Evans Hydraulic Heads - A quick review!

bongodoctor

Member
I have read lots of threads about Evans Hydraulic heads and they seem to bitterly divide opinion. Some hate them, some love them. Here is my impressions. I bought a set of Evans Hydraulics because I was trying to emulate that phat 70's funk sound - and I was struggling to get this from the standard Remo and Evans single/double heads. So I bought a set and tried them in three different combinations: Evans Hydraulic head as batter, with a standard resonant head on the bottom - Evans Hydraulic as both batter and resonant, and just as a single headed batter with no resonant head. Firstly, there is a very limited sweet spot where the head suddenly comes to life - too slack or too tight and you just get a fat slap or thin tap. All skins have a sweet spot, but the range for the Evans Hydraulic is very narrow. The sweet spot I found - which worked well on all of the drums from 10" - 22" was a reading of 80% on a Drum Dial at each lug (90% for the 14" UV Hydraulic Snare batter). Again because the oil dampens the sound it is vital that you have the same tension/pitch at each lug. Once they are all at the same pitch the head comes to life. With a standard resonant head the Hydraulic heads produce a decent tone and attack, but have less volume than a standard head and there is quite a lot of pitch bend if you don't match the pitch of the heads exactly. I don't like pitch bend and they were still too resonant for the sound I was going for. Next I tried Hydraulic heads top and bottom - with the same tuning top and bottom. This actually produced a nice warm controlled tone with no pitch bend and little resonance, but the volume was reduced dramatically. If I was planning to close mic the kit or use it for recording it I think this would usable. Finally I tried then Hydraulics as single heads with exactly the same tuning. They sounded pretty much the way I wanted them too - nice deep tone, plenty of attack and volume and with the addition of a small piece of Moongel on each between the logo and the rim - they sounded exactly like those old 70's toms, the bass and snare were also very punchy with few overtones. So these heads are not going to suit most players - but if you are looking for a nice dry 70's sound with plenty of attack and volume but little resonance - they fit the bill! But you do have to tune them very precisely - if you just chuck them on and hope for the best you are probably going to be disappointed and they are not cheap. A final word of warning: The different colours (blue,red, black and clear) are NOT all the same thicknesses and thus will not sound exactly the same. Officially the red and blue heads are 2x7mil (although to me the reds feel slightly thicker than the blues), the black is 1x7.5mil and 1x6.5mil (not sure which is top and bottom) and the clear is 2x6mil. Obviously these are subtle differences but it will make a difference if you are planning to match the sounds across the kit and it isn't easy to find out what those difference are - the impression given is that they are all the same thickness...
 
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Stroman

Platinum Member
Nice review! I .haven't used those heads since the 70's, I don't think, but I liked them for that one sound.

Usually I used them on concert toms, but I remember trying one on a 12" Rogers tom, with a silver dot for a reso. When I hit the sweet spot, that drum seemed to ring for days, lol. I was really surprised at how much sustain it had.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
funny that you mentioned them having a very small range for the sweet spot to activate...I find the same thing with Evans marching heads as well.

I used to use the Hydraulics back in the 80's and almost always got the thin tap sound...granted, I was just a teen and was in the process of learning to tune, but I lost patience with them and went to Remo pins
 

Mustion

Senior Member
funny that you mentioned them having a very small range for the sweet spot to activate...I find the same thing with Evans marching heads as well.
You mean the mylar hybrid things? I tried one of those this summer and was so disappointed. Not much louder, and worse, it got wet and some top layer started to peel. Oh well.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I think Hydraulic heads get a bad rap. Like a lot of other things, they're another tool in the toolbox, but in the right situation they're great, and no one else makes anything quite like them.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
I think Hydraulic heads get a bad rap. Like a lot of other things, they're another tool in the toolbox, but in the right situation they're great, and no one else makes anything quite like them.
I do agree. I think it's because they are really identified with a certain time period, and also I think their odd composition (two plies with oil between) really clashes with the typical drum aficionado stance of sneering at anything pre-muffled.
 
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