In early 2017, Remo debuted the Felt Tone bass drum head, which is a modification of the popular Powerstroke 3 that has a strip of felt affixed to the muffling ring on the underside so that it floats against the head for additional dampening. We reviewed those heads, which were designed in collaboration with Canadian drum builder Ronn Dunnett, in the July issue. For the Dunnett catalog, Ronn had Remo make a set of single- and double-ply uncoated heads, called Res-O-Tone and Res-O-Two, that utilize translucent timpani film rather than standard clear Mylar. There are also Dunnett-branded single-ply PS3 Hazy and Felt Tone versions for bass drums. Let’s give them a closer look.
The Res-O-Tone is a single-ply, Ambassador-weight drumhead. The Hazy film allows some light to pass through, but it looks more like a coated head than a clear when installed on a drum. They reminded me of the semi-coated heads Slingerland used on its drums in the 1960s but with a completely smooth surface.
The Res-O-Tone sounded great as batters on the toms of a bebop kit. At higher tunings, they maintained the warmth of a Coated Ambassador but had the more open tone of a clear head. I could also tune them low for a snappy, punchy sound that had tons of articulation and deep sustain. These heads are also a great option for the resonant side to give your kit a more classic look without inhibiting the resonance.
For the two-ply Res-O-Two, Dunnett had Remo layer clear Ambassador-weight film on top of the Res-O-Tone head. These heads were very versatile and easy to tune. They had the open, articulate sound of clear 2-ply heads but with a bit more warmth. I loved how fat and resonant they sounded on a set of vintage 3-ply drums, but they also paired well on a birch kit for more modern attack and smack. The tone of the Res-O-Two leaned closer to that of a traditional clear 2-ply head, but it had some of the rounded, controlled boom of a coated.
The Res-O-Two heads are sure to become popular with drummers who desire the bigger, brighter sound of clear 2-ply heads but like the classic look of coated. They allowed the drums to speak with a big, open voice with just the right amount of overtone control, and they have a clean, classic look.
The Res-O-Tone PS3 bass drum head has a 2″ muffling ring installed on the underside of a single layer of hazy timpani film. The Remo PS3 head is very popular among drummers of all playing styles because it has a near-perfect balance of attack and tone. It can be used without any additional muffling for a more open, boomy sound, or it can be dampened with towels or pillows for an ultra-precise punch. The Res-O-Tone PS3 falls in between the brighter tone of Remo’s PS3 Clear and the drier, darker vibe of the PS3 Coated.
As with the tom heads, Dunnett’s Res-O-Tone kick batter leans closer to the sound of a Clear PS3, but it incorporates some of the controlled overtones of the coated. Pairing the Res-O-Tone batter with the Felt Tone on the resonant side produced a great bass drum sound that had deep, rich low end, focused but natural resonance, and a dense, contemporary attack. If you needed to, you could cut a port in the Felt Tone for more flexibility with miking and dampening, but the Reso-Tone bass drum head combo sounded so good that I doubt you—or your sound engineer—will want to change anything about it.