Good Steel Snares - Share your "review"

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Steel Snares - Share your "review"

Steel snares have a reputation for being cheap, not sounding great. They are considered "cheapo entry level drums" by many (because some are really cheapo-snares). But there are really good steel snaredrums out there, like e.g. a Yamaha Recording Custom or a DW stainless steel.

With this in mind... let's share the experiences you had with some steel snares that you own or owned, cheap snaredrums or expensive ones, doesn't matter. Let's make some kind of "database" here that might help everyone, looking for a new snare.

Just fill out the following template (copy and paste if you want):


Manufacturer/Model:

Size:

What's good about it:

What's not so good about it:

Is there something special about it?:

Best used for (musical genre):

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?:

Would you recommmend the snare to others?:


If you think that such a thread is a good idea, we could do the same for wood, brass, aluminium and other materials. That would make a nice encyclopedia, right?

Let the fun begin. :)
 
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Wave Deckel

Gold Member
An example:

Manufacturer/Model: Tama Metalworks

Size: 12x5

What's good about it: It's a nice side snare that can sound much like a timbale but can be tuned quite low, too. Can even be used as main snare on some occasions. Strength is medium to high tuning. Built quality is good, nothing to complain.

What's not so good about it: 12x5 is not really versatile, not a "main snare"

Is there something special about it?: Pretty heavy for such a small snare.

Best used for (musical genre): As effect snare for funk or pop, as main snare for drum'n'bass or reggae maybe.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: Rather stage. It can be quite cutting.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: Only to those who look for a versatile and cutting side-snare in 12".
 
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slingerlandfreak

Senior Member
sonor d454, ferromanganese , 14x5, rounded bearing edges (1960-ties)
allround snare, best metall snare that i played and keeper , it has great tuning range, great responsiveness , no bad overtones, not too loud, warm and low end sounding, i don't like faster going out of tune on this snare but it can be fixed, also i plan to install a trick strainer that works for me best, best for funk/rock/pop/jazz, everything , i can imagine that you can play metal with that snare, stage and studio of course , i would recommend this snare over ludwig supra or black beauty
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Here's a used $50 buck Pearl student 5x14 steel snare that came with die cast hoops.

I bought it just for the die cast hoops ,but put on some triple flanged hoops,new Evans G1 head and low and behold ,decent sounding.
The throw is cheap and finicky,but other than that ,I have no issues with the snare.

https://youtu.be/7JeMfgn8o5E
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Manufacturer/Model: TAMA METALWORKS

Size: 14x6,5

What's good about it: very good sound for cheap. Build quality (throw-off, chrome). I like the shell appearance : dark chrome.

What's not so good about it: nothing. The lug design isn't very attractive but that's ok.

Is there something special about it?: what I've done : I put off all the plastic gaskets and washers : it sounds better that way, I brought back the typical ringy metal overtone ; still it's controllable. I use also a Puresound wire.

Best used for (musical genre): 70's rock

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: Stage typically, with great projection, a nice bottom and sensitivity. Really powerful.

Head I play with : Evans Powercenter, evans snare side

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: For the one who like metal snare, yes. Still they're not the majority.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Manufacturer/Model: Pearl Export EX-614D (1992)

Size: 14x6.5

What's good about it: It's cheap, pretty tough and a decent snare for beginners. A loud snaredrum.

What's not so good about it: It is loud, it sounds rather unmelodic, very limited dynamic range qualities and sensitiveness. Overtones are pretty harsh with single ply heads. Not your go-to snare for Ghostnotes, highly dynamic or soft playing and brushes, whichever heads you use. Strainer is not good.

Is there something special about it?: Quite easy to tune but does not stay tuned for prolonged times. Chrome is not best quality IMO.

Best used for (musical genre): Rock, Punk, anything loud. Definitely not a good snare for Jazz or Funk or Soul.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: Stage. Way too loud and uncontrolled for anything else IMO.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: For the bucks, it's okay, but still I would not recommend it to anyone.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Manufacturer/Model: Tama SLP Vintage Steel

Size:14x5.5

What's good about it: Everything. Great built quality, super-sensitive, absolutely great tuning range, never chokes. It is really a perfect allrounder that can be used in any situation for any genre. Tune it up and you get a funky snare with really really nice controlled overtones. Tune it low and you get the fat 70's snaresound that you can hear e.g. on Neil Youngs Harvest-Album. Easy to tune, keeps the tuning really well. Surprisingly warm sound for a steel snare. Works great for playing with brushes, too. A real joy to play. If you'd be allowed to have only one snare, this one would be a serious contender. I do have snares that were way more expensive. This one is a keeper for life.

What's not so good about it: Tama has stopped its production. :-(

Is there something special about it?: The nickel plating on the shell gives it some warmth in sound (and a georgeous look). Can easily compete with a really famous snare ;-) that costs four times as much.

Best used for (musical genre):
Any.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?:
Works in all situations. Great workhorse.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: Definitely. If you find one used, get it!
 
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MJD

Silver Member
Manufacturer/Model: Tama Swingstar ( made approx. 1998-99)

Size:14 x 5.5

What's good about it: Solid construction, simple throw off, versatile tuning range

What's not so good about it: It is a cheap snare that came with a kit. the heads and wires that came with it weren't of the greatest quality.

Is there something special about it?:My main snare for over 17 years. it's been dropped down flights of stairs with nary a dent. It's like a Fender Telecaster in terms of sheer durability and always sounding good. Can use it for everything.

Best used for (musical genre): I've not found a genre that it will not work for. I"ve had to change the tuning and muffling for certain gigs but it's the best all rounder i've come across that's this cheap.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?:Any and all. Mostly stage but i wouldn't hesitate to use it in the studio

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: Yes I would. If you can find one. They haven't been made in quite awhile. My other favorite snare is the late LM300 that Ludwig used to make. The supralite just doesn't quite have the sound that the LM300 did though it's a great drum.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
Manufacturer/Model: Mapex Black Panther

Size: 14x 5.5

What's good about it: Lovely drum, looks good, 10 lugs per side, smooth throw off, tunes very easily.

What's not so good about it: Heavy

Is there something special about it?: Its mine!

Best used for (musical genre): I play 70s/80s/90s covers- it works well for that, as well as the odd rock gig.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: Would work anywhere. A solid work-horse drum

Would you recommend the snare to others?:Absolutely
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Sonor ferro-manganese snares from the 1970's-80's.

Manufacturer/Model: Sonor

Size: 5.75 or 6.5 x14

What's good about it: Crisp vibrant tone but not brassy. A bit light and airy to my ears but still bright. Great dynamic range.

What's not so good about it: Not made any more due to source material availability & costs (according to the President of Sonor). Used market asking ridiculous prices on these.

Is there something special about it?: Well....my first really pro drum I ever bought.

Best used for (musical genre): Various styles apply, from Rock to Concert snare.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: Any and all.

Would you recommend the snare to others?: Most definitely.
 

Rosemarydrumco

Senior Member
Manufacturer/Model: Oriollo Mangana Spun Manganese Steel

Size: 14x6.5

What's good about it: Beautiful tone and character. Incredible dynamic range. Very very sensitive. Lugs, strainer, shell, and wires made in house.

What's not so good about it: Custom order. Can't really play it in a store.

Is there something special about it?: Absolutely. It has a very balanced sonic footprint across the eq spectrum and tons of character. Its warmer than most steel snares, and has a smokey breath to it thats addictive to play. Can go from a breath to a whisper too. Its similar to the old sonor seamless shells.

Best used for (musical genre): Anything

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: All of the above. Can do it all.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: Absolutely. price is very reasonable and its an amazing snare.
 

belairien

Silver Member
Manufacturer/Model: Tama Metalworks

Size: 13x6.5

What's good about it: Loud! Bright and cutting, yet has some warmth. Articulate. Good dynamics and tuning range. Looks good with the brushed steel and black nickel hardware. Finish wears well. Still looks good with the black nickel wearing off the rims. Easy to get consistent sounding hits.

What's not so good about it: The stock tension rod washers, both the steel and nylon, wear out quickly under higher tunings. Both compress and split. Cheap fix though. (I think its discontinued?)

Is there something special about it?: Very durable and great sounding for a $200 dollar snare. "The strongest name in drums".

Best used for (musical genre): Anything that needs dynamics up to LOUD. Mostly rock and metal. Great side snare for dnb type drumming.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: Any depending on head and muffling. Cuts well with or without a Mic.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: Yes.

Bonus photo
 

Attachments

cornelius

Silver Member
Manufacturer/Model:
Keplinger Steel

Size:
5.5X14

What's good about it:
Fat tone, Projection, Wide tuning range, Excellent snare response at any head tension.

What's not so good about it:
Heavy. Expensive.

Is there something special about it?:
The drum has a more complex, woody sound than thinner steel shells. Keplinger snares own a little bit of custom drum history. Gregg has been making these drums since the late 70s/early 80s - an early pioneer in boutique snares.

Best used for (musical genre):
Any music genre - these drums are found in orchestral, jazz and rock settings.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?:
Any room - the drum dials in nicely even in rooms with not so great acoustics. These drums can be found on hand in many recording studios. - they definitely have that nice punch that works great on recordings. The drum is loud, so some small clubs require the right touch - in a big venue they’ll cut through easily.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?:
I’d recommend it.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Ludwig Supralites are good bang for the buck.

Work horse rather than outstanding in a particular way.
 

lsits

Gold Member
Pearl Chad Smith signature black nickel over steel.

Loud, stays in tune very well, loud, very versatile as long as you need a loud drum. Good cross-stick sound. Did I mention that it's loud?

Not a real subtle drum. I wouldn't use it with brushes or for a low key jazz gig.

Used it for a number of years as my mainstay in a classic rock band that played mostly in bars.

I would recommend it to others, but the price has gone up since I bought it in the mid-90's. If I was buying a steel snare drum today, I would take a good look at the Yamaha Stage Custom steel. You can find them at $100 on sale.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
I have three cheap steel snares that I rehabilitated and they all sound great. All three were bought for under $50 and I wrapped them all. One is red oyster, one is light blue oyster and the other is WMP. Any steel snare can sound great BUT usually the throwoff is crap and the heads are garbage. So, what I did was refit the snares with Indie strainers, various Ludwig or Soundpure snare wires, Aquarian or Ludwig heads and voila....great sounding snares. Is this cost effective? Not really, but it's fun and each of these instruments has it's own voice. Everybody that's seen or heard them think they are amazing. They started out as a Holton 10 lug steel snare, a Majestic 10 lug steel snare and a generic Pearl 8 lug steel snare (early 70's) in mint condition.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Manufacturer/Model Yamaha "The Metal" 35th anniversary Akira Jimbo snare

Size: 14x5

What's good about it: Thin Chrome over steel with a rope that claims to tame the overtones. I haven't bothered to test the theory. It's just tied to the shell and sounds the way it does. It has a 1mm shell with 1.6mm hoops which makes for a very open and dynamic tone. It has 20 strand thin chrome snares that has a surprisingly good bark when choked really tight.

What's not so good about it: It's made of steel. Noobs and guitarists will think it doesn't sound good because they're a bunch of savages. It's also welded. I don't know if that matters or not.

Is there something special about it?: It's the last metal snare made in Japan from Yamaha.

Best used for (musical genre): Carnival, annoying homemakers.

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?: I don't know how to differentiate the best uses. I think it would work well in any situation if played properly.

Would you recommend the snare to others?: Maybe. because It's thin it seems more like an aluminum snare with a lively steel brightness.

This snare was a raffle win from Drumcenter NH. It was donated by Yamaha. I won it and I never thought of getting a steel snare. It's one of my four snares and the one I play most of the time.
Thank you, Yamaha and DrumcenterNH!
 

Erberderber

Senior Member
Manufacturer/Model:
Gretsch Taylor Hawkins Sig.

Size: 14 x 6.5

What's good about it:
Full, powerful sound. Easy to tune, great at both high and medium tuning. User-friendly strainer.

What's not so good about it:
Snare wires tend to loosen slightly during hard playing.

Is there something special about it?:
The black nickel finish, very stylish.

Best used for (musical genre):
All types of rock

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?:
Great on stage, cuts through unmiked no problem. Not tried it in the studio yet.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?:
Yes, absolutely. I tried it along with other metal snares like the Brooklyn and the Tama SLP and preferred it, so I bought it!
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Manufacturer/Model: Tama Metalworks

Size: 14x5

What's good about it: Good sensitivity, nice crack, can cut through if needed, easy to tune, lovely overtones for brush playing if tuned up. Good built quality, nice looking, too. SOunds nice with funk, soul, pop and some jazztunes. Can be bought /used) quite cheap sometimes.

What's not so good about it:
Is a bit harsh with the default steel snarewires for Jazz. I have thus changed the steel snarewires to brass snarewires. This warms up the snare quite a bit, makes it even more sensitive. Not particularly your go-to snare for rock-ballads where you want a deep, wet snaresound

Is there something special about it?: The 14x5 was a limited edition that has triple flanges hoops instead of die-cast. Very open sounding - which is nice for brush playing.

Best used for (musical genre):
funk, soul, pop, jazz

Is it rather a Stage, Club or Studio-Snare?:
Can be used for all of it, but I'd rather use it on stage.

Would you recommmend the snare to others?: For particular purposes, yes. But rather not as an "allrounder".
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I hope the OP doesn't mind if I stray slightly from the format to show this video review of a Dunnett steel snare. Just a killer sound with loads of sensitivity and headroom.
If I can't find a reasonably priced Sonor D506 in good conditiont this will be the next steel snare drum I'll buy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arOpM2IdGxQ
 
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