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  #1  
Old 08-27-2010, 06:08 AM
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Default my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

FYI: this is on my custom kit (fortunedrums.com) built from Keller vintage shell w/ african ribbon mahogany outer ply. sizes are 7.75 x 10", 8 x 12", 14 x 14" & 15.25 x 20". about 90% of the gigs i do with this kit are big band or small group jazz...maybe 10% blues. i had the BD head on for about 5 months & the FD3s on the toms for 8 months.

(1) MAN do they look amazing. all i wanted to do is take pictures of my kit with these heads on. just amazing on dark wood.

(2) that is about the limit of positive things i am going to say about these heads. some of my issues:

+ the FD3 (diplomat mind you) head thickness is just nuts...feels heavier than a standard Ambassador coated head to me. ok warm, dark sound, but just too muted for me. i had the toms tuned up mostly to the high resonant frequency of the shell & they just felt way too muted. just did not like it vs. coated Ambassadors or Diplomats that "sing" like crazy & seem to like the higher tuning.

+ brushes on Fiberskyns are horrible. i guess i need to be a mad genius like Jeff Hamilton to make them sound that good. i don’t get it. Remo's marketing statement: "Fiberskyn 3 Diplomat surface is excellent for sticks, mallets and brushes.". the FD3 head was possibly the worst snare i have ever used for brushes. this thing is completely SMOOTH & reminded me of playing brushes on a smooth white tom-tom marching head. before i had had enough, i recall one jazz ballad where the brush sound was so bad, it was border-line inappropriate. a beat-up black dot might have sounded better.

+ FA 20" bass drum batter head...tuned high, low...with small towel, big blanket, little pillow, wide open, etc. just could not get what i wanted. very hard to tune to get a pure tone & hit the shell resonant frequency. i gave up after 5 months & put the original Coated Powerstroke 3 on there...unbelievable - immediate, beautiful, warm, jazz tone w/ no muffling tuned medium high. just perfect.

current tom heads are Coated Diplomats & i am in love w/ this kit again. nice, warm high singing tone, great latin ring, snap & amazing brush textures.

sorry for the RANT. just felt a bit disillusioned after all the time & $$$ spent finding, buying & working w/ these "jazz" heads w/ no results. what do you guys think…am i missing something here?

Geoff in Atlanta.

Last edited by double_G; 08-27-2010 at 03:11 PM. Reason: outer ply, not (laminate) wrap.
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2010, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

I never liked them either. They sound like blankets stretched over the drums to my ear. After trying nearly all different types of heads, I came to the conclusion that 10 mil single ply heads, coated or clear, sound best to me. Crisp and lively.
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2010, 08:16 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

I've only ever used one. An FS PS3 as a reso on the bass drum (yeah, it's there for it's looks......any PS3 used as a reso would serve a similar purpose, I guess).

You make an interesting point with respect to using brushes though. It's not so much the tone produced when striking a drum with brushes that has had me wondering. But moreso, when sweeping the brush across the head, are the wires prone to getting caught on all the bumps and raised areas on a FS?
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

never tried resonant. i bet the FS PS3 is easier to tune than the FS Ambassador on the BD ?

yeah on the snare / brushes...i remember in the 90s, the FS formula was different & over time the "skyn" would peel away & sometimes rip. you could get your brushes caught up a bit, but sounded ok. these 2010 FS3s are almost completely smooth...there are raised areas but very minor stuff. more like molded plastic than skin layers like the old FS stuff.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

Quote:
Originally Posted by double_G View Post
never tried resonant. i bet the FS PS3 is easier to tune than the FS Ambassador on the BD ?

yeah on the snare / brushes...i remember in the 90s, the FS formula was different & over time the "skyn" would peel away & sometimes rip. you could get your brushes caught up a bit, but sounded ok. these 2010 FS3s are almost completely smooth...there are raised areas but very minor stuff. more like molded plastic than skin layers like the old FS stuff.
The new ones are smooth ? I didn't think they could possibly make that head any worse... How do brushes work on them now?
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:46 AM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

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Originally Posted by brady View Post
How do brushes work on them now?
Worse than they did when they were less smooth...

Seriously, if they are so bad for brushes, why are they marketed for jazz? Wow.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

Quote:
Originally Posted by double_G View Post
+ the FD3 (diplomat mind you) head thickness is just nuts...feels heavier than a standard Ambassador coated head to me.
The thing you didn't know about Fiberskyns is that they apply the fiber coating to standard-weight films. Therefore, a Diplomat-weight Fiberskyn is indeed about the same thickness or a little heavier than a coated Ambassador, because they add the Fiberskyn coating to a standard Diplomat film. The Ambassador-weight Fiberskyn is similarly thicker than a standard coated Ambassador.

Given that you like standard coated Dips on your toms, your results were predictable.

I personally have no problem with Fiberskyns and brushes (at least until they get worn), nor do the many jazz players who use them.

Those who say that Fiberskyns sound "dead" or "muffled" compared with modern plastic heads are correct: they sound much more like calfskin heads, which to those more used to (very much brighter) modern heads, would sound dead and muffled. And they do prefer higher tunings, which many jazz players prefer. They're not the heads to choose if you want to tune your toms just above wrinkle.

As for the bass drum model, you'd have to pry my Fiberskyn Amb reso from my cold dead fingers. Nothing even remotely comes close to the rich, complex sound of a calfskin bass drum head, and I'm a big PS3 fan, too.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

I had them on my bass and toms for some jazz recordings, but kept an ambassador on my snare. Definitely not the kind of heads you can use for everything. They are seriously one dimensional in that way, but also are some of the most unique sounding heads I've put on any drum.

I eventually had to take all of them off because I was playing with 3 very different bands, and didn't want to change heads every week just because I had a 3 hour jazz gig.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

Well there are definitely better choices for bass drum heads reso or batter than a Fiberskyn FA but I have to say I am a big fan of the FA head for toms. For one I think you need to be into the somewhat muted tone that these heads create for them to work for you.

They are the closest thing that you can get to calfskin that I have tried. Overall they do create a flattened almost "bompy" attack although it's a bit more sharp that true calf; but I think what Fiberskyns do way better than any standard coated head, is center the tone of a drum without completely dampening out the natural overtones. You simply can't get this same sound from any 2-ply or dampened head. Their uniqueness is what sets them apart. If they were ice cream, they'd be that sherbert flavor that you either love or hate.

I am into the smoother Fiberskyn surface and I find it to be an excellent medium for brushes. Perhaps this has to do with the sensitivity of the snare drum that I am running the head on, nonetheless it works well for me.
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2010, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

check back in on this thread. some good feedback here.

heh, only drummers can come up w/ the perfect word for a drum tone, RE "Overall they do create a flattened almost "bompy" attack " is spot-on to what i am hearing. will have to try the FS Ambassador for a resonant BD head over winter break. the PS3 seems great for the batter tho right now.
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  #11  
Old 09-22-2010, 01:06 AM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

I have used Fibreskins many times without a problem. I used to have them all over my Starclassic maple kit and it sounded superb. I currently have a Fibreskin on my Sonor artist Amboina snare, fitted by Steve Smith no less. I have no problem with brushes on this drum. But each of us is different and not all heads suit all drums.

Lately I have been using Aquarian Modern Vintage heads, both thin and medium, with great results. I get a real old world feel from these heads. Indeed the bass drum heads even have felt strips attached! They are also great for brushes. Perhaps give these a try.
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2010, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

I have a new one on a snare and it is starting to blister. Aside from that defect I find they are to smooth. Sure they have a nice texture but compared to the sound or maybe volume you get from an Ambassador - they're much softer and quieter.

They do look good on the reso side of a bass drum though...
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

Doesn't Benny Greb rave about this ( FD3 snare) head?
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

just wanted to updated this a bit. i have been using the FS Ambassador as a resonant head on my 20" BD with INCREDIBLE results (last 6 months at least). batter is a Coated Powerstroke 3. i run the 20" wide open, no hole ported & it's amazing. don't remember the last time i ran a BD wide open w/ no odd sound ripples going on or constant tweaking. the Fiberskyn provides the right amount of "muffling" & warm tone. looks incredible from the front. tuned to the resonant frequency of the shell at about medium tight tension, not crazy high.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: my negative review on Fiberskyn FD3s & FA (BD)

I have a fiberskyn Amb as a resonant on my 22" with a Evans emad for a batter
and love it. Best looking resonant bass drum head out there IMO

nice old school round sound - if you end up porting it (like I did and cried)
just install a kickport - All I can say is "whoa" serious thunder....
the fiberskyn responds beautifully with the kickport.
I can go from dry thud to bonham thunder in literally seconds without
even touching a tuning lug. Amazing.

I Love the Fiberskyn as a BD reso
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