FIG. 7. Evans Hydraulic heads capture a thin layer of oil between the two plies.
Donuts make the head sound more wet, but tiny holes or vents around the edge of a snare or bass drumhead create subtle ports for air to escape and make the sound a bit drier, although the practice is still slightly esoteric. Examples of these approaches can be found in some Evans heads and in some OEM (original equipment manufacturer) heads made for DW drums. A modest hole of 4" or so changes the note of a bass drum, and, of course, a great big hole in the front of the bass drumhead makes it easy to adjust the pillow!
Three clear batter heads with different types of rings (left to right): Aquarian Super-2, Remo Pinstripe, and Evans EC Resonant.
By now you can see that there’s probably a head out there for you. How about a thin head with a donut and a dot? Available. How about a coated double-ply with a dot underneath? No problem. A calf-like surface with a thin weight? Got it. Double-ply head with a dot that can withstand your animal aggressiveness? Right here. Thin, clear, single-ply for reso – but in a weird color? Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes. The variety of available models is staggering. With basic information in your pocket, you can find the combination of ingredients that gives you exactly the sound you want in a drumhead, be it lively or muted, focused or funky wet. Bon appetit!