Drum Gear Hardware Review – Gibraltar Quick Release and Remo QuickLock Hi Hat Clutches

Gibraltar Quick Release Clutch
Gibraltar Quick Release Clutch
Fast, Easy, Reliable; The hardware accessory every gigging drummer should clutch on to !

This time around we look at an accessory that’s really been a godsend to me – the quick-release style of hi-hat clutches – the Remo QuickLock Hi Hat Clutch and the Gibraltar Quick Release Hi Hat Clutch are similar in overall form and function.

Remo QuickLock Hi Hat Clutch
Remo QuickLock Hi Hat Clutch

Both the Gibraltar and REMO variants of these ‘Quick Release’ style of hi-hat clutches provide the same similar advantages:

  • Both eliminate the screw on/off bottom mechanism
  • Both make hi-hat change outs quick and easy
  • Both are stable, reliable designs and eliminate hi-hat cymbal loosening scenarios.

I have both of these clutches and have used both extensively in working and touring environments. The Gibraltar has a “push” ball bearing spring mechanism, while the REMO has a “twist-notch-pin” sort of release. Each unit has the standard pair of hi-hat cymbal felts. Up top things are slightly different. The Gibraltar has your normal pair of counter turning screws to fine tune how freely you’d like your hi-hat cymbal to be, and the wing screw to clamp the clutch on to the hih-at rod uses an ‘eyelet’ gripper (which is quite nice and will not score your hi hat rod). The REMO similarly has felts, but uses a single spring assisted screw assembly for adjusting the hi hat cymbal freedom, this is excellent and stays in place better than the normal counter turning screws in my opinion. The REMO has a standard wing screw that screws against the hi-hat rod keeping the clutch in place. Both are constructed extremely well and I’ve not experienced a failure with either one.

Brass Tacks:
For me quite honestly, I’m not a spring chicken any more and as any musician will attest to, whether playing a seedy club or nicer venue – most times you’re setting up and tearing down in less-than-optimal lighting. The ability to pop on hi-hat cymbals without having to fumble, drop and scurry around looking for that darn bottom clutch screw is a life saver ! Additionally, both of these are easy and FAST to manipulate, no more unscrewing a locking nut, then screwing it back on, tightening an extra drum key bolt, adjusting the tightness of the cymbal, etc… Either push or twist, put the cymbal on, push or twist the quick-release back on, Done ! Either clutch eliminates the occasional mishap when you may have forgotten to tighten something and the bottom screw loosens causing the the hi-hat cymbal to work itself free. Seriously, how many times have you been stomping and beating the crap out of your hi-hat and it happen, you hear that SCHLOP and quickly realize the bottom nut of the clutch came undone and your hi-hat is now in drop-clutch mode until the song is done. Must have accessory in my book !

Would I recommend one over the other ? Hmmmm…. tough call. Both will suite your needs. Myself I normally use the Remo QuickLock, mainly due to the spring based assembly for adjusting the cymbal freedom, I really like that on the Remo. However, if it comes down to budget, the Gibraltar Quick Release will save you about $10 and do just as good a job, AND the ‘eyelet’ rod gripper and overall build on the Gibraltar is beefier.

Both are brilliant !

Drum Gear Hardware Review: Pearl Drum Anarchy Crasher

Want to hear the most annoying sound ever… ?

Don’t Conform! Make your own rules! Start your revolt with the New PAR100 Anarchy Crasher. This latest addition to the Pearl Percussion Anarchy family yields only to ear-splitting stick bashing for a piercing “white-noise” effect. Mount it off a standard 3/8” percussion post or any Pearl cymbal stand, as the mounting bracket accepts the diameter of the Pearl Wing Loc so you can stack the Crasher on top of a cymbal, for quick accents that will stun your audience.

Brass Tacks:
The Pearl Anarchy Crasher is what I’d call a white noise percussion accessory. It consists of three wide, curved strips of metal with a few tambourine jingles stacked on top – all skewered together by two removable spikes. The accessory uses a standard 3/8″ mounting bracket eyelet making it easily attachable to any cymbal top, percussion post, etc. The spikes can be unscrewed and removed to maintain and/or bend the metal strips to produce different sound characteristics, or even customize your crasher by adding your own noisy stuff I suppose. It’s finished in a matte black finish, sans the chromed tambourine jingles, and the overall aesthetic is horns-up “metal” – fitting its ‘Anarchy Crasher’ namesake.

I really like this thing ! It’s loud and brash, producing a quick cutting ‘chip’ sound common to white noise percussion accessories. I’ve used 10″ and 12″ Sabian Choppers – those ~are~ awesome and produce a more crisp cymbal quality ‘chip’ – whereas the Pearl Anarchy Crasher is a more harsh metal ‘miscellaneous-metal-junk-stacked-together’ sound. I dig that. To my ears the Anarchy Crasher seems louder than Sabian Choppers, however that may be due to the type of sound frequencies being produced. (Of note too, the Anarchy Crasher will only set you back about $40.)

Looking for a quick accent effect that’s meaner than a hi-hat, yet not as explosive as a china, the Pearl Anarchy Crasher may suit the need !

In studio noodling:

Drum Gear Review: Evans Heavyweight Snare Batter Drum Head

Screenshot from 2014-08-25 08:14:08
Move over Remo Emperor X and Aquarian Hi-Energy, there’s a new Heavyweight sheriff in town.

Description from Evans:
Evans™ Heavyweight Snare heads feature two plies of film. The combination of two identical plies of 10mil film provides maximum durability and a compressed attack while maintaining a wide dynamic range. The Reverse Dot lends extra durability, focus and attack in the center. Evans Level 360 technology is incorporated to extend the level playing surface of the drumhead, 360 degrees around the drum. The vertically enhanced collar design guarantees even contact with the critical bearing edge of the drum shell, resulting in: ease of tuning, extended pitch range and optimum quality of sound. Evans Level 360 technology resolves the age-old dilemma of traditional synthetic heads consistently not fitting the drum shell without using considerable force.

Screenshot from 2014-08-25 08:16:05
Brass Tacks:
(I’ve linked some videos below of studio testing and also venue “live” testing, both recorded with a Zoom Q3HD). As you’d expect from Evans the packaging is similar to all their red-style ‘Level 360’ folding flap style boxes, complete with head description and sound characteristic graph. Unboxing the head you immediately notice it’s without a doubt a thicker, heavier head – remarkably though doing a handheld “tap test” you still hear the crisp attack and rich full sound of a thinner head, not just a dull thud as one would expect. These head are also a part of the newer “Level 360” family so they incorporate Evan’s new collar curve that allow the head to sit evenly on the drum bearing edge all the way around the drum – none of the usual wobble you may encounter with… well… there’s only ~one~ manufacturer with this issue and it’s not Aquarian (from Aquarian’s inception they pioneered the idea of heads sitting evenly on the bearing edge with their sound curve patent). The construction is on par with all Evans products I’ve seen = excellent.

After getting the head on my steel shell snare and tuned up, the first things I noticed: 1. It has excellent ‘crack’, and 2. It’s doesn’t seem to lose the volume like many thicker two-ply heads do. This mamber-jamber is a total of 23mil thick (two 10mil plies & a 3mil dot on the underside) and yet it still projects and displaces volume similar to a single-ply head, Sweet ! The two-plies of 10mil film definitely dry up the tone a bit overall, for my use that’s a good thing, but it still retains enough ring and tone to really bite – most times I still use a single, small moongel on the edge to dry it up a bit more. Using a Tune-Bot, I typically tune my snare batter heads in the 333-360hz range depending on what I’m doing, head & shell type, etc. Interesting observation, in the 350-360hz range this head really slices your bandmates heads off, and additionally there’s something going on frequency-wise with the design that’s allowing it to cut through distorted music even more ! In regards to sticking, some two-ply heads have a noticeable drop in response and rebound feel, I have not experienced any of that on this Heavyweight head, it plays and feels normal as one would expect.

After using it for three weeks in the studio and on rock, metal, country gigs, I’m convinced, the Evans Heavyweight Snare Batter drum head is my new “go to” head for most things. In this time I’ve seen no coating flaking off, no dents, stays in tune superbly and I’m getting positive comments from Front-of-House crew as to what I’m using. Evans has a winner on their hands here in a HUGE way. Personally, I’ve long considered the Remo Emperor X and the Aquarian Hi-Energy as the defacto workhorse ‘heavy-duty’ heads for hard hitters, those are excellent products still for sure, but the Evans Heavyweight surpasses both snare heads in sound, consistency, durability and availability.

Give it a smack !

Testing: Evans Heavyweight Snare Batter in studio on a 6.5″x14″ Steel snare, recorded on Zoom Q3HD:

Application: Evans Heavyweight Snare Batter with band on a 6.5″x14″ Steel snare: