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Getting a new resonant bass drum head is the last thing that most drummers think about, as many people don’t realize how important a fresh reso head can be.
While drummers like to replace reso heads to get ones with kick ports, they also have a decent potential to alter how your bass drum sounds.
When searching for the best resonant bass drum head, you’ll come across several options from each brand. To make your search a bit easier, I’ve compiled a list of six of the best options out there. I’ve compared them according to value, tonal features, and design quality.
- What are the Best Bass Drum Resonant Heads?
- In-Depth Bass Drum Resonant Head Reviews
- Bass Drum Resonant Head Buying Guide
- What Makes Buying a New Resonant Bass Drum Head a Good Option
- Features to Look Out for in the Best Bass Drum Reso Heads
- Best Resonant Kick Drum Head FAQs
What are the Best Bass Drum Resonant Heads?
In-Depth Bass Drum Resonant Head Reviews
The Evans EMAD batter heads are some of the most loved drumheads out there, and the brand has a resonant head that perfectly matches them.
This reso head is a fantastic option for drummers who want a tight and punchy kick drum sound, but it also offers a higher level of control than most other reso heads available.
That all comes from the adjustable dampening system. By moving the external muffler around, you can control how much sustain your kick drum has. It works best when you have an EMAD head placed on the batter side as well.
If you do that, you won’t need to place any towels or pillows inside the kick drum shell, and that will give you the kick drum’s truest tone. It works similarly with other types of batter heads, but not as well.
I love how well-built this resonant head is. It’s seriously durable, making it a head that you arguably won’t need to replace for years to come.
The only downside is that the built-in port hole is only 4”. That’s very small, only allowing thin microphones to fit through it if you want them inside the bass drum shell. If you have a large-diaphragm bass drum mic, you should consider getting a resonant head with a bigger port hole.
- Single ply of 10-mil film
- Adjustable Dampening System
- 4” port hole
- Controllable amount of dampening
- Highly durable
- Offers the full and true tone of your kick drum
- Port hole is well reinforced
- Port hole is too small for larger microphones
The Aquarian Regulator is another top-tier resonant bass drumhead that you can use to solidify a modern kick drum sound.
It does a fantastic job of strengthening the low-end punch of your kick drum, and the internal muffling dries the tones out a bit to make them more pleasant to the ear.
The port hole on this one is slightly larger than the last, coming in at 4.75”. That extra fraction of an inch allows you to fit larger microphones through it. However, the true selling point is that the port hole sits a bit higher on the drumhead.
Most other resonant heads have their port holes near the bottom, and that can make it difficult to place microphones comfortably. Placing a microphone is very easy with this drumhead due to the offset port hole.
The other benefit of this reso head is that it’s far more affordable than most others. If you’re not too worried about the tone a resonant head will bring out, I strongly recommend getting this one to save a bit of money.
I’ve heard a few drummers mention that it doesn’t sit nicely on every kick drum shell, but you have to take that as it comes if it doesn’t end up affecting you. The chances are high that it won’t.
- 10-mil single ply head
- 4.75” port hole
- Internal muffling
- More affordable than most other reso head options
- Easier to place a mic inside the shell while keeping the text straight
- Offers a thick and low-pitched sound
- Internal muffling dries the tones out a bit
- Doesn’t sit as easily on different types of kick drums as other reso heads do
If you’re looking for something that is tried and tested, there aren’t too many resonant heads out there that can beat Remo’s Powerstrokes. This resonant head has gone through a few variations over the years, but each one offers an incredible amount of value.
In terms of tonal quality, this drumhead brings out a fairly open and warm sound from your bass drum. It’s fantastic for drummers that want a bit more resonance compared to the other resonant heads that come with built-in muffling.
However, it’s easy enough to get a tight tone with this head, as you just need to place a pillow or towel inside the kick drum shell.
One of this head’s strengths is its 5-inch port hole. This larger port hole is another selling point, as it allows you to place bigger microphones through it.
It’s not positioned as nicely as the hole on the Aquarian heads, but it’s a bit better than the positioning on Evans’ heads.
Another aspect that makes this head exciting is all the color options available. They all sound mostly the same, so it’s just an aesthetic choice when picking a color. Most drum kits have black or white resonant heads, so you can stand out from the crowd with a more vibrant color if you want.
- 10-mil single ply head
- 5” port hole
- Various color options
- Warm and open tones
- Large port hole for microphones
- Different color options can add personality to your kit
- The Ebony color version is more expensive than the others
The Evans EQ3 is a good option for drummers that want more open tones than what the EMAD heads offer. This head is slightly thinner, so it allows your bass drum to resonate more.
However, it still produces a relatively short sound due to the internal muffling ring controlling the tones a bit.
One of the better features of this drumhead is the Evans 360 hoop. Evans puts these hoops on a few of their drumheads, and they help them to stretch over shells a lot better. With the head stretching nicely, you get better and easier positioning. This makes the head work fantastically on every drum shell you place it on.
As with the previous Remo head, this reso head has a 5-inch port hole. So, it’s a good Evans alternative for drummers needing something that accommodates a large microphone. It’s also a good option for drummers that want a white bass drumhead.
The downside is that it doesn’t control tones as well as the thicker heads, so it may be a bit trickier to get a thick and punchy bass drum sound. The less muffling you have inside the shell, the harder it will be.
- 7.5-mil single ply
- 5” port hole
- Internal control ring
- Great booming tones from your bass drum
- Large port hole
- Evans 360 hoop helps stretch the head over any shell
- Internal control ring helps dampen a few overtones
- It would be ideal for the port hole to be a bit high
Here’s a unique resonant head that works very well for a specific purpose. If you’re looking for tight yet booming bass drum tones, that’s what you’ll get from Remo’s Fiberskyn option.
This is a vintage drumhead in both its sounds and how it looks. The fiberskyn finish mirrors what you saw in a lot of the drum kits from the 20th century.
The tones this head brings out are completely different from what we’ve looked at so far. The biggest feature here is the felt strip attached to the inner side.
When you tune the drumhead tightly, the felt strip presses onto the head, giving you a controlled sound. It acts as further muffling combined with an outer control ring.
When the drumhead is tuned loosely, the felt strip flaps a bit. This gives you a natural gating effect, which sounds awesome.
This drumhead works best when playing classic rock, jazz, and any other old-school style of music.
The drawback is that it doesn’t have a port hole to place a microphone through. While that ensures that your bass drum has full resonance, it gives you less control when you’re using a bass drum microphone.
However, it’s often better to place a mic a few inches away from the bass drum when playing older styles of music. It just means this drumhead is not as versatile as all the others.
- Internal felt strip
- Vintage finish
- Outer control ring
- Looks fantastic
- Excellent combination of resonance and decay
- Felt strip offers varied effects depending on your tuning
- No port hole
The Attack Orbit is by far the most eye-catching drumhead on this list. It has a unique design where it combines two layers to create a very specific tone.
Each layer is 10-mil thick, but the inner layer has holes removed in certain spots to maintain the attack of your kick drum without sacrificing any low end. It’s a clever design, and it works brilliantly.
When looking at the head from a distance, it looks like all the holes are open and exposed, but they’re only on the inner layer. This means you can’t put a hand through every hole, which is what some drummers get worried about when seeing this head.
The only accessible hole is the 4-inch port hole, which is situated on the bottom right. As with the first few heads we looked at, it may be a bit small for large microphones, but it works wonderfully with all other types.
If you’re looking for something completely different to give you bass drum tones different from the norm, I recommend checking this one out.
It’s not for everyone, though, as many drummers prefer the clean-cut appearance of a typical resonant bass drumhead.
- 2-ply head
- Several cut holes
- 10-mil outer layer and 10-mil under layer
- Combines the benefits of single and double-ply drumheads
- Interesting aesthetic
- Very defined attack
- Great open tone
- Not all drummers will like how it looks
Bass Drum Resonant Head Buying Guide
Most resonant heads that come included with drum sets aren’t of the highest quality. You’ll only find good ones being equipped on high-end kits, with the rest having ones that don’t do too much to improve on the tones.
So, a new bass drum resonant head could be just what you need to boost the quality of your bass drum sound. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for one.
What Makes Buying a New Resonant Bass Drum Head a Good Option
- A new bass drumhead may have a built-in port hole, which will help get better drum recordings.
- A fresh drumhead will always renew the tonal quality that you get from a drum, and certain resonant heads offer various tonal features.
- You can change how your drum kit looks by selecting certain resonant head colors to be displayed on the front.
Features to Look Out for in the Best Bass Drum Reso Heads
Make sure to get the right size for your bass drum when searching for a new drumhead. The most standard size is 22”, but you may have a bass drum that is smaller or larger.
Unfortunately, you won’t have as many resonant head options to choose from if your bass drum isn’t 22”, but there are still several good ones.
Just note that you’ll only get a kick port on drumheads that are 20” or larger, as having a hole in smaller heads takes away from your bass drum tone too much.
When looking at different resonant heads, you’ll have to choose between single or dual-ply options, and all plies will have certain thicknesses.
Resonant bass drumheads are typically thinner than batter heads, with 10-mil plies being most common.
The thickness affects how much the drum resonates. The thicker a drumhead is, the tighter and more dampened the tones will be.
Having a thick batter head and a thick resonant head is normally a bit of overkill, so it’s recommended to use a thin single-ply resonant head in most cases.
However, a dual-ply resonant head is great if you’re specifically looking for that choked-out and dry sound.
Some resonant bass drumheads will come with kick ports built into them. Having a kick port allows you to place a kick drum microphone inside the shell. Doing that gives you more attack from the drum when mixing. It also gives you more control over the sound.
If you’re someone who is going to use microphones when playing live gigs or recording, the best option is to have a kick port. Just make sure to get one that is large enough for whatever mic you have to fit through.
Kick ports dry the sound of your bass drum out a bit, though, so it’s better to have no kick port if you don’t need one.
Some styles also do better without one, such as jazz, where you need open and resonating kick drum sounds.
The main colors to pick from are black and white. Both are coated heads, as there aren’t too many clear resonant bass drumheads available.
Evans and Remo also offer various vibrant colors with a few of their lines. These aren’t for everyone, as they look very out there. But there are certainly many drummers who will love them and how they look when placed on their kit.
Note that the color of the drumhead doesn’t make any difference to how it sounds.
Best Resonant Kick Drum Head FAQs
Does the Quality of a Bass Drum Resonant Head Matter?
Yes, as resonant heads do a big job of controlling how much your drums resonate and sing. A high-quality resonant head will make the ringing tones of a bass drum sound a lot better than a stock reso head will.
However, you won’t notice the difference if you place a lot of muffling inside the bass drum. So, getting a high-quality resonant head for your bass drum shouldn’t be a priority if you’re a drummer who likes tight and short sounds.
Do You Get Clear Resonant Bass Drum Heads?
Yes, but you don’t get near as many options as you do with coated reso heads. Just note that placing a clear head on the resonant side of your bass drum will make your kit look a bit weird.
The only situation where it looks normal is with acrylic drum kits, as those have transparent shells. Placing a coated reso head on an acrylic kit will defeat its visual purpose.
Which Brands Make the Best Resonant Bass Drum Heads?
You’ll find the best bass drum heads being sold by the major three drum head brands. These brands are Remo, Evans, and Aquarian.
There are a few smaller brands that have good options, but none of them have the same worldwide reach as those three big brands.