Both the Remo Silentstroke and the Evans dB One low volume drum heads are popular with drummers who need to convert their drums to something with less volume. As far as low volume drum heads go, both of these options are a little different in design and intent. Let’s take a look at the two and compare.
How Do They Compare for Volume Reduction?
The obvious question, of course. Both drum heads drastically reduce the volume by around 80%. Let’s take a quick look at a comparison that shows a traditional drum kit, a drum kit outfitted with Zildjian L80 cymbals and Silentstroke heads, and a drum kit outfitted with Evans dB One heads and cymbals.
As you can probably hear, between the low volume heads there is a minimal perceptible difference in volume, if any at all. The difference between these two heads comes more in terms of tone and resonance.
How About Tone?
The tone of the drum heads is where we will see most of the difference here.
Remo Silentstroke drum heads are designed to create minimal resonance and tone, and the tone is almost entirely coming from the bottom resonant heads on the drums. This is due to their single ply mesh design with no other bells and whistles. If you were to remove the bottom resonant heads, the Remo Silentstroke heads would sound very similar to what mesh heads sound like on electronic drums, which is just about no tone at all.
Evans dB One drum heads are designed to retain a little bit of tone and attack. They do this by using a round patch in the center of the batter heads for the tom and kick drums. The patch helps create a little more sticking attack (if you center your strike on it) and can also create a little bit more resonance along with the bottom resonant heads. There is also a foam ring underneath the head that dampens the resonance to keep it from being too pronounced. This helps the dB One heads retain some usable tone while also being fairly quiet.
Feel and Playability
In terms of feel, I don’t notice a big difference between the two. They both have that slightly springy mesh head feel, and once you get the tension dialed in they are just as playable as mylar drum heads.
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 Remo and Evans 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?
There are some thing to take into consideration if you are trying to decide between the Remo Silentstroke or Evans dB One heads.
Remo Silentstroke heads will work best for drummers that are trying to maximize their volume reduction and don’t care as much about keeping some usable tone. These could be good for people trying to drum in an apartment since they help eliminate resonance and projection.
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.
Another factor is that Remo Silentstroke heads are the more affordable option. I’ve seen rock packs that will cover 10, 12, 14, 16 and 22 inch drums for around $100, which isn’t bad at all for mesh heads.
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 Silenstroke 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.