Black on black on black

Jankowske

Senior Member
So I have the maple PDP X7...you know, the black one with the black hardware? When I first got it, I thought that putting black drumheads on it would be stupid. Who would do such a thing? And I didn't really like the look of the black bass drum reso that came with it, so maybe that's why.

Fast forward to now and I want to put black drumheads all over it. With the exception of the snare side and my bass drum, I can't resist the urge anymore. I see a drumkit and I want to skin it black.

I think that I've decided on aquarian's Response 2 heads (in black) for tom batters. I have been wary of black pigmented mylar, since my recent research seems to show that people find such heads to have less sustain and a dryer sound. But I don't know how to avoid them when it comes to tom resos, since I don't want coated. Who has experience with black resos? I have been looking at remo ebony and black suede, evans onyx, and aquarian classic clears. I have no personal experience with any of these.

And if anyone is wondering if zildjian's pitch black series has ever appealed to me...no.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Sometimes look overrides sound :) . Now when it comes to resos I'd say it depends on what weight you like. The Evans Resonant Blacks are 7.5 mil, the Aquarian Black Classic Clears and Ebony Ambassadors are 10 mil.
 

Yoshinya

Senior Member
I think that I've decided on aquarian's Response 2 heads (in black) for tom batters. I have been wary of black pigmented mylar, since my recent research seems to show that people find such heads to have less sustain and a dryer sound. But I don't know how to avoid them when it comes to tom resos, since I don't want coated. Who has experience with black resos? I have been looking at remo ebony and black suede, evans onyx, and aquarian classic clears. I have no personal experience with any of these.
I have personal experience with Evans Onyx heads, and I think you'd possibly like them, as the coating itself does not have a black pigment to it (I believe the Aquarians might?). It's the same translucent "frost" coating that is used on the coated EC2 and EC Snare heads. They are plenty tonally rich and lively, though they have a darker character.

I also know that Aquarian's weights run a little heavier than they advertise them as, whereas Remo and Evans weights are generally pretty spot-on. The 2 x 7.5mil (15mil total) will probably actually end up being somewhere around the same thickness as the Response 2s.

Also, I'm not sure if Aquarian is still doing it this way, but their black bass resonant heads weren't actually made of black film, at least not around 10 years ago. They would spray it with this black pigment on the underside of the head. Almost like a coating, but not as thick. It definitely didn't look as black from the front side of the drum as say a Remo Ambassador Ebony or Evans EQ Black.
 

porter

Platinum Member
You might consider Evans Black Chromes, they're double-ply with a clear top and black bottom ply. They sound great on toms and snare! As for the resonant heads I think I've heard that Remo's Ebony Ambassadors are actually 2-ply but I'm not sure how founded that info is- the thinner heads will give you more low-dynamic response but will choke off faster than a thicker reso at higher dynamics. I actually haven't owned Black Chromes for toms yet but I played Onyxes on my starter kit and they were very easy to tune & sounded pretty decent. I don't know if you can really go wrong with any of the options.
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
I just realized I kinda left everyone hanging on this thread. Well, now that I've had new skins for a few months, I think that I can give them a decent review.

My tom batters got the Aquarian Response 2 coated, black, of course. They're pretty much equivalent to an emperor or a G2. My 12" was defective, but I got a free replacement from musician's friend with minimal hassle. First thing I noticed about these on my drums is that when tuning low, the heads seem almost too small at first. Aquarian's collar design is this quarter-roundover shape, and the bearing edge sits under the upper extent of that profile, not the flat plane of the rest of that head. I suppose theoretically that the head might be at a marginally higher tension right next to the bearing edge with this design.
Anyways, practical-apllication-wise, these heads are great. Aquarian's coating has Evans and Remo beat IMO. The texture is closer to Remo's, but it wears similarly to Evans's, as in they don't do it immediately but eventually it starts to flake off. Almost three months of metal and only my 8" has started flaking, and they all still have texture.
Sound-wise I would say they're very similar to emperors and G2s. Maybe a little mellower? They're definitely WARM. If you're into coated two-plys, these will definitely do it for you. My own personal experience and tuning ability has reached the point that I've decided that I prefer un-coated two-ply heads. I'm not knocking these at all; I really like all the warm round fatness that these have made on my drums, and I think these heads were a worthy venture. I just miss the cut and impact that clears have.

The tom resos got Aquarian Classic Clears in video gloss black or something. Like Yoshinya said about the bass resos, these heads are made of regular clear mylar and are painted black from behind. The collar shape is the same as the others and I'm guessing is that way on all Aquarian heads. Same specs as an ambassador or a G1. Sound-wise I really can't compare it to either since I don't think I've ever bought one. I wish I had a non-black one to compare to see if the paint affects the sound much. Whatever; they tuned up easily and sound good.

My snare got a black Aquarian Hi-Velocity. It's like a coated emperor or G2 with a big "power dot" on the bottom. The Aquarian power dot reinforcement stuff is more like cloth than plastic. I would say that maybe the emperor X would be equivalent, but I hated the emperor X, whereas this head I love. The coating is still awesome and hasn't started to flake yet. This is the best this snare has ever sounded, followed by the Hi-Energy, followed by a (lightly muffled) clear Pinstripe. I still have yet to try a coated emperor or Evans dry on it. Nice solid, woody body, tastefully ringy, controlled in the middle with nice wild rim and ping shots. Sounds really intense and authoritative without being abrasive. I will probably buy this head again at some point. Also I tune my snare batter medium to high and the snare side higher.

Also black heads all over turned out to look really awesome. I'm not really "over it", but I won't insist on black heads in the future. But everything black does look really awesome. Next heads might be clear G2s, or Ebonys, or Onyxes, or clear Response 2s, or Black Chromes. Damn you manufacturers and your variety.
 
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