Are the Black Beauty and supraphonic still the snares to own?

Steve.B

Junior Member
Hi All,

Been doing a bit of searching through old threads and the two above seem to be the snares to own....is that the case now or are there some modern equivalents that are just as good or better.
Be good to hear some of the UK members to see if opinions differ here from the US.
Ive been looking at the Tama Starphonic Brass and Aluminium as alternatives.......But.....

Steve B
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The benefit of the Supra is that it sounds "exactly" like the Supra, by virtue of being a Supra..... So it will sound exactly like all of those recordings you hear that have Supra's. If you want a snare that sounds exactly like INSERTDRUMMERNAME playing a Supra on INSERTFAMOUSSONG, then the Supra is the drum for you.

If you want a drum that sounds a lot like a Supra, you can get almost any beaded aluminum drum with stamped hoops. Let your budget do the choosing. Nobody is going to come up to you after a show and say, "That was great drumming, but your Sensitone didn't sound enough like Bonham".
 
Hi All,

Been doing a bit of searching through old threads and the two above seem to be the snares to own....is that the case now or are there some modern equivalents that are just as good or better.
Be good to hear some of the UK members to see if opinions differ here from the US.
Ive been looking at the Tama Starphonic Brass and Aluminium as alternatives.......But.....

Steve B
While great snares, (I own one of them) you have to take stock of your musical needs while keeping your budget in mind. Since I don't have a BB, I've found I may not need one, as my NOB Pearl Sensitone has worked quite well over the last five years +. I find the brightness of brass isn't always what I need or desire for most of what I'm playing, and I didn't break the bank to get a similar sound. Think about musical context and application before buying any equipment, and you will put yourself on the right track. For me, as a big Ludwig fan, I don't limit myself to any particular brand, size, or materials.
Good luck.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
This great drums, but yes, there are more and more to choose from. Only you can decide.

I have a BB with die cast hoops. Great drum. For me, it's mainly an orchestral drum and something I may use in certain low volume situations when using lots of different utensils. If you can swing it, an Ak will probably get you closer to the originals, but they're all good drums

All my other metal snares are Gretsch. Personally, I like their general frequency response a bit more. Just a taste thing.
 

rebonn

Senior Member
I had a Ludwig Black Beauty in the 70s and didn't like it at all. Most who played it didn't care for it either. Sounded way too "wet". Almost like it had no shell at all. I guess brass snares have been improved since then and seems a lot of companies make them now.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Just because something is popular or purported to be the most recorded doesn’t make it right for you. For example the Ford escort was a very popular car in the 1980s but do you want to own one in 2019 (apologies to all escort owners past n present). I think it’s better to define what sound you are after and then make a purchase based on sound and to a lesser extent how the drum feels under your hand as compared to predeciding on brand xyz or classic snare abc.
 

picodon

Silver Member
But if that 1980 Ford Escort sound is what you're after, nothing else will sound as much like it as a 1980 Ford Escort.
The thing with sound is that it's totally subjective and there is no innovation that unambiguously leads to a better sound, because define better first.
There's been hardly any innovation in drums at all between 1980 and 2019 at least compared to the car industry.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
My answer to your question is NO.

I've come to realize nobody can see what snare drum I'm playing. Once in a great while a drummer will ask me what snare drum I'm playing. Because even drummers can't see what snare drum I'm playing. By the way, live on stage, my Pork Pie BOB brass snare drum sounds exactly like a Ludwig Black Beauty.

.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
If a Supraphonic is the sound you want, there's still nothing that quite sounds like an LM400 or a 402. I lucked out with my 402, and got one that has that magical Bonham thwack; they don't all have that, in my experience. Still, nothing sounds like a Ludwig Supra.

Black Beauties are hit-or-miss in general, and I've yet to fall in love with one. There are lots of other brass snares out there that give you 95% of that same sound, and I ended up with a Yamaha SD496 that I'm very happy with, even if it can be cantankerous when tuning it.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Hi All,

Been doing a bit of searching through old threads and the two above seem to be the snares to own....is that the case now or are there some modern equivalents that are just as good or better.
Be good to hear some of the UK members to see if opinions differ here from the US.
Ive been looking at the Tama Starphonic Brass and Aluminium as alternatives.......But.....

Steve B
Steve, at this stage of the game there are scads of good snares out there, but with that said, the Supraphonic and Black Beauty definitely still have a place. I'm with you - I've been looking hard at the Starphonic series of drums as an alternative to the Ludwig. IMO the biggest issue with the Ludwig is the quality of hardware, particularly with the snare throw. The Starphonic has a much nicer throw, although with that being said, I'm not sure that it's any more functional than a plain old Ludwig P85 - they all do the same thing - they pull up tension on snare wires via a mylar strap or cords attached to the snare wire end plates.
 

justadrummer

Junior Member
My 5" deep Black Beauty has been used on more gigs in the past couple of years than any other snare I own. (And I own at least thirty.) You can't go wrong with just about any Ludwig metal snare. I have two black Beauties, a Supraphonic, a Brass Edition Supraphonic, and a raw Copper Phonic. There isn't a looser in the bunch. That being said, if price is a consideration Pearl makes excellent snare drums. I consider Pearl Sensitone snare drums the best drums for the money.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
UK member here and I own a Supraphonic (14x5) and a Black Beauty (14x6.5)

They are my most used snares in the studio. I think I've used the Supra the most as my last band loved it but the Black Beauty is not that far behind - in recorded appearances. Both great, versitle snares.

For example, I recorded a whole album using just my Black Beauty once when there were other snares to choose from.

There are plenty of other great snares out there, the mentioned Pearl sensitone a good alternative to a Supra.

They aren't crucial to own but they are also each great snares you'd be glad to have - if that makes sense.
 
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danondrums

Well-known member
UK member here and I own a Supraphonic (14x5) and a Black Beauty (14x6.5)

They are my most used snares in the studio. I think I've used the Supra the most as my last band loved it but the Black Beauty is not that far behind - in recorded appearances. Both great, versitle snares.
Curious, if your Black Beauty were 5” and your Supra 6.5” then what would you use more?
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Curious, if your Black Beauty were 5” and your Supra 6.5” then what would you use more?
Very good question but thinking about it a Supra is less 'bright' than a BB.

In recording (and close micked) situations it's never really about the depth. More about the overall sound on how well it suits the song.

My last band called for mostly more of an attack/short sustain on the snare so the 14x5 Supra worked great for that straight 'out of the box', so to speak.

An Aluminium shell worked well for that particular band so it got used more. Just before recording each song we'd test about 7 snares (including the studios own LM402) and the 14x5 seemed to always fit perfectly.

For example, out of the 9 singles we released together 6 of them featured my 14x5 Supraphonic. The other three were my Black Beauty, Radioking and Pearl Steel Shell.
 
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IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
The Supraphonic does not have a (reasonably priced) alternative that sounds just as good IMO. There are plenty of Supra clones that come close, but they all lack one specific thing.....high frequency crack (that the Supra is so famous for.) They have all the other things like sensitivity, lows and mids.....but never seem to have that high frequency bite.

The Black Beauty's sound HAS been successfully cloned. The Sensitone Black Nickel over Brass and the Pork Pie BOB snares (just to name a few) sound virtually identical. Close your eyes, you'd never know the difference in a sound test.
 

jdavis

Member
By the way, live on stage, my Pork Pie BOB brass snare drum sounds exactly like a Ludwig Black Beauty.
Funny you should say that. I had access to a 6.5" BB as well as a BOB for a while. When I set them up side by side, I was able to get the BOB 90-95% of the way to sounding exactly like the BB. The BB had a slight bit more 'thonk' to it, but nothing you'd ever notice out front on a stage. When it came time to buy a brass drum, I bought a BOB and used the left over money on other stuff. I'll probably still pick up a BB some day. Maybe a 5" but who knows? :p
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Oh, I think my Gretsch brass snares offer plenty of crack.

The main difference is really if you're a die cast or flanged hoop type of person. Obviously, Ludwig offers both.

The deal with owning a Supra I think pratly comes down to a time when it was an expected option to have for a session. Except for a select few drummes those times are over. Most of us do more original stuff and a Supra doesn't hold nor should it hold the status it did, simply because there are so many available options today that offer both individuality and can do the job just as well or better.

I shouldn't really talk as I'm quite boring and traditional in all my instrument choices, but there's no law that says you have to be.
 
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