UV2 Drumheads

A beefier 2-ply version of the innovative ultraviolet-light-cured coated batter.

Last fall Evans expanded its offerings featuring the new UV-cured coating to include a double-ply model, the UV2. These heads comprise two layers of 7 mil film and a thin layer of a textured-white appliqué. They are available in 8″–18″ sizes and are offered in four prepacks. The Fusion Tom Pack includes 10″, 12″, and 14″ sizes; the Rock Tom Pack includes 10″, 12″, and 16″ sizes; the Standard Tom Pack includes 12″, 13″, and 16″ sizes; and the Bulk Pack includes several 14″ heads. We received 12″, 13″, 14″, and 16″ samples to test on two different drumsets: a jazz/fusion 12″/14″/20″ maple kit and a classic rock–style 13″/16″/24″ solid mahogany setup.

Big and Bold

The UV2 drumheads are said to be slightly punchier than Evans’ classic G2 Coated but with similar depth and attack. The UV coating provides additional durability and consistency of texture. Legendary rock/pop drummer Kenny Aronoff has been putting these heads through the paces on his big rock kit. In the promotional materials for the UV2, he concludes, “I love these new heads. They have so much life and sound fantastic.” Given Kenny’s notoriety as an extremely hard hitter, that’s a strong testament to the durability of the UV2.

I first tried UV2s on the 13″ and 16″ toms of a big, bold-sounding solid-mahogany drumkit. I’d been using standard 2-ply coated heads on these drums for a while, but I haven’t been completely satisfied with the results. These solid mahogany shells have a very low tone, yet they project a lot of sound, which has caused the current heads to distort at lower tunings. As soon as I installed the UV2s and brought them up to finger-tight, the drums were already singing like they never had before. The floor tom could have stayed there; it was already sounding massively full and punchy. The 13″ needed to be tightened about a half turn on each lug to bring the resonance to full bloom. No muffling was needed, since the decay was pretty quick, which allowed the drums to maintain a clean note and strong projection without ringing on for too long. Deep tones, smacking attack, and controlled decay—finally these big, rich-sounding mahogany toms were living up to their fullest potential. Thankfully, the extra durability of the UV2 coating will allow me to keep these drums happy for a long time.

High and Tight

To test how the UV2 heads fared at the opposite end of the sonic spectrum, we installed them on 12″ and 14″ toms with thin maple shells. Those drums were already outfitted with UV1 batters, which were the ones we reviewed over three years ago, in the May 2017 issue. They still looked and sounded like new, and the UV1s were a perfect match for those drums, which were used for a lot of local club gigs with setlists ranging from Soundgarden to Sonny Rollins. They were consistent and focused, and they tuned up great for brighter, jazzy tones while also eliciting a full, beefy sound when detuned for punchier, funkier flavors.

he newly installed UV2s didn’t sound drastically different from the UV1s. They had a bit more low-end emphasis, especially at lower tunings, and the decay was maybe a tad shorter. But the drums still sounded full, open, and pure, especially at medium and high tunings. You could even crank them super high for crisp bebop tones if you wanted to. I preferred to keep them in the middle register, where they produced a clean tone with a punchy attack and moderate decay. I think in the long run, I’ll go back to the UV1 on the 12″, since the single-ply version produces a more open tone overall, while keeping the UV2 on the 14″ for the extra low-end thump. Both versions are super easy to tune, so you can quickly experiment with wider or tighter intervals between the drums by simply turning keys without having to stress too much about throwing the entire drumhead out of balance.

You should try these new models, especially if you’re looking for heads that have an extended lifespan and a unique sound that bridges the gap between the clarity and crispness of clear 2-ply models and the warmth and depth of a traditional coating.

By Michael Dawson