Choosing Drum Heads for Recording in the Studio
Drum heads can affect the tone of your drums more than any other factor. If your drum heads are poorly tuned or worn out you cant expect the same sound. Drummers head preferences vary widely from double ply coated to more ringing single ply heads. Generally Jazz and light players would choose a thinner more resonant head, and heavy styles like rock, metal, punk as well as the tightly controlled R&B style snare preferring double ply coated heads, and various types of additions to the surface of the drum to control resonance.
Tuning drums is topic for another day, but moon-gels (aka little sticky gummy thing) , tape, or anything even duct tape will effect the resonance of the drum in a different way. Any coating or additional plys of vinyl will add durability while dampening overtones and resonance. Some specialty heads like hydraulic heads even have a bit of liquid oil in-between layers of a dual ply head.
When it comes time to choose your drum heads for recording, its all about choosing the head that will deliver the tone and character you’re after. Researching drum head sounds, and asking an engineer or producer what type of drum head for a particular sound you’re after is a great idea, as well as providing reference material can be useful in many situations.
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