What heads for rock/metal???????

2xPedalFury

Junior Member
Hi, i need new heads for my entire Meridian Birch set, but as you all probably know there are more drum head types than countries in the world :S so i want my drums to be good for anything from rock to death metal, but i dont know what heads give that sort of short sustain, low fundamental tone and attack. I was looking at the Evans Hydraulic line, mainly because i had only considered Evans and not Remo or Aquarian. Its because all the drums that i have played with Remo heads sounded crappy, but then again they were kinda lower end sets. And i played this one mid range set with all Evans heads that i fell in love with :) So i thought: "screw Remo, i'll use Evans! and i never even thought about Aquarian, cuz i havent played any set with them as heads. But today i read something about barely being able to hear the toms when using Hydraulics, and that would suck so i am broadening my search into all the big three. problem is, idk anything about Aquarian heads that would be good for me, and the only thing i know about from Remo is Powertroke 3 or 4 or whatever it is. Could u guys recommend some heads that would benefit me? (toms, bass, snare, batter and reso) and also, what do the terms: wet, dry, fat, deep, open, dark, bright, ect. mean for describing the sound of cymbals and drums???
thanks a lot :)
 

drummergirl2112

Junior Member
Hydraulics can be hard to hear because they have a lot of attack and minimal sustain. Which is fine for some people, but it sounds like you want a tom that will still sound like a tom, whereas with hydraulics you tend to get more of the "bass drum on every drum" effect. Right now I am using Evans Clear EC2s with great satisfaction. I had clear G2s before, but they were a little too bright and ringy for my taste. So I moved to the EC2s, and they seem to have the perfect balance of muffling, attack, and most importantly sustain. I play mostly classic rock and they give me the fat, full drum sound I want, while still keeping nice, noticeably different tones on each tom.
 

drummergirl2112

Junior Member
Also, Aquarian makes some good heads. I like the Performance IIs, but I dislike the StudioXs because they are too muffled. Their kick drum heads are very good, I used their Super Kick IIs on my bass drums for a few years. I just recently switched to Evans EMAD which I like as well.

As to your confusion with terms, here's kind of my interpretation of them, and of course this can vary as you talk to other people.

Wet- Not a very strong attack (hitting sound), but usually more sustain (note ringing out)
Dry- Opposite obviously, stronger attack with less sustain, but this also sometimes applies to certain overtones you may hear, for example a coated head will have "drier" overtones than a clear head.
Fat- Usually referring to a bassy, full sound focused on the lower end, but also has a good balance.
Open- Usually meaning resonant and clear.
Dark- For cymbals it usually means emphasis on lower overtones and pitches
Bright- Have a higher, more washy sound with more focused, cutting attack. More common in brilliant finish cymbals (shiny ones)
 

tard

Gold Member
Also, Aquarian makes some good heads. I like the Performance IIs, but I dislike the StudioXs because they are too muffled.
Sorry, I have to disagree, the Performance 2's (2ply) are way more muffled/controlled than Studio x's (single ply), even the single ply reverse power dot heads are more controlled than a Studio x, that little piece of power dot material on a studio x does nothing but remove just a bit of the high overtones leaving all the resonance, sustain, attack and warm tone of a regular single ply clear head while the Performance 2 double ply which is the equivelent head to a Pinstripe removes some of everything giving a more thuddy controlled sound and its even more controlled than the Response 2 double ply which is the equivalent head to an Emperor or EC2.

Here you can hear and see for yourself.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot31HbyOlWE
http://www.aquariandrumheads.com/products/drumhead-guide-comparison
 

mrmike

Silver Member
Coated or clear 2 ply over clear 1 ply seems to be a very popular choice for top metal players. I would use this as a starting point and if you want even more control you can use moongel. 2 ply heads will not ring quite as long as 1 ply and will have a more focused, punchy sound suited for metal. To much ring will get lost in a wall of guitars. Anything beyond a plain 2 ply is designed to ring even less.
 
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PeteN

Silver Member
A double ply clear or coated will be perfect for rock or metal. A dampened double ply like a pinstripe, ec2, or performance II will be good too but may dampen too much.

You can always add a tiny bit of moongel to an undampened head if the room your drums are in is a little to bright. Getting more sustain and tone out of the heavily dampened heads will not be possible.

The biggest factor is how well can you tune? It's amazing how you can make a head be lively full of tone and also tame it down with tuning adjustments if that's what you desire.

If you want low heavy sounds from your drums don't expect to get them out of little diameter toms. Each size drum has its lowest possible pitch that still has good tone and sustain. Go lower than that and you have an expensive cardboard box.

Personally....if you want your toms to cut through so your band mates and audience can hear best go with a wide open double ply head.
 

2xPedalFury

Junior Member
Well, thanks for all the head suggestions, how does this possible setup sound?
EMAD Onyx for my 22x 18 kick
HD genera dry for my 14x 5.5 snare
Hydraulics glass for all the toms? But what resos for all those batters?
I have also looked at Ec2's but people that have had them say they hate them? Idk why
People have also said that hydraulics sound too "dead"? If they are, are there any other heads that are comparable to them but more "lively" I guess?
Thx for all the suggestions and clarifications :)

Btw idk how well I can tune but I can tune a head to make it sound the way I want it to I guess :)
I kinda taught myself how to tune :p
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
If you seem to have your mind set on the hydraulics,so you must like the dead sound,with limited volume,resonance,and sustain.Why not try a coated or clear emperor over a clear ambassador.That should give you what you're looking for.If it's a little too ringy,to can always use a small piece of moon gel,without sacrificing tone,which is another thing hydros lack somewhat.Thats what happens when you put oil in between a 2 ply head.Thud

Steve B
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
You know what...here's an idea.Forget every recomendation you just got,and just visit the Remo,Attack,Aquarian,Ludwig,and Evans website to see what some of your fav drummers use.If you like that sound,buy the heads they use.

Steve B
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
You know what...here's an idea.Forget every recomendation you just got,and just visit the Remo,Attack,Aquarian,Ludwig,and Evans website to see what some of your fav drummers use.If you like that sound,buy the heads they use.
Funny you should say that, Steve. As I was reading through this thread, that's exactly what I was thinking because that's what I did.

In the early '80s when I was just starting out I wanted to sound like Neil Peart and what was he using around the time of Moving Pictures? Wait for it ... Evans Hydraulics! They were expensive, too, but I scrimped and saved and bought those suckers! Man was I stoked!

But. They sounded terrible. Like cardboard boxes only not as good.

I had no idea that going from single ply black dots to oil-filled 2 ply's could be so dramatic. My toms had probably half the volume and none of the life they did with the black dots. Very depressing. So I knocked over a bank, risking life and limb, to scare up some quick cash, then did what everyone else did back then: bought Pinstripes! Waaay better. Wouldn't go anywhere near them now (too muffled), but they were miles livelier and louder than anything with a oil in it (duh!).

Sad part is it took at least 20 more years before I could bring myself to buy anything from Evans. Very traumatic.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Mike..sounds like you had head trauma.( sorry,couldn't resist).I can't understand why they still make them,and who uses them.They have always sounded terrible.The only guys I have ever heard coax some kind of tone out of them,was Peart,and Barrymore Barlow,when he was with Jethro Tull.I think he started using them on the "Thick as a Brick" album with his blue Vistalites.

Yeah,I went through the pinstripe thing too with my vintage Superstars.Never again.:)

Steve B
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
Well, thanks for all the head suggestions, how does this possible setup sound?
EMAD Onyx for my 22x 18 kick
HD genera dry for my 14x 5.5 snare
Hydraulics glass for all the toms? But what resos for all those batters?
I have also looked at Ec2's but people that have had them say they hate them? Idk why
People have also said that hydraulics sound too "dead"? If they are, are there any other heads that are comparable to them but more "lively" I guess?
Thx for all the suggestions and clarifications :)

Btw idk how well I can tune but I can tune a head to make it sound the way I want it to I guess :)
I kinda taught myself how to tune :p
For the tom batters try the Evans G2 or Power Center. For the tom bottoms use EC Resonant. Peace and goodwill.
 

marko138

Silver Member
I play metal. I also use small drums. 20" kick. 10 and 14" rack toms. I use a clear single ply GMAD on the kick and coated G2 on the toms. No muffling...other than the GMAD. My 14" tom has sustain for DAYS. The 10" has a nice ring too.

I swear to you I get compliments on the sound of my drums at nearly every show we play. From drummers, sound guys, crowd. Forget the Hydraulics. I played them for years. Get a clear or coated G2 and tune it so it sounds good.

Once you get the full band blasting away you can't hear the ringing and overtones. That ringing and overtones are what projects your sound so the audience can hear it.
 
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