Sound Synergies is a company that has an intriguing line of products for maintaining the performance of drumheads, cymbals, and pedals. According to Brad Mix at Sound Synergies, the company is comprised of musicians who are also lab techs, and they offer solutions to a number of problems in musical instrument maintenance that no one else has addressed. Drum magazine interviewed Mix two weeks ago about the company’s product line.
DRUM!: You’ve got products that make claims or address issues that I’ve not heard from any other drum and cymbal maintenance products. That always makes us skeptical. So, let’s start with WearBarrier, your drumhead product. What problem is it designed to solve?
Mix: There are three main areas that we wanted to address in formulating our WearBarrier product. One area is a smoother and faster drumhead break-in period, and improved tuning stability. The second is reducing stick-tip oxide transfer and drumhead wear. We also wanted a product that is non-toxic.
DRUM!: What is technically different about the WearBarrier formula?
Mix: It contains conditioners that treat synthetic long-strand fibers that are commonly found in drumhead substrate membranes. The increased drumhead flexibility and stretch of the treated substrate translates into more lively stick response and a larger drumhead sweet spot. Another component in the formula is a high-load capacity compound designed to reduce surface wear and impact damage to the head itself (see images of our 160-hour batter head test at soundsynergies.net/procussioncare-wearbarrier/). WearBarrier also contains a corrosion inhibitor to protect hardware, such as tension casings and rods. A number of our customers are also applying our barrier film to their drum shells and rims to remove fingerprints while protecting sensitive finishes.
DRUM!: We read that your CymbalCare product is not a polish or a cleaner per se, but it lubricates, protects, and removes grime that deadens the sound. How does it work?
Mix: Cymbals left untreated over time tend to lose their kinetic energy resulting in reduced resonance, sustain, and unique harmonic tonality. CymbalCare gently removes accumulated black oxidation, fingerprints, perspiration, and other grime. In the process, it lays down a micro-layered barrier film that conditions and protects cymbal surfaces. It brings out the instrument’s complex mix of overtones and textures as they were intended to sound — colorful and resonant, instead of dull and static.
DRUM!: Does it make the cymbal shiny and brilliant?
Mix: It is not a harsh chemical cleaner or stripper. One of the first responses we received when asking drummers what they wanted in a cymbal care product was they didn’t want a product that stripped away patina, but rather one that allowed cymbals to retain the warm and deep tonal qualities that increase with time.
DRUM!: You also have a pedal product?
Mix: Some double pedal assemblies that have over 141 points of lubrication! So we developed PedalLube in collaboration with amateur and professional drummers.
The problem with using machine oils, Teflon-based, silicone-based, chain, and other lubricants is that they all are unstable and migrate under load while attracting dirt, retaining grime and other debris. These types of lubricants offer no long-term protection and contribute to premature wear.
PedalLube contains our HD4X compound with an extreme high-load bearing capacity proven in the ballistics industry. It does not migrate and is self-stabilizing meaning that it maintains a barrier equilibrium that does not build up with additional applications. We found it to be the perfect solution for handling hours of rigorous use, and sometimes abuse, of drum pedal assemblies.
DRUM!: With the drumhead product, how much can it really extend drumhead life?
Mix: Drumhead conditioning has its origins in the treatment of animal skins with waxes like lanolin from domestic sheep breeds. This keeps them supple and allows controlled stretching to prevent premature drying, cracking, and breakage. But drum sets have synthetic heads, which are also subject to wear and tear. Our tests show that drumhead life can be doubled with regular treatment using WearBarrier, regardless of construction or playing style. It will not remove deep staining from used heads. To do that would require harsh chemical cleaners that would damage the substrate and ultimately render the drumhead useless.
DRUM!: Can it be applied to new heads?
Mix: We highly recommend it for new drumhead conditioning, and treatment of batter and resonant heads — the exception being where snares contact the resonant head surface, which should be left untreated. But we still recommend treating the inside hoop ring and shell bearing surface. Brush drag, especially on textured surfaces, is reduced, resulting in better control and smoother response. New head treatment will prevent premature aging and add additional head life over used heads because of the initial conditioning of the substrate filaments. This results in less micro filament damage when the first stretching and tuning takes place. Treating heads before mounting is the most important value in preventing or reducing those “cracking” sounds you hear when micro filaments in the substrate are being stretched or sometimes broken when installing poor quality heads.
Learn more about the performance of these products at Soundsynergies.net.