S-Hoops vs Yamaha Aluminium Cast Hoops

Mike Stand

Silver Member
Has anyone been able to compare the S-Hoops with the Yamaha aluminium die cast hoops?

Both of these are meant to be soundwise in between regular die cast and triple flanged hoops. So, I'm wondering if they produce similar sound results or if they each have their own character?

I'm guessing there must be some noticeable difference as they're made of different materials and they have hugely different weights (the S-Hoops apparently weigh more than 2.3mm flanged hoops which makes sense because of the added material, and the aluminium hoops weigh considerably less than flanged to my surprise, I checked this myself)

I think a comparison would be interesting as each of these hoops has lots of fans here on DW.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't know anything for certain. My first thought says that materials of different masses and shapes will behave/sound differently. Everything affects everything. Hoops have a major impact on tone. Wood hoops don't sound like stamped hoops and don't sound like die cast, let alone all the different variations. It would stand to reason that aluminum S hoops would sound different than steel S hoops so triple flanged is a given. Lighter mass, more open? That's a guess. More mass more focus? Another guess. Which do you prefer?
 

Mike Stand

Silver Member
Lighter mass, more open? That's a guess. More mass more focus? Another guess. Which do you prefer?
Well, you never know until you get there, but the closest I think I've got to my ideal sound is by using triple flanged hoops. The sound was still too uncontrolled, too many high frequencies, overtones. So, I'm thinking perhaps high mass flanged hoops might be the answer, which is essentially what the S-hoops are. Currently I've got Yamaha Aluminium hoops which are the exact opposite: ultra-low mass die cast hoops. Just wanted to know how much of a difference the S-hoops will provide before buying them for my snare.

Difficult to judge at the moment as the snare could do with a new batter head and I don't like the snare wires I've got right now. Drums remind of the Rubik's Cube, you manage to get a few elements right in the setup, but then other ones don't fit in any more!
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Drums remind of the Rubik's Cube, you manage to get a few elements right in the setup, but then other ones don't fit in any more!
& ain't that the truth! It's what we spend most of our time working through.

Larry's correct. Less mass = a more open head response, but higher overtones are created by a combination of things. As the owner of the drum, you can affect some elements that equate to different forms of higher overtones, but not all of them. Tuning, head choice, & hoop choice are the 3 you have at your disposal, & it's juggling those 3 together that will achieve the result you seek - to a point.
 

Mike Stand

Silver Member
& ain't that the truth! It's what we spend most of our time working through.

Larry's correct. Less mass = a more open head response, but higher overtones are created by a combination of things. As the owner of the drum, you can affect some elements that equate to different forms of higher overtones, but not all of them. Tuning, head choice, & hoop choice are the 3 you have at your disposal, & it's juggling those 3 together that will achieve the result you seek - to a point.
Thanks for the reply Andy. I was hoping you'd chime in.

What about hoop material? The Yamaha aluminium hoops are really light but don't sound more open than 2.3 flanged hoops. I read somewhere that aluminium has a natural dampening effect. Would this offset the effect of really low weight?

Perhaps you'd like to have a look into another thread I started, "Snare Wires General Info". It doesn't seem to be taking off with everyone so distracted by NAMM at the moment. Would be great to have some imput from an actual drum maker like yourself.

Thanks again.

Nick
 

RickP

Gold Member
I really like the Yamaha aluminum hoops. They definitely are a great compromise . They allow the toms to be more resonant than zinc Diecast hoops and they focus the sound more and allow more consistent tuning than triple flange hoops. I had them on one of my Recording Custom kits and the sonic difference was noticeable, not huge but noticeable. If you are a srummer that does a lot of rim shots on the toms, you will definitely prefer the sound of the aluminum diecast over the zinc diecast. The zinc has a kind of clack sound when rimshots are played on the toms, where the aluminum diecast rings more like a triple flange.

That being said, I like the 1.6mm triple flange hoops or diecast ( aluminum or zinc) over the 2.3mm and thicker 3.0 mm hoops. This is just a personal preference though.
 

mandrew

Gold Member
My experience with s-hoops is that they are a great combination of mass and design that tends to tame some unwanted overtones. They have great rigidity and offer equal tuning. My reason for sometimes going with die cast is the greater mass, needed for concert snares in particular. A light weight die cast seem counter productive, but may look nice. watch out for creative marketing, designed to sell drums.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
If S-HOOP made an aluminum version that'd be it.

Sound is subjective. The S in S-HOOP stands for 'safety', as in protecting your bearing edge, in that respect S-HOOPS stand alone.

The only problem I have with them is the chrome plating, my S-HOOPS are rusting thru, and I've kept a light coat of mineral oil all over them since I got them years ago. I notice the rust breaking thru underneath the hoop too.

Aluminum would take care of the rust issue and make S-HOOPS lighter. Hopefully S-HOOPS will upscale to aluminum.
 

Mike Stand

Silver Member
Aluminum would take care of the rust issue and make S-HOOPS lighter. Hopefully S-HOOPS will upscale to aluminum.
Be careful what you wish for Les. The change of material and reduction in mass might result in a very different sound, one you might like less than with the current S-hoops.

This is what I'm trying to find out, how the aluminium cast hoops compare with the S-hoops? Nobody seems to have tried out these exact hoops on the same drum. Guess I'll just have to find out myself. Have to wait though until I've saved up my pennies.
 

scorch whammin

Gold Member
Aluminum would take care of the rust issue and make S-HOOPS lighter. Hopefully S-HOOPS will upscale to aluminum.

Aluminum doesn't rust, but it does corrode, and it can have issues with chrome plating over time flaking off or pitting....
 
Last edited:

Mike Stand

Silver Member
I'm a repeat offender for not providing closure to the threads I start. So I'll at least try this time round.

First off, some facts.

14" 10 hole 2.3 flanged hoop: 650g

14" 10 hole S-hoop: 725g

14" 10 hole Yamaha die cast aluminium hoop: 405g


Now, to my initial question.

Comparing the S-hoop is rather straight forward. As far as I can tell, it's essentially a flanged hoop but with added mass and a particular design. This tends to diminish the high end a bit and render the snare darker sounding and, to my ears, a tad more woody but not necessarily rounder. However, the essential character of a regular flanged hoop is still there, it just seems a little "EQ-ed".

The Yamaha aluminium die cast hoop on the other hand is quite unique. While it sounds more controlled than regular flanged or S-Hoops, it also has an open sounding, almost breathy quality compared to the "boxy" or "dampened" or even "choked" sound that is sometimes associated with zinc die-cast. I noticed some of those attributes on a Sonor Delite snare with very heavy cast hoops (over 1000g per hoop). A very nice sounding drum but the heavy cast hoops just seemed to suppress too much of the qualities of the shell. Not choked, but just too contained. Also, rim shots on those hoops were piercing, as in harsh. Rim shots on the aluminium hoops are easier on the ears (and wrists) while still resulting in a good crack. With heavy cast hoops, the centre of the head always seems to feel quite hard, even on medium tuning. Again, the aluminium hoops alleviate this problem.

Now, the above only corroborates what others have already known or suspected. However, I think there's a very fundamental aspect of the aluminium hoops that hasn't been stated .

With flanged hoops (regular and S-hoop), and to a degree even with zinc die cast hoops, I find that there's a certain metallic quality/character added to a drum. There is a lot less of this metallic quality with the aluminium die cast hoops, especially when used on drums with wood shells. Knowing that many drummers go for wood snares for the tone and warmth of the shell, I've been amazed at how the hoops can alter/impact those qualities. The aluminium cast hoops make my maple snare sound so much rounder, warmer, and with a fuller, woody tone. Well what d'ya know, a wood snare that sounds woody and round, like it actually is!

To resume, I think the S-Hoop is closely related to the regular flanged hoop, but the aluminium die cast hoop should be put in another context. Rather than simply placing it soundwise between a flanged and a zinc die cast hoop, I would say that it's perhaps in between those two and wood hoops (which I believe bring out more of the wooden tone of a drum). In any case, the aluminium hoops have a rare capacity to let the tone of the shell really come to the fore.
 
Last edited:

evilg99

Platinum Member
I'm a repeat offender for not providing closure to the threads I start. So I'll at least try this time round.

First off, some facts.

14" 10 hole 2.3 flanged hoop: 650g

14" 10 hole S-hoop: 725g

14" 10 hole Yamaha die cast aluminium hoop: 405g


Now, to my initial question.

Comparing the S-hoop is rather straight forward. As far as I can tell, it's essentially a flanged hoop but with added mass and a particular design. This tends to diminish the high end a bit and render the snare darker sounding and, to my ears, a tad more woody but not necessarily rounder. However, the essential character of a regular flanged hoop is still there, it just seems a little "EQ-ed".

The Yamaha aluminium die cast hoop on the other hand is quite unique. While it sounds more controlled than regular flanged or S-Hoops, it also has an open sounding, almost breathy quality compared to the "boxy" or "dampened" or even "choked" sound that is sometimes associated with zinc die-cast. I noticed some of those attributes on a Sonor Delite snare with very heavy cast hoops (over 1000g per hoop). A very nice sounding drum but the heavy cast hoops just seemed to suppress too much of the qualities of the shell. Not choked, but just too contained. Also, rim shots on those hoops were piercing, as in harsh. Rim shots on the aluminium hoops are easier on the ears (and wrists) while still resulting in a good crack. With heavy cast hoops, the centre of the head always seems to feel quite hard, even on medium tuning. Again, the aluminium hoops alleviate this problem.

Now, the above only corroborates what others have already known or suspected. However, I think there's a very fundamental aspect of the aluminium hoops that hasn't been stated .

With flanged hoops (regular and S-hoop), and to a degree even with zinc die cast hoops, I find that there's a certain metallic quality/character added to a drum. There is a lot less of this metallic quality with the aluminium die cast hoops, especially when used on drums with wood shells. Knowing that many drummers go for wood snares for the tone and warmth of the shell, I've been amazed at how the hoops can alter/impact those qualities. The aluminium cast hoops make my maple snare sound so much rounder, warmer, and with a fuller, woody tone. Well what d'ya know, a wood snare that sounds woody and round, like it actually is!

To resume, I think the S-Hoop is closely related to the regular flanged hoop, but the aluminium die cast hoop should be put in another context. Rather than simply placing it soundwise between a flanged and a zinc die cast hoop, I would say that it's perhaps in between those two and wood hoops (although I have no experience of wood hoops). In any case, the aluminium hoops have a rare capacity to let the tone of the shell really come to the fore.
Excellent review, Mike and I generally agree with all of your findings.

I own all three types of hoops on various snares and also have several kits with Yamaha aluminum die cast hoops. They are my favourite. I added the DC alu hoops to a Hipgig set, and they made quite a noticeable difference. I can tune them lower now and the toms sound more 'open' like you say.

Very expensive to buy on their own- over $100 each...some larger ones $150+ each. Clearly, Yamaha doesn't see these hoops as an add on for other drums.
BCA/MCA/Hybrid is the best way to get them!

Neal
 

Mike Stand

Silver Member
Excellent review, Mike and I generally agree with all of your findings.

I own all three types of hoops on various snares and also have several kits with Yamaha aluminum die cast hoops. They are my favourite. I added the DC alu hoops to a Hipgig set, and they made quite a noticeable difference. I can tune them lower now and the toms sound more 'open' like you say.

Very expensive to buy on their own- over $100 each...some larger ones $150+ each. Clearly, Yamaha doesn't see these hoops as an add on for other drums.
BCA/MCA/Hybrid is the best way to get them!

Neal
Thanks Neal. I think it was you that initially made me aware that these are alu hoops. Also, you were right that I wasn't getting my preferred snare sound because of it's depth rather than because of the hoops.

I should have mentioned this in my review. The absence of that bright, ringy metallic quality makes the snare seem deeper, in sound as well as size, at least to my ears. Also, as the tone is determined more by the shell, a wood snare also sounds a tad drier which adds to the impression of increased depth.
I switched from a 14x6 MCA to a 14x5,5 MCA. Only half an inch difference but I sure can tell. Although 5,5 is not generally considered deep by any measure, the alu hoops still give it an amazing amount of depth. Often, a 5" deep snare would be too quick and "flat" sounding to me, but I Wonder if the alu hoops would change that perception. I really regret not having tried them on the Sonor Delite which had a 5" vintage style thin mapl shell.
I will add that IMO alu hoops render unnecessary any kind of "specialty" heads with muffling or extra plies. A standard single ply batter head sounds just great on the MCA. I think I'll be converting back from Ambassador X to a regular Ambassador next time I change heads.

Yes, a shame these hoops aren't more widely available as spare parts. I reckon Yamaha are keeping them to themselves as a special selling point for their top line drums.

How untimely of me to fall for the MCA line right after production was stopped. I'm also a stickler for the "Made in Japan" tag as well as the classic absolute lugs.
 
Top