Problems with Remo Controlled Sound Reverse Dot Coated snare heads

SAINTDRUMS

Senior Member
I wanted to see if anyone has been experiencing the same problem I have with these heads lately. I'd like to say up front that I like the sound of these heads, but I'm ready to stop using them because of the problems I've had on the last two heads I used. The problem is with the reverse dot - after playing for a brief time, the dot starts to separate from the head. It starts off with various size air pockets and expands to the point that the dot starts to flap under the head. On one head, the dot actually came completely separated, flipped sideways, and partially stuck to the resonant head! As a reference, I am a moderately hard-hitter and the last head did this the first time using it on a gig after putting it on! Geeesh, I'm not THAT hard a of hitter... Anybody else run into this problem?

I'd like to add that this has happened with two heads in a row. It wasn't say, every fifth head....
 
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SAINTDRUMS

Senior Member
Thanks for the replies guys. Trust me when I tell you I don't hit that hard. I brought back the last failed head to where I bought it and the owner graciously swapped it out for another one. This latest head seems to be holding up fine so far.
 
I had the same problem. I emailed Remo, and they said they'd give me a replacement, but to be honest, part of me is giving up on Remo. They're coatings aren't the best, durability has dropped a bit, and I'm noticing lots of inconsistencies in their heads. I switched my broken CSX for an Evans heavyweight, and I'm pretty happy with it (mostly because I'm using fewer moongels). Perhaps a switch is due.
 

Defender

Silver Member
I'll just say, if that was me and my head performed that way, I would seriously think about changing the company I purchased my heads from. That just sounds totally inexcusable. A head should NOT fall apart like that, no matter how freakin' hard you hit it.
 

davidbehrens3.14

Senior Member
How hard you actually hit the drum is not the only thing that could be contributing to these kinds of problems. A short dip into some drumhead science may help you a bit.

A Remo Controlled Sound Reverse Dot drum head is a thick, two-ply Mylar head with the dot glued on the bottom side. It is stretched over your drum, and when you hit it, the sound disperses across the head from the point of contact. The head transfers sound down, through the drum, through the resonant head.

Your problem is with the glue on the bottom of the batter head. I don't know what kind of glue it is, but it can be affected in various ways. When it is loosened, this is caused by a series of vibrations which eventually separate the glue from the dot. The amount and magnitude of each vibration will be larger if you hit harder, but this on its own may not affect the glue significantly. Here are some components which may loosen the dot.

TUNING: If you tune fairly tight in general, the center of the head will be stretched a tiny bit closer to the rim all around, though the Dot doesn't stretch. This may loosen the glue because it is repositioned on the head where it meets the Dot. Much more significantly, UNEVEN tuning will cause inequalities in the dispersion of vibrations. Sound takes the path of least resistance when traveling in vibrating waves across a surface. The more uneven the surface, the more vibrations will take the tighter (shorter) path along one side of your head, passing through your Dot and creating a weak spot on it. Here, the glue may separate.

Stroke: The way you hit the drum is characteristic in multiple ways. Your hand brings the stick down onto the drum head and the force from your hand translates to vibrations across the head. At this point, there are multiple ways this can go.

In an "ideal" stroke (by my own definition), the stick has the shortest possible time in contact with the head. The stick rebounds freely, directly back along its path. The head itself, as I mentioned, transmits vibrations. When you use a free, legato stroke with free rebound, the vibrations are stimulated and uninterrupted, allowing even dispersion and more resonance.

The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. When you apply force to the head with a rebounding, free stroke, the head disperses the force, and it is reciprocated in the rebound of the stick. In a good legato stroke, the stick itself will transmit the force of the rebound, and will sing with a distinct tone (note that Vic Firth sticks are Pitch-Matched; this refers to the sticks' fundamental vibrating tone). The head will transmit vibrations more freely and achieve a fuller sound.

However, there are inefficient ways to hit a drum. When you hold the stick tightly, the force dispersion on the drum will be much different. It will be much harder to minimize the time of contact on the drum head. Therefore, with a sharper articulation, the stick will drive tonal vibrations straight down by cutting off the path to the resonating body that is the rest of the head. The force of the rebound will be less efficiently circulated. The vibrations are focused straight down (generally into specific areas of the Dot, weakening its glue), and because of the channel created by the angle of the stick, vibrations have more time to come back up through that path. Instead of reverberating freely throughout the stick, the vibrations will travel straight up through your wrists and fingers, which, after a while, can cause some injuries. These vibrations will try to resonate throughout the stick but will be stopped, and trapped in the stick. This will exert a lot of stress on the sticks, and they will often break. Most drummers, in fact, who break sticks do so both by playing hard, and improperly controlling the vibrations that travel back through the stick. Those vibrations will deaden the sound on your drum, hurt your hands, and damage your sticks and drumhead, both on the playing surface and on the glue on the underlying dot.

Finally, consistently hitting the drumhead off-center will cause an unequal distribution of vibrations. By affecting one area of your head, you will create a weak spot on the glue, as mentioned above. This will eventually cause one part of the Dot to loosen.

There are many drummers who use almost completely ideal, legato, rebounding motions. My favorite is Dave Weckl, who has come as close as anyone to mastering this style. Listen to the way his drums sing; they noticeably affirm the significance of a good, legato stroke and consistent tuning. Also, Peter Erskine and some others. Steve Smith uses rebound technique fantastically, and notably, also plays Controlled Sound heads. You can be pretty sure that these guys don't break a lot of sticks, let alone heads.

The bottom line is that while your heads may be flawed (probably weak glue), you have to make sure that every other component of your playing doesn't force the issue. You'll spend a lot less money on heads, sticks, and arthritis medication if your stroke facilitates a natural motion. Personally, I'd recommend staying with Remo. You can control your heads' durability, but not their sound. If you prefer Remo's sound, stay with those heads. Evans can put any kind of 'research and innovation' into the heads they're touting, but it doesn't matter if (as is my opinion and preference) Remo heads still sound better. It's ALL about sound.
 

Defender

Silver Member
I'm happy to send out a replacement Evans head to check out if any of you ever experience this issue with another drumhead. Drop me a line at Evans@daddario.com.

-Ben
Hey SAINTDRUMS, how's that for customer service? The Evans guy is responding to your Remo thread about giving you a new head... LMAO. Now that's customer service right there.
 

belairien

Silver Member
I had the same problem. I emailed Remo, and they said they'd give me a replacement, but to be honest, part of me is giving up on Remo. They're coatings aren't the best, durability has dropped a bit, and I'm noticing lots of inconsistencies in their heads. I switched my broken CSX for an Evans heavyweight, and I'm pretty happy with it (mostly because I'm using fewer moongels). Perhaps a switch is due.
I had the same problem. I emailed them as well, took like three weeks to go through all the customer service junk.
They Sent a white dot one for replacement and an ambassador snare side. But it didn't quite sound the same.
Their service is great, if slow, but Evans has been growing on me lately. And all the price drops recently means I can get things like an eq4 (ps3 equivilent) for around 30 bucks, instead of a 40+ ps3.

And if I'm not mistaken Remo prices went up? I'm slowly converting, even if its by Stockholm syndrome. xD
 

belairien

Silver Member
How hard you actually hit the drum is not the only thing that could be contributing to these kinds of problems.
I started mine tuned low, playing some light funk groves to warm up, and that's when it started bubbling alot for me.
Then when my band was ready to practice I tuned it up high and rocked the eff out knowing I was going to hit them up about it.
 

gyorpb

Junior Member
Where do you buy your heads? Do they keep stock? How long and how do they store their stock?

And what about yourself? Played any gigs with these problem heads? Old fashioned stage lighting can wreak all kinds of havoc on equipment.
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
I've been using CS Dots for years, never had this issue.
Yeah! This whole thing sounds iffy to me. I've never had a defective Remo head of any style, ever. Never had a defective Evans either, just every Emad I've ever owned crapped out after a couple months. According to Evans that doesn't count as a defect, so no, never had a single defect. For you to have back to back defective heads, well two things, first play the lottery and second, avoid any lightning storms. I hear that can happen twice too.
 

EvansSpecialist

Silver Member
Yeah! This whole thing sounds iffy to me. I've never had a defective Remo head of any style, ever. Never had a defective Evans either, just every Emad I've ever owned crapped out after a couple months. According to Evans that doesn't count as a defect, so no, never had a single defect. For you to have back to back defective heads, well two things, first play the lottery and second, avoid any lightning storms. I hear that can happen twice too.
Hit me up with the details on your experience with the EMAD. I'd love to help and figure out what the issue was. I'd be happy to send a replacement.
 

SAINTDRUMS

Senior Member
Just saw this post - I though it had died. I stopped using this head altogether. I can assure you that I am not the only one this has happened to. I've now had three of these heads have the same failure within a relatively short period of time. Each one starts out with "bubbles" (how it initially looks when the dot starts to separate from the head material). It typically starts at the perimeter of the circle and at some point one side will lift. To prove my point, I typically tune drums for other local players and outfitted 2 snares with the CS head. One of them started the perimeter lifting after roughly 4 months.

It's a moot point now as I have moved on to another head. I've learned it's not totally uncommon as you'd like to think...
 
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SAINTDRUMS

Senior Member
davidbehrens3.14, thank you for reviewing some potential variables that should also be taken into consideration in regards to a drum head failure. I honestly appreciate your input and for also taking the time to post that. While I don't disagree with what you've written, my personal contention is that drum heads are products that are made to be hit with sticks. As such, it should be considered within reason to expect some decent level of durability. Further, the various manufacturers of heads can't possibly sell their product only to those with perfect technique. There are likely millions of drummers in the world, each with different levels of ability and techniques. Drummers run the gamut from playing softly and dynamically with feeling to the opposite end of the spectrum - the hard hitters who literally "dig in" when playing. Outside of extreme instances of out-of-the-ordinary playing, heads should last more than a month without a failure or signs of impending failure. I've never had significant failures worth mentioning on any other snare heads, regardless of the manufacturer - prior to these last few heads. In fact, when this first happened I thought I had merely got "lucky" and bought a bad head - a factory anomaly. However, I had the same problem with two additional heads, albeit to varying degrees.
 

Blisco

Senior Member
I've been using CS Dots for years, never had this issue.
Same here. Just tried an Emp X coated for my new Supra and that seems fine too. A little early to tell, I guess. I don't keep snare heads for more than 6 months and I don't dent drum heads at all. Ever. Stick tip might be a factor too? I play an acorn tip and most of my hits are parallel with the head of all drums.
 
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