Even the best of drummers will not be able to play the fattest of grooves, the best rhythms, or the craziest fills without skins on his or her magnificent drums. Cliché? Sure, but also an indisputable truth (as clichés always are), which does not require too much cerebration.
Choosing a brand and a specific model is a much bigger problem, though. Obviously, products made by the two biggest drumhead companies are widely available and known to everybody. However, last year’s price revolution has effectively dampened many drummers’ buying enthusiasm (at least in our region of the world). On top of that, more and more drum stores offer skins from the English company called Code, and the Chinese making a leap at western markets is bound to happen rather sooner than later. Plus, there’s Aquarian – the third drumhead manufacturer from the global Big Three (right next to Remo and Evans). Thus, it was only a matter of time before www.beatit.tv started testing the sonic qualities of drumheads from all manufacturers.
The first parcel of this kind has been sent to us by the Music Info company, which is the official Polish Aquarian distributor. This means we inaugurate our series of drumhead tests with that very brand. The next model to be presented is the Aquarian Performance II Clear.
Aquarian Performance II Clear Drumhead Test
Aquarian Performance II Clear is a series of clear (duh!), double ply heads. The distributor has sent us a set of skins in the following sizes: 12″, 13″, 16″ plus a 14″ Aquarian Texture Coated to be used on a snare. As we didn’t have a 13-inch tom at our disposal, the test features the 12″ and 16″ heads.
1. The test
The drum kit we put the heads on was a MES Midas Studio (birch/maple shells), a Natal Arcadia Steel 14″x8″ snare, as well as Aquarian Classic Clears as resonance skins. The toms and the snare drum were tuned with the help of the Tune Bot device, and in the following fashion:
- 12″ tom – high tuning, pitch F (batter head – 328 Hz, resonant head – 275 Hz )
- 16″ tom 16″ – high tuning, pitch F (batter head – 164 Hz, resonant head – 138 Hz)
- 14″ snare – high tuning, pitch A (batter head – 319 Hz, resonant head – 398 Hz)
- 12″ tom – medium tuning, pitch D (batter head – 275 Hz, resonant head – 232 Hz)
- 16″ tom 16″ – medium tuning, pitch D (batter head – 138 Hz, resonant head – 116 Hz)
- 14″ snare – medium tuning, pitch G (batter head – 266 Hz, resonant head – 398 Hz)
- 12″ tom – low tuning, pitch B (batter head – 232 Hz, resonant head – 195 Hz)
- 16″ tom 16″ – low tuning, pitch B (resonant head – 116 Hz, resonant head – 97 Hz)
- 14″ snare – low tuning, pitch E (batter head – 229 Hz, resonant head – 343 Hz).
The microphones used to perform the test:
- Overheads: Proel DMH3 (2 pcs)
- ROLAND R-26 recording device mics (4 pcs)
2. Basic specification of the Aquarian drumheads tested by us:
- Series: Performance II
- Plies: 2
- Thickness: 14 mil (7 mil + 7 mil)
- Colour: Clear
- Character: Full, deep, fat, big, no high overtones
- Aquarian’s Vacuum Process™ technology
- Application: Toms
- Size: 6″ through 26″.
3. The sound
Aquarian Performance II Clear are thick, double ply made for rock and metal. They simply sound mighty, fat, deep, and with lots of low end. The effect is enhanced by the fact that the producer made sure high overtones were eliminated as well and we must admit this was a successful ploy. All a drummer needs to do is slightly turn the drum key and…go! We liked the sound of these skins best in low tuning, but we must say mid and high tuning have their appeal as well. Especially in the latter, they could add that special something to a jazz, fusion or funky musical environment, as the lack of high overtones we mentioned above creates a very interesting sonic flavour.
Aquarian Performance II Clear heads are made with patented Aquarian’s Vacuum Process™ which helps eliminate air bubbles and wrinkles between the two plies, which are sealed around the edge to create the deep sound on the tom toms that we describe above. The Performance II series was created with low and loose tuning in mind in order to achieve lots of depth with as few high overtones as possible. We can safely confirm the desired effect has been accomplished. With these skins, every rocker’s soul will be in seventh hell…
Distributor in Poland: http://www.musicinfo.pl/
- Very well crafted
- Extra low end and depth
Drummers and Drummerettes! It’s time to put Aquarian Performance II Clear heads to the most ultimate test, i. e. the www.beatit.tv viewers’ test! Let your ears decide!