The snare drum is an integral element of any drum set. It creates one of the most recognizable sounds for any drummer, and it's the element that takes the most abuse. That's why snare drum heads are designed to be more resistant than the rest of the set.
5 Best Snare Drum Heads
Choosing the best snare drum head for your needs depends on your playing style, preference, and the sound you want to create. Keep reading, and I will give you an honest opinion on some of the best options on the market.
Evans is one of the most famous drum head manufacturers. Over the years, the company has come up with some revolutionary patents that have transformed the way we look at drumming.
The EC Reverse Dot snare drum head is known for its durability and the sound it produces. The drum head is made from two plies of film that makes it super-resistant to the most potent hits. It's used by many metal and jazz drummers that are known as the most aggressive types.
The Edge Control technology unique to this drum head removes mid-range tones and provides a high-pitched sound that's so hard to achieve with many other drum heads.
Furthermore, the reverse dot in the center provides even more durability and also acts as a target, allowing you to practice your accuracy. It has a vertical collar design that provides a perfect fit and easier tuning.
You will also have a broader range of sounds due to the double-layer film. Once you tighten it up, you will be able to make faster strokes because of the improved responsiveness.
If you are one of those drummers who like to hit hard, the Remo Emperor X Coated snare drum head is what you have been waiting for. It's incredibly durable, and you can give it everything you've got without causing any damage. According to Remo, it's the most durable Mylar head available on the market.
It's got a very low end that makes it responsive to both mild and hard hits. The reverse dot takes care of any overtones, providing a clean, warm tone when you hit. The Emperor X coated drum head is made of two 10-mil films that work together to offer extreme durability that's ideal for rock and heavy metal drumming.
You will get the same high-pitched sound every time you hit the sweet spot. It is next-to-impossible to break, so if you manage to do that, you are probably using hammers instead of drum sticks. I really think that it's one of the most durable drum heads money can buy.
3. Evans S14H30
Every drummer knows that snare drums have two sides. The S14H30 Clear 300 drum head is the one that goes on the bottom side, so it's not the side you hit. However, the bottom side is as important as the top side if you want to get a beautiful, warm sound for your snare.
The durability and the design of this model make this a true standout. It's just what you need to get that special something from your snare.
You can use it for any style of drumming as it offers a wide range of dynamics and tuning options. As a result, your snare will get a better response and tone, far superior to the basic drum heads you get when buying a drum set.
It's made from a single thin ply that makes all the difference in sound. Another great thing about it is that you won't have to buy a new one for years.
Anyone who had the chance to try out some Remo drum heads has probably seen the Ambassador. It's one of the most popular snare drum heads made by this company, and the tom heads are one of the most popular in the world.
What we have here is a very versatile single-layer drum head that makes a big sound difference. It's very thin and feels delicate on touch, but that's exactly what makes it so good. It will eliminate unwanted tones and give you a full snare sound, no matter which top drum head you use.
The Ambassador is fantastic at resonating sounds, and it's excellent for all styles of drumming. It's primarily designed for drummers who want to achieve that perfect snare sound. You can find these bottom drum heads in many professional recording studios all over the globe.
Who said that you need to buy another set of drum heads to get a different sound? The Big Fat Snare Drum snare drum head will give you the same results, and you won't have to change your existing snare drum head. All you have to do is place it over your existing snare, and you will get that recognizable 70's snare drum tone right away.
It's a plastic ring with thick rubber around the edges, so it's an accessory rather than a standard drum head. You can add and remove it on the go to change the sound of your snare and add a little variety to your drumming. The rubber puts some extra weight on it, so it doesn't bounce when you hit the snare. It also acts as a dampener, completely changing the sound of the snare.
This is a solid drum head, but there are two more versions with a hole in the middle. Both of them change the sound of the snare, but each produces a completely different sound.
What to Look for When Buying a Snare Drum Head?
There are a few things to consider when buying a snare drum head.
Sound & Durability
First of all, you need to figure out which tone works best for your playing style. The next thing is durability.
For example, if you play rock or metal, you need a drum head that can take a beating. Since there are a lot of different drum heads on the market, you should start by Googling your favorite drummers. See which drum heads they use and narrow your search from there.
You can also go to your local music store or a studio and try out different snare drum heads to hear the different sounds they make. Drum heads with a reverse dot eliminate overtones, giving you a sharp, short sound every time you hit the snare. You can also buy dampeners to change the sound of the snare without getting a new drum head.
Number of Layers
There are two types of drum heads, single-ply, and double-ply. As the names suggest, single-ply drum heads are made from a single ply, while double-ply have two layers.
The latter are thicker and much more durable than single-ply models. Generally, double-ply drum heads are designed for heavy hitters and music styles, while single-ply models are better for lighter music genres like jazz.
Clear vs Coated Heads
You get two different types of drum heads – clear and coated. The choice of which type to use is a lot wider when looking for heads for the toms. Snare drums typically get equipped with coated heads. However, that’s not always the case.
Many drum heads are not specifically marketed as snare drum heads. Instead, they will just be labeled as 14” snare heads which means that they will fit on any drum that is 14”. The problem with this is that it may sound wonderful on a tom but not on a snare.
Most clear heads will sound too booming if you put them on snare drums. A clear head will also stop you from being able to use brushes to their full potential. So, most drummers stick with coated heads for their snare drum.
There are some outliers, though. For example, the Evans Hydraulic Red drum head is a fantastic snare drum head. It would be considered as a clear head. In fact, it’s got an aggressive red tone to it that looks quite cool in a drum setup.
It’s vitally important to make sure that the drum head you buy will fit your snare drum. Some snare drum heads are designed for 13” snares, meaning they’ll be too small for your standard 14” snare. Checking the size should be the first thing you do whenever you’re looking to buy heads.
Luckily, most drum head companies offer the same heads in different sizes. So, you won’t be missing out if you have a smaller snare drum in your setup.
The snare drum heads on my list are all designed for different types of music and playing styles. Each of them is made by the best manufacturers, and they get the job done perfectly. You can't go wrong with either of them, but your final choice will ultimately depend on the sound you want. Do some research and pick the one that best suits your needs.
Related: Bass Drum Heads, Snare Wires, Drum Brushes