Testing 10 Drum Sets: What heads?

dustjacket

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Let's say that you had to cut your collection in half, and needed to do a grand testing, what heads would you use? I'm thinking coated Ambassadors and clear on bottom (though my heart leans towards coated on bottom). This is the safest method, right?
 

jaymandude

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too many factors. Tuning, miking, target audience. Some guys can''t hear single ply heads. SOme guys can't hear higher tuning. Other guys just can't hear period...

For example, I might not use Ambassadors on a Rogers 9/72 kit with a 13 and 14 rack toms...
 
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mcirish

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I agree. Ambassadors would be my choice so you can hear the sound of the drums and not the head (as much). I also would not add any dampening as that will skew the results. Everything tuned the same with tunebot or by ear. Drum Dial won't give the same pitch on every drum.
 

Vistalite Black

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This is a hypothetical exercise? Other than burning up time, what's the goal?
 

bolweevil

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I would lean towards whatever preferred head I usually use (in this case 2-ply), but I only have two kits and wouldn't run into the issue of different kits sounding better/being preferred with certain heads. Maybe divide the kits into two groups, the ones that sound better with 1-ply and those that sound better with 2-ply (if such distinctions exist for you). Otherwise, just go with whatever heads you use the most.
 

hsosdrum

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I'd fit each kit with whatever heads I thought it sounded best with. Why even consider any other reason?
 

supershifter2

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i would use remo clear black dots on tom and bass batters. remo clear dips on tom bottoms. Remo clear emp no hole on bass front. remo clear black dot on snare batter with whatever is already on snare bottom
 

CSR

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I'd fit each kit with whatever heads I thought it sounded best with. Why even consider any other reason?
Then you’re comparing apples to oranges. For a real comparison, the variables need to be minimized. Otherwise, why not different heads and tuning on every set? You may hear differences, for better or worse, if you can negate your preconceived preferences.
 

RIDDIM

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What is the intent of this grand testing? Is it about making sure something is in great shape before you sell it, or checking them all out so you can decide which stays/goes? If the latter, consider why you bought them and what sound you sought. Can you retune the existing heads and still get that sound? If so, why replace them? Are there radically different types of shells/edges? If you do replace heads, buy heads that will sound great on a particular kit. Perhaps the criteria for keeping would be what gives you the sounds you like best, and resale value. But if you really need cash now, sell the Grestch and keep the Pearl Export.
 

hsosdrum

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Then you’re comparing apples to oranges. For a real comparison, the variables need to be minimized. Otherwise, why not different heads and tuning on every set? You may hear differences, for better or worse, if you can negate your preconceived preferences.
If the purpose of the test is only to determine some empirical differences between the kits, then testing with the same heads on every kit makes sense, but the answer you get will only be valid for those particular heads. Then you need to test again with different heads, then again with still different heads, and pretty soon you have to sell all 10 kits because you spent so much money on heads you can't buy food!

The only way to find out how good each of the 10 kits sounds is to use the heads each one sounds best with. (Unless you're Drum Center of Portsmuth...)
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Yup. Ambassadors as you suggest. Tuned to the same tension for each set. This creates a benchmark from which to discern differences.
+1 - the litmus test for a kit is how they sound with coated over clear Ambassadors
 

Renoroger

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It has long stymied me to see Drumcenter of Portsmouth when doing a large drum shoot out (like the six different Yamaha kits) put the same head on each drum set and worse, to tune to the same pitch rather than the same tension. It seems to me that Yamaha has access to coated ambassadors - if that’s what they thought would sound good on the drums that’s what they would stock them with. Also, tuning all the 10" toms to the same pitch completely negates the reason for the different ply layups and materials. God forbid that John Good or one of his ilk discover a formula that tunes really low (or high) with comfortable tension just to have a reviewer crank it back up (or down) for the sake of “parity”.
Thanks, I’ll go sit down now...
 

stevesmithfan

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Let's say that you had to cut your collection in half, and needed to do a grand testing, what heads would you use? I'm thinking coated Ambassadors and clear on bottom (though my heart leans towards coated on bottom). This is the safest method, right?
Why do our opinions matter?
 

Neal Pert

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I need to cut my drum pile in half.
that’s a huge pile of drum heads to buy for a quick experiment. You can’t just move the same heads from one kit to the other, after all. I have found that there is at least some degradation when you go from one bearing edge style to another with the same heads
 

dustjacket

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Why do our opinions matter?
A drum forum is a place where opinions reside. It's up to my judgement to filter those, with the end goal being someone bringing something to light that I hadn't considered before and/or weaking/strengthening a theory or belief of my own making.
See also: general friendly discourse on the topic of drums and cymbals as a refuge in a world of increasing madness.
 

dustjacket

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that’s a huge pile of drum heads to buy for a quick experiment. You can’t just move the same heads from one kit to the other, after all. I have found that there is at least some degradation when you go from one bearing edge style to another with the same heads
I would just be taking the same set back and forth. Tedious, yes, and possibly not worthwhile.
 

jmato

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If you are deciding, make each kit sound its very best (however that is accomplished), and then compare the sound and take into account what you play, where you play, how often you play, how much trouble you have with setup and tear-down, how much money you need and can get selling a kit, and how difficult it is to get the sound you want out of the kit. After all that, your heart and sentimentality are likely to decide for you anyway. I wish you luck, regardless.
 


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