Powerstroke 3 or 4 for a 26" bass drum

J_Boomy

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While I am still waiting for my new Ludwig kit to arrive I am thinking on which bass drum head to use.

My current bass drum is a 90's Pearl MLX 16x24.
Right now I use Remo PS3 both for batter and reso together with a felt strip on both heads.
I have a small 4" hole in the reso and a small pillow inside.
I tune it well above JAW so I have some resonance but then I kind of take it down again with the pillow.

My new kit will have a 14x26 bass drum and I am planning to increase the resonance and go closer to the Bonham sound but will most likely not go all the way.

It seems like everyone is using PS3 (myself included) but now I am wondering if maybe a PS4 would be a better choice for batter head paired with a PS3 as reso.
I mean maybe I could just skip out on felt strips and pillows.

Bonham used a Emperor batter and single ply reso with felt strips.
My thinking is that a PS4 is mainly an Emperor with a dampening ring.

....but then Remo has 26 types of PS3 and only 2 types of PS4 which might say something.

What do you think of PS3 vs PS4 for a 26" bass drum?
 

dirtcity

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I've been pondering this same thing. I've mostly only used PS3s on my kicks (all 24s or 26s).

On my Vistalite 26", I've got a black dot PS3, a smooth white Ambassador on the reso, 5" hole and a small towel touching both heads. My '76 pro beat kick has a coated PS3, coated Ambassador, small hole and a towel.

Thinking a PS4 might give a slightly lower fundamental tone. I'll be watching this thread.
 

swarfrat

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Once you get to 26" and above - it becomes much harder to over muffle IMHO. Not only do you start to get the papery tones, but it just takes a lot more to muffle that big head.
 

JDA

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Right now I use Remo PS3 both for batter and reso together with a felt strip on both heads.
I have a small 4" hole in the reso and a small pillow inside.
How can you even hear it from the throne.
 

Hop

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I've got a pair of 26" bass drums, one a 3-ply and the other a 6-ply, set up with a PS3 on the batter/PS3 Felt Tone on the reso, with no additional dampening.
I heard this set-up on a large size Dunnet kit and really liked the sound, so I decide to replicate it. It gets a big beefy sound that I like, but it can overwhelm my small practice space (the 6-ply seems to have a bit more low-end & resonance). I'm thinking of trying the Felt Tone on the reso side, but haven't as of yet. Or I may just go back to the large ported reso heads (ala Cozy Powell) with a pillow to tame the practice room.

So, spec wise there is a bit of a difference: PS-3 = one 10-mil ply + 10-mil inlay ring vs. PS-4: two 7-mil ply's + 7.5-mil inlay ring
I haven't tried the PS4's yet, but that may be a option for a little more dampening... however I'm not sure how much it would net given my smaller practice room.

Here's a comparo vid to check out (check the details for the recording info), that may help with your decision...

 

cworrick

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I don't even know what a Powerstroke 4 is.
That makes two of us.
I had to go look it up.

I've loved P3s batter and reso. Looks like the P4 is made to be more durable and more dead. If you get into the situation where you want a little more ring, you will not be able to get it. I'd stick with the P3. You can always muffle more if you need.
 

frankmott

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I use an EMAD on my 26, with a full front head and no muffling. Love it.
 

What It Is

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I've got a PS3 on my converted 28" Slingerland parade drum, with a 28" Fiberskyn on the reso side. Used to run a Pinstripe on the batter, but it just became a little unwieldy. The PS3 gives me a lot of control tuned tight or loose. I've got it tuned medium now and it gets a great boom without being papery or sounding like a basketball. No laundry needed.
 

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myeleanorbhc

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I recently went 14x26 and got a coated P3 batter, fiberskyn P3 reso, felt strips, and loved it. Ended up cutting a 4" hole just inside the muffle ring for a microphone port, but I still love it. Also for some reason, at the time the coated P3 was cheaper than the clear by $15 or $20 on Sweetwater, so that was my deciding factor.
 

Heartbeat

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I use the coated PS4 on my 22s and love them. I tune them up to get tone (and good beater response) so they're not dead sounding. They're warm and controlled. I tried the PS3 a long time ago and it sounded thin. The first time I took my 6-ply Ludwigs to a rehearsal with the PS4, my guitarist said the bass drum was the best he's ever heard. For reso, I use an Ambassador on my 6-ply kit and PS3 on my Classic Maple.
 

CherryClassic

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My bass drums are 18, 20 and 22. I also use PS3's on both sides. The only bad thing about pre-muffeled heads is if you have a need for more tone or resonance you can't back up. I feel PS3's are a medium controlled head and you can always add more control if needed.

sherm
 

hsosdrum

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My bass drums are 18, 20 and 22. I also use PS3's on both sides. The only bad thing about pre-muffeled heads is if you have a need for more tone or resonance you can't back up. I feel PS3's are a medium controlled head and you can always add more control if needed.

sherm
You definitely CAN "back-up" a PS3 head. On my Fiberskyn3 PS3 BD reso heads I used a scissors to remove about half of the muffling ring's width because the stock PS3s don't have enough "boom" for me. With the reso head muffling rings cut down to half their factory width my bass drums sound perfect. (At least they do to me...)
 

Browny

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I’ve got a coated emp on my 26” Radio King right now, a coated amb with a 4” (?) port on the front and a little laundry inside just touching the batter and maybe 10kg of dumbbell weights on top. There’s also a rolled up smaller sized towel, held in shape with some masking tape, and it’s leaning on the front head.

It’s tuned fairly low, I’m getting a drier thump with a touch of sustain lingering, no basketball sound or other stray highs at all coming through the Sennheiser e602 I’m pointing at the front head.

I’ve also got a coated P3 and a solid smooth white amb. Muffling and tuning obviously changes this a bit, but generally the gist is:

Emp batter is rounder/fuller and more open, you’re getting those extra frequencies that the p3 ring cuts out.

The p3 batter is drier and thumpier, more of a modern sound, kinda has a ‘snack’ to it.

The solid smooth white has all of the frequencies going, it’s bright, a bit boingy, more sustain.

The coated amb with a port has a warmer tone, is more controlled, shorter note, I think there’s some less of those mid-lows (heaps less highs) and you get some of that beater impact sound coming through the hole.

Depending on what I’m feeling, I might change up the combo of front and back head to get a different vibe. Then there’s muffling, be it towels or pillow inside, felt strip on the front, even bulldog clipping a tea-towel to the hoop so it hangs against the outside of the batter/reso head.
Im thinking over the weekend I might take the tuning up a few steps, both sides, then play with some extra the muffling to wipe out some of those extra highs and see how that records.
 

J_Boomy

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A lot of interesting thoughts here, and please keep them coming :)
.....especially if you have any experience with the PS4.

The bass drum comes with a clear PS3 batter and Ludwig single ply reso.
Right now I am thinking of buying a coated PS4. This way I can try out the different combinations and hopefully find a favorite.
But I am not in a hurry since the drums will take another 2-3 months before they arrive.

On my Fiberskyn3 PS3 BD reso heads I used a scissors to remove about half of the muffling ring's width because the stock PS3s don't have enough "boom" for me. With the reso head muffling rings cut down to half their factory width my bass drums sound perfect. (At least they do to me...)
I liked this tip a lot. If I find the PS4 too dead for my taste I can just trim down the dampening ring.
If I remove it completely it will become an Emperor.
 

Seb77

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It should be right for you, no matter what Bonham used. Have you played a 2-ply batter head before?
I like the PS3 for larger drums, but the muffling rind at the edge makes it feel a little thicker already. I would hesitate to use a 2ply that has an additional layer at the perimeter.

Are you going to use a complete reso head? This will change up the feel a lot as well. If you're going to use a port , and most improtantyl a mic I would keep a little bit of muffling inside the drum. to reduce the reflections of the attack sound, doesn't need to touch the heads. Unless you want to have them as part of that vintage charme, that is.
 

J_Boomy

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It should be right for you, no matter what Bonham used. Have you played a 2-ply batter head before?
Yes, a long time ago I used clear pinstripe as batter.
What actually makes me want to try the PS4 is the fact that today I am using felt strips on my PS3.....and that drum is only a 24".
Now I am going up in size to a 26" and the coated PS4 doesn't sound dead on the official Remo sound clip.

Once you get to 26" and above - it becomes much harder to over muffle IMHO. Not only do you start to get the papery tones, but it just takes a lot more to muffle that big head.
I also get disturbed by too much "papery tones", a two-ply head could maybe reduce that.

I use the coated PS4 on my 22s and love them. I tune them up to get tone (and good beater response) so they're not dead sounding. They're warm and controlled. I tried the PS3 a long time ago and it sounded thin.
This kind of descriptions also makes me want to try it out.
Others has described the PS4 to give more low end (might be lack of high overtones that is perceived as more low end but still)

......but it disturbs me that almost nobody seem to use the PS4, or so it seems when you try to find sound clips on youtube.
 
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Seb77

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What actually makes me want to try the PS4 is the fact that today I am using felt strips on my PS3.....and that drum is only a 24".
I like a PS3 with a felt strip, great combo on 22". Controlled butl responsive at low volume. I think felt strips make more sense the larger the drum is, they cut down some of the decay.
If a PS3 sounds thin, I'd say it's not tight enough (unmic'ed). Talking about a 26", someone compared a slack 26" to hitting a rope; you need to tighten things up. Not even a combination of two plain single-ply heads without rings will sound thin if tensioned enough. A 26" will sound low just by its size, even if the heads are tight.
 

J_Boomy

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I think felt strips make more sense the larger the drum is, they cut down some of the decay.
I fully agree and that was exactly my point.
A lot of us use a PS3 with additional muffling but Remo actually gives us just that with the PS4.
But as I said, very few seem to use them.

The more we talk about it the more curious I get :D
 


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