New Drum Set - Drum Head Recommendations

Core Creek

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Beautiful drums , great maple shells - real chameleons . Personally I would just get coated Ambassadors for the Toms batters over clear ambassadors for the resonant heads . Coated PS3 on the bass drum batter with a smooth white PS3 resonant side . Great tried and true heads .
Good suggestions. I’m thinking now Vintage Ambassadors which are two ply, but one layer is thinner than emperors. I love coated heads.... I wish evans made a coated two ply EMAD but they don’t. Single ply bass drum heads always feel wrong to me. I’ve used a PS3 before and liked it. I do think the EMAD is punchier, but this kit might work better with a PS3.
 

Core Creek

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Actually a PS4 is more up my alley looking at it.... 2 ply coated and a muffle ring. I think that’s what I’ll use for a bass drum batter.

What’s Reno’s equivalent to an Aquarian Regulator front head?
 

JimmySticks

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I linked a really good drum head comparison site below. I think it’s really helpful, and being your kit is so big, it’s going to be expensive to experiment with. It’s good to know all you can before you buy. Drum heads really seemed to get expensive lately!!! :sad10:

 

Core Creek

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I linked a really good drum head comparison site below. I think it’s really helpful, and being your kit is so big, it’s going to be expensive to experiment with. It’s good to know all you can before you buy. Drum heads really seemed to get expensive lately!!! :sad10:


Thanks.. yeah I saw you post that before. Unfortunately some heads are missing... like what compares to an Aquarian Regulator from Remo or Evans??
 

Core Creek

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So after some deliberations I chose some heads and ordered them from drum factory direct.

The 8”, 10”, 12” - coated vintage ambassadors on top, clear ambassadors on the bottom

I really like my emperors on my other kit as batters, but thought the vintage ambassadors would give a little more ring without being too ringy.

The 14” and 16” - coated emperors on top, clear ambassadors on the bottom

As floor toms, I wanted a little more bottom end and a little more control of the ring.

22” bass drum - Aquarian coated Superkick II, Aquarian white coated regulator with offset hole

I’ve been using the regulator heads for years and love them. I figured a white coated one would add some class to the kit. I’ve always loved EMAD 2 batters, but you can’t get a coated version. I’ve had mixed results from a PS3, and recall once loving the Superkick. Also, I just don’t play right on single ply bass drum heads.... so a SKII should tick all the boxes. If it’s not doing it for me I might switch to a coated PS4 two ply.

13” snare - my first 13” snare. I got my favorite Remo hazy reso, and a new set of brass puresound wires. I watched that video with all the snare heads played one at a time and found two I liked - a Remo Fiberskyn 3 and an Aquarian Performance II coated. I got one of each. I usually play Aquarian hi-energy heads but I wanted to try out something different. I‘ll see what I think.

Laslty, I bought a RIMS style mount for the snare. I have a Tama Air ride snare system that I love and want to place the snare on it. I still need to find a mount and will see if I can get a deal on a used Legend mount somewhere.

The kit is going to be miced up, so after it’s cleaned and re-headed I’ll make some recordings in case anyone is curious to hear how they sound with the head combination above...
 

Cauldronics

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I used to have that exact set about 15 years ago. Same sizes and finish! Unfortunately I had to sell it during the 08’-09’ recession. The heads that sounded great to me on that set were Remo coated ambassador batters with clear ambassador bottoms on the toms and a clear PS3 on the bass drum batter. It gave a very live resonant sound that, like you said, could easily be muffled down should you want.
I have used the same head setup more than any other. It always works.

I’m trying coated Aquarian Super 2 on toms, which are 7 and 5 mil, like the Remo Vintage series, but with a better collar and coating, and I believe a different film. Too early to make a verdict yet.
 

Core Creek

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I finished cleaning the kit and set it up today. Pretty great sounding.... here are some pics:

28DEEA59-69F5-4397-8871-2FD6D9FB5085.jpeg

8AA75144-EDCF-4746-B07E-0BE59F5B053B.jpeg
 
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Core Creek

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Oh, the snare wasn’t my cup of tea so I put the Pearl Masters back up...
 

Elvis

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Good suggestions. I’m thinking now Vintage Ambassadors which are two ply, but one layer is thinner than emperors. I love coated heads.... I wish evans made a coated two ply EMAD but they don’t. Single ply bass drum heads always feel wrong to me. I’ve used a PS3 before and liked it. I do think the EMAD is punchier, but this kit might work better with a PS3.
You might want to think about Remo fiberskyn for the bass drum I use it on my bases sounds really good there is a PS3 version if you need some cut
 

fusseltier

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Evans hydraulic glass heads, you shouldn't need muffling. Or G2 for batter.
Use G1 for resonant heads
 

CAMDRUMS

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Unfortunately none of the heads are in good shape. All the resos are the original Legend heads by Evans but it looks like someone hit all of them.... including the reso bass head... with a stick! All the top heads are pretty used as well, so I can’t really tell how fresh heads will sound. There also isn’t a batter snare head, and this is my first 13” snare, and the reso is beat up....
Fresh heads will probably make a noticeable difference if the current ones are old. I use coated Emps on top and clear or coated Ambs on the bottom and like them both. Coated Ambs on the bottom seem to produce a bit warmer tone.
 

billcosby_sweater

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Depending on what you play you can never go wrong with emperors or G2s. I'd look into aquarian too as they have a very nice selection of heads I've been using a bit.
 

Core Creek

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I’m revisiting my old post. After living with the kit for a few months I’ve decided to change out some heads. The bass drum has no punch and I’ve been uninspired to play it. So, back to an Evans EMAD 2. Its almost always improved a lifeless bass drum…. Almost always. I had an old Slingerland radio king set from the 90’s and no bass drum head could give it any punch and I ended up selling the kit. I’m hoping it works here.

Also, while I “like” the vintage Ambassadors, I’m finding I need more ring control for recording. And since I’m planning on doing more recording this year it just made sense to change the Tom batters now. I went back to the tried and true EC2 coated. I prefer the liveliness of Remo heads, but in my studio, with its acoustics, I need a head that does a better job controlling the ring.

I’ll hopefully be making the swap this weekend.
 

DanRH

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I'll throw another head choice in there. For single ply, Evans coated UV1's work well with all my kits. It's what I use on my Rogers Holiday and Jenkins-Martin kits as well as my Yamaha kits. I'm using the stock Yamaha heads for my Absolute Hybrid Maples that are basically clear Emp's. The UV1's though are great! Never disappointed.
 

Elvis

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I’m revisiting my old post. After living with the kit for a few months I’ve decided to change out some heads. The bass drum has no punch and I’ve been uninspired to play it. So, back to an Evans EMAD 2. Its almost always improved a lifeless bass drum…. Almost always. I had an old Slingerland radio king set from the 90’s and no bass drum head could give it any punch and I ended up selling the kit. I’m hoping it works here.

Also, while I “like” the vintage Ambassadors, I’m finding I need more ring control for recording. And since I’m planning on doing more recording this year it just made sense to change the Tom batters now. I went back to the tried and true EC2 coated. I prefer the liveliness of Remo heads, but in my studio, with its acoustics, I need a head that does a better job controlling the ring.

I’ll hopefully be making the swap this weekend.
If you like the Vintage Ambassadors, why not just throw some "O Rings" (or "E Rings", if you prefer) on them when recording?
You can remove them for live performances, or whenever the occasion calls for it, and place them back on the next time you're working in the studio.



...less $$$ than another set of heads, too.


Elvis
 
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Core Creek

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Well the EC2’s are already purchased and I put on the 10/12/14 yesterday. I’m happy to say it made a world of difference. While I did end up tuning them a little higher than the ambassadors (so not an apples to apples comparison), they are just so much clearer sounding, with more attack. For me it really was night and day and I’m glad I made the switch. The 8” and 16” show up today so they’ll be swapped out today or tomorrow. Plus the EMAD definitely gave the bass more punch and presence.

So I experimented in the hope that I would find something better than what I’ve been using for the last 15 years, and all I ended up doing is proving to myself that I had already found a combination that worked for me and there’s no need to change it.

I bought a used set of Premier APKs last year that I never changed the heads on, so I’ll move the vintage Ambassadors and the 16” emperor to that. That kit will not be used for recording and won’t be setup in my studio, so in a live situation they should be just fine.
 

elkaboom

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I bought a used set of Premier APKs last year that I never changed the heads on, so I’ll move the vintage Ambassadors and the 16” emperor to that. That kit will not be used for recording and won’t be setup in my studio, so in a live situation they should be just fine.
Just saw your post while looking for some old Premier gear, thought I’d chime in on the heads for your APK. Depending on the year, but in particular if you’re talking pre ‘93-ish (around the time of the original Genistas & Signias), you’ll encounter some tuning range limitations using non-Premier heads. Both APK & XPK shells (Eucalyptus with black painted interiors) are slightly oversized compared to standard US sizes. I’m not referring to pre-international metric sizes here. The sizes are standard US. The bearing edges are cut wider, toward the outside. The shells are thin and there’s not a lot of room to correct this by re-cutting them. So if you re-skin them with Remo or Evan’s, you’re stuck tuning them down & tubby, or pitching them way up - where Premier seems to think they they ought to be...and what really gives them that classic Premier sound from the 60s & 70s recordings (especially in a nice reverby room).
IDENTIFYING THE SNAFU:
Look at the collar of a Premier head vs. any other. Premier has a round, low profile collar which easily finds the bearing edge and seats well at any tension. Remo & Evans - not so much. Their collars are higher and slightly squared off, forcing your tuning above or below what I call the “PK crinkle point” (that middle tension range where we expect to find the sweet spot on most drums).

SOLUTION:
Check out Aquarian heads. They are almost identical to Premier, with their low profile round collars. Their selection has really grown so you’ve got plenty of options, though still not as much as Remo/Evans offer. (BTW, I’m NOT affiliated in any way with them, just an avid Premier guy for decades). You’ll have a lot more to chose from than whatever NOS or OEM heads you’re lucky enough to find online (which will be good...until you’re ready to skin ‘em again). I’ve got a ‘69 mahogany 303 Outfit, a ‘77 birch Soundwave & ‘92 XPK that all employ some combination of Aquarians. (I’ve got eMads on the ‘69 & ‘77 kicks because the don’t need Aquarians, but the toms definitely benefit from them; XPK NEEDS ‘em all the way around). The drums all tune easily, from high to low & they sound like Premiers. Most importantly, they Play like Premiers.
Good luck. I’d like to hear how it works out for you.
 
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