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  #1  
Old 08-03-2012, 04:32 PM
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Default Renaissance heads

So I was cleaning out my studio, throwing out all my chewed up sticks and old drumheads I'll never use again, (threw out a stack 4 feet high) when I came across a lone 14" Renaissance Ambassador weight head, in perfect shape. I think I bought it for a snare many moons ago, and didn't like it for the snare. I like 2 ply coated heads on my snare but prefer single ply 10 mil clear heads on my toms. I can't believe I never tried the renaissance on a tom. Well last night I did and wow do I prefer that tone over regular single ply clears. It has a certain sound it makes, more attack, and a clearer, more distinct voice to my ear. Like if my single ply clears make a tone that sounds like "Bow" (as in "I bow to your wisdom") then the renaissance heads make a tone that sounds like "Bear".

A better, more papery attack. More high end and more articulate, a clearer, more pronounced tone. I don't like a thick sounding attack. Like Fibreskyns make me want to hurl. Feels like I'm playing on blankets. Renaissance's are at the other end of the spectrum, like I turned a tone knob up so it's more trebley. Drums are low end big sounding things. The more high end and crispness I can get from them, the better I like them. That's the word to describe the renaissance tone, crisp. They say they try and emulate calfskin. I haven't heard a calfskin head in so long. But from what I remember, calf isn't crisp like these heads, it's more muted if memory serves. Anyway I don't agree with the calf comparison, unless my memories of the calf tone are flawed.

The renaissance's have an extra something going on that I'm really liking. I ordered a whole set. I also ordered a 2 ply emperor weight for the snare. The textured surface won't ever flake off, and it should work great with brushes.

After trying every nearly head ever made, and ending up back at square one with 10 mil single ply clears, I never thought I would find anything that could beat them on the toms. It's nice to be surprised.
The jury is still out, I haven't gigged with them or anything, I don't even have them yet, but I'm pretty sure, judging from the 14" I had, that these are my new head choice. They do cost more. Whatever.

Anyone use these on a regular basis? If you haven't heard some lately... all I can say is that they really took me by surprise. Can't wait to get a whole set of them.

Last edited by larryace; 08-03-2012 at 04:55 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2012, 07:07 PM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

I had a set of 'em on my Slingerlands once. I really liked 'em! They seemed to have a really even, full tone. I'd sure like to try 'em again.
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2012, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

You know, that's why I experimented like I did with all those other heads. I like single ply clears, but there was always something that I was missing. I just got done playing with my 14" DW floor tom with the renaissance ambassador weight head on it. I tried various tunings and played it for over an hour. A few adjectives that describe the tone of these heads:

Crisp, very crisp but not at all wimpy like a Diplomat. I like the Diplomat attack, but the sustain blows.
Present, very present.
Responsive, full tone, even with just a tap. Excellent low volume head that does not wimp out when hit hard whatsoever. They shine when hit hard. Great pitch bend when struck harder (if you tune like that).
Warm, even sound. Single plys sound plastick-y by comparison, and don't open up in the lower registers with just a tap like these. I mean the head sounds as good tapped as when stuck hard. That's responsiveness.
It's like someone turned up the treble on the heads, while cleaning up the lows.
It's what I've been missing all along.

These heads really woke my drum up. If you put these on top and bottom, OMG, I can't even imagine how that would change the tone. It could be too much. I hope so! I love a lively tom sound, so I will be trying that most definitely. I only ordered enough for batter sides this time. Right now I like the tone with a ambassador weight renaissance on top and a 10 mil single ply clear on bottom. I want to try one on my kick drum batter head too. Emads sound plastick-y.

I am so psyched. Between this and converting my Ludwig SS to a regular throw (which made the drum spring to life) I am loving these drum tones!
I can't say enough about these heads.
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  #4  
Old 08-06-2012, 08:23 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Larry, one of the head forms I'm testing next week is the Aquarian Modern Vintage. I think they're pretty similar to the heads you're getting. Will be good to compare results :)
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2012, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Been meaning to try a Renaissance some day. This is interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Larry, one of the head forms I'm testing next week is the Aquarian Modern Vintage. I think they're pretty similar to the heads you're getting. Will be good to compare results :)
I've been trying out the Modern Vintage on my snare as of late. Sort of like Larry's stumbling on the Renaissance head, I had purchased a MV several months ago, forgot I had it and then stumbled on it. Now that I broke it in, I really, really like it. Took a while though. Some people actually lightly sand the coating a little before they put it on. I just played brushes with it for a few hours with it and now it feels and sounds good.
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2012, 01:04 PM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
So I was cleaning out my studio, . .

These Renaissance are probably my favorite heads of ALL heads.. You can get them in any weight offering AND Powerstroke for the kick.
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  #7  
Old 08-07-2012, 04:20 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Larry, one of the head forms I'm testing next week is the Aquarian Modern Vintage. I think they're pretty similar to the heads you're getting. Will be good to compare results :)
As much as they are marketed about the same, having played both I can tell you they are quite different. I totally had forgotten about these, they were on the first kit I had that I borrowed years ago - PDP FS (birch). Lovely sounding kit. The Modern Vintage is a lot like a regular coated head IMO. I can't figure out the physical difference b/w it and a regular coated head other than color. It does sound warmer though...
The Renaissance is deep and warm and dark which went well with the small birch shells, and looks totally cool.
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2012, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Larry, one of the head forms I'm testing next week is the Aquarian Modern Vintage. I think they're pretty similar to the heads you're getting. Will be good to compare results :)
Andy I was not aware of these. I guess these are Aquarian's comparable product. I will be evaluating Aquarian's attempt at this kind of head at some point. Right now I have a set of Renaissance's on the way. Perhaps I will buy Aquarians for the resos.

Andy, I'm going to predict right now that you will be specing these heads in for your Origin Series.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2012, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Renaissance heads sound kinda like Evans J1 heads. I like 'em both. Nice and warm and full. I've got to go with Coated Ambassadors, though, because they just have an extra little amount of volume and cut.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2012, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Ah I've never tried the J1's either. I guess I got sick of spending coin on new heads that I thought might beat single ply heads, but don't. I guess I'll have to experiment with those too!

I really can't believe the difference between the renaissance heads and clear single ply heads. Huge difference in tone. Renaissance heads excite very easily, where single ply heads, they don't open up at low volumes like the R heads. I like the tone the R heads make way better too. It's the single biggest improvement in my sound since I came back to drumming in 03. OK that and going full front BD head. That rocks too.

Last edited by larryace; 08-07-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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  #11  
Old 08-07-2012, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

I think the Renaissance line are the best sounding heads Remo makes.

If you want a little extra sizzle out of your snare drum I'd suggest the Renaissance snare side head too.

While the Renaissance, Fiberskyn, and Aquarian Modern Vintage are all intended to emulate calfskin they all go about it in a different way, and sound a fair bit different from one another. To me the Modern Vintage do not have the brightness of a Renaissance Ambassador, but have more darkness and warmth.

Larry, based on what you've said you liked about the Renaissance Ambassador heads, I don't think you'd like the sound of the Modern Vintage as much, and especially not mixing them in as bottom heads only. I think you would like the sound going Renaissance Ambassador top and bottom though.
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2012, 12:06 AM
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larryace larryace is online now
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Hey Winston thanks for that, I don't want a dark head whatsoever. You probably just saved me 60 bucks, thanks! You don't read about these heads much.(Renaissance) I can't believe I've been doing without them this long. And thanks for the tip on the renaissance snare side. I might actually have one here, now I'm excited to try it. Hey Winston have you tried the Evans J1 Etched? Caddy says they are similar to R heads. I'm thinking of doing the kick batter too in either a powerstroke or an ambassador. Have you ever run R heads on kicks? Opinions?
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  #13  
Old 08-08-2012, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

No on the J1 head. I know it is etched instead of coated, and I've heard that mellows it out a bit, but I've never tried one.

Evans also makes an orchestral head called Strata - it's their attempt at a Renaissance-type coating and I have tried those. It's a 10-mil coated head with a lot more midrange than a typical clear or coated head. I ran those top and bottom on my toms and I definitely noticed a lot more of "the thing" those heads have adding the same head to the bottom, which is why I know you'll dig Ren Ambassadors top and bottom.

I've never tried a Renaissance bass head and I'm too hung up on Aquarian now.

Last edited by Winston_Wolf; 08-08-2012 at 01:38 AM.
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  #14  
Old 08-08-2012, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

So a renaissance head is a coating? Since the film is that funny amber color, I just thought any texture was part of the film, not applied. Do you like the renaissance better than the strata?
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  #15  
Old 08-08-2012, 04:57 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Remo calls it a textured surface, so I think it is just a combination of the specific film and the texture that gives it that sound. That's one of the reasons I really like them; great tone and no coating issues. The fact they do everything from snare sides to 2-ply heads means they're versatile no matter what style of head you prefer.

The Evans Strata has a coating and a colored film. I'm a big fan of Evans but the Strata heads are pretty disappointing overall. They sound good (and make really nice reso heads) but the coating WILL NOT hold onto the film. Several of the ones I bought were literally stuck to the inside of the box when they arrived and the coating peeled free of the head when removing them. Also, if they touch anything else (like the underside of another drum head if you stack your unused heads) they will also stick to the other head.

I like the tone, but the coating problem is ridiculous; it is so much worse than Remo's white coating issue. At least you have to hit Remo heads to make the coating wear off.

It's one of the reasons I've left both Evans and Remo behind and switched to Aquarian. Not only is the tone of Aquarian's heads really nice but nothing seems to take the coating off of any of their heads.
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  #16  
Old 08-08-2012, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Renaissance heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winston_Wolf View Post
No on the J1 head. I know it is etched instead of coated, and I've heard that mellows it out a bit, but I've never tried one.
They sound pretty similar when compared side-by-side. They feel similar, too.
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