearing your kick drum in the mix depends on the kick producing frequencies that are different to those produced by the bass guitar. You'll need some kick sustain to achieve that, even when going through a serious PA system. A dead kick played without being mic'd won't even be heard unless the whole band plays whisper quiet. For some snare control without dampening, I suggest the Evans Genera HD dry. It's a vented & coated head that reduces ring yet still allows sensitivity & shell tone to prevail. Tuning is everything.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2010, 05:05 PM
audiotech
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

I fully agree with everything drumtechdad said. That "annoying ring" is an attribute of improper tuning. I for one always tune for the greatest resonance and sustain from a drum by finding it's "sweet" spot. I know a lot of metal drummers would rather hear a thump from their drums than a tuned pitch with any kind of sustain. I run Evans G2 clears over G1 clears on most of my kits. The only exception is my vintage Pearl kit where I run G2 coated over the G1 clear heads.
Much of what you want to hear can be had simply by the tuning of your drums. If you want a subtle amount of control from your snare drum, I would recommend an Evans Power Center Reverse Dot for it's batter. For the toms, 2 ply coated heads would be the first in line for a small degree of control, followed by EC2 and for the highest degree of muffling, the Evans Hydraulic. Although I wouldn't buy Hydraulic heads for my kits, there was a time I played a set of DW Collectors and with proper tuning there was still a good amount of tone and resonance coming from the toms. For bass drums, well it all depends on the drum and beater. As I said, I prefer to run my drums open, so I usually use an Evans EQ4 for it's batter. It has a small internal ring, but is far more open than say an Emad batter head.

I keep referring to Evans heads because over the last three or four years that's what I've been playing and recently more familiar with. I did play Remo for about 47 years and they are also great heads.

It's really a trial and error game if you really have no starting point. Check out the Evans website, I believe that they have descriptions on how certain heads affect the sounds of the drums.

Dennis
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2010, 05:36 PM
sabian92 sabian92 is offline
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Well tuned Remo Ambassadors with Emperors on top will do you pretty well. Whack some moon gel on them and they'll sound a lot less ringy, but it won't cut it out completely. The only way to can cut it all out is if you tune them so high it chokes the head. Live you won't notice it, as long as you have the heads tuned properly.

An Aquarian Superkick II is worth looking at too. Good, solid head with a very nice thick sound if it's tuned just above slack.
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2010, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

If you're a young punk, here's some advice from an older one. Hold your heads by the rim in the shop, tap them and find a "deader" head for your batter, this can reduce the amount of muffling you have to do and can reduce the "ring" you're talking about. I like Aquarian response 2 heads at the moment because they're a thicker coat, over coated ambassador's on the toms, and the thinnest clear quality bottom head you can find for your snare, I use Evans. As a batter Evans are good at first but I don't think they hold up as well as Aquarian or remo for hard punk.
Don't be afraid to audition in the shop, make them set up a few drums with the heads you want to try and smack the cinnamon out of 'em, it's your money they want and you have to spend it wisely.
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2010, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Just a question for those Evans reverse dots, anyone else had them dislodge and fall into the drum?
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2010, 06:52 PM
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Doug Masters Doug Masters is offline
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by animalsofsteel View Post
Just a question for those Evans reverse dots, anyone else had them dislodge and fall into the drum?
Never happened to me. Been using PC reverse dots for several years. How old is it?
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  #9  
Old 01-24-2010, 06:56 PM
audiotech
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by animalsofsteel View Post
Just a question for those Evans reverse dots, anyone else had them dislodge and fall into the drum?
It never happened to me in the three years that I've been using them. The reverse dot on a used head is every bit as tight as that on a new head.

Dennis
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  #10  
Old 01-24-2010, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

I bought a set of Aquarians because I wanted a nice "thump" without a lot of sustain, and I found the Performance II's on the toms and the High Energy on the snare work great, plus a Super Kick II on the bass.

No idea about resonant heads, those are still stock on mine.
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2010, 07:52 AM
thatguykalem
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Thanks for all the help. I'm going to print the majority of this thread out and take it with me to Billy Hyde =D
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2010, 12:55 PM
thatguykalem
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Wait, I need another bit of help.

What is a 'Brush Finish'? I get the impression that the texture of the head is kinda like sand on top of a head. I want a smooth snare head, so I don't think this is the way to go. Clarification would be good =)
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2010, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Brush finish = coated.
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  #14  
Old 01-27-2010, 02:50 AM
thatguykalem
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Thanks, everyone. I've decided on the following:

- Evans EC1 Edge Control Clear 10" Drumhead - $33.95
- Evans EC1 Edge Control Clear 12" Drumhead - $36.95
- Evans EC1 Edge Control Clear 16" Drumhead - $45.95
- Remo 14" Emperor BF - $36.95

What do you guys think?
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  #15  
Old 01-27-2010, 06:53 PM
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Default Re: Need help selecting drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguykalem View Post
Thanks, everyone. I've decided on the following:

- Evans EC1 Edge Control Clear 10" Drumhead - $33.95
- Evans EC1 Edge Control Clear 12" Drumhead - $36.95
- Evans EC1 Edge Control Clear 16" Drumhead - $45.95
- Remo 14" Emperor BF - $36.95

What do you guys think?
I have experience with EC1s, they're currently what my kid uses.

They are very dark-sounding heads. The rings make most of the overtones go away, thus making them easy to tune. They are also 14mil single-ply heads, so they sustain a great deal (one of the reasons we tried them). If you don't want sustain, they're not ideal. A coated 2-ply would have considerably less.

I have no idea what a 14" Emperor BF is.
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