Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Evans Products @ Dom Famularo's Studio


On Fri. 2/13 (Friday The 13th. ! Haa !) I ventured out to Port Jefferson, N.Y. to Dom Famularo's residence. As some of you know, Dom now hosts a live, interactive online Master Class, live from the new studio on his property. The studio is essentially an "Out Building" recently erected in his back yard. Inside, it's very roomy, climate controlled, & essentially a drummers dream, as it's filled w/gear, a computer, video monitors, a camera, practice pad set ups, etc. A very comfortable, well lit place to make music!

There, I outfitted the 2 Mapex Orion kits (identical configurations of 10", 12", 14", and 16" toms, 14" snare, and 22" bass) with the newest products that Evans now has to offer. Those include the Onyx tom heads, which are two 7.5 mil plys w/ a matte, satin coating. The Onyx EMAD, which is a single ply 10 mil in the same black film & coating,along w/ the Onyx Resonant (single ply 7 mil w/ a dampening ring, & a 5" off center port) & the EC 1 Reverse Dot, which is a 14 mil single ply w/the EC (Edge Control) ring, & a perforated dot. I mated the Onyx batters w/ clear G1's on the resonant side of the 10" & 12", and the "EC Resonant" on the underside of the 14" and 16".

The EC1 R.D. was mated w/ the trusty Hazy 300 (always my choice) & a set of Puresound Blasters 20 strand snare wires...always my choice as well, for every snare I own (and I own about 20 at this point). There's something about the way the end plates are shaped...bent to bow the wires into the head more...that seems to give more response & tone. It's not a night and day difference compared to the Custom Series, but it's enough to notice, I think.

I was very curious about how the Onyx heads would sound & feel, as I usually utilize the MX White" tenor heads (2 x 7.5 mil plys) as tom batters. Not the norm I know, but anyone who knows me will tell you that I rarely go with what most players deem normal, to say the least !

Since they are both 2- 7.5 mil plys, I thought they'd be very similar, but they're really not. Comparatively, the MX White are more "Warm" in tone, overall, and with less attack. The Onyx had noticeably more brightness compared to the MX White, but not to the point where it was undesirable. However, compared to the G2 or the EC2, the ONYX are noticeably darker sounding. The matte, textured coating makes for an interesting visual, as well. Overall, these are definitely for heavier hitters, but will really work for just about any style short of jazz. After a couple of weeks with the heads, Dom commented that "The black Onyx heads on both drum sets sound fantastic. I was so amazed at the full sound with each tom. My students have been so inspired to play the kits even more than usual. They smile when they play! Again, Evans sets a high standard on innovation!"

Since it's debut, the EC Reverse Dot has been my snare batter of choice and is my absolute favorite designated snare head that I've ever tried, and that Evans has ever made! That being said, the EC1 Reverse Dot is absolutely great! The sound is similar to the EC Reverse Dot, but how it feels is the main difference that I noticed. Just like the EC1 tom batter (single ply, 14 mil) feels different from the EC2 tom batter (2- 7 mil plys), there is the same difference in feel w/ these snare batters. They're a little more firm than a G1 or even the Power Center, but they still feel like single-ply heads should...providing a little more stick rebound and more give than a 2-ply. Compared to most single-ply heads, however, users will be well rewarded w/increased durability and overtone control.

The EMAD Onyx reacted pretty much like the original EMAD, but with a little more punch and a darker sound. It's easy to immediately fall in love with the EMAD, which I did back in 2001, when it debuted. In my (and many other players) opinion, your bass drum will sound like it never did before with the installation of this amazing batter head. I installed the AF (Aramid Fiber) patch as well. It's unrivaled in durability, and adds some "Slap". I usually play in un-miced situations with a wood beater that's been cut down at an angle, so as to maximize the impact by getting the full width of the beater to strike the head. The AF patch has not let me down yet!

I always play with an un-ported resonant head, so it's hard for me to comment definitively on any sonic relevance that the matte coating produces on the Onyx Resonant. To me, it was more of an aesthetic thing. You simply rarely see a matte finish bass drum resonant head, and it just plain looks cool!

There was also a concert snare and a marching snare in the studio, as well. Those were outfitted with a Strata Staccato 1000 and an Orchestral 300 for the concert snare, and the Hybrid batter and the MX5 resonant for the marching snare.

Credit must go to two of Dom's students who were gracious enough to give of their time to help with the stripping & installation of all drums. That would be Jimmy Scott, & Jake Sommers, two seriously talented young players who you will be surely hearing more about in the future! I also must mention the contribution of Rick Drumm (D'Addario President) who helped out with the maintenance of the Orchestral & Marching snares.

So, tune into Dom's master classes to get an idea of what all these heads sound like in a "Real World" application. You are sure to learn something from all the great players that will be participating in these classes.


  1. Steve and Dom,
    This is fantastic! I'm happy to hear that you both were able to find a nice contrast between the heads that were used, and were able to put a comparison together. Dom, it's really beautiful that the students were motivated by these new heads! This helps me in my curiousness of different Evans drum heads. The First, The Finest, The Future indeed!
    And now for my Jamaican quote that is a tribute to Evans, "Good Evans!!" If you don't get what that means, I'll tell you! Coming from a Jamaican family, I've enjoyed hearing the fun accents and dialects from my family. Jamaicans usually leave off the "h" on words that start with "h". And they add an "h" when the word doesn't start with "h"! So what my quote stands for is, Good "H"eavens!! Great job gentlemen. Dom, I'm proud to be on two of the same teams with you as an educator and endorser.
    -Lance Beckford

  2. My picture won't upload. Working on it!