Are there any high-quality recordings with calf heads?

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I can’t imagine there could be many, because Remo came out with Mylar heads in 1958, and recording technology didn’t start getting good until the late 60s/70s. I’m talking about toms and kick, not snare. I know there are a few jazz guys who used calf heads on snare for a while after Mylar came out.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Possibly Time Out?

That's 59 and Joe Morello has a phenomenal sound on that album that would hold up today.

Any early rock and roll tracks would have them.

I imagine there's a lot more than you imagine. Drummers didn't change their heads all that often.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Possibly Time Out?

That's 59 and Joe Morello has a phenomenal sound on that album that would hold up today.

Any early rock and roll tracks would have them.

I imagine there's a lot more than you imagine. Drummers didn't change their heads all that often.
But how is the sound fidelity on any of those? Do the toms even sound like anything more than a short thump? Because I don’t think recordings got good enough to really capture tom sounds well until the 70s.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
But how is the sound fidelity on any of those? Do the toms even sound like anything more than a short thump? Because I don’t think recordings got good enough to really capture tom sounds well until the 70s.
Time Out sounds as good as any live jazz recording now. Morello plays the room beautifully. Plus they've remastered it several times. Rock and Roll, well maybe not so much.

There any some amazing drum sounds from the 60s. A Day In The Life springs to mind, anything Martin Birch produced or Glyn Johns/Andy Johns. Never mind the US produced stuff which was light years ahead of us.

I'm a big believer of playing something on the media it was designed for like anything analog on record and digital on CD. Old recordings on CD sound crap but on record through a good system you hear art.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Time Out sounds as good as any live jazz recording now. Morello plays the room beautifully. Plus they've remastered it several times. Rock and Roll, well maybe not so much.

There any some amazing drum sounds from the 60s. A Day In The Life springs to mind, anything Martin Birch produced or Glyn Johns/Andy Johns. Never mind the US produced stuff which was light years ahead of us.

I'm a big believer of playing something on the media it was designed for like anything analog on record and digital on CD. Old recordings on CD sound crap but on record through a good system you hear art.
Thank you, I’m going to check out Time Out
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
But how is the sound fidelity on any of those? Do the toms even sound like anything more than a short thump? Because I don’t think recordings got good enough to really capture tom sounds well until the 70s.
Plenty of good quality recordings in that time.

The thing is is that it was expensive!

There is a huge sonic difference in the late 50's between jazz/classical recordings, and early rock 'n roll recordings. You're used to hearing those rock tunes, Chuck, Elvis, Fats, Eddie, which have far worse fidelity than from more 'prestigious' genres.

It wasn't until the late 60's/early 70's that record companies finally realized that rock was here to stay and invested more in recording those groups, so the fidelity improved drastically and became more in-line.

Rock songs, even back in the day, are pretty dense and noisy. They didn't close mic toms back then, so they weren't distinctive. That didn't start happening until the Sgt. Pepper's era, so the late 60s. But jazz combos were usually much less dense and more textural, so you can make out more of the instruments. And those drums sound good. Like others before me have said, Time Out has very damn good fidelity for the time, and doesn't have that 'dated recording tech' sound that pretty much all rock music until 1967 had.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I believe Danny Seraphine in the early days of Chicago still used calf heads, and even told Remo that he'd jump on their bandwagon if they could come up with a synthetic head that sounded close to calf, hence why the Fiberskyn was developed (the first version from the 70s was very different to what they produce today). I think Danny said the first two Chicago albums he recorded with calf heads?
 

Juniper

Gold Member
I recorded a song in a previous band using a calfskin head made by a U.K. Company called ‘Majetone Industries’, used it on my Radio King snare.

Hope this helps if you're looking to listen to the sonic qualities, the song builds up towards the end where it's more prominent in the mix and I switch from brushes to sticks.

I remember our singer wasn’t that impressed with such a ‘new toy’ to try in the studio as he’s a staunch Vegan!!

Still have the head but our studio at times was freezing, so it eventually got replaced by a standard head due to the head reacting to temperatures. It was a really good experiment as I'd wanted to record with a calfskin head for years and it sounded great but modern heads are just way more practical, reliable AND cheaper.


https://soundcloud.com/cookandthecase%2Fthe-only-guarantee
 
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Peedy

Senior Member
A lot of jazz purists will only record on calf. Pricey but you can still get heads. Find a jazz themed website and ask around.

Pete
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I think there are some modern calf expositions out there... I know Carter did a Bovid exposition with Mule and Camel heads not long ago..


and goat...

 

gf2564

Junior Member
I believe Danny Seraphine in the early days of Chicago still used calf heads, and even told Remo that he'd jump on their bandwagon if they could come up with a synthetic head that sounded close to calf, hence why the Fiberskyn was developed (the first version from the 70s was very different to what they produce today). I think Danny said the first two Chicago albums he recorded with calf heads?
I believe you are correct here and when he returned to playing he initially used the Fiberskyn type heads. I saw him about a week ago in Ocala with his band CTA; he still plays with such passion and he has a great group of players in that band!
 

Peedy

Senior Member
The wife says I’ve been wrong before but my ear tells me this sounds like calfskin. WDYT?

 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If you want to try real calf without the tucking hassles, Earthtone gave me a couple of heads to try at the NAMM show. It wasn’t bad. Sounded a bit warmer, but I think that’s dependent on your bearing edges. If my snare edges were rounded, it’d be real warm, but on a modern 45-degree edge, there wasn’t that much difference in tone. Kind of expensive, but not like having calf tucked by a pro shop, which costs even more.
 
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