Skin recommendations

Let's talk about kits and mics, new and old. What are you using? What do you want? What's the difference?

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Skin recommendations

Postby The Tasmanian » Mon May 30, 2011 10:36 pm

I bought a vintage 1960's Premier kit last year for home.
I have no idea what skins to put on the 22inch Bass drum - which sounds like it has the wrong skins on it to me.
There are so many choices for skins that I have no idea where to start.
There is no particular style of sound that I am after - I just want a good combo to make them sing for various projects.
Can anyone recommend a starting point please?
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby danander11 » Mon May 30, 2011 11:13 pm

It really depends on what you are after..

For a 60's kit.. Weatherking Ambassadors, Diplomats, or even Vintage A's were probably what was going at the time, (or are very similar).. for a bit of a softer sound maybe the Renaissance Ambassadors, the Suede series, or even Fyberskin heads by Remo. Evans has equivalents.

There are so many choices and combinations. For newer sounds, maybe Emperors or G1's, or ec2's, etc... et al.., ad nauseum...

For good all around modern sounding drums.. try the EC2 coated by Evans.. Just bear in mind that head choices are like any other opinion... Everyone has theirs.. What sounds good to me may not to the next fellow.

Good luck!

EDIT: Change the bottom heads as well.. folks think they never need it it seems, but they do. Use a clear single ply on the bottom would be my recommendation.
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby The Tasmanian » Mon May 30, 2011 11:49 pm

Thanks for that
I think I'm after a more modern skin sound rather than a 1960's sounding heads.
Not wanting to get a "retro" sound
Good recommendations on the bottom skins too
Cheers
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Kurt » Tue May 31, 2011 12:34 am

From a mostly metal background, I would say half of the drummers I deal with are using emads on kicks, short with plenty of punch. Stuff lightly, add a metal pad for brootality ;)

Mic inside, pointing directly at beater contact point. Don't be afraid of extreme eq!
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Drumstruck » Tue May 31, 2011 9:40 am

For versatility it's hard to go past ambassadors on the top and clears on the resonant side and a pack of moongel (or some gaff). Generas are a bit warmer (less toppy) and work pretty well too. So many choices - you could spend a lifetime trying them all and end up back where you started.....
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 31, 2011 10:13 am

Ambassador or an equivalent (single ply, white coated) by another manufacturer is the default starting point for all drums for me.
My number one, all purpose bass drum batter for a modern sound is the Evans EQ3 system. You can buy coated for warmer tone, or clear for a clickier tone.
One of the most popular bass drum batters with contemporary drummers is the Remo Powerstroke.
If you have an older Premier bass drum, it's possible only 'imperial' sized heads will fit properly.
That limits your choices, but I do believe Remo offer at least an Ambassador in imperial size.
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby The Tasmanian » Tue May 31, 2011 2:49 pm

Thank you gentlemen
now I know where to start when I walk into Billy Hydes - whenever I ask anyone's advice in there I always feel that the person giving me advice is telling me their preference for skins - rather than give me this sort of great info.
Thanks again
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 31, 2011 3:18 pm

I went into Billy Hydes looking for a front bass drum head with a small port.
The assistant said I should try a head without a hole. I said I thought I knew what I wanted. The reply was "trust me on this".
So I walked out having bought a head I didn't ask about.
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Chinagraf » Tue May 31, 2011 4:52 pm

Did you get home and cut a hole in it?
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 31, 2011 5:05 pm

I bought a little reinforcing ring at the same time, just for that purpose.
In fact no, I haven't cut the hole yet.
I needed the front head for a party gig at someone's home, so sound wasn't going to be premium anyway.
I put a little pillow inside the drum and installed the un-ported front head. It sounded ok, but I prefer a port (even when no mic is going in).
I've recorded with full front heads for the virtual drum products.
I think it's great for the Bonham style drumming, also jazz of course. It's just not my thing.
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Linear » Tue May 31, 2011 10:19 pm

I'm kinda lucky in that I have lots of great session drummers in all the time.

I ask them what sort of kits they like, and what sort of skins they use. From this I'd say

- toms (top) coated remo ambassador
- toms (bottom) clear emperor
- snare - coated ambassador
- kick - powerstroke bass drum

for a 'vintage' sound you can't go past 'vintage A' skins, they're a little thicker and less plasticy sounding.

i've tried all other brands (evans) and I always find they don't quite sound right. maybe i'm just used to remo heads.

I prefer a hole too in bass drums, putting the mic just inside the hole pointed at the beater is how you get that punch - I figure it's the air pushing through the hole but who knows. if you just mic the front head then it's more like a resonant sound with much less attack.

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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Drumstruck » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:05 am

The snare resonant (hazy) can make a lot of difference too - I find the ambassador hazy makes a more definite note (hommmmm) than the diplomat which (being basically gladwrap....) give more snare sensitivity

http://remo.com/portal/products/6/50/ds_coated.html
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Simon B » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:57 am

Hello everyone,

Just wondering if people can recommend a place to get skins, I am in Melbourne, I am happy to purchase online, preferably in Australia.
any help or suggestion would be greatly apreciated!

cheers Simon
Hello my name is Simon Bray and I like guitar amps, currently at 20 something.

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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby headman » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:47 am

sorry wrong subject
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby ChrisW » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:55 pm

Everything seems very expensive here to me.
Up to now I've just bought heads from Billy Hyde.
I dunno, maybe some heads would be cheaper ordered and shipped from The States?
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby The Tasmanian » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:43 pm

Lucky I got your old Gretch kit Chris - you had already done the R&D to find the heads that sing.
The Premier kit now lives in NZ
The Gretch is a much nicer sounding kit too. More versatile sounding too - it can be tuned way up and down and still sound great.
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby ChrisW » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:41 pm

Thanks.
Good to know it's working out.
It probably sounds best tensioned a little higher, but I confess I usually tuned it down.
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Sammas » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:04 pm

Here is a semi-related question about drum tuning.

I've been getting into tuning drums for the last 6 months. Some days are better (READ: pretty damn cracking) than others (READ: I'm pretty sure they end up worse than they started off)... probably aided by the fact that I only do it once a week on about 12 dozen kits at a time. Luckily the talented gents I am working with are very encouraging and patient.

But anyway, I have the basic process down... but does anyone have any pointers about the top/bottom skin relationship? I suspect it is purely practise makes perfect. What exactly defines the tension you set on the bottom skin? Im guessing it is an involved process of balancing the top and bottom skin tension to set the overall tone of the drum along with the fundamental note the drum makes? Any good starting points?

I think I have just asked an unanswerable question :))
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Kurt » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:56 pm

A very useful site for those, like me, who don't know how to tune a kit...

http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/
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Re: Skin recommendations

Postby Drumstruck » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:01 am

Skin tension (tuning) is a compromise.
- the top skin needs to provide rebound / tension / note to allow the drummer to play technically / artistically
- the bottom skin bends the note for you (i.e. no pitch bend / gliss up / gliss down)

My preference is for the bottom skin to be 3 semitones down from the top - this makes a more complex tone (note + relative minor) but it doesn't suit all styles. Both skins tuned to the same note is probably the best general fit.

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