You’ll notice the difference when you pull these heads out of the box. They look different. They feel different. And when you put them on your drums, they sound different.
Evans has manufactured drumheads since 1958. As one of the pioneers in manufacturing Mylar drumheads, Evans has distinguished itself from other head companies by offering such innovations as dry venting, oil-filled heads, CAD/CAM hoops and the EQ Bass Drum System. The popular Genera line of Evans drumheads has been around for several years. The standard G1 (single-ply) and G2 (double-ply) versions of these heads have been clear and smooth, but now Evans has introduced a new version: coated Genera heads. The coating and the coating process are the result of more than six months of prototype tests with various coating and application methods. The end result is quite impressive.
Evans has developed a new patent-pending water-cooled molding process and robotics coating technology used in the manufacturing of these heads. In addition, the company’s hoop-forming machines now use a closed-loop feedback system to cut the hoop to the precise length, down to thousandths-of-an-inch accuracy. Let’s look at each of these characteristics and see how they play.
The new low-temperature collar-forming system runs cool water behind the playing portion of the drumhead, protecting that area of the film against the heat that bends and forms the collars. One of the first things you notice when you look at these heads is the surface of the film. It’s very smooth and very flat. While other heads may have slight wrinkles, dips, pockets or puckers, these heads look perfect.
Holding a head up at eye level, you can see that the playing surface produces a totally flat line from collar to collar. At the collar, where the head turns down on its way into the hoop, the uniformity of the bend is remarkable. Each pleat into the hoop is perfectly formed and precise over the entire diameter of the head. Even before these heads are mounted, tapping one softly with your finger produces a very low rumble with a good deal of sustain and a whisper of pitch.
The coating on the new G1 and G2 heads looks a little smoother than other coated heads. Evans says that their new pneumatically-controlled metering nozzles apply the coating to the head with a tolerance of .0005". While I don’t have the tools to measure the density of the coating, I can say that each head’s coating seems consistent around the entire diameter of the head, and the coatings on the 12" to 16" heads that were sent for review exhibited an impressive consistency. In an effort to be “green,” Evans’ coating is an environmentally-safe, water-based material.
Hoop Forming Machines. Evans claims that their new hoop-forming equipment can produce hoops that are perfectly round and uniform from one head to the next. When the test heads arrived, I stacked five 13" heads (three G1s and two G2s) on top of one another and they fit like a glove. To test the roundness of these drumheads without using expensive testing tools, I rotated one of the stacked heads while keeping the others stationary. If one of the heads wasn’t round, gaps would appear at the point where the hoops touch each other. In the past, I’ve mounted heads that are a little warped, which can pose a problem, since the counterhoop may not push down evenly around the entire circumference of the head. If the counterhoop doesn’t meet perfectly with the flesh hoop, you can experience tuning problems. But not only are these hoops round, they are perfectly flat, too.
Because of the consistency of their construction, the coated G1s and G2s tuned quickly and easily. I put them on a 30-year-old set of Sonor drums and, with very little tweaking, had them sounding good within minutes. Believe it or not, I was even able to tune the floor tom without a drumkey by just turning the tension rods with my fingers, and still was able to dial-in a good sound that wasn’t too loose or flappy.
The heads held their tuning very well – even days after they had been mounted and played a number of times – and retained a good stick response. They provided a nice balance between a ringing sound and a muffled tone, with a good amount of punch that cut well through a live band performance. As one would expect, the coated heads were a little darker than their uncoated cousins.
The G2 heads sounded good, but were slightly more muted and fatter sounding than the G1 heads – just as you might expect when comparing a two-ply to a one-ply head. I liked the warmth of the tone and the moderate amount of ring, and was able to play the heads wide open, without any extra muffling. For my own personal tastes, I prefer the G1 heads, but I’ve always favored a single-ply over a double-ply head since I tend to play lightly.