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Old 01-18-2015, 10:46 PM
stellar92010 stellar92010 is offline
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Location: San Diego, but my home is New Mexico
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Default Crack Attack!

I finally got a 14x6.5 Reference Snare (wood) to match my kit. It took me quite a bit of time to figure out the best set up for it, because this really isn't like any of my other snares.

With the thick shell, it sounded rather dead. So I experimented with Triple Flanged hoops, but in the end, the diecast tuned easier and are just as open. I usually use a Remo Renaissance Emperor Snare Batter, but the characteristics of the thick-shelled drum--a lot of attack and a high, focused natural frequency, seemed better with the stock Coated Ambassador.

After tuning the drum, I played with the wires. The stock wires are Ultrasound 1420D--20 strand graduated tension with the center wires tighter tension. It seemed that I didn't have a large range of snare sizzle available, and that the snare sizzle was located at a small sweet spot in the center of the drum.

So I tried an Ultrasound 1442D, the same type of wire at 42 strands--it still didn't help much. Reducing the lug tension at the four snare bed lugs helped some, but i still wasn't satisfied. So I tried the Ultrasound 1442C--a 42 strand graduated tension with the outer strands tight and the center wires looser. That worked.

With a hazy diplomat on the snare side, tensions are about 83 at the six outer snare side lugs, and 75 at the four snare bed lugs. The batter is at 88. Now the snare has good resonance, fast decaying ring (diecast hoops,) lots of attack, a good amount of 'fat,' a large sweet spot and range of snare sizzle, but still has a good outer band on the batter without much snare sizzle for stick articulations. The tuning range is broad, but I think it sounds better up at 88 to 90, its really easy to tune, and I love the snare throw-off that locks, as well as the tensioner. The drum has an incredible amount of dynamic range so I'll be trying sticks, wands, mallets, and brushes to see how it responds.

It was a lot of work figuring out the set-up but it was worth the effort. I'm going to try it outside, and wed night in a very dead recording studio to see if it works in all situations. I've included some pictures, I tried to get a pic of the snare beds, they are really wide.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:45 PM
steadypocket steadypocket is offline
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Default Re: Crack Attack!

Like you, I felt my Reference 20-ply was too dead. As a result I parted ways with mine, even though the shimmer of oz finish was breathtaking. Perhaps I should have had more patience and continued to experiment.

Thanks for sharing. Your experience may benefit someone going through the same challenges of getting that drum to open up a bit.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:08 PM
stellar92010 stellar92010 is offline
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Default Re: Crack Attack!

i can get the shell to resonate strongly at the fundamental frequency. If I get the reso head tensioned well, I can set up the snare wires so the head tensions on the snare-bed and it reaches a point where the top opens up all across with a deep fundamental resonance. There is a small range of snare tension where the bottom head resonates strongly, then just as suddenly stops.

I've found the best place to tune is where the snares are tensioned just below the shell resonance point. The snare bed is very wide and deep compared to my other snares, so I wonder if Pearl purposely did that so it could be tuned into the open resonance area, or backed off, it would be bad to be at that point when recording or with high gain mics. I may drop by the Pearl Drummers forum and ask about it.

Another thing I did was change the stock ambassador reso to a hazy diplomat, which worked well, then to a Remo Renaissance Ambassador Snare Side head (3mils) that is like a hazy ambassador but the material is not mylar, it is like onionskin. (Concert head)

That really improved the overall sound, especially snare articulation, and is so far the best head combo (for me.) But you have to tune that head slow and even or it will blow up. I'm going to keep studying this snare and see what other interesting things I find.

Last edited by stellar92010; 01-19-2015 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Add Information.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:51 PM
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gdmoore28 gdmoore28 is offline
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Default Re: Crack Attack!

That's a beautiful snare. I'm not playing Pearl right now, but would very much like to add a snare like that to my meager collection.

The problems you are having with the drum is due to the fact that the resonant head is WAY too tight. You've stretched the resonant heads to the point that they can no longer resonate - especially with that many snare strands. That many strands actually mutes the resonance. Look at how the resonant batter hoop is getting close to being level with the head. TOO tight!
Don't worry about the drum dial at first. Make it sound right, then measure the tension.

You will have to start with a new resonant head - again. Once they are stretched out that far, they will not recover. I would also recommend that you go to a set of snares with about half as many strands. Tighten the new resonant head (Ambassador or Diplomat, doesn't matter) so that all the wrinkles are gone, then 1/2 to 1 turn more. Turn the strainer off. Does it ring now? I'll bet it does.

If the drum stops ringing once you engage the snares, the snares are simply too tight (and/or too wide, in the case of the ones pictured).

A beautiful drum like that deserves to be heard, but it will not be heard if the heads cannot resonate. Remember, with a shell that thick you are getting no help from the shell.

GeeDeeEmm
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:39 AM
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Superman Superman is offline
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Default Re: Crack Attack!

Great post. I too have a Reference snare, and I too have had problems with that "dead sound". It took a lot of playing around and adjusting to get it right. I'm in the process of ordering a Tune-bot, so I'm hoping I can save my settings for the next time I change heads. I changed the stock snares to Puresound and that seemed to help. I love my Reference snare but it is by far the most difficult drum to tune that I've ever owned. Glad I'm not alone!
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