Yikes... My snare sounds like crap now.

jonrpick

Junior Member
20yr vet here, but I never got really serious about tuning and my gear until recently.

I'm currently playing a Ludwig Led Zep Accent series set. Not the highest end, but not crap either. I've always found that my tuning skills were above par, and even with cheap drums I managed to sound better than my fellow drummers in town.

Well, for years I played a 5x14 Supraphone snare. I didn't stray far from the time-tested formula of Remo heads--coated Emperor batter, and Diplomat snare side. Never had a reason to.

Anyway, now I'm in a fairly loud rock band, and the one thing about my new drums I don't absolutely love is the snare sound. It's' the stock wooden shell drum that came with the set. Still, it was always *ok*...until now.

I decided to upgrade it a bit, to keep myself from dropping several hundred bucks on a new snare. I upgraded to die-cast hoops to give the drums a bit more punch/pop to help cut through the loud band. I went down to local music store and bought some new snares. Based on the recommendation of the guy behind a counter, (a known pro) I picked up some Puresound Blasters (for high volume) and an Aquarian High-Performance snare-side head.

The batter head is an Aquarian Coated Response II... I like it.

I play mostly rim shots, especially with this band. Tonight at practice the snare basically sounded like a horrible timbale. :( Before I go and spend more money to "undo" this, please tell me if the snares and bottom head are causing the near-total lack of snare sensitivity. I'll gladly put up with less longevity from the bottom head and snares if I can get it to sound better. I'm *really* hoping the die-casts hoops aren't causing too much of an issue. I've only had one snare with die-cast hoops, but it was a COB 4x14 Premier with the Flo-Beam snare setup--totally different animal.

Thanks, all...
 

Fuzrock

Silver Member
Die cast hoops aren't always the answer. I had a maple Legend that I tried die cast hoops on and I hated it. I also have a Ludwig COB Supraphonic that I love with die cast hoops. You might want to try putting the original triple flange hoop on the bottom and leaving the die cast hoop on the top.
 
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wy yung

Guest
I find it hard to advise a 20 year veteran about tuning. He should know better. I will point out that the shell has limitations. Buy a decent snare and stop messing around with hoops and heads.

Seriously, 20 years and this question is asked?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Tighten the snare side head, loosen the snares and if you have more than 20 strands, get rid of it. They choke most drums. Most snares I have heard people don't like the sound and tighten the snares which is usually the opposite of what needs to happen.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
you changed three things: the batter head, the snares, and the hoops. any one of those things could've caused the problem. i don't know how patient you are, but you could try taking everything apart and then redoing each one of those things one at a time to try to isolate the problem.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Lose the diplomat snare reso head and get an ambassador weight reso. Diplomats are more for sensitive, lower volume type work IMO. Tune the ambassador reso pretty darn tight, and you should have quite a large tuning range with the batter loose, medium or tight, whichever works the best for your music.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Lose the diplomat snare reso head and get an ambassador weight reso. Diplomats are more for sensitive, lower volume type work IMO. Tune the ambassador reso pretty darn tight, and you should have quite a large tuning range with the batter loose, medium or tight, whichever works the best for your music.
Bingo on chucking the Diplomat. Ambassador FTW. However, I've become more sensitive to over-tightening the snare side head. It used to be (in my mind anyway) that the surest fix to a sub-par snare sound was to crank that sucker ever tighter - sometimes until it breaks (inadvertently, of course). Problem was that is wasn't a sure fix. These days I'm finding that taking a bit of tension off that head will open it up. When the snares start sounding inarticulate, I know I've gone too far, so I crank it up just above that.
 

jonrpick

Junior Member
I find it hard to advise a 20 year veteran about tuning. He should know better. I will point out that the shell has limitations. Buy a decent snare and stop messing around with hoops and heads.

Seriously, 20 years and this question is asked?
Your negative attitude is completely unnecessary and provides no help whatsoever.

If you'd read my original post a little closer, you'd see that I made mention of the fact that not only am I new to this drum, but also to the volume levels I'm playing at. Hence my approach to tuning and head selection has had to adapt accordingly, which leaves me in uncharted waters. As stated earlier, in the past I'd found a combination of heads and tuning that worked, and saw little point in trying every other combination known to man just for kicks. I don't have that much spare time.

That said, all of my previous snares were "good" by most people's definition (Supraphonic 5x14, Dynasonic 6.5x14, Premier Flo-Beam 4x14 COB, etc...). Another thing they had in common besides being "good" was the fact that they were all metal snares and I used roughly the same heads and similar tuning on all of them. The Supraphonic was my all-around go-to snare, where as the Dynasonic was when I wanted a bit more body, and of course the Premier had a great crack and nice tone.

Unfortunately, The Rogers got traded, the Ludwig got sold and I gave the Premier to my brother, who uses it as his only snare. I didn't need my own equipment, as I'd found a permanent house gig for a couple of years where a decent set of drums was provided along with a nice Pearl 5x13 Sensitone. When I found myself in a new gig, I bought new equipment and here we are...

This cheaper Ludwig Accent snare is wood, which is new to me. However cheap it is, it *did* have much more snare response before the changes. I'd prefer to attack the most likely cause and not take it completely back to square one--which is why I'm here asking questions so that I can make informed decisions rather than just blindly replacing parts until I stumble upon the fix.

And as far as the limitations of the shell, I'm well aware... I just spent most of my free time over the course of 2 days this week reworking an old 12x15 marching snare shell into a floor tom because the 16x16 floor tom it replaced wasn't cutting it. The pitch I need from that particular drum is beyond the tuning range given the size.

Now, I'll give you the benefit of doubt, and assume that you were just having a bad day and decided to take it out on the first guy you saw with a low post count. Ya think you can rejoin the conversation without being a douche? If not, please stay out of my thread. I've got a week to resolve this issue and I'm not here just to chat and engage in childish flame wars.
 
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jonrpick

Junior Member
Rather than quoting everyone individually, I'll try to address every question/suggestion in one swoop...

Fuzrock: Do you think the bottom hoop would really be causing the issue? I'm asking out of ignorance. This is only the second time I've had the cast hoops on one of my own snares, but the other was a completely different drum.

Gruntersdad: Last night at practice, I tried everything I could as far as head and snare tension were concerned. I usually ended up with something that sounded worse. The drum currently has a 20-strand wunit on it. Overall I would say the sound is "choked", snare response notwithstanding. It sounded like it was inside a cardboard box with the lid taped shut! WAAAY too "warm". Non-rimshots weren't even heard, regardless of how hard I played.

Dairyairman: I'm 95% sure I'm going to have to spend more money in order to resolve this, which is why I'm hoping to isolate it here on the forums, rather than start over completely. My old snare unit and reso head were shot, so in the trash they went. I do have the old reso hoop though.

TheMist: I have no preference at this point. I've been happy with the sound of most snares I've played with cast hoops--so far. I played a gig 3 weeks ago on another guy's gear, and his snare sounded fabulous with cast hoops. Great crack, excellent snare response and a good amount of body. Of course, it was a completely different drum with different heads.

Larryace: You may have misread my original post. I used Diplomat reso heads on my previous snares, when I was playing general all-around gigs (classic rock, Motown, etc...). This snare has an Aquarian High-Performance reso head. My research, as well as the Tuning Bible indicates that the head should be close to a mid-weight reso in sound--such as an Ambassador.

http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/id3.html

If you check item #3 on the reso head guide, it describes that head as "built to counteract wear yet give response characteristics of the medium weight heads."


Thanks to all who responded. In case I didn't mention it, I chose the new batter head because I was told it was similar to a Remo Emperor, which was always my go-to Snare head. I was always a coated Remo guy until recently. I found the Response II clears worked great for my toms. I attacked this set in order of Kick, Toms and finally the snare. The snare was previously using an Evans reso head (don't remember which one) and an Aquarian Hi-Energy. I was dissatisfied with the sound of it then, but it was durable. More importantly, it sucked much less than the current setup!

FYI, The bearing edges are in good shape, the shell is round and there is a snare bed...

The rest of the drums sound exactly as intended. I just need to get past this hurdle to be satisfied.

Thanks,
~jp
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My research, as well as the Tuning Bible indicates that the head should be close to a mid-weight reso in sound--such as an Ambassador.
jon, you didn't mention the depth of the drum. For loud rock, a 6.5 x 14 drum is a great choice, wood or otherwise. Also, if you haven't tried the ambassador reso, you should let your ears decide. As you know, they can say anything they want about the head. Your ears tell the truth. Dips sound thin with a shorter sustaining note when the snares are off compared to ambs. They just don't give the drum the body like a 3 mil head does, my opinion only, but many will agree. If you have a 5 x 14 w/ a dip res,.....not the best setup for loud stuff.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
You said that your snare resembled a Timbale.
That indicates to me that you are getting high pitched ring.

Like others said, go with an Ambassador snare side tuned between medium and tight. You already have the like so it should be OK.
Try a Remo PowerStroke 3 on the top to dry the drum out a bit. Tune it between medium and tight.
Set the snare tension just tight enough to get a slight bit of buzz.
20 strands is all that you should need. You already have them.
I wouldn't think that the cast hoops will hurt.
The flanged hoops may take some of the woody sound from the drum.
Experiment with different combinations of both.

Some sound sample posts will also help us help you.
 
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Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
What about using external muffling?

Who knows, maybe you have a really nice snare drum sound, but it's being lost to the overtones?

-Jonathan
 

720hours World Record

Senior Member
20yr vet here,......Tonight at practice the snare basically sounded like a horrible timbale. ..Thanks, all...
If you use an EVANs Genera snare head with the tone control ring - your timbale sound will be gone!

I have a few snare drums that got that "Timbale" sound (my metal ones were really bad) and the Genera head made them all (I mean ALL snare drums small and large size) sound GREAT! with no external tone control needed.
 
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wy yung

Guest
Your negative attitude is completely unnecessary and provides no help whatsoever.

If you'd read my original post a little closer, you'd see that I made mention of the fact that not only am I new to this drum, but also to the volume levels I'm playing at. Hence my approach to tuning and head selection has had to adapt accordingly, which leaves me in uncharted waters. As stated earlier, in the past I'd found a combination of heads and tuning that worked, and saw little point in trying every other combination known to man just for kicks. I don't have that much spare time.

That said, all of my previous snares were "good" by most people's definition (Supraphonic 5x14, Dynasonic 6.5x14, Premier Flo-Beam 4x14 COB, etc...). Another thing they had in common besides being "good" was the fact that they were all metal snares and I used roughly the same heads and similar tuning on all of them. The Supraphonic was my all-around go-to snare, where as the Dynasonic was when I wanted a bit more body, and of course the Premier had a great crack and nice tone.

Unfortunately, The Rogers got traded, the Ludwig got sold and I gave the Premier to my brother, who uses it as his only snare. I didn't need my own equipment, as I'd found a permanent house gig for a couple of years where a decent set of drums was provided along with a nice Pearl 5x13 Sensitone. When I found myself in a new gig, I bought new equipment and here we are...

This cheaper Ludwig Accent snare is wood, which is new to me. However cheap it is, it *did* have much more snare response before the changes. I'd prefer to attack the most likely cause and not take it completely back to square one--which is why I'm here asking questions so that I can make informed decisions rather than just blindly replacing parts until I stumble upon the fix.

And as far as the limitations of the shell, I'm well aware... I just spent most of my free time over the course of 2 days this week reworking an old 12x15 marching snare shell into a floor tom because the 16x16 floor tom it replaced wasn't cutting it. The pitch I need from that particular drum is beyond the tuning range given the size.

Now, I'll give you the benefit of doubt, and assume that you were just having a bad day and decided to take it out on the first guy you saw with a low post count. Ya think you can rejoin the conversation without being a douche? If not, please stay out of my thread. I've got a week to resolve this issue and I'm not here just to chat and engage in childish flame wars
.

Actually I am sorry for my off hand remarks. I was in a lot of pain but that is no excuse.


However, expecting more from a drum than it is capable of delivering is foolish. Sell the drum. Buy a good snare that can handle your current gig! Stop screwing around. Would you really drive a VW in a Formula one race???

Get real man. You are talking to a serious drummer who owns 34 high end snare drums and you are whining about your cheap drum not cutting it. I am not a rich man. I make sacrifices for my sound! Your snare needs selling and you need to buy a good drum. 20 years mate! I should not have to spell this out! I resent having to do so!

Grow up!
 
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wy yung

Guest
Look, if you need a drum so badly and cannot afford it, perhaps I can loan you one? I have a few Sensitones I am doing nothing with. Let me know.
 

Fuzrock

Silver Member
Fuzrock: Do you think the bottom hoop would really be causing the issue? I'm asking out of ignorance. This is only the second time I've had the cast hoops on one of my own snares, but the other was a completely different drum.


~jp
It was really just a thought, something to try. With die cast hoops it is easy to get a consistent tension all the way around the head. That is a good thing for the batter side but a lot of people tune their snare side differently. When using triple flanged hoops, I try to go for a tighter tension across the snare bed by tightening the lugs on either side of the throw off and butt. I think this makes the snares react a little more. This isn't possible with die cast hoops. I see a lot of guys go with die cast on the top and triple flanged on the bottom and I have always assumed that it is for this reason. The Stewart Copeland signature snare drum by Tama even comes stock that way.
 

droveto

Senior Member
Snare side tuned to an A (making sure all lugs are even) and the batter tunes slightly higher (and I can change that one depending on the situation. Then I go from there. If that's not a pleasant sound with what you're working with, it's likely you just don't like the materials you're working with.
 

Chonson

Senior Member
The absolute FIRST thing I would do is ditch the die-cast hoops. I think they're all too often looked at as an "upgrade" when in many cases, they negatively affect the sound strongly. (For instance, brass drums for the 20s are massive with the single flanged hoops and get progressively more choked with heavier hoops. Die cast on a 20s brass.. no thanks).

Second - you said in effect you're looking for cut. As WY has pointed out, you're only going to get so far with the drum you've got. Sorry to put it bluntly, but I doubt that you're going to get the sound you're hearing in your mind with the stock wood snare from an Accent kit. Wood just doesn't have as bright of a voicing as pretty much any metal, and you need something with more high tones in the note. If your funds are tight I'd consider looking at an inexpensive Tama or Pearl drum, ideally aluminum. Or dig up an Acrolite or used Supra.

I'd personally consider 6.5 over 5; you can tune a 6 up high but still have substantial body behind the note. You don't want high and thin in this case. If you need to raise the pitch further, I'd consider a 13" over a 14" If a metal 6.5x13 doesn't cut enough, then you need sound reinforcement more than you need a different drum. That size plus shell is pretty much a laser beam between the eyes (and I'm not necessarily saying that as a good thing) and anything I've heard in that size cuts like a lightsaber.

I'd also consider going to a reinforced ambassador-weight batter - Coated CS, Aquarian Texture Coated w/ Dot, etc. Dot for durability, the thinner head again to open the drum up more. Your perceived cut will come from the presence of high overtones. It's what separates "crack" from "blat".

As long as your snares are reasonable (20-24 strands) you should be fine there. 16 will favor drum note over snare response.
 

jonrpick

Junior Member
Again, I'll try to sum up all my responses to your responses in one message... :p

Larryace: It's 6.5"x14".

Bobdadruma: When I said "timbale", perhaps I should've been more clear. It almost sounds like the snares are off.

Pass.of.E.r.a: I don't think muffling is needed in this case. I don't mind a little ring. I feel it gives the drum more of a distinct pitch.

wy yung: It's not that I'm trying to achieve the "ultimate" sound here. What I *am* trying to achieve is to get the drum at least back to having the snare response it had prior to all the changes while sounding better than it did. Problem is, I can't let loose on the drums at home, and so I have to practice in a rented studio. We only get 4hrs of time per week, so it's not feasible to spend a lot of time dialing the snare in. We try to spend most of our time working on new material or tightening up the band. Once I joined the "Heavy Hitters Club" I just found something durable (Aquarian High Energy) and replaced my reso head and snares every 3 months because I kept blowing them out.

And I do appreciate the fact that you make sacrifices for your sound. I'm also a guitarist and have spent stupid amounts of money in return for tiny improvements in tone. My gear-ignorant guitarist's rig was hand-picked by ME based on the sound he/we need for the band. I also appreciate your willingness to loan out a snare, but after talking to my brother last night, an alternative solution may be on the way! ;-)

Fuzrock: Interesting idea about the reso head tuning...definitely something to keep in mind.

Chonson: A couple of the snares I've been looking at are in the 6.5-7"x13" range. A couple of examples are the World Max Black Dawg 7x13 and the Ludwig 7x13 Black Magic. Both metal snares, and much closer to "home base" for me as far as snares are concerned.
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So... Last night I spoke to my brother on the phone. Turns out he knows the location of my old Supraphonic. Good news, but he doesn't think the person he sold it to is willing to part with it. Bummer. He'll check, we'll see... In the meantime, he mentioned that he's put aside 4 or 5 Acrolites at the store he teaches at. The ones he's set aside are the heavier Aluminum Ludwigs, not the really thin student-line stuff that they usually rent out. These are older, but structurally in great shape. He's buying one off of the store and sending it to me. It was HE who sold my old Supraphonic, so it's only right that he replaces it, right??? :p

It's a 5x14 shell, but right now I just want something that sounds like an actual snare drum again. Regardless of whether or not it's the right drum for this gig, I'll still keep it. When I inevitably do a "normal" gig again, I'd prefer to have the versatility of a snare like that.

To reply to all of the great ideas regarding head selection:

I'm hearing TWO distinct problems now. 1) Lack of snare response, and 2) a very boxy, dull/overly warm sound. I think the latter is being caused by the batter head. Again, it's an Aquarian Response II coated. It *should* be like a coated Emperor, but... I'm REALLY tempted to go back to the combo of Emp Batter/Diplomat reso, since again, it's more familiar territory, but I'm going to follow the suggestions here and start with an Ambassador reso. I'm strictly going with Remos on this since they are more predictable to me...less variables.

On the batter head Chonson and I seem to be thinking the same thing. I do need some level of durability, but without the choked sound. I remember eating through a Powerstroke 3 pretty quickly years ago, plus I don't believe I truly need the "choke collar" that those heads provide. I've played on a few snares that used the coated CS (black dot) and I remember one in particular sounding wonderful. (It was a 6.5"x14" Pearl Free Floater, maple as I recall)

So, until the Ludwig Al-shell arrives, it'll be Coated CS batter/Ambassador reso. I'll probably grab a standard-duty set of snares while I'm at it too. I'm sure the heavy-duty snares, while they do add durability, aren't doing me any favors in the snare response department. If need be, I can swap the triple-flanged hoops back on. We'll see. The one thing I do like about the sound now is that it's a bit more focused, although at this point that could be anything.


I will say, regardless of how good or bad this drum ends up sounding, I do plan to keep experimenting. As I said before, I never had a need to stray beyond the sound I had before, and I consider this a very good learning experience. And as they say, the day you stop learning is the day you're dead! :)

~jp
 

Chonson

Senior Member
Lack of response and boxy/dull makes me think you're overtightening the snares possibly for the drum & tuning.
 
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