Coated top skins on drums. I love them!

I have always used clear 1 ply top drum skins on my studio kit. I found that I could really control the decay well and attack rarely seems to be a problem. The down side is that I went through a ton of skins :slight_smile: I also noticed that drummers really had to hit them right to get them to resonate well. Too light they sound bad to heavy same issue. I had so many drummers coming through the studio with coated skins that were tuned so dead that I hated them. A nice clear one ply resonant head with a clear ambassador or emperor. I am currently favoring emperors a little more then ambassadors because they last a little longer and I can get a better sweet larger sweet spot for tuning. They are less resonant but a good mic on the resonant side of the head has been solving this nicely.

What do others like in the studio for drum skins.

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just got a new dw set and the stock heads are great, clear remo emperors with coating around the outside that gives you the best of both worlds, for the snare i always use a coated head but now i got a new one from remo i really fell in love with the control sound coated. In the past i used evans ec2’s there decent but i love remo heads the best, there just made better ,better quality materials and last much longer.

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I use coated on the Gretsch Brooklyn 6 pieces, and clear on the Starclassic maple. (reminds me…I need to post that thing for sale)

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I just bought an old Stewart 70’s drum kit made from mahogany. It is a budget set that is perfect for R&B Lo-Fi stuff. I can’t wait to record it. I now also have a Yamaha custom in the studio on loan from a friend that had no place to store it. Damn I could own 1000’s of drum sets.

Remo coated ambassadors on tom batters are my usual pick. I’d move to clear ones if I needed more stick attack I think, but I like how coated heads sound in the low mids which I consider more important.

On Snare it’s a bit more varied, since Snare is so critical to the sound of the mix. In lieu of it not working, again a coated amb does the job, but I like some of the dampened ones - one of the snares my drummer lets me use sounds great with an Aquarian Hi-Energy, which has a control ring and 3" spot in the middle with an extra ply.

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Maple shells
Toms - Coated Emperor batter, Evans G1 clear reso
Snares - Varies. I have four snares and they get different heads.
Kick - Aquarian Superkick II batter, Evans EQ3 reso.

The kick is the one drum I won’t experiment with. I’m done with it. I always go back to the Superkick, so I don’t even bother with anything else anymore.

I’ve used Evans EC2 clears on toms in the past and loved them, but I’ve been in a fatter warmer tom sound mood lately, so the coated Emperors kick ass.

My main #1 snare is a Ludwig Supraphonic. I pretty much always have a Remo Powerstroke 3 on it.

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Sonor Delite Maple I use single ply coated. I think they work really well to get the tone of the drum, I struggle really hard with non coated heads. I use either an evans single ply coated or aquarian hi energy head.

Sonor Force Birch I use Evans hydraulic. I am a huge fan of these, even though a lot of people don’t like them. For me they seem to work on every set I put them on. they can be a little dead but have a great attack, I find these work especially well on cheap drum sets. With maple shells the attack can be a bit too much. The birch set I use a hybrid coated on the snare. It really pulls out the ring and you can crank this head tight (which I prefer).

Both kits have the evans EMAD clear, but i also really like the super kick II.

When I was rebuilding old Gretsch kits for studios back in the day, the “industry standard” was coated ambassador on top and clear diplomat on the bottom. There was never a problem getting a great tone. Although, at the time they did tape the drums up way too much.
For my studio kit, I used the same with no damping. I used the same kit live with clear ambassadors on top and also used them for recording when I didn’t have time to change the heads.
If you can tune drums well, you can’t go wrong with coated tops. The same can be said for any heads for that matter…
However… I’ll offer a few tips here.
Since you mentioned emperors… try clear emperors on the bottom when you use emperors on the top. You will get a wider tuning range overall and control the spikeyness and higher pitched ring. The low mid sustain will match the tuning better if that makes sense…
This being said… Since becoming a D Addario dealer 10-15 years ago I’ve had the chance to try out the entire Evans line. My main studio kit now has Evans EC heads all around. The EC resonant heads on the bottom do what the clear emperors used to do. But even better. And the EC 2 on the top have a certain thickness to the attack that records really well. In fact, I don’t even like that thickness or the feel of the attack when playing all that much. Just about all the Evans head have this character. But the recording response and tone (with my same old mics) is just that much better. They also last a long time and tune more evenly than emperors. And, no, I’m not trying to sell Evans drumheads… :slight_smile: Since I really do know how to tune (and hit) drums, I can easily go back to Remo heads all around. But I know what I have and how the drums will mix at this point.
Have fun

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