RTOM Black Hole heads are an excellent mesh drum head option that greatly reduces the volume of your drums while also be easy to quickly install and remove.
How Do They Sound?
These drum heads don’t completely mute the sound of your drum heads, but they do change the tone and projection of the sound. They make your drums sound lighter and the attack of the sound is reduced. Overtones and ring out are also reduced. They also change the dynamics as well, much in the same way a regular mesh drum head would. There is a less of a difference in volume between light and really hard strikes on the heads.
Since you’re placing these on top of your existing drum heads and not removing either of your batter head or resonant head from your drums, you still get some of the natural resonance and tone. So it’s not as drastic of a change in sound as you’d get with replacing your batter heads with mesh drum heads. It’s kind of happy medium between volume reduction and retaining some of the tone of your drums.
The RTOM Black Hole heads can be tuned to certain extent. There is an adjustable tension rod on the underside/inside of the hoop that can be tightened or loosened up with an included key tool, which has a slight effect on the tone. I mostly used the tuning to adjust the tension of the head to tweak the feel and rebound, but it does have a small effect on the tone.
The volume reduction with these heads is excellent and when you have these installed you will see around a 2/3 reduction in overall volume from your drums. I don’t need to wear hearing protection when I’m playing these along with some quality low volume cymbals, which tells me they are pretty quiet just from perception alone. When I was playing these with low volume cymbals and using a decibel meter I was seeing around a 10-20 decibel level reduction depending on how hard I was playing.
Once thing I like about the RTOM Black Hole bass drum head is that is also seems to reduce the amount of thump and vibration coming from the kick drum. This can help to reduce the amount of vibration going into the floor which can be beneficial if you’re playing drums with people below you.
Another thing I liked about the RTOM Black Hole heads is that they have a rubber rim around the head. This helps reduce the volume of rim shots and rim strikes.
Feel & Playability
These drum heads feel just like any other mesh head to me. They can be a little bouncy, but still offer a decent response for practice purposes. The patch in the center of the head helps the sticking response feel a little closer to a normal mylar head, as long as you keep on target with the center of the heads.
With the ability to tune the Black Holes you can adjust the amount of tension and rebound to a certain extent, so you can dial them in to your preferred feel.
The rims also feel about the same height as a normal drum rim, so they do a good job of simulating a normal drum rim if you like to do rim shots and stuff like that.
The the RTOM Black Hole heads feel very durable and I haven’t had any issues with them while using them. The heads themselves have a thick mesh material and the patches in the center haven’t fallen off or anything like that. The underlying frame is very sturdy and it doesn’t bend or warp unless you try to bend them intentionally. The rubber rims are durable as well. These will hold up to more aggressive styles of play just fine, which is a positive for sure.
The RTOM Black Hole heads are very easy to install and remove from your drums. With other mesh drum heads, you need to remove all the lugs from the drums and install them like normal drum heads. But not with these. These simply sit right on top of your existing drums and fit right on top of a standard metal drum rim. The rubber rim of the Black Hole fits snugly around the rim and sits between the rim and lugs, which hold them in place fairly securely. I haven’t had any issues with them falling off while playing which is good.
I have the first version of the Black Holes and the bass drum head sits up against your bass drum hoop and there are three elastic cords with hooks to hold it in place. There is also a new version of the bass drum head that fits inside of the rim and uses foam strips to hold it in place. So if you buy these now that might be the version you get, which is referred to as v2.
The easy installation and removal of these make them ideal for drummers who want to be able to quickly convert between a low volume and full volume drum kit without the pain of replacing and tuning drum heads each time.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you use non-standard hoops on your drums such as wood hoops, the Black Holes probably won’t install the same as with a standard drum hoop. Black Hole does sell some elastic cords with hooks that can be used to hold them in place, but they won’t fit as securely.
What Drum Head Sizes Are Available?
The Black Holes come in a quite a few different sizes and you should be able to find sizes that fit your drums.
The individual drum sizes that are available are 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, 14″, 16″ for toms and snare drums, and there are also heads for 18″, 20″, 22″ and 24″ inch bass drums.
There are packs available as well that include 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″ and 22″ inch heads. This is what I purchased and it worked perfectly for my drum kit. The pack that I purchased also included the necessary hooks for the bass drum, the extension plate for the kick pedal and a tuning key.
The RTOM Black Hole heads are a unique offering in the mesh drum head market. They are a great option for drummers who want to be able to convert between mesh and normal drum heads very quickly.
I like how durable they are and how easy they are to put on my kit. And I don’t need to worry about replacing drum heads and re-tuning all my drums each time I switch back to normal volume drum heads. These heads will pair up well with low volume cymbals for a quick way to covert your drums to a low volume setup.