Remo: Striking The Right Tone
The Remo fairy stopped by my place the other day and left a big box of shiny new heads. Although I’m not sure why he always wears brown shorts, I do know the Remo fairy must think I’ve been good, because he left some great stuff on my porch!
Below The Bottom
I found in my delightful little box a trio of bass drumheads. First up is Remo’s new line, the Powerstroke Pro. This is not the Powerstroke you’ve seen before – Remo labels it “subsonic,” and it looks more like a sub woofer than a bass drumhead. That stylish inner ring is Remo’s Pressure Dampening Profile and permanently mounted acoustic foam. The “Ultrasonically Welded Profile” is meant to prevent separation and unwanted noise, provide maximum volume and projection, control high frequencies, and boost mid- and low-range frequencies. (But, does it do windows?) The ring sits atop a single-ply 10-mil main head. Remo sent 22" clear and coated models.
Boom!The coated model is focused. Like a punch in the gut, the coated Powerstroke Pro delivers a concise, low, punchy tone – a natch for the studio. Throw out the tea towels and just enjoy the natural, naked tone of your bass drum without tonal problems. This head could be an engineer’s dream. I don’t necessarily hear a jump in volume compared to other Powerstroke models, but it is certainly just as loud.
The clear model was a different story. The design is the same, as is the emphasized lower end, but the volume is in a different neighborhood. Much more open, the clear Powerstroke Pro throws a lot more decibels. It’s like someone opened the door. However, as loud as the clear model is, it possesses an impressive amount of tonal control. The coated model is more of a dialed-up tone, safe right out of the box – perfect for a gig that demands sonic control without giving up power. The clear model is wilder and woollier – controllable, but not out of place in a noisy rock club. It’s an impressive balancing act of raw and refined.
Switching things up, the last nugget in my little box of joy was the new Controlled Sound X, or CSX, snare head. Inspired by the coated Control Sound head, the CSX is constructed of a coated 12-mil film and sports a 5-mil reverse dot, which is meant to provide more controlled mid-range tones – ideal for higher frequency snare drums. I received the 14" model, so I pulled out an old 7"-deep brass free-floating shell snare I’ve had since the ’80s. This particular (heavy) monster can sound like spikes of ice being driven through your forehead. A thinner head can be overwhelmed. The CSX took that tone and warmed it up without choking it off. The drum still threatened foreheads, but it was like the spike was wrapped in velvet. This is a great head for a hard-hitter that craves tone and durability.
Not a bad one in the bunch. The new Powerstroke Pro is more specific in its application than the old warhorse Powerstroke 3, but still a huge winner in either coated or clear. You can keep a lid on things without losing power or tone. And if you’re a stick-shredder, the CSX snare head should definitely be an arrow (or ax) in your quiver. It’s durable, controlled, and will knock the tattoos off the back row.
Powerstroke Pro: single-ply 10-mil Mylar film with Ultrasonically Welded Pressure Dampening Profile. Available in clear, coated, and ebony.
CSX: Coated 12-mil film with a 5-mil reverse dot.
Model & List Price
18" $77 (Ebony: $87)
20" $80.75 (Ebony: $90.50)
22" $84 (Ebony: $94)
24" $88.50 (Ebony: $99.25)