There are a lot of factors that determine how a drum setup sounds. Your choice of drum shells, selection of cymbals, and playing techniques all determine sound quality. However, one of the biggest determining factors for drum sound is your selection of drum heads.
Two of the biggest drum head brands to exist today are Remo and Evans. They have a tight grip at the top of the range, directly competing against each other with all their products.
So, between Remo and Evans, which company's drum heads are better, or more importantly, will suit your needs better?
In a nutshell, Remo drum heads sound warmer, fuller and more 'open', while Evans heads tend to produce a more controlled sound (some people find it 'plasticky'). Although it varies between different models and head types (snare, tom or bass), Evans heads are generally punchier with slightly less sustain compared to Remo.
Remo Drum Heads
The Remo company is legendary in the drumming world. It was established in 1957 by a man named Remo Belli. The whole idea behind Remo heads is that they were a better alternative to the calfskin heads that were originally on all drums.
Those heads had to be tuned very often due to weather changes. Remo started making heads that didn’t need to be tuned as often. The company changed the game when they pioneered the use of Mylar for drum heads.
The signature crown insignia of Remo is known to most drummers. The most popular drum heads would arguably the Coated Ambassadors. These are used by rock drummers thanks to their open tone and heavy sound.
Drummers who want a more controlled sound will use the Remo Pinstripes. In terms of snare drums, the Remo Controlled Sound is highly popular.
It has just enough crack to go along with the controlled muffling on the snare tones. Another popular snare head is the Powerstroke 3 which has a bit more ring to it.
Remo also makes Powerstroke heads for bass drums. They produce a thick tone and beefy presence.
The brand also sells one of the best sound solution products on the market with their Silentstroke drum heads. These drum heads attach to your drums like normal heads and lower the volume drastically, allowing you to practice without bothering anyone around you.
Although Remo does produce clear drum heads, you’ll mostly see drummers play on coated ones. All of their classic and loved drum heads are coated, leading more drummers to play on them.
Some famous drummers who endorse Remo drum heads are Benny Greb, Daru Jones, Taylor Hawkins, Matt Garstka, and Chad Smith.
Overall, Remo is a fantastic company that has products for everyone. If you’re looking for classic drum heads that have been loved and used for over 60 years, look no further than Remo.
Evans Drum Heads
The Evans company has been around for almost as long as Remo has. However, the company was acquired by musical giants, D'Addario, in the 90s and have been making products under the wider name since then.
So, Evans by D'Addario are the direct competitor to Remo heads, having similar models and builds.
However, Evans drum heads are driven by technological innovation. It’s a goal of the company to use technology to create the best possible drum heads they can create.
Their most recent push with this is the Level 360 drum heads. The catchphrase is “Technically a Drum Head, Technologically a Revolution”.
These drum heads are balanced all around, making them a lot easier to tune than most other drum heads. They also have a steeper collar that allows them to grip the drums better.
One of the best lines of heads from Evans is the UV drum head selection. These are coated heads that don’t wear out and go out of tune.
Evans set out to create a coated head that doesn’t start to look ugly after months of playing and the UV drum heads do the job exceptionally.
If you’re looking for more control, the Evans EC2 drum heads provide a bigger punch with less sustain.
Some famous drummers who endorse Evans products are Anika Nilles, Larnell Lewis, Robert ‘Sput’ Searight, Nate Smith, Omar Hakim, and Dennis Chambers.
Evans heads are great for anyone looking for technological innovation. They sound great because the company has pushed the boundaries of what technology can do for musical instruments.
Importance of Drum Head Choice
Your choice of drum heads is extremely important to your overall drum sound. Drum heads have the potential to completely change the tone of a drum. So, you need to make an informed decision when buying heads.
One easy way of deciding which heads to get is to know what style of music you’re going to play. Rock music requires a big sound, meaning heads that are big and open would work well such as the Remo Coated Ambassadors. The Evans G2s would get a similar effect.
If you’re going to play jazz, you’d need heads that are light with open tones. Jazz toms are typically tuned very high, allowing the tone of the drum to be fully reflected. So, you’d need single-ply heads such as the Evans G1s or the Remo Diplomat Fiberskyns.
How Important is Drum Tuning?
The final aspect that determines how good your drums sound is how well they’re tuned. Tuning drums is a skill that takes years to develop. You need to have an ear for it to do it well. However, you could also use a tuning tool like a Drum Dial.
In terms of drum head choice, some heads are easier to tune than others. As stated previously, products like the Evans UV drum heads are a lot easier to tune, meaning they’re a better choice for drummers who aren’t great at tuning drums.
Like most musical instrument brands, the choice between Evans or Remo largely comes down to personal preference. Both companies offer similar products that directly compete with each other.
However, every drum head has unique qualities that are very subtle in its sounds.
So, the best thing to do is to try them out for yourself and see which one you like. Just make sure to get drum heads that fit the environment you’re going to play in.