Over the years I’ve notice that drums with undersized shells had a fullness and resonance that was very different than wider standard sized shells. This is because almost any brand head would sit flat on the undersized shell and the curved collar of the head did not conflict with the bearing edge to cause any uneven fit. A timpani works much the same way because the bowl is much narrower than the head and there is no curved collar, thus the completely flat head sits level on the edge of the drum, all the way around; 360 degrees. This is the principle of Evans’ appropriately named “Level 360” new head shape that they are incorporating into all of their head models. At this writing has retooled to produce snare and tom heads with the 360 improvements. The bass drum sizes are next.
At my request, I was sent a set of 4 tom and one snare coated G1 batter heads, their 10 mil. standard single ply head to try. I put them on a Taye Parasonic drum set and gave them a good workout during a two week tour with Tommy Malone, formerly of the Subdudes. We played a variety of clubs and theatres in the NorthEast and South. The same kit was used by a dozen Nashville pro drummers for the Jeff Porcaro Tribute that I was involved with.
The first thing I noticed when installing the heads with the 360 technology is that each head centered itself on the shell automatically, before I even put the hoop on the head. Tuning was a breeze because there was no unevenness around the collar, which is what usually causes wrinkles in a head.
Usually when there is any unevenness or wrinkling in the head, that part of the head has to be tensioned more to get the slack out. Not so with the Level 360 technology. My tuning process was to get the tension rods finger tight, then tighten them with the key until they were past the wrinkle stage. But there is no wrinkle stage on these new Evans heads, so I just tightened them up until I heard some tone from the drum. That tone came very quickly with much less tension, and with a much lower note than I was used to. I tend to tune pretty low on rock gigs and sessions so I left them at that lowest tuning for the first rehearsals for this tour.
To me, the biggest advantage to these heads is that I can hear them better. Some of these gigs were under less than perfect sound and monitor system conditions, but I had no problem hearing these heads, even on the one gig where my drums were not amplified at all – and this was with a fairly loud band. I don’t now what to attribute this to other than that the “level” aspect of the new head shape keeps the entire head in contact with the shell in a very even spread around the shell, thus maximizing the transfer of vibrations from the head to the shell.
Tonally, the heads seemed to be very focused. That is, there was a defined note from each drum and it was easy to tune the toms to minor thirds. I notice no over-ring or “wanginess” due to typical tuning problems. I also noticed that after a few gigs that the heads were staying in tune and not stretching.
Conclusion: It makes a lot of sense, you can hear the difference, definitely worth a try and I'm wanting to try some of their other heads that use this new technology.