Aquarian DeJohnette Drum Heads

JimmySticks

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I've been looking to replace my stock USA Remo drum heads that came on my Pork Pie bop kit for awhile now. I've been leaning towards coated Ambassadors and putting the PP coated heads on the reso side which now has clear heads. Seems to be the classic jazz set-up.

But, I've been doing a deep dive into other heads and came across the DeJohnette heads. They've apparently been around forever, but I haven't heard anyone talk them up. They are single ply, 10 mil, with a special black coating, supposedly indestructible and very good for brushes. They sound pretty cool, very jazzy and they have some great reviews. Does anyone have any experience with these?

 

JazzDrumGuy

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I bought a snare that came with one. I took it off. It was weird playing a black head and I'm a Remo guy anyway.
 

JimmySticks

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I bought a snare that came with one. I took it off. It was weird playing a black head and I'm a Remo guy anyway.
I didn't even think of that, I've never played black heads either! Might be weird. But they'd look great on my kit.

A lot of the reviews were very positive concerning the sound quality on a snare drum. Did you try it at all?
 

Vicey

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I currently have one of these on my mid-50s WFL snare. I don't find it all that radically different from a coated Ambassador--perhaps it's a bit darker/bassier, but that might just be a suggestion of the color. But, at least on this dark blue sparkle wrap snare, the black head looks great.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I didn't even think of that, I've never played black heads either! Might be weird. But they'd look great on my kit.

A lot of the reviews were very positive concerning the sound quality on a snare drum. Did you try it at all?
I just briefly played it. It seems like an ambassador thickness but without the coating. I wasn't worried about durability but the last time I used a black heads was a ebony Remo head on a snare. Yes, it look cool on a bronze drum but got my stick tips black which transferred onto the other white heads and also the cymbals so I really didn't want to go there again.
 

Jarcorbo

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I have one on my 13” snare and when compared to an ambassador I think the DeJohnette has a touch more dryness, better articulation, and sounds less boingy in lower tunings. The texture coating holds up very well over time.
 

JimmySticks

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I just briefly played it. It seems like an ambassador thickness but without the coating. I wasn't worried about durability but the last time I used a black heads was a ebony Remo head on a snare. Yes, it look cool on a bronze drum but got my stick tips black which transferred onto the other white heads and also the cymbals so I really didn't want to go there again.
Yes it is the thickness of an Ambassador, 10 mil, but then you add the coating and it changes things abit. I haven't read any complaints about the black coating getting on the stick tips, but I guess it could happen. It's supposed to be very .

I have one on my 13” snare and when compared to an ambassador I think the DeJohnette has a touch more dryness, better articulation, and sounds less boingy in lower tunings. The texture coating holds up very well over time.
That's pretty much what I've read in the reviews, dryer, a bit darker and nice articulation. I have no experience with Aquarian, but these sound like they're worth a shot and they're no more expensive than Remo Ambassadors.

Funny, size-for-size, Evans heads come in about 2 - 3 bucks cheaper than Remo or Aquarian.
 

dboomer

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Im always interested when someone reports “its s bit drier”. What does that mean? Half a moongel drier?
 

JimmySticks

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Im always interested when someone reports “its s bit drier”. What does that mean? Half a moongel drier?
Yeah, I think all 3 drum head companies advertise one or more of their heads as "dry". Evans has the Genera Dry and I know Remo has one as well, although the name escapes me at the moment. It's supposed to take out the ringing and control overtones. But as you said, you can do that with moon gels. Not sure the amount of moon gels these heads replace though! :lol:
 

mgdrummer

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I’ve played a few snares that have had them over the years, always thought they sounded fine. My go to snare heads are coated CS dots and coated ambassadors so I never grabbed one for myself. If you like Remo you may also want to consider the black suede heads. THOSE I’ve bought before and though they sounded fantastic on my birch kit.
 

kickassdrummer

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I recently picked up a used snare with one of these on it (in nearly new shape).... unfortunately, I found it to sound thin no matter what I did with it.
 

halldorl

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Soundwise, I think it’s one of the best snare heads I’ve played. Really love how they sound, not far from a Remo Ambassador. However, I stopped using them because they became flat sounding after a week and I was constantly changing heads.
 

JimmySticks

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Soundwise, I think it’s one of the best snare heads I’ve played. Really love how they sound, not far from a Remo Ambassador. However, I stopped using them because they became flat sounding after a week and I was constantly changing heads.
Oh, that's not good. :sad:

I just ordered one for my snare, and a 12 and 14" for my toms. Well... we'll see I guess.
 

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I always thought the DeJohnette heads were cool, sounded very crisp with the slightly thicker coating , full tone , and the black color gave it a visual vibe that worked with the sound for me . Those heads actually sound super mic’d Up live , and do record very well too.
Btw, have found that their heads tune up well with their collar and hoop design which is unique . Always liked them, hope they work for you!
 
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JimmySticks

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I always thought the DeJohnette heads were cool, sounded very crisp with the slightly thicker coating , full tone , and the black color gave it a visual vibe that worked with the sound for me . Those heads actually sound super mic’d Up live , and do record very well too.
Btw, have found that their heads tune up well with their collar and hoop design which is unique . Always liked them, hope they work for you!
I just received them in the mail yesterday.

The first thing I noticed was the coating, it's nice and rough. Brushes should sound great on these! Love the flat black look of these as well. His signature is a nice touch and it's pretty small and not intrusive.

If I have time today, I'm going to put them on and maybe do a quick review.

Question though -. I have clear reso heads on the drums now. Should I leave them or put the coated Remo Pork Pie heads on the resonant side? They're the equivalent of Ambassador's. Thanks
 

Heavy Beech

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I would just keep the clear resos on to begin with it . Those heads will sound fine and give you a good balanced starting point to work with them; If you decide you want to get a little more warmth after a couple days , You can still change out for the coated below. Aquarian’s tends to not need a long time to seat in and they tune quick .
 
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JimmySticks

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Wow, so I just put the DeJohnette heads on and what a difference. My toms sound amazing. Perfectly controlled resonance and sustain, especially on the floor tom. No wonkiness. Just a really solid pleasing thump with a nice hint of resonance. No out of control ringing or dissonance. Very nice on the ears. My 13" Ludwig piccolo seems more alive (articulate?)now as well and less boxy and shallow. And all of this with just a quick tuning. I haven't touched the resonance heads at all. They also look great on my kit. I didn't try my brushes, but I'm sure they're going to sound amazing with that rough coating.

One thing I do see is some white marks on the FT already. But they do come right off.

I've tried a lot of drum heads, and all sounded a little different from each other, but these are at another level. The difference is pretty big here. They have really brought out the best in my drums.
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