The best drum heads in the world today
2nd Jul 2010 | 14:24
The best drum heads in the world today
This is a constantly updated gallery of the best drum heads on the planet - for bass drums, snares and toms. Whether you require single or twin-ply, resonant, specialist or retro-style, there's a drum head here to suit every player.
Our picks are collated from Rhythm Magazine’s gruelling review process, buyers’ guides and MusicRadar’s own best-of-the-best drum round-ups: the best drum gear for pros and the best kit for players on a budget.
So scroll through the categories below and, where available, click-through to read the full review for an in-depth breakdown of each head.
Best bass drum head: Aquarian Super-kick-1
One of Aquarian’s most popular heads and a bit of a secret weapon if you like a fat, deep, wet, resonant ‘blat’. The Super-Kick-1 batter is a single ply with a ‘floating’ perimeter muffler - a 1.5" band of thin white felt held loosely against the inner surface by a white card ring. For an all-rounder dabbling in rock, New Orleans funk, country and pop, they’re heaven.
FULL REVIEW: Aquarian Super-Kick and Regulator bass drum heads
If you like Aquarian Super-kick-1 heads, you’ll also like:
Best snare batter, single ply head: Remo Ambassador Coated
The Ambassador is the industry standard snare batter head for live playing and recording. The Coated Weatherking Ambassador is virtually unchanged since its appearance back in 1957 - to quote the cliché, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Formed from a single 10 mil film of Mylar, the Coated Ambassador’s sound is bright, clean and lively.
If you like Remo Ambassador Coated heads, you’ll also like:
Best snare batter, twin ply head: Remo Emperor Coated
If your Ambassadors are wearing out quickly or are a bit too bright the answer may be a change to Emperors. Two layers of 7 mil Mylar add significantly to the durability while darkening and warming the tone. Emperors are still open and resonant, though, and are good all-rounders for the firm hitter.
If you like Remo Emperor Coated heads, you’ll also like:
Best tom batter, single ply head: Evans G-Plus Coated
These heads are a revelation in design – a real cut above the rest. Offering the combination of a warm, open sound without the nuisance of excessive ringing sustain, ease of tuning and durability, the G Plus is ideal for gigs. These aren’t mere heads, they’re instruments in their own right. Give these a try, you might become a convert, as we have.
FULL REVIEW: Evans G-Plus Coated drum heads
If you like Evans G-Plus Coated heads, you’ll also like:
Best tom batter, twin ply head: Evans G2 Coated
Always a popular choice for those needing harder wearing heads, these are beautifully made with a distinctive, slightly squared, preformed collar. The Genera G2 is the equivalent of Remo’s Emperor, with two plies of 7 mil Mylar producing an extremely hard-wearing head that is loud, consistent, more dense and focused than a single ply and has slightly shorter sustain.
If you like Evans G2 Coated heads, you’ll also like:
Remo CS Reverse Dot (currently available from PMT Online)
Best resonant head: Remo Ambassador
Once more the Ambassador - a favourite with drummers worldwide as a resonant head on their toms and bass drums - scores. There’s a full range of clear, coated and smooth white versions to choose from. The Ambassador Hazy is a harder-wearing 3 mil snare side alternative to the Diplomat Hazy.
If you like Remo Ambassador heads, you’ll also like:
Aquarian Hi-Performance (currently available from Thomann)
Best retro-style head: Remo Fiberskyn-3
Laminated Mylar and polyspun fibres produce a playing surface that, with its slightly ragged texture, looks like a real animal skin. There’s a dry warmth and softer stick response, deeper and tubbier, combined with a focused dark sound. They tune very easily over quite a broad range and don’t need any damping.
If you like Remo Fiberskyn-3 heads, you’ll also like:
Evans Strata 700/1000 Gauge (currently available from Thomann)
Best specialist head: Remo Suede
Suede heads have a textured surface on both the top and bottom, which is etched into the head. Since this isn’t a coating, it won’t wear off with time. The resulting sound retains the clarity and sustain of a clear head but also has some of the warmth of a coated product. Suedes are available in Diplomat, Ambassador, Emperor and Powerstroke 3 models.
If you like Remo Suede heads, you’ll also like:
Pearl Muffle (currently available from PMT Online)
Aquarian New Orleans (currently available from PMT Online)
Liked this? Now read: The best drum kits in the world today
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