Thoughts On Aquarian Heads-Particularly Studio X vs. Focus X


Senior Member

I don't have much experience with Aquarian Heads. I recently got a bunch of gently used Aquarian heads from a friend that were basically new. I put a Texture Coated on my snare and I really like the sound. I'm a coated, single ply guy all the way. I had been a Remo loyalist for years. I use Remo Coated Ambassadors on the tops and bottoms of my toms and on my snare drum. When the Evans UV1 heads came out, I tried them, and I really like them too.

For jazz, I use coated Ambassadors or Evans UV1's on my floor tom as well. For more contemporary/rock stuff, I use Remo Coated Powerstroke 3's on my floor toms, top and bottom. The internal ring lowers the pitch and gives me a little more growl, but still maintains the feel and definition that I like with a single ply head. I use Coated Powerstroke 3's on my bass drums regardless of genre. Just a great sounding head! I do like the Evans UV1 EQ4 (Basically an Evans version of a Powerstroke 3) and I will ocassionally use a Remo Fiberskyn Powerstroke 3 on the bass drum, but I don't care for Fibersykns anywhere else on the kit.

I know that the Aquarian Texture Coated is Aquarian's version of a Coated Ambassador/G1/UV1. I also know that the Modern Vintage is the Fiberskyn or Evans Calftone Equivalent. Does anyone know the difference between the Aquarian Focus X vs. the Aquarian Studio X? Based on the descriptions on their website, it appears the only difference is that the Focus X has vent holes in the muffling ring whereas the Studio X does not. Is that right? I'm trying to determine which is the closest to the Remo Powerstroke 3. Also, I believe Evans doesn't make an equivalent head to a Powerstroke 3. I know they make "Dry" heads with a muffling ring with vent holes, but those are only available in snare drum sizes. I know the EC1/EC2 heads have "muffling control", but it's not the same as a muffling ring attached to the underside of the head.

So in short, I would like to branch out and get some more Aquarian heads to try. I'll probably stick with the Texture Coateds for snare/toms and either the Coated Studio X or Coated Focus X for the floor tom, whatever is most similar to the Powerstroke 3. For the bass drum, I'll probably try the Coated Superkick 1.

Any single ply heads from Aquarian that you would recommend? Also, one more question: Did Aquarian used to make "Satin Finish" single ply heads (basically a Texture Coated that was a Satin finish instead of a rough coat)? In that stack of heads I got from my friend, there were several "Satin Finish" heads that were just like the texture coateds, minus the coating. It looks like they no longer have them, according to their website.

For you Fiberskyn/Calftone/Modern Vintage users: I know that the Remo Fiberskyns have issues with delaminating. It looks like the Evans Calftones are made the same way, so might they delaminate too? It appears the Modern Vintage Aquarians are made more like a normal coated head, so it doesn't look like it would be subject to the delamination problem. Thoughts on that?

Thanks for the help. I am pretty new to discovering Aquarian and any info or advice you can give would be helpful



Senior Member
The Aquarian Studio-X has a very lightweight muffling ring (white paper & felt plastic; no felt) about an inch from the edge that mildly controls overtones and not significantly more muffled than a regular Texture Coated or Remo Ambassador.

The clear version has a black ring painted on the head to partially obscure the white muffling ring and as a result, some often perceive them to be heavily muted like Performance II heads, but they are not.

I regularly use coated TC and Studio-X heads on toms and find them to be both versatile and durable. Evans G1 have a slightly thinner tone to my ears, but I also use them where appropriate. And although the Evans UV1 are also single 10-ply coated heads, both the film and coating are different than other Evans heads. As a result, I find they provide a slightly warmer and drier sound respectively. The UV1 and UV EQ4 have become personal Evans favorites for me, and like any head, using them where appropriate is key.

Contrastingly, the Aquarian Focus-X has a wider clear plastic muffling ring at the edge and tucked into the counter hoop very much like a Remo PS3. They have a much more muted sound than the Studio-X, but if you have a wild & twangy steel snare that needs taming, they can be just the prescription. I’ve mainly used them on snares and floor toms in more reflective rooms where overtone control is more desirable, but they usually tend to be too muffled for my taste. Nonetheless, also a very good head, and like other Aquarian models, the coating and tone seem to last longer for me than Remo (more so) or Evans.

Hope this helps.

EDIT: fixed typo on Studio-X ring description.
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Platinum Member
The muffle ring on the Studio-X head is made of the same material as a dot, and is laminated to the head. The Focus-X has a Powerstroke 3 style ring tucked into the flesh hoop.

I've used the coated Studio-X on several snares and for quite a while they were my favorite snare head. Now I'm using Modern Vintage mediums with a reverse dot on all of my snares, and that has become my new go-to head. I really love all of their Vintage coating heads.

The Modern Vintage heads are coated, NOT laminated like the Fiberskyn or Calftone. The Vintage heads use a different film and a different coating (that is applied much heavier) and have a thick, tubby sound with a lot of midrange. Aquarian's coating is darn near bulletproof, and I love the tone of them tuned up or down. Having two one-ply and two two-ply thickness options really gives you a lot of options.