Evans makes a couple different styles of low volume, mesh drum heads in the dB One and dB Zero drum head lineups. They both can work well to reduce the volume of an acoustic drum kit, but there are some differences between the two.
What’s Different About The dB Zero and dB One Heads?
The dB Zero drum heads are a single-ply mesh head with no other bells and whistles. It’s just a straight mesh drum head.
The dB One drum heads have a little extra in terms of features. On the tom and kick drum heads there is an attack patch in the center to provide a little more attack to the sound and a foam dampening ring underneath the head to dampen resonant overtones.
How Do They Compare for Volume Reduction?
Both of these drum heads are great for reducing volume levels. Evans claims up to 80% volume reduction from the dB One heads and the dB Zero heads sound even a little more quiet, especially on the toms. Check out our video sound demo that shows how each of these heads sound when installed on a drum kit, along with traditional drum heads to compare.
There isn’t much difference between the two drum heads in terms of volume levels, as you can see. But there are some other minor differences in the sound that is produced, which we’ll touch on next here.
How About Tone?
The tone is where most of the differences are with both of these drum heads. While there isn’t a wild difference between the two, there is enough that one might be preferable to the other depending on your own preferences.
The dB Zero heads have less resonance, which is mostly noticeable on the toms. The dB One heads retain just enough attack and resonance that they might be a better option for drummers that want to keep a little bit of usable tone, for playing live or otherwise.
The snares sound a little different. The dB One heads have a specialized snare head that can be used without the snare wires on the snare drum, allowing it to be a little more quiet. To get a snare sound with the dB Zero heads you need to leave your snare wires active.
The kick drum is where I noticed the least amount of difference, they both sound very similar to me. There’s just a little more attack with the dB One kick drum head since it has a patch in the middle, but you could essentially do the same with the dB Zero kick drum head with an aftermarket patch.
Feel and Playability
There isn’t much of a difference in terms of feel, at least in my opinion. They both feel like mesh drums heads and can be a little more springy than a mylar drum heads, depending on how you dial in the tension.
The Evans dB One heads have the added advantage of the patch in the center of the head to add a little bit of attack, but during play it’s a small target to hit and you still hit the mesh around the patch a lot. Also, the patch isn’t on the dB One snare, so the snare heads feel almost identical during play between the two options.
With the minor differences in playability, if any at all, I’d recommend to decide between the two based more on the tone factors or price.
Why Pick One or the Other?
Here’s how I’d look at the differences between these two and how they might affect which one I’d pick.
Evans dB Zero heads are probably the better option if being as quiet as possible is the main goal. They are quiet enough to use in an apartment and offer about the same in terms of sound and volume reduction as the Remo Silentstroke heads.
They don’t react to tuning as much and instead you’ll focus more on just dialing in your preferred head tension. They could also be good for drummers that are trying to convert acoustic drums to electronic drums with mesh heads since they have a simple, single ply design with no other features to get in the way.
The dB Zero heads are also the more affordable option. I haven’t seen them available in packs like the dB One heads, but a comparable set when bought as individual drum heads is a little cheaper.
Evans dB One heads are better for drummers who want to retain a little bit of usable tone and resonance from their drums. They react to tuning a little more than the dB Zero heads do.
If you’re considering using low volume drum heads for low volume live situations, these will probably be your better option. Also, if you just want something that has a little better tone for practicing at home these are a great pick as well.
The drawback is their price. A pack of Evans dB One heads that will cover a drum kit with 10, 12, 14, 16 and 22 inch drums will cost closer to $200.