From his thunderous hard-hitting style to his signature skills and fills, read what makes Grohl such a unique and recognizable drummer. There’s also a gear overview, and a huge range of examples from his decades-long drumming career.
They’re both color drumheads, so what’s the difference?
Well, there’s actually a huge difference!
So we’ve put together this Remo Colortone vs Evans Hydraulic drumhead comparison to clear up a few things.
Both heads sound great (and look great!), but you can end up getting caught out if you buy the wrong ones for your sound. So here’s our full guide to Remo Colortone vs Evans Hydraulic drumheads.
The sound: A fat, short, thud.
Evans Hydraulic are very unique drumheads. They’re made with two plies (like a lot of heads), but -and here’s the unique part- there’s a thin layer of oil trapped between the two plies.
The oil acts as a dampening agent, which means it stops your drum from ringing out. It really reduces the sustain and overtones of your drums, because the oil between the plies reduces the vibration of the head.
Along with dampening the drumhead, the tone you get is warmer and lower in pitch, because the oil adds more weight to the head.
This means that Evans Hydraulic heads can give your drums a nice fat, deep, short thud. If that’s the sound you’re looking for, they’re perfect.
Due to the heavier weight, just beware that you’ll lose a lot of volume and projection with Hydraulic heads: the sound of your drums just won’t carry as far.
These heads shine when heard close-up, or in the studio with microphones on your drum kit. If you’re playing in a loud environment though (e.g. rock, punk, etc), your drum sound can get lost in all the noise (unless you have mics on the kit).
The bottom line
Tuned low, Evans Hydraulic heads give a really deep fat sound, and they won’t ring out much at all. You can tune them high to get more sustain and a better attack. However, they’re kind of a one-trick pony: the sound they make is great, but you’re getting one style of sound.
Which one should you choose? Well, it really depends on the sound you want. Let’s take a look now!
Remo Emperor Colortone
The Remo Emperor Colortone is made with two plies of 7mil film (similar to the Evans Hydraulic).
However, unlike the Hydraulic, Remo Emperor heads do not have a layer of oil between the plies. Due to this, Emperor Colortone drumheads will have a longer sustain, slightly more overtones, and a slightly brighter sound compared to a Hydraulic.
If you read our description of the Evans Hydraulic above and think the sound is a little too extreme, then Emperor Colortone are an excellent choice.
Next up is the Remo Powerstroke 77 Colortone, which is made only for snare drums.
This head is also made with two plies of 7mil film (like the Remo Emperor Colortone we’ve just covered). However, the Powerstroke 77 also features a 5mil center control dot and an inlay ring.
The control dot and inlay ring dampen the sound and stop the drumhead from ringing out, which means you’ll get a much more controlled sound compared to the Emperor Colortone.
If you’re looking for the Remo version of an Evans Hydraulic, this is fairly close. It’s very thick when factoring in the control dot, and it gives a deep warm sound and short sustain. The sustain is very short especially when this drumhead is tuned low, but it gives a more cutting snare “crack” when tuned high.
Remo Powerstroke P3 Colortone
Remo also have a bass-drum-only version of the Colortone: The Remo Powerstroke P3 Colortone.
The Powerstroke P3 Colortone is actually a much thinner drumhead compared to all of the other options: The P3 Colortone is made with a single 10mil ply. It also features an inlay ring to help control overtones and ringing, to give a more focused bass drum sound.
Compared to all of the other color head options, this is the brightest and most open-sounding head. Even though it’s brighter-sounding, it can still be tuned low to get a nice deep bass drum rumble, or tuned up higher for a more cutting sound.
The P3 Colortone is a great choice for an all-round bass drum head (it’s suitable for almost any style of music), as long as you’re not a really hard-hitting drummer… The 10mil ply may not hold up long-term to extremely hard footwork (use a kick drum patch if you’re worried about this!).
Evans Hydraulic vs Remo Colortone Buying Guide: Which Drumhead Is Best?
Ok, so we’ve looked at how each type of color head compares. So which one should you buy? Here’s a quick and simple guide.
We’ve listed the drumheads from most sustain and brightest-sounding, to least sustain and warmest/deepest-sounding:
Remo Colortone Powerstroke P3: This is the thinnest and brightest-sounding color drumhead. It’s made for bass drums only, and it’s a great choice for a versatile sound. You can get a deep rumble, or tune it higher for a sound that punches through.
Remo Colortone Emperor: This is the most versatile color snare and tom head. It’s fairly thick, but it still has a fairly strong sustain (and you can add moongels or dampening to reduce the sustain if you need). Get this drumhead if you want an overall warm drum sound, but with enough attack to still be heard among louder instruments and a good amount of tone in your sound.
Remo Colortone Powerstroke 77: This is the thickest and warmest Remo color head, made for snare drums. It also rings out the least of all Remo heads, especially when tuned low. Get this head if you’re a hard-hitter, or if you want a really controlled, short, and fat snare tone.
Evans Hydraulic: Due to the layer of oil between the two plies, this head gives an extremely warm, fat, and short sound. Your drums won’t ring out, and overtones will be almost entirely reduced. Get these heads if you want all of your drums to have a short, deep, fat thud.
At DrumheadAuthority, we’re all about comparing drumheads (it’s why we built our drumhead selector to help you find the right heads).
Drumhead choice (and how you tune and dampen them) will always have a massive impact on the sound of your drum kit.
But what about the drums themselves?
Drummer Johnny Seguin (@johnny_seguin) recently made a nice drum kit comparison, to show how much (or how little?) the actual brand of a drum kit can affect your sound. He’s kindly shared the video with us, so we can show our readers.
He set up a Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute, a DW Collectors Series, and a Ludwig Vintage Super Classic. They’re all maple drums, all tuned the same, and all with the exact same drumheads. The snare and toms each feature a coated Remo Ambassador drumhead, with two moongels. On each kick drum is a clear Remo Powerstroke P3.
Take a look at the video, and see if you can hear any real difference between these three kits. You’ll hear each snare, rack tom, and floor tom, followed by each of the kick drums.
When we spoke with Johnny, he told us he wanted a controlled experiment to identify the differences in shells and hardware, with results up for debate. He said the silver lining with this comparison is that an intact shell with good heads can sound great, regardless of the brand.
Beyond just the drum’s wood, the hardware can also have a pretty big effect on your drum sound and sustain, especially where a tom comes in contact with the floor (or with its mount). Check out our overview of how BootyShakers can improve your tom sustain, or try putting some thick cymbal felts under your floor tom legs: These can be especially handy to squeeze some more sustain and boom out of your tom.
Overall these things are excellent – they do exactly what they say (especially for your floor tom). If you’re struggling with getting a decent sustain, deeper tone, or just having a hard time tuning, BootyShakers are worth checking out.
The TD-17KVX is loaded with great features, including all-mesh drum pads, a super-realistic hi-hat system, and an extra crash cymbal. It’s also great if you’re worried about making too much noise: The mesh pads, the quiet kick drum pad, and the cymbal design all help to reduce the volume when you’re playing it.
We also compare the other kits in the TD-17 line, so you know exactly which one to buy if you’re shopping for an electronic drum kit like this.
Dream Theater’s Mike Mangini has just posted a video covering his brand new Pearl Masterworks drum kit (scroll to the bottom to see it)!
He talks about how he’s made the switch from birch to maple for the first time, to get an “extra level of punch” when playing live. Mike has also removed his two smallest drums, since he has the “hamster tubes” ( as he likes to call them) above his head.
Interestingly, he mentions that his drums are set up like a mirror image – with the same tom placement on the left and right side. This is done to avoid his arms crossing while drumming, to have better reach, and for more balance while playing.
Mangini has also added gong floor toms to hit setup. The idea behind these drums is to gain a single deep tone when struck, rather than the more complex sound of a double-headed (i.e. batter and resonant head) drum. The gong toms have a single drumhead (no resonant head), which allows for a huge clean tone when hit:
For his double bass playing, Mike Mangini’s drum tech Eric Disrude combined two Pearl Demon Drive bass drum pedals, so that both the left and right foot are playing a slave pedal. This allows Mike’s snare drum to be directly in front of him (where the main bass pedal would normally be). Eric Disrude also ensured that both kick drum beaters are hitting the center of the bass drum head, so that the same sound is generated by both the left and right foot.
Along with the double bass pedals, there are also percussion and electronic pedals at Mike’s feet. The electronic pedals are there for a very interesting reason: in case his real bass drum breaks (which has happened before)! There are two Roland KT-10 kick pedals at his feet which can trigger bass drum samples in case of emergency:
Mike also shows off his huge Pearl Icon drum rack, which holds an absolutely massive number of cymbals and drums (and some mics!).
When it comes to drums, Mike Mangini’s kick and snare drum are both “stock standard” Pearl Reference drums. The bass drum has a 24″ x 18″ mahogany and maple shell, featuring a clear Remo Powerstroke P3 batter head. The snare is a 14″ x 6.5″ 20-ply drum, with 16 plies of maple, and 4 birch plies. Mike’s secondary snare drum is a 10″ x 6.2″: the smaller drum is used to give a tighter snare sound, and can also be used as a high tom with the snare wires turned off. Many of the other drums have been custom-built (and they’re also Pearl Masterworks drums). The gong drums are 14″, 16″, 18″, and a big 20″, all with clear Remo Emperor drumheads.
When we say “custom built”, this is standard for Pearl Masterworks drum kits. Pearl’s European website actually has a custom drum builder page where you can choose everything including wood type, bearing edges, ply count, finish, and hardware, and then see a finished product (and price). Check it out here. By the way, if you have fun with that, you’ll have even more fun with Sonor’s super cool 3D online drum builder.
Take a look at Mike Mangini’s full 2019 drum kit walkthrough video below:
Sony CSL (Computer Science Laboratories) Paris is developing the latest AI-assisted drum production software.
Called DrumNet, the software is based on an artificial neural network which learns the rhythmic relationship between the different instruments within a song. The software then uses this knowledge to create drum tracks that fit the music. Importantly, the drum track will adapt to the music as it changes, allowing the beat to evolve as the song progresses.
At the moment, this software is only available as a proof-of-concept to generate kick drum tracks. However, Sony is currently working to extend their platform to provide an entire drum kit.
Sony says the goal is not to replace musicians, but to give them better tools to work with when realizing their creative ideas.