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7 Best Drum Heads for Metal in 2022 Reviewed

Is there anything better than pounding your way through a ferocious metal set to help work out those little frustrations that pop up in life?

Fierce, fast, and frantic, metal is a thunderous experience. It’s rock music exactly how it should be, and when everything clicks, it’s exhilarating. But to get there, you need to make sure you have the right kind of kit, including the all-important drum head.

We live in a time of seemingly endless numbers of drum heads catering to different genres and styles. So much so that choosing the right drum head for metal has never been more complicated. 

So, for the sake of ease and simplicity, here are our top seven choices for drum heads for metal in 2022.   

7 Best Drum Heads for Metal in 2022 

1. Aquarian Super 2

This 2-ply drum head is versatile and responsive, looking and feeling great. The Aquarian Super 2 comes coated to produce a warm, mellow sound or clear for more of a wet attack, with plenty of depth and lots of bottom.

 

Specifications

  • Coated batter head — excellent for toms
  • A Safe-T-Loc hoop that prevents the head from slipping
  • "Responsive Tuning" thanks to its Sound Curve collar
  • 2-ply, 7-mil, and 5-mil head has a mellow and warm sound
  • Sold individually so that you can choose your size
 
 

PROS

  • An excellent mid and low-end sustain
  • Balanced sound and great resonation
  • Options for different warm or wet tones

CONS

  • A more expensive option than most
  • Slightly narrow tuning range
 

Who’s This For?

  • More advanced drummers
  • Heavy hitters 

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2. Aquarian Performance 2

The Aquarian Performance 2 is a drum head that produces a deep, fat sound for that thick classic rock sound—perfect for a wide variety of styles and genres.

 

Specifications

  • Two plies of 7mil film
  • An outer control ring with sealed edges
  • Aquarian's vacuum process eliminates air bubbles and wrinkles between the two plies 
 
 

PROS

  • Easy to tune
  • Great for loud drumming
  • A nicely controlled drum head
  • Suits a wide range of genres if you play for more than one band

CONS

  • Can't be tuned for the bounciness
 

Who’s This For?

  • Those brought up on that classic metal sound
  • Drummers who move between bands and genres 

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3. The Evans EC2S

The Evans EC2S comes in clear, frosted, or coated, producing a deep, mellow, but incredibly rich sound. It’s a hugely popular option that has proven itself time and time again in live situations.    

 

Specifications

  • Two clear plies of 7mil film
  • Control rings around the drumhead
  • Sound Shaping Technology, which, according to Evans, delivers a more balanced and pre-EQ'd sound
 
 

PROS

  • A bright, cutting attack, perfect for loud environments
  • Great for live playing
  • Excellent control

CONS

  • On the more expensive side
 

Who’s This For?

  • Drummers looking for a head for live shows
  • Metal musicians into the modern, loud sound 

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4. Evans Onyx

The Evans Onyx certainly stands out as something different. With its black coating, dark sound, increased attack, and low-end response, this is a drum head with both style and panache.  

 

Specifications

  • Two plies, each of 7.5 mil
  • Black coating
  • Clear, frosted, or coated available 
  • A 5" offset microphone port
  • Sizes range from 18" to 26"
 
 

PROS

  • Great durability
  • Perfect if you're looking for that ‘darker’ sound 
  • Tunable using the EMAD system

CONS

  • The sound probably won't suit everyone
  • Its sound can be a little restrictive
 

Who’s This For?

  • Masters of the dark arts
  • Those looking for that niche sound for doom or stoner metal

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5. Evans UV2 

For those looking for a thunderous all-rounder capable of smashing out various sounds and tones, you can't go wrong with the Evans UV2.

 

Specifications

  • Extra-strong coating
  • Two plies of 7mil film
  • Available in sizes 8″ to 18″
 
 

PROS

  • Very responsive to brushes
  • Hugely versatile and will last longer than most
  • Easily adaptable to different styles of music

CONS

  • Not the brightest of sounds
  • A decent but mid-grade attack
 

Who’s This For?

  • The big-hitters who want a thunderous sound befitting the metal gods
  • Those who don't want to have to replace their drum heads too often

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6. Remo Pinstripe 

If you're looking for that classic rock-style drumming, you can't go wrong with the Remo Pinstripe. While initially designed for jazz music, Remo drum heads have been a mainstay in the rock and metal world for years now. Dave Grohl famously used them during his time with Nirvana.    

 

Specifications

  • Two plies of 7mil clear film
  • A control ring
  • Added dampening 
 
 

PROS

  • It holds up very well even under intense drumming
  • Very focused sound and shorter sustain
  • The control rings add some emphasis to the attack
  • Excellent tone 
  • Easily tunable
  •  

CONS

  • If you're using a transparent surface, it probably won't be responsive enough for brushes.
 

 Who’s This For?

  • Those looking for a true classic and name you can trust
  • Drummers looking for the grunge sound in their heads

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7. Attack ToneRidge 2 

The Attack ToneRidge 2 is a great choice for heavy hitters that is dark and punchy but with excellent control. It sounds great whether you're thrashing through some metal or mixing it up with gospel, pop, or country.   

 

Specifications

  • A unique split-level design that helps to disperse some of the high frequencies 
  • Two plies of 7 mil
  • A dark, punchy tone 
 
 

PROS

  • Attacks Dynaflex Polyester film adds outstanding durability
  • Excellent value at the cheaper end of the spectrum

CONS

  • A unique sound that might not be to all tastes 
 

Who’s This For?

  • Those looking for versatility and a great sound
  • Musicians who want to play experimental metal or fuse genres

Shop Now


What to Consider When Buying Metal Drum Heads

With so many options, choosing the right metal drum head can quickly descend into hours spent trawling through online reviews to find the perfect fit. 

But the truth is there is no ‘best’ option because, quite simply, the most suitable option for you depends on a myriad of factors, which might be entirely different from the person standing next to you. 

The best drum head for you will depend on your style, the kind of music you play, and that unique tonal preference that is often so minute it can be difficult to put into words. 

Here are the critical points to consider when buying a new drum head for metal: 

Think Sound 

If you're a drumming newbie, some of this might go straight over your head, but it's a good place to start. When reading about drum heads, you'll often see words like bright, warm, dry, and wet. It’s vocabulary you might not immediately associate with sound and drums, but it is essential to know about before making a purchase. 

Think about the overall tone on a spectrum. Bright is often thought of as a higher pitch, while warm is considered a darker tone with a lower pitch. Smack in the middle of the two is balanced, which is, you've guessed it, not too high and not too low. 

Dry is how we describe a drum that has very little ring or sustain, while wet means there is more ringing or shell noise after being struck. 

Choosing the right sound can take some practice. For novices, it may simply be a case of learning as you go, but with time, you'll easily be able to differentiate between different tones and begin to understand what kind of sound you like.    

One Ply or Two  

The number of plies different models have is something else you'll see plenty of when it comes to purchasing a drum head. You can usually choose between one, two, or three plies, each with different sounds and overall benefits and drawbacks. 

One-ply drum heads often come with a brighter sound than two or three-plied models, with lesser attack and more sustain. The major downside of only having a single ply is that it usually compromises durability. After a heavy-hitting session, you might see more grooves and dents than you'd ideally like. 

Two or three-ply drums come with a much tougher skin, which increases durability and provides more attack and less sustain. You'll notice that with multi-ply models, the beat doesn't last as long as single-ply drum heads, which leads some to the state that the sound is more ‘dead’ when compared to a one-ply drum. A little harsh, but there is certainly something to it. 

Coated or Clear  

Another variable that can completely change the sound of a drum head is whether it's coated or clear

Coated essentially means that the drum has a thin lining that alters the overall sound. It delivers a damper, warmer tone with slightly less overtones. On snare drums, coated is much more popular than clear options, while on toms and bass drums, they generally give off a more mellow sound that works well if you want to mix the sound with other instruments.   

On the other hand, clear drums usually deliver a slightly brighter tone with more sustain and attack than coated options. They are generally the go-to option for louder situations, so if you're a dedicated metalhead, this might be the best option.   

Tuning Is Everything 

It can be easy to get carried away with the specifics of drum heads, and while you should consider these factors, how you tune them shouldn't be discounted. 

You might buy a coated drum that reviews claim to deliver a warm, dark tone, but that won't be its only option. By changing the evenness of the tension across each lug, you can increase or decrease the sustain depending on how you’ve tuned the head.

Tuning can sometimes feel like an art form and can take years to master fully, but it's worth the effort. By tightening each tension rod in a diagonal pattern and slowly moving around, you will immediately notice that you can tune the drum head high or low, depending on your preference.

While there is plenty of flexibility with tuning, you often can't simply make one drum sound like a completely different model. You can certainly push them in the right direction, but in the end, different models have very different sounds.    

Get Your Metal Drum Heads & More Today! 

There have never been so many options when it comes to drum heads. Whatever your style, whatever your sound, getting the right drum head is a hugely important decision.

For the die-hard metal drummers among you, there can be only one choice when shopping and choosing the right model. The Drum Center Portsmouth is proud to call itself the largest drum store on the planet, with thousands of possibilities just waiting for your visit.  

We don't simply stock the latest and most popular models. Our boutique collection of percussion instruments is simply second to none. Whether you know exactly what you want or feel you need to browse, you can ask our dedicated staff every question under the sun. 

Rock on, drummers.

2 months ago