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UV1 Drumheads

A new silkscreened coating cured with ultraviolet light for increased consistency and durability.

Evans’ research team spent several years experimenting with new ways to improve upon one of its most widely used products—the single-ply coated drumhead. The result is the UV1, which is available in 10″–18″ sizes and incorporates a new coating process designed to improve consistency and durability. We were sent a complete set to review, so let’s check them out.

How It’s Made

The first thing I asked the rep at Evans was if the UV1 was replacing the company’s popular single-ply coated drumhead, the G1. He assured me that it wasn’t. So how is the UV1 different from the G1?

Like the G1 and all other Evans drumheads, the UV1 utilizes the company’s proprietary Level 360 technology, which incorporates a steeper collar and a rollover hoop to allow the head to sit evenly on the bearing edge and to extend the tuning range. G1 and UV1 drumheads are also both made from a single ply of 10mil plastic. But the UV1 uses a translucent film whereas the film for the G1 is clear. The biggest difference between the two models, however, is in how the coating is applied and dried. The G1 coating is sprayed on to the plastic with a gun and is dried with air. The UV1 coating is silkscreened on and is then cured with high-intensity ultraviolet light.

UV curing has been around since the 1960s and is widely used in the automotive, telecommunications, electronics, and graphics arts industries. The paint is set and dried via a photochemical reaction rather than through the application of heat or air. The advantages of UV curing include shorter production time, reduced waste, and minimal loss of coating thickness. UV-cured coatings are also said to be more resistant to scratching and chipping. So the UV1 drumhead should be a game changer when it comes to consistency and durability. But how does it sound?

In Use

We tested the UV1 on a set of maple toms (10″, 12″, 14″, and 16″) and on a 6.5×14 stainless-steel snare. The toms were originally outfitted with Evans J1 drumheads, which are 10mil thick and are etched to create a coating-like texture. The J1s gave the drums an open, full-range tone with balanced high-end brightness and low-end fatness. The overtones were a little excessive, so I muffled the J1s with small pieces of gaffer’s tape. Swapping on the UV1s gave the toms that focused, warm, punchy, and crisp tone that I had coaxed from the J1s but with much less effort. I simply brought up each tension rod evenly, about a full turn above slack, and there it was. No fine-tuning of the lugs was required. The UV1 made the toms sound a bit deeper, warmer, and punchier than the muffled J1s without shortening the decay or darkening the overall tone. They simply sounded great, right away. And the coating showed no sign of wear at the end of our month-long test.

On the stainless-steel snare, the UV1 introduced some nice midrange punch that wasn’t there when the drum had on the stock single-ply coated batter. The UV1 provided some of the focus and snap that you get from a single-ply coated head with a dot underneath while still providing great rebound across the entire head. (Dotted heads sometimes feel a bit unresponsive and flat when played lightly in the center.)

The UV1 sounded best on this particular snare when tuned medium-tight. It reined in just enough overtones to keep the drum from ringing excessively, but it still sounded open and articulate. The silkscreened coating, which stops before the collar, held up great, displaying no visible scars after being submitted to several hours of hard accents and rimclicks played with the tip of the stick digging into the head. The UV1 coating also has a very consistent texture that allowed for smooth and even swishes when played with brushes.

Evans is charging a bit extra for the UV1 drumheads ($19.99 for a 14″ versus $17.60 for a G1, for instance). But if our testing is any indication of their durability, it’s likely that you’ll be spending less money in the long run if you switch from standard single-ply coated heads to the UV1s, because you won’t need to change them nearly as often.

Michael Dawson