BY BRAD SCHLUETER
My bands range from loud rock groups to quiet jazz trios where I often play brushes for part of an event. I know I’m guilty of a jazz crime for occasionally using double-ply heads, but the wide variety of music dictated a versatile and low-maintenance drumhead. I’d been curious about Evans’ UV1 head (single-ply) since it came out because it was reportedly Evans’ most durable coating, but since I’m wary of single-ply heads I haven’t tried it. When Evans released their two-ply UV2 heads I immediately wondered, “Could this be my new gigging drum head – Evans Uv1 vs Uv2?”
Single-ply heads make me a little nervous. Sure, they can sound fantastic offering brightness, sustain, and complex overtones. But one of my gig phobias is breaking a head during a show and scrambling to change it while the band is impatiently waiting. Plus, those aforementioned attributes can also be their downfall. Single-ply heads are usually less forgiving of imperfect tuning, require more frequent changes because they stretch and dent more quickly, and all those overtones and extra sustain may beg for some additional muffling. As a result, I usually choose two-ply heads for my gigging kit.
I’ve always been baffled by drummers who love single-ply heads but then muffle them with gels or tape. I’ve found that a two-ply head takes away just enough ring so I don’t usually feel they require muffling, especially on toms. Some of my snares are a bit lively and I may add a bit of muffling to tame them, but if you’re like me and you generally don’t like to use a lot of muffling, a two-ply head like these UV2’s may be just what you’ve been waiting for.
Review: Evans UV2 Drumheads are the 2-Ply Solution Drummers Have Been Waiting For
The UV2 heads are available in sizes ranging from 8” to 18”, and I was sent a 14” snare head, a set of UV2 tom heads for my drum set, and a UV1 EMAD single-ply bass drum head (Evans does not currently offer a two-ply UV2 EMAD, but I hope to see one in the future).
The Evans UV2 shares the same patented coating and ultraviolet treatment as the successful UV1 heads. The coating on these heads is screen printed then UV-cured, creating a durable coating. Most coated heads use a flat paint and have a slightly rough texture that works well for brush playing, but that eventually will flake away leaving the underlying film exposed. The coating on the UV2 heads has a hint of sheen and feels smoother to the touch than other coated heads, but the screen printing gives the coating a faint stippled texture that would be good for brushes.
The coating stops at the perimeter where the bearing edge makes contact with the head. This could be just for aesthetics, but I wonder if leaving the perimeter of the head uncoated increases the sustain a little. This bare edge reveals one of the main differences between the UV1 and UV2. The UV1 line has an opaque white film and the UV2’s use clear film; interestingly, neither of these films are used for any other Evans head.
Despite their similar nomenclature, the UV1 and UV2 heads are completely different animals designed for different types of players. Where the UV1 is a 10-mil single-ply head, the UV2 uses two plies of a reinforced, clear 7-mil film that’s designed to offer greater durability and increased attack. This is good for rock or metal drummers, or anyone who wants reliability and a fatter tone from their drums but is willing to sacrifice some sustain and sensitivity at lower dynamic levels. If you’re more of a jazz player, or you want less of a pre-EQ’d sound and more sustain and overtones, you might want to go with a single-ply head. But if you’re more the type who has nightmares about broken drum heads, the UV2 is a solid choice.
Evans’ 360 head collar seems to help the heads settle onto the shell and tune up quickly. I’ve been using coated Evans G2 heads for the last several months, and these UV2 sound similar but have a touch more attack. They still offer reasonable sustain, but, unlike some controlled heads, don’t come across as obviously dampened. The only drum I thought needed muffling was my snare, which still had plenty of high overtones with this two-ply head.
The new UV2 heads had a little more sustain than my months-old G2 set, but those had admittedly stretched out a bit. Reportedly the UV2’s emit a little less sustain, and I suppose with totally new heads it would sound more obvious, but to my ears they were similar enough that if you like coated G2 you should like the UV2 sound as well.
Playing brushes on a new coated head can sound a little like someone shoveling snow or raking gravel. It often takes a little time for the texture of the coating to wear down enough to yield a pleasing sound. One of my favorite things about the UV2 heads is that they sound good out of the box and don’t require any break in period. Also, neat freaks will be happy that the coating is resistant to the grey grime that brushes leave behind. In fact, I had to look closely to see any stick marks, and any dirt on the head was easily removed with a damp paper towel.
I’m already a fan of the sound of coated G2 line and these UV2 similar sound but with a bit more punch. I’ve been wanting a more durable coating from Evans for a long time, as I’ve worn through some of their other coated snare heads more quickly than I’d like in the past, and I’m certainly not a ham-fisted power hitter. During this review that included many practice sessions, video shoots, and online lessons these heads showed no real signs of wear. After polling a number of professional drummers I know who also use UV2 (and some UV1) drumheads on their kits, none reported wearing through this new coating on either type of head. So, have I found my new head? I think I have.
- Two-ply (7-mil each) head using reinforced film
- Screen-printed UV-cured coating
- Level 360 collar
- Available in 8”, 10”, 12”, 13”, 14”, 15”, 16”, and 18”
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