Many decades ago, a debate was raging amongst drum set drummers... Split into two camps, these players were arguing over the merits of the latest fad... plastic drum heads. Many of the more conservative players looked on in horror and swore that they would never stop using real calf drum heads, whilst others were quick to embrace the lastest innovations and loved the fact that plastic drum heads didnt go out of tune so easily and were a little more durable.
Fast forward to more modern times and this debate seems almost unimaginable. Plastic drum heads have now been the norm for years, However, the debate has now moved into the forums for conga and bongo players. Whilst good quality "real" conga skins are still very popular, there has been a big swing amongst players to the new breed of synthetic heads. Once again the merits of plastic heads have come to the fore, that being that they are far more stable in differing temperatures, making endless tightening and loosening a thing of the past. Now you can tune your congas and leave them....
Remo were early pioneers, and their vast range of synthetic conga and bongo heads includes Fiberskyns, Nutones, and more. For my own drums however i decided to try the Evans Tri Centre conga heads. Fitting to a pair of Pearl Primero Pro congas (11.75" and 12.5") was relatively straight forwards. A quick chat with the guys at D'addario UK confirmed that I'd need the extended collar versions, and a few days later the postman dropped off a pair of gleaming white heads.
Made from 2 plies of 10mil film with a 2.25" centre dot to control the overtones, these heads certainly had a "real skin" feel, being slightly textured. These heads are only as good as the sound they produce, and in this case Id have to say I love them. The open tone is loud, full and ringing, whilst the slaps are bright and penetrating. Im sure of course that different drums will produce different sound characteristics with these heads, but certainly in the case of my oak shelled drums, the sound is great. I love the fact that everytime I go to play them the tuning is the same as when I last left them. Well worth a look for any conga player, check them out here