Best Heads for Ludwig Vistalites?

pontiacrich

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Hi there all! I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.

I'm putting together my dream set of mid-late 70's Ludwig blue vistalites.

The lineup currently includes 14x24" bass; 5x14 snare; rack toms: 8x12, 9x13, 10x14, 16x13; floor toms: 16x16, 16x18. I'm mounting on a Gibralter rack system with plenty of Zildjans to go around.

What I remember from my teenage years was the big sound of the vistalites and I want to re-create that rich sound I remember. Many of the drums have old silver dots or Evans heads on them. So I want to reskin these drums to get the best sound, and I'm looking for suggestions!

I've been looking at the Aquarian website and they have some nice sounding heads. As I said, I want that deep rich sound with a nice pop attack. I'm not sure if I can get a bright attack and rich, deep sound without too much resonance, but I'm all ears.

Suggestions?

Thanks,

Rich
 

tcolley

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Any single ply head with a dot for the tom batters. Remo CS, Ludwig silver dot, Evans Power Center, or Aquarian Classic Clears w/Power Dot. For the resonants, Remo clear Ambassodor, Evans clear G1, Ludwig clear heavy, or Aquarian Classic Clears. On the bass drum a Remo Powerstroke 3 or 4, or an Evans EQ3, and a clear single ply for the reso. I don't like Vista snares so I can't help you on that one.
 

clubdate

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Similar to t.c. regarding Ludwig heads.
On my set 22, 12, 13, 16, 14 snare I have silver dots on all batters and weathermaster heavy clear on all reso heads except for my snare which I use a Ludwig power collar clear and the Ludwig xtra-thin snare reso head. I've used Remo Powerstroke 3 clear heads for batters before too with good results.
 

AaronLatos

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Ludwig Silverdots are still great heads!

If you want to take that sound a step further... you should totally check Evans' new Power Center tom heads. A modernized, contemporary take on the whole dot head thing. They've got a sound sample on their site here that sounds pretty darn good.
 

dontfeartheringo

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I know this is heresy, but when I had a vista kit I just put coated Emperors on top and clear Ambassadors on the bottom and the kit sounded phenomenal.

I don't much care for the sound of dotted heads. I don't think they breathe enough, but I understand why guys like them. They're just not for me.

I grew up being told that Vistas didn't record well, but I found that mine recorded REALLY well, and I had to wonder if it was the fact that everybody put those horrible dotted heads on them back in the '70s and '80s!!
 

Too Many Drums - NAH!

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I have a one-owner set of smoke Vistalites - 22/12/13/16 and recently outfitted them with Remo black suede Emporers on all the toms' batter sides and Remo black suede Ambassadors on their resonant sides. They sound fantastic! A very warm and punchy sound with a little bit of "after-ring" that fades immediately after striking the drums' heads. Another bonus is how cool these black suede heads look on these black smoked tubs. AWESOME!

As far as the bass drum, I have a Ludwig Weathermaster white coated head on the resonant side and a Remo black suede Powerstroke 3 on the batter. I tuned the batter head rather loosely and the other one medium tight and I get a very satisfactory deep thump with no decay at all. Perfect for the classic rock I like to play. I'd say if you use coated Emporers on top and clear or coated Ambassadors on the bottom, you'll find the sound you're looking for.

It's my opinion that head choices are very subjective. As long as you stick with a good quality head on both sides of all the drums in the kit, tuning is a bigger factor than many people realize. On my Vistalites, I tension the batter heads on the toms exactly three full turns on each tension rod, using the cross-pattern method and only tensioning half a turn each time. This will take longer but in my experience, yields great results. The resonant heads are tensioned to either two or two-and-a-half turns of the rods.

I'm sure there will be some people on this forum that will respectfully disagree with this formula. All I'm saying is that this works for me. Keep in mind that many facets can, and do, ultimately affect the sound - humidity, temperature, shell condition, stick choice, etc.

I think that Vistalites will have different tuning dynamics than a wood-shell drum. Because of this, consistency between each drum will result in a sound that when played together, will truly sound like a well-tuned kit. Plus, once you've tuned them all consistently with one another, it'll be easier to tweek them exactly like you want each drum to sound.

Tuning is more an art than a science. It's a great idea to get some forum feedback because a full set of heads is a pricey proposition. Good luck and let us know what you end up with and a brief description of the sound you get.

TMD-N!
 

pontiacrich

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Thanks for all the input folks!

TMD-N : I agree heads are subjective and tuning is everything. Being this is my first set of Vista's, I figured I need help with selection and tuning!

I'm surprised no one mentioned the Aquarians. I listened to their website and they sounded nice.

I've always used Silver Dots on all my sets and am looking for a little less wack when plastic tipped sticks hit the plastic dot. I am commited to new heads on everything but the snare
 

Chris

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I'm using Evans clear Hydraulics on 12,13,14 & 16 toms.The new ones aren't dead sounding like the old ones.They're mellow,but still have lots of resonance,no need for muffleing.Using clear Ambassadors on the bottom.
 

david goodstein

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I know this is heresy, but when I had a vista kit I just put coated Emperors on top and clear Ambassadors on the bottom and the kit sounded phenomenal.

I don't much care for the sound of dotted heads. I don't think they breathe enough, but I understand why guys like them. They're just not for me.

I grew up being told that Vistas didn't record well, but I found that mine recorded REALLY well, and I had to wonder if it was the fact that everybody put those horrible dotted heads on them back in the '70s and '80s!!
i don't think it's heresy at all. in fact, a producer i did a ton of work for a few years ago had clear vistas in his studio for tracking, and that was the head configuration he used. they recorded amazingly; the sound was full and deep.
if i ever had a vista kit i would use coated ambassadors or emperors..
 

fun2drum

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This is interesting. I have a Vistalite clear kit as well, and I may try coated ambassadors on my toms. I just put them all around on my wood kit and they're awesome with no muffling. What I am not at all happy with on my Vistalites are the Evans EC2's that are on them now. There's just no depth to them and they have a harsh overtone, and tuned low they just die. On the kick, I'm VERY happy with my Evans EMAD with a single ply Evans resonant. I also use a Kickport. No muffling at all besides the included ring. The kick sounds like a cannon you can feel in your gut with that config.
 

tmc333

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Thanks for all the input folks!

TMD-N : I agree heads are subjective and tuning is everything. Being this is my first set of Vista's, I figured I need help with selection and tuning!

I'm surprised no one mentioned the Aquarians. I listened to their website and they sounded nice.

I've always used Silver Dots on all my sets and am looking for a little less wack when plastic tipped sticks hit the plastic dot. I am commited to new heads on everything but the snare

I`ve had a few Vista kits and the Aquarian Studio X heads sounded best to me. Also on the heresy front, I liked the way mine sounded with Pinstripes which I know are shunned by many. Looks-wise, I dig the black or silver dots for batters and they sounded good as well. My 2 centavos

 

dontfeartheringo

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Tthe Evans EC2's that are on them now. There's just no depth to them and they have a harsh overtone, and tuned low they just die.
Hey, man! I don't disagree with anything you said in your post, but whenever I hear someone say "harsh overtone, and tuned low they just die" my first thought is "What resonant heads are you using and how old are they?"

Those two problems are exactly what I run into when my reso heads are old and flat sounding!

Good luck!
 

Vipercussionist

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I know this is heresy, but when I had a vista kit I just put coated Emperors on top and clear Ambassadors on the bottom and the kit sounded phenomenal.

I don't much care for the sound of dotted heads. I don't think they breathe enough, but I understand why guys like them. They're just not for me.

I grew up being told that Vistas didn't record well, but I found that mine recorded REALLY well, and I had to wonder if it was the fact that everybody put those horrible dotted heads on them back in the '70s and '80s!!
People set stereotypes for everything, drums being no exception. I've had Vistas, I've had Stainless, BOTH of which I was told didn't have the full range of wood drums, mostly by those who never TRIED 'em, it was just bunk heading down the wise-cracker line.
I tried 'em BOTH and they were every BIT as good as all the wood drums I've tried.

There wouldn't be too much difference with CLEAR Emperors for batters, or better yet, clear G2's, I found they're a bit more explosive, sounded GREAT on mine!!
 

fun2drum

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Tthe Evans EC2's that are on them now. There's just no depth to them and they have a harsh overtone, and tuned low they just die.
Hey, man! I don't disagree with anything you said in your post, but whenever I hear someone say "harsh overtone, and tuned low they just die" my first thought is "What resonant heads are you using and how old are they?"

Those two problems are exactly what I run into when my reso heads are old and flat sounding!

Good luck!
Okay, that's actually a reasonable thing to question. I'm using EC2 resonants that I bought at the same time as the new EC2's, so you'd think they would sound best with each other. If I were buying new heads, though, I would think others would sound much better on the Vistalites. I used to play a jellybean vistalite kit back in 1980 in High School that had black dots with clear reso's on the toms and they sounded so much better than mine do with the EC2's.
 

kip

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I usually go w clear Remo Emperors/clear Remo Ambassadors
Or
CS Black Dot/Clear Ambassadors

I ran Pinstripes on them in the 80s tuned up pretty high, but like the Dots best
 

Rman

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Hmmmm.....when I got my vistas I put EC2s on to replace the flogged heads.....now I'm reconsidering? After I re-do the bearing edges time for a little experimentation...
 

mlayton

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ive got remo clear pinstripes on mine and couldnt be happier. but, mine are concert toms. they sound like amazingly deep. had to put a couple pieces of moon gel on the floor tom to tone it down a bit though. first time for everything!

mike
 

Archt

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Aquarian 2's on mine. got rid of the boingy overtones and just sound great. A muffled batter on the bd worked out as well. good luck.l
 

Stixnergard2

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I had good results with Evans clear G2's over clear G1's on the toms. The kick was set up with a clear EC3 batter and factory single ply Ludwig logo reso head. Honestly I didn't keep the kit long enough to try other options.
 

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