aluminum DW or Ludwig snare?

Drum Guy

Member
trying to decide between keeping my 2018 DW collectors 14x6.5 1mm aluminum snare OR getting a new Ludwig Supraphonic 14x6.5 402 snare - never heard in person the Ludwig, I do know the DW is great but a little dry-ish to my ears...

Ludwig have an edge over the DW or visa versa in some way?
 

trickg

Silver Member
The Supraphonic is one of the the most recorded snare drums in history. That should tell you something right there.

If this was my decision to make, it'd be a no-brainer - I'd get the Ludwig.
 

ZildjianLover

Senior Member
I have played both of these snares at my local music stores and drum shops, and I personally prefer the Ludwig. It is much more resonant at higher tunings than the DW, which, like you said, tends to be on the drier side. My advice would be to go for the Ludwig, preferably used so buying it won't break the bank. However, if you can afford to buy it new, then buy it new.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
The Supra was the most recorded snare because of the sheer volume of drums that were out there. If you bought a Ludwig kit it came with one back in those days. Not all but most. So was it used in studios because it sounded great or because every one had one, Probably both. There were also far less choices then then there are today,

I have both the Supra and two DWs. They are both good drums. The DW has better hoops. throw off, butt plate and tension rods. It is also offered in a 3mm heavy shell as well as a light one.

The Ludwig is chrome plated. The DW has a wrinkle finish, I think the Ludwig is more attractive but that is subjective.

My DWs get a lot of use. My Supra not so much. Again they are both great drums.
 

trickg

Silver Member
The Supra was the most recorded snare because of the sheer volume of drums that were out there. If you bought a Ludwig kit it came with one back in those days. Not all but most. So was it used in studios because it sounded great or because every one had one, Probably both. There were also far less choices then then there are today.
That's a good point, and Ludwig was probably the main player when it came to drum makers back then. The Slingerland Radio King is also heralded as being one of the other most recorded snares, but when you think about the brands that were big during the 40s through to the 60s, it was Ludwig, Rogers, Slingerland, Leedy, Gretsch, etc.

But in any case, the Supra always seems to sound good. The former drummer for the band my son tours with had a 14x6.5 Supra, and it always sounded great. Before this last tour, they were rehearsing at the house and he had this Gretsch bell brass snare that he'd gotten. IMO it didn't sound as nearly as good as the Supra, (either in the house or on stage - it didn't have the presence and cut the Supra did) but I wasn't about to tell him that - he'd spent a lot of money for the price of admission to play that Gretsch.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Tubes make it slightly more open sounding, but it depends on how YOU tune up the drum.
If you want an open sound, get the 1.6 thickness hoops. That will make more difference in sound than tubes or imperial lugs.

The drums with the 60's-70's "classic 402" sound had 1.6mm hoops.
2.3mm (standard) sound more solid, 3mm even more solid.

Imperial lugs are more common if you go for a great condition used drum.
Can't go wrong with either though.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Honestly, I'm not sure (even as a Ludwig fan) you're really going to hear much of a difference. Aluminum is a dry-sounding shell material, and I don't think the overall character of a 402 is going to be different enough to warrant the time and money involved in switching.

I'd try a couple different batter heads on the DW first.
 

Drum Guy

Member
thanks re info on lugs - and yes, I wish I could play/hear the 402 in person, then like last poster said I could hear if any real difference exists, which he suggests may not
 

Drum Guy

Member
stock dw/remo heads it came with brand new - therefore I guess they're DW/Remo ambassadors on top and bottom
 
Last edited:

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Both drums have high quality hardware, but the DW probably wins in this category. Also the Ludwig's chrome plating may be susceptible to pitting 20 years from now. The DW's SHELL will not (but the rest of the DW hardware is chrome too soo...it's a very minor difference. Forget I brought it up.)

Ludwig Supraphonic has a more universal sound than the DW. I agree the DW is a little on the dry side. Even though I like dry sounding drums it just doesn't "sing" like the Supraphonic.

I think it's because of the 3mm hoops. If you can, try out 2.3mm rims on your DW. 3mm hoops eliminate a lot of the overtones and openness of the snare. 2.3mm may open the drum up more like the Supraphonic.

Ultimately my vote goes to the Supraphonic. It sounds much better IMO, plus it's iconic.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Get a Ludwig Acrolite, and then there is no chrome pitting issue. Peace and goodwill.
I have two older Acrolite shells that are waiting to be turned into projects. I had another Acrolite project snare that I had done, but I loaned it to my son's band mate, and I still haven't gotten it back.

The Acrolite wasn't my favorite snare sitting behind the kit, but it always sounded good in the mix.
 
I have 70s ludwig 402. My theory is that because it is on so many records that when you play it your ear just goes that's what a snare should sound like not because it is better or worse just that's what's on most of recordings of all that great music that's what was around at the time and there is a familiarity to the sound when you play it, it just hits that spot. Sure the dw is great too.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I think you should keep the DW and buy an old LM402. I picked one up recently at a pawn shop, LM400. The chrome is pitted and flaking a little and I love it. Then if you really want to spend more money, buy a new one. I don't know if the new ones sound the same, (I think they're real close) mine is from the 70s.
 
The DW thin aluminum is at the benchmark of aluminum snares in its class right now. If you don't love it then you probably don't want an aluminum snare. Try something else. It's not a DW vs Ludwig thing.
 
Top