Renaissance heads are a great product to try if you've only ever gone the clear/coated way. They give a sound that is lovely and dry and the surface texture lasts far longer than a coated head.
Obviously these skins are good for jazz and world-music applications due to their being designed for brushes and a dark, almost natural-animal-skin-like sound, but I have also used them with great success in other genres.
People are right when they say the sound seems to emit from the centre of the drum with these heads, and it makes the drum sound very woody. Choosing Ambassador versions of the Renaissance line is a safe bet when first using Renaissance heads; it has better durability than the Diplomats and it doesn't sound too dry, which the Powerstroke 3 versions might be to some people.
They have an awesome, translucent look to them, but be warned: slight variants in colour are to be expected. You may get a mixture of slight browns and slight whites, depending on when the heads were made.
I was looking for a drum head lasting not only for stick play but for brush work accents, too. As coating wears fast in coated heads, I spent my money on Renaissance head. All I can say is that it is good investment. The head material reminds me a kind of surface of discontinued (very good) Legacy head. It's not coating. For sure it is durable (not for a hard hitter) and will last long.The head gives warm, open sound, little less sharp then single ply coated head. Most important for me: brush swipe and accent is loud enough in band situation. Head response is PERFECT, whatever accent you hit. Very close to calfskin, although not with the same touch. Renaissance gave full natural response sound of my snare 48 hours after installed. Typical coated head adapts much longer. This is pretty impressive.
This head is not for a beginner, it sparkles in quiet to moderate loud music situation. Perfect for jazz, blues, light rock. Now I consider to buy 12" and 14" for my toms to get that nice sound also from the kit.
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