Aquarian Nu-Brite Heads Tested!
For the batter side, Aquarian included two models from its celebrated Superkick line. I threw on the clear Superkick II first, and with only a few turns of the key, it had my bass drum sounding studio ready. Finding a comfortable spot between 808 lows and arena-rock punch, the Superkick II took my maple bass drum to a place it had never been before. I was so impressed, I just didn’t want to stop playing the thing.
Once I finally separated myself from the SK II, I tuned up Aquarian’s Superkick 10 to the same tension and went to town. I was curious about how much noticeable difference there would be between the two heads, as they use the same construction with the only difference being the two 10-mil plies on the Superkick 10 (rather than the 7-mil plies of the SK II).
What a huge difference! The Superkick 10 had tons of punchy attack with tremendous focus and plenty of low end. The crazy lows weren’t quite as present as they were with the Superkick II, but I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by the big, booming presence this head had to offer.
One last thing I want to mention about Aquarian’s sampling of rump-shaking skins: the combination of internal muffling included on both Superkick heads, as well as the Regulator, didn’t require any additional muffling. Each pairing was perfectly playable with no sluggishness and more than enough oomph. Even under a microphone, every note was big, fat, and clean without much errant overtone.
Last but not least, the big box from Aquarian included two very distinct coated snare drumheads. The first, a single-ply, 10-mil Texture Coated, was ready for just about anything I threw at it. On a deep maple/walnut snare, it gave me lightning-fast attack with crystal-clear highs and body to back it up. Tightened to the extreme, it let out a cracking smack that didn’t sound pingy in the slightest. Way down low, I got a ringing wallop with plenty of high-end bite that had me hacking away at New Orleans grooves until I couldn’t feel my hands.
The Texture Coated totally blew me away under a heavy-bristled brush, though. Wide open with a medium tension, even the slightest swipe brought out a world of round tone, white wash, and plenty of volume. With the right brush and a heavy hand, the TC probably wouldn’t have any trouble cutting through an electric guitar.
A Cure For The Curse
The other coated snare head Aquarian sent over for review was the 3-ply Triple Threat (that’s right, three plies). Despite being very impressed by all the double-ply models I’d already checked out, I was still a little wary of a triple-ply snare head. This thing was heavy. All I could imagine was one of those Kevlar marching heads that holds tension even after being shot with a rifle or whatever.
Well, again, I was totally wrong. Three 7-mil plies created a very tight unit capable of unbelievable sensitivity considering the weight. I tried the Triple Threat head on three different snare drums and got the same result every time – bright, cutting highs with an ocean of fat tone below. It got a little floppy at lower tunings, but from a medium tension on up, this was a truly remarkable head.
In another conversation with Roy Burns, I told him about putting the Triple Threat head on a steel snare that I’d never been able to dial in correctly. As soon as I tuned it up, I finally heard the sound I’d been after for so long. He chuckled, and said, “Yeah, it’ll definitely cure the curse all right.” A perfect summary of what a head like this is capable of doing.
In my opinion, Aquarian hit this one out of the park. Its updated Nu-Brite Mylar film fulfills the company’s desire to create a head that can handle the demands of modern mikes and electronics without sacrificing tone. The Nu-Brite heads were exceedingly playable, and really allowed the true richness and character of each drum to shine through. The improved film produced a series of heads that surprised me over and over again with their versatility and depth. If Aquarian can make a 3-ply head sound that good, it’s definitely doing something right.
Model/Size & List Price
Classic Clear 12" $21
Classic Clear 14" $23
Snare Side 14" $21
Response 2 12" $27
Response 2 14" $31
Texture Coated 14" $26
Force 10 12" $30
Force 10 14" $34
Triple Threat 14" $42
Superkick II 22" $82
Superkick 10 22" $88
Regulator 22" $84
Features Aquarian’s updated Nu-Brite film allows for maximum clarity and sustain across all its drumhead lines. From single- to 3-ply heads, the company’s new Mylar film and proprietary Vacuum Process create a uniquely musical and playable head.