Remo Pinstripe vs Emperor – Which Drum Heads to Pick? 

Author: Joseph Scarpino | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

When most people think about drum heads, they think of Remo. Remo’s drum heads have helped define the sound of generations of drummers. Two of the most popular drumheads from Remo are their Pinstripe and Emperor drumheads. 

While both are high-quality and versatile options, they do differ in terms of sound and performance. Let’s take a look at the differences between the Emperor and Pinstripe heads from Remo and discover which head is best for you.

Remo Pinstripe


Remo Pinstripe heads are constructed using two plies of 7mil Mylar film with a layer of Remo’s patented pinstripe technology in between. The pinstripe is a thin layer of clear film that is applied to the inner surface of the drum head. 

The pinstripe is meant to provide a dampening effect to help control any overtones or reduce unwanted sounds. It also helps dial in the drum shell’s natural tone and creates a warmer, more focused sound.


Pinstripe heads are a common choice for many drummers, largely due to their versatility. Pinstripe heads work their magic well within a wide range of genres like rock, jazz, and blues. 

Remo has engineered their Pinstripe heads to deliver increased attack followed by a warm short-lived controlled resonance. Absolutely great quality for those who wish to focus on their drumming and not worry so much about being too loud.


The Pinstripe heads fall a bit short in environments that are occupied by many frequencies. A band playing Metal with two guitarists or a bassist aggressively could drown out these heads.

One of the advantages of the Remo Pinstripe drum heads is their durability. The two-ply design and pinstripe technology allow them to endure hits from the most heavy-handed of drummers. 

Pinstripe players also cite that Pinstripe heads tend to hold their tuning better than other heads. This is a quality that can be greatly appreciated by those who play a lot or live in an area with frequent temperature changes.

Pinstripe heads are available in coated, clear, and ebony. 

It’s worth noting that the Ebony Pinstripe has a different build to it that uses a 10 mil and 5 mil ply for focused attack and lower tones.

Remo Emperor


Emperor's heads are also made with two plies of 7mil Mylar film. However, the mechanism used to control the head's resonance and tone is a ring-shaped piece of Mylar film applied to the underside of the head.

This ring has been named the “Emperor collar.” The collar provides additional dampening and creates a more focused sound.


The Emperor drum heads are known for their warm, rich tone and longer sustain. They are popular amongst drummers who play a louder type of music like rock, punk, or metal. 

Emperors wouldn’t be out of place on a kit of a jazz or blues drummer either as they can be utilized in musical stylings that demand more complex nuanced sound. The performer's style is what makes the difference with these heads.

Emperor heads can be fairly dynamic, but I wouldn’t say they’d be a great choice for all styles of music. Emperor's heads produce a slightly darker, more open tone, making them a desirable choice for players who want to play aggressively.


When striking a Remo Emperor head, expect a strong attack followed by a warm undertone with long sustain when striking an Emperor. Because these heads don’t have much built-in dampening, you can really get a nice wide-open sound from them.

If you are a drummer in need of a head that responds to a softer touch they can also be played with a soft touch, then this may not be the right choice for you.

Because these heads don’t have much built-in dampening, a more subtle strike can resonate freely as well, without getting choked out. 

Also, consider the differences in sound quality between a coated Emperor head and a clear Emperor head. While the overall tone will remain the same there will be slight differences.

Which Drum Heads Should You Pick?

Remo Pinstripe and Emperor drum heads are high-quality products that can provide excellent sound and performance. However, at the end of the day, you probably would want the head that is going to make you sound your best within the genre of music you are playing. 

If you’re a drummer who needs a shorter sustain with a more focused tone then you should absolutely opt for something in the Pinstripe family of heads. Look at the differences between the coated, clear, and ebony heads and find your best fit.

If you enjoy playing with great power and want to hear your drums sing out then you should grab some Emperor's heads. Again, consider the subtle differences from coated to clear and find your favorite tone.

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About Joseph Scarpino

Joseph is a drummer and lyricist from Asbury Park, New Jersey. When he is not on stage, on tour, or in the studio, you can find him behind a camera, directing, or in front of that camera, acting. Joseph enjoys many genres of music but he most frequently listens to Heavy Metal, Punk, and Hard Rock.

1 thought on “Remo Pinstripe vs Emperor – Which Drum Heads to Pick? ”

  1. Very well explained. Was very curious about the extra product you mentioned in each head. I’ve played them for probably 40+ and was always under the impression that the difference was pins were glue at the hoop to the strip and emperors were not. Am I correct on this? Please explain. Thanks wm from Missouri


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