prize for longest post!!!! snare drum comparisons.....
Below are 30 snare audio examples which attempt to explore snare drum properties and generally provide comparisons of various snare sounds for people who are attempting snare research.
Please excuse the length of the post but most of it is a long list providing links to hear a selection of snares. I am looking for the perfect drum and can't afford the option of trying before buying in a shop. I have to make a blind internet purchase and am being thorough to avoid spending hundreds on a drum which isn't right.
I am looking for opinions on which snares people can suggest and which properties people think are suitable to achieve a certain sound. Any help anyone can offer is greatly appreciated - even if you don't have the time to listen through all the sound files. I hope they will be useful to you all anyway!!
My research has left me confused about the sonic properties imparted by:
1. Shell material.
2. Shell thickness.
3. Diameter and depth.
4. The various effects of different hoops.
5. The possible effects of different snare wires.
I don't want to start a ' best snare' thread, I need the advice of professionals who have experience with a large variety. The net is full of false hyped adverts, reviews and also offers contradictory info. Whilst most agree that a warm tone is best imparted by a wooden shell, many reviews appraise metal shells for providing warmth. Furthermore, my own comparisons are inconsistent. I have listened to a lot and feel there is little rule of thumb. Some metal shells sound full, deep and warm whilst some wooden shells are shrill and ringy. I am equally confused about dimensions having heard shallow shells which sound deep and vice versa.
I need something versatile in the £250-£400 price bracket for styles ranging from Indie to Rock, Pop and Funk but in particular it needs to have a rich tone suitable for smaller acoustic ensembles. Though the drum I am searching for needs to be able to cut in louder situations, this shouldn't be it's defining quality. Because I will be playing a lot of gentle passages I wondered if a rich, warm and deep character would be most suitable, as well as an ability to open up tonally without having to lay into it. It needs to respond to a medium touch with a nice rounded timbre. Though the tone needs to have a nice decay I want to avoid harsh over-ringy qualities and metallic timbres. Here are the qualities I think I need.
1. Rich, warm, tone.
2. Ability to open out without hard velocities.
3. Sensitivity for pleasant sounding grace notes.
4. Beautiful tone within a wide tuning range.
5. Good tone for both recording and live applications.
Bearing these qualities in mind my instinct was to opt for a deeper and wooden shell. I assumed Maple was the best bet - with a depth of at least 6.5"... do people agree that this sort of shell would provide the above qualities and perfectly suit soft, acoustic music as well as provide versatility to rock out?
Rather than drool over your particular favorites, or hype up the specific snare you own, please try to keep responses within context. I am particularly interested in opinions about Mapex Black Panthers. I am gravitating towards these as they are said to provide great quality for their price. However there are 40 odd models of Black Panthers which hardly narrows things down.
I realise that tuning, room acoustics, drum head choice and approach to playing all contribute massively. This makes judgements from audio examples even more difficult because a snare might be perfect in certain environments with the right choice of tuning and heads, but happens to sound completely wrong in the given example. Here are the audio examples each played at four velocities with very little ambient capture. You will hear that it is not so easy to say that maple is always warmer, or that less depth is always less full sounding.
Thanks a million taking the time to offer advice. I really appreciate your help because you will be saving me a lot of money and disappointment.
EXAMPLES OF SNARES WITH SONIC QUALITIES I AM LOOKING FOR
If you know of certain drums which have a similar character to this family of sound please let me know. In particular, if you know of particular Mapex Black Panthers that sound like these I would be very interested.
LEEDY MAPLE 14 X 4
This is fairly close
This is better than many for me but is still a little way off. It only speaks at higher velocities and the snares are too obvious. It is fairly warm however.
TAMA STARCLASSIC MAPLE
Though this is quite warm sounding it is a bit too poppy. However the overtones are controlled and the metallic qualities only poke through at velocities where I might need them. I wonder if this would sound right if tuned lower with the right heads?
PORK PIE MAPLE 14 X 5
Though this doesn't have the shell depth I thought I needed it is sonically the closest too what I'm looking for, especially at medium too loud velocities. It is warm, full bodied has decent decay portion, the snare wire / shell tone balance is right and it doesn't have ringy overtones.
PORK PIE MAPLE TRIPLE FLANGED
At quieter velocities I think this is close. If anything it is perhaps a bit poppy but it has a good balance of top and bottom ended frequencies. Perhaps this could work in the context I specified as the metallic ring is controlled and pure and only pronounces when hit loud. This means it could cut through during louder moments and yet sound warm and full bodied during quieter passages.
PREMIER BRASS PICOLLO 14 X
This was the greatest surprise. Even though its a picollo and its brass, I think it sounds warm, full bodied, rseonant and very close to what I'm looking for. If anything, the snares are too loud at low volumes.
This is pretty close in general.
PEARL MASTERWORKS MAPLE
Interesting because though it has a metallic ring which pronounces at higher velocities, I actually think it has a warm tone. It also sounds fairly fat until its whacked harder where it really pops with a slightly higher accent. Sustain and ratio between snare strand and shell tone are both balanced close to what I like.
Here's a confusing one. I avtually think this sounds quite warm though its a steel shell. It doesn't suffer from the shrill over tines that I'd expect. Though its warm I wouldn't say its that fat sounding. Pretty close however, the snares strands could be a touch quieter and I wonder if the sensitivity would allow for nice grace notes.
EXAMPLES OF SNARES WITH SONIC QUALITIES I WANT TO AVOID
As sonic descriptive terms and snare shell properties can be misleading, I list these so people can hear exactly what I want to avoid buying.
UNKNOWN METAL SNARE
Sounds too mushy with snare strands being too prominent. Only opens up at harder velocities though when it does the tone isn't bad. If it weren't for the snare wire prominence the depth and tone are quite nice and I wonder how snare wire options and adjustments might affect the sound.
DW BELL BRASS 14 X 6.5
Though this snare sounds too mushy at very low velocities it does open up nicely when struck just a little harder. I like the tone but it is a bit too metallic and not quite fat enough. Nice but not quite right.
DW MAPLE 13 X 6.5
This is quite warm but not full and resonant enough. Neither does it open up enough without a solid thwack.
GREG MCDONALD 14 X 6.5
These wires sound too dominant, it is far too thin and metallic tonally. There are too many conflicting harmonics which provide a less pure overall timbre.
Gretsch 14 X 6
Not resonant. Too dry not enough sustain and not at all fat.
LUCITE SUPER SEMSITIVE
At quieter volumes it's too dry and thin. When hit hard it's sound is closer to what I like but it needs to pop more like this when hit quieter.
LUDWIG 502 SUPRAPHONIC METAL
Snare wires are too prominent for what I'm after. Also a bit too bright.
LUDWIG ACROLITE 14 X 5
too dry, metallic, buzzy and bright with not enough body.
LUDWIG ACROLITE 14
Too flat, too much snare buzz, no decaying resonance
LUDWIG BLACK BEAUTY
No doubt a classic drum but it needs too hard a thwack to pop and though its definitely fat I wouldn't necesarilly say its a woody warmth. Snares are too prominent in the velocity range i need to use it al lot.
LUDWIG BUDDY RICH
When hit very quietly the tone is near what i like. But it needs to project this sort of sound at medium too loud velocities instead of developing a more metallic sound like this.
LUDWIG DUAL STRAINER MAHOGANY
Quite unique sounding and seems to be able to create a wide range of tones. However the snares are too prominant, its not rich or full bodied enough at lower volumes and even though its mahogany, it sounds slightly respy at high velocities. Definitely quite warm though.
LUDWIG NICKEL OVER BRASS
Very metallic ring is not what I'm after.
LUDWIG SUPER SENSITIVE
Too dry, thin, bright and metallic.
LUDWIG VISTALITE PLASTIC 14
Snare strands way too loud and tone is too bright though the sustain is quite close.
PEARL CHAD SMITH
Too bright and poppy sounding. Not warm or fat enough.
PEARL FREE FLOATING
Though these shells can be interchanged, this example is too dry, thin and bright with no sustain.
PREMIER WOOD 14 X 6
Listen to how metallic and ringy this snare gets even though its a slightly deeper wooden shell. Not at all what I'm after.
ROGERS POWERTONE 14 X 5
Too dry, buzzy, and raspy metallic.
SLINGERLAND 2 PLY CHROME OVER BRASS
This is complex and unique. It almost sounds like its got a quivering reverb to the tone. Though its fat but its not warm and its too metallic.
SONOR EXTRA LIGHT MAPLE 14
Another maple shell which doesn't exactly sound warm to my ears. Too dry, buzzy and metallic at higher velocities.