Drum heads are one aspect of drum kits that many people don’t think about to start with. Every kit you buy will come with a set of stock heads to use. These stock heads will get the job done and sometimes even sound pretty good.
However, replacing those heads with higher-quality ones can make a world of difference. The biggest difference can be made with the bass drum. A better head will give you a deeper tone and more durability.
The top 3 drum head companies are Evans, Aquarian, and Remo. Each company has some unique products that provide specific edges and improvements. So, let’s have a look.
6 High-Quality Kick Drum Heads
The Evans EMAD2 head has a 2-ply surface that delivers a great balance of power, punchiness, and low-end. It’s a bass drum head designed to produce a thick sound that sits well in rock, metal, and gospel settings.
The sound it produces is very full with a lot of attack. It’s similar to a basketball bouncing on a hard surface. It has an externally mounted dampening system, meaning you can change the amount of attack it has.
Some drummers aren’t fans of that sharp sound, but they still want the low-end punch.
The dampening system comes in the form of 2 foam rings. These can be placed on the head fairly easily and give you versatile sound options. These foam rings also mean you don’t need to place pillows inside the bass drum, giving you a true sound.
If you’re a hard-hitter looking for a deep tone, the EMAD2 is a wonderful option. I’ve seen a few drummers break these before their time.
However, I’ve also seen some EMADs last years, meaning it might just be a technique issue. They’re a bit aggressive for jazz, so don’t get one if that’s your intention.
It’s common to see metal drummers using Aquarian heads. The reason for this is that they produce some highly durable products that deliver a clean sound. The Superkick II follows this trend, having a thick 2-ply surface that allows highly intricate bass notes to be heard.
The tone is sharp and focused. It makes the bass drum extremely easy to be mixed by a sound guy and will be heard clearly no matter how big the venue is. When mic’d up, it produces a thundering wall of sound that is perfect for heavy styles.
Similar to the EMAD, the Superkick muffles the bass drum enough so that no extra internal muffling is needed. This is true even in live venue situations, making this head a valuable tool.
One standout feature of it is the durability. You’ll be playing it for a seriously long time before it shows any sort of wear and tear. It’s extremely loud, so playing this head in a coffee shop won’t be the best idea.
The Remo Silentstroke bass drum head is designed with the specific purpose of keeping noise levels down. You won’t be able to use it at a gig, but you’ll be able to practice drums late into the night without bothering anyone around you.
It has a mesh surface that feels like an authentic drum head but lowers the volume by about 70%. Typically, drummers will use electronic drum kits to get around any sound issues.
E-kits are great for what they are, but they don’t feel like acoustic drums. This makes the silentstroke head the best choice for anyone wanting to practice technique while still having an authentic feel.
It keeps the tone of the bass drum, meaning you’ll still get a slight sound from your drums. If you pair this head up with some more silent heads for the rest of the kit and some silent cymbals, you’ll have a full practice kit ready to go.
The Silentstroke also works well for a trigger setup. Connecting your bass drum to an electronic drum module with a trigger will give you different sound options. It’s a good alternative to having an electronic drum kit.
Resonant drum heads are arguably the most overlooked pieces of drum gear. They’re the heads that are attached to the bottom side of every drum and they control how much the drums resonate. In regards to bass drum reso heads, not much can beat the EMAD.
It produces a lot of low-end punch, adding to the beefiness of your bass drum. Paired with the EMAD batter, you got yourself a seriously good sounding bass drum. The EMAD resonant head is fairly easy to tune, making it easier to get a great sound from the kick.
The best feature is the kick port. This small circular cutout allows you to place a microphone inside the bass drum. Mics placed inside will allow you to have more control over the sound of the bass in the mix.
The smooth black finish of the head will give the front of your kit a professional appearance. If you want to add the final touch of sound improvement to your bass drum, get yourself an EMAD resonant head.
The Powerstroke P3 is one of Remo’s most popular bass drum heads. It delivers a deep tone that is fairly focused without being overbalanced. It has a thin underlay around the edges that dampens high-frequencies, giving you a completely deep sound.
Being a single-ply head, it sounds a bit more open than the previous heads on the list. This makes it great for drummers who love that large resonating sound.
Included with the head is a white falam patch for your bass drum beater. The patch increases the attack of the bass drum. If you don’t want more attack, you don’t need to use it, but it’s great that Remo gives you the option.
The Powerstroke P3 is one of the most versatile bass drum heads around, working well for jazz, rock, hip-hop, and country. The high-end attack along with the low-end punch makes it feel great to play. If you need something that works for everything, this is the head for you.
Remo’s Ambassador drum heads are marketed as the most recorded drum heads in the world, meaning they’re extremely popular in studio situations. This Ambassador drum head has a single-ply surface that will accurately reflect the tone of your bass drum.
It has a great balance of attack and tone, giving you a warm sound thanks to the coated surface. It’s best suited for jazz drumming as it has a lot of sustain. Bass drums in jazz are meant to sing and resonate for a good while.
The great thing about the Ambassador is that it can be used as a batter or resonant head. It’s a bit thin to be used as a batter in heavy styles, but it works wonders as a resonant head. It’s perfect as a batter head for softer playing.
Drum heads have the power to alter the tone of your drums. Some drummers love that while others hate it.
If you’re looking for a head that will express the tone quality of your bass drum truly, the Remo Ambassador is a great option. It’s also a great option for upgrading from your current resonant head.
When thinking about upgrading your drum heads, the snare and bass drums are the two most important factors. These are the drums that you play the most, so they need to sound the best.
The toms can come later. Having a solid bass drum sound can really affect how well you play. I’ve often sat behind a house kit and struggled to play well because of the low-quality bass drum head.
Consider getting one of the heads on this list if you’re looking to upgrade. They’ll dramatically improve the tone and feel of your bass drum.