With snare drums being one of the most essential parts of your drum kit, it’s important that you have a high-quality snare drum head. You and whoever is listening is going to be hearing it very often. So, how do you want it to sound?
The are many snare heads out there that change the tonal qualities that your snare shell produces. The type of sound you need depends on what and how you’re playing.
We’re going to look at some of the best snare heads on offer from Evans, Remo, and Aquarian and explain how each one can benefit you and your playing style.
7 Best Snare Drum Heads from Renowned Brands
Starting off with one of the most versatile snare heads on the market, the Evans Genera DH Dry works wonders on every single snare drum you put it on. No matter what type of shell or material, this head will bring out a punching rimshot and a balanced response.
It’s a 2-ply head that has air vents surrounding its perimeter. These air vents help eliminate overtones and focus the sound. They also allow you to seriously dig into the snare without stressing the drum head too much. This makes it a great option for playing heavy musical styles like rock and metal.
The head is coated and makes the brush work very fluid. So, once you play some heavy rock, you can move onto the next jazz gig without changing anything on your snare drum. The dry tone brings back memories of the older snare drums that had minimal sustain.
The head allows you to get a nice fat tone when the snare is tuned low. Typically, you’d need to add some sort of muffling ring. You don’t need to with the Genera HD Dry as there aren’t many overtones to eliminate in the first place.
This is a fantastic drum head for anyone who plays varying musical styles or does session work. If you’re looking for a head to bring out a lot of tone and resonance from a snare, this won’t work as well as a single-ply head would.
The Powerstroke 77 is Remo’s take on a seriously versatile snare drum head. However, this head screams durability. It’s a 2-ply head with a center dot, underneath which is a bit meatier to help with preserving the quality of the skin.
This center dot is iconic and you’ll see it on a lot of snare drums played by Remo artists. The Powerstroke has a nice fat punch when tuned low. It would work well in any situation where you need that thick snare tone.
However, it really shines through when tuned high. It produces such a solid crack that will cut through any mix and make a huge impact on a stage.
The sound is highly controlled while still producing a pleasant ring. The tone will be about as natural you can get from a 2-ply drum head. As said previously, this is one durable snare drum head. It will survive a serious amount of bashing while still keeping its tone.
The built-in dampening will stop you from needing to use any muffling and the easy tuning will save you a lot of time. Overall, a great choice for most situations. Similar to the previous drum head, the 2-ply skin may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The Evans EC Reverse Dot head is a unique head in the Evans lineup. It’s not coated, yet it’s not clear. Instead, it has a middle ring that provides all the punch and then outer rings that control the tones. The surface has a hazy appearance that is uncommonly seen on snare drum heads.
The EC Reverse Dot is one of the loudest snare heads on the market. Although the sound is controlled, it projects with massive volume. This makes it a fantastic option for loud and heavy music. Rock and metal drummers are huge fans of it. Jazz drummers…not so much.
It gives your snare drum a significant popping sound, accenting backbeats and intentional loud patterns. Ghost notes won’t be as easily heard as they would with more sensitive heads. However, they’re still audible.
Its durability is fantastic and the feel of this head is really solid. It’s a great choice for hard-hitting players. Drummers who love sensitivity and responsiveness may not do too well with it.
If you’re looking for a more natural sound from your snare, Remo’s Controlled Sound Coated is a great head to look at. It has a single-ply surface with a black dot in the center.
The center dot produces the controlled tone while the outer surface produces more overtones, giving you a variety of sounds to play around with.
The tone you get from your snare will be extremely true to its shell. The sound will be open, but never unruly. It brings out a great crack with a deep body. Since it’s a one-ply head, it will take some time to tune your snare drum.
If you’re new to tuning, it may become a bit of a mission. However, this head will make your snare sound incredibly good once you hit the sweet spot.
If you’re looking for that controlled sound, you’ll need to hit the head directly in the center of the dot. This may be a downside to some drummers. Other drummers will love the versatility of the tones.
Evans G2 heads are most commonly used as drum heads for toms. They’re a standard choice for many drummers and provide a controlled tone that works in many situations. It’s not very common for drummers to use them on a snare. However, they actually work wonders on snare drums.
If you want to be as versatile as possible, a G2 coated snare head is the answer. The two-ply head along with the coated skin will allow you to fit into a jazz band, rock band, or even electronic band.
This head brings out a natural tone from your snare drum. It’s fairly responsive, making ghost notes very audible. It also sounds great when tuned high or low. Everything you may need will be fulfilled by this head on a basic level.
However, it just doesn’t specialize in anything specific. A dedicated rock drummer will need a head that is loud and punchy and there are punchier heads out there than the G2 Coated.
So, it’s a great choice if you play all styles of music and you need a solid versatile head. It’s not the best choice if you’re specializing in something specific.
The Aquarian Triple Threat snare head has 3 plies of Nu-Brite material. A 3-ply snare drum head isn’t something you’re going to see every day. It’s a seriously thick head designed specifically for hard-hitters.
It brings out a dry tone from your snare drum that sounds extremely full and thick. However, it responds like a singe-ply head, producing delicate ghost notes and buzz rolls. How is this possible?
Only the designers at Aquarian can tell you. Just know that you’re getting a thick and heavy head that has a controlled, yet responsive, tone.
It sounds great with brushes, but you probably aren’t a brush player if you’re looking to buy this head. On a stage, it will sound punchy and full, perfectly complementing the hard playing of any drummer.
It’s not a great choice for someone looking for a natural snare tone. Instead, it will make your snare drum almost sound like it’s been triggered.
Ending the list is a head that’s intended to be placed on the bottom of your snare. Reso heads aren’t something that most drummers think of replacing. However, the Evans Snare Side Clear is a great product that will make an immediate difference to your snare tone.
It’s easy to tune and will bring out more response from your snare wires, giving you a punchier sound with a tighter crack. It will add more depth to your tone, complementing any drum head that you choose to place on the top side of your snare.
If you’re looking to improve your snare tone even more, consider getting this head for the bottom of your snare. You won’t regret it.
Coated vs Clear Drum Heads
You may be wondering why some drum heads are coated while others are clear. Coated heads will be more responsive. You’ll be able to distinctly hear every note that is played on them. Clear drum heads have a warmer tone that isn’t as responsive.
You’ll most commonly see coated heads on snare drums thanks to the responsiveness. You’ll most commonly see clear heads on toms thanks to the warm punchiness.
Drummers love to play around with these tones, so it’s not a clear and set rule of where to put the different types of heads.
When choosing a snare drum head to get, make sure that you love everything it has on offer. You don’t want to be stuck with tonal qualities that you’re not going to enjoy.
Also, make sure you’re getting a head that will benefit and add to the style of music you’re intending to play. Jazz drummers love single-ply heads while rock drummers generally love double-ply heads.
Try not to be married to one type of drum head. There are some really good heads out there and you will greatly benefit from trying all of them.