Way, way back in 1956, pro drummer Marion 'Chick' Evans created the first ever synthetic drum head. This paved the way for the millions of drummers worldwide to benefit from his great invention we now take for granted.
Evans, (under the wing of music giant D'Addario), has continued the tradition of innovative designs including the fat oil-dampened Hydraulic, the warm and punchy EC2 - with its unique 'Edge Control' ring and now these brand new Black Chrome models, aimed specifically at heavy hitters.
"Each example is constructed from two plies - the top is a slice of 'optically clear' material, while the lower is finished in a matte black"
For review we have a selection of 'seriously deep' Black Chrome heads, covering shell sizes 8" to 16". Each example is constructed from two plies - the top is a 7-mil (1-mil = 1/1000th of an inch) slice of 'optically clear' material, while the lower (finished in a matte black), is slightly thicker at 7.5-mil.
It is the shiny top layer which gives the heads their mirror-like chromed finish, reminiscent of a still, dark watery pool.
The head extremities are drilled around the circumference and shaped using a water-cooled moulding process. This creates an incredibly rigid collar with a 'crimped' effect - much like a metal 'crown cork' bottle top found on beer bottles.
Once trimmed, the drilled edge is placed into a channel within an aluminium hoop and glued with an epoxy resin. This flows into the channel and the drilled holes, locking it tightly into the hoop.
"The rigid collar seems to create some pre-tensioning, giving the head an element of musicality before going anywhere near the shells"
The rigid collar seems to create some pre-tensioning, giving the head an element of musicality before going anywhere near the shells. Once in position, they are finger-tightened and pitched fairly closely at each lug point.
With only a couple of turns of the key, any hint of a crease at the edges has long gone and they are sufficiently tight to begin to play. Immediately they give out a warm and punchy sound, without making them slack or heavily damped in order to achieve this.
Even with the heads cranked up, there is still an underlying low fundamental, but the ease at which these have an apparent 'near perfect' tuning is purely down to the head and not the person turning the drum key!
The toms have the perfect balance of resonance and dampening to be able to handle live situations or to record without fear of clouding the mix. As Evans suggests, they are incredibly dark sounding, but not at the expense of being dull and lifeless.