Brass snare differences

VitalTransformation

Silver Member
Hi forum!

I've been wanting to buy a brass snare for a little while. The last one I owned was a Gretsch Full Range "Brushed Brass" model, which was great but I sold it out of boredom I guess.

Being sort of a Tama fanboy, I've been lusting after the Tama Starphonic line, so the Starphonic Brass model has been on my wishlist. But checking out videos online, I find that the Yamaha Recording Custom brass snare has a sound that agrees much more with me.

Listen to these videos:

Tama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH9GzzqzVNs

Yamaha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsihaZ1W1-8

The Tama sounds sort of crunchy and dry, while the Yammy has a full and singing sound. Now these two vids aren't recorded with quite the same settings and the tunings and snare tension aren't identical but I recognize these sonic differences across every video I've seen that demos either of these two snares.

What differences in the build of these two snares could account for the big difference in sound?
 
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enormitydave

Junior Member
I'd say it's mainly the difference between hoops: the Tama has die-cast and the Yamaha has triple-flange. That's the major difference to my ears anyway.
 

VitalTransformation

Silver Member
I'd say it's mainly the difference between hoops: the Tama has die-cast and the Yamaha has triple-flange. That's the major difference to my ears anyway.

The Tama hoops are not die-cast, though! They're flanged hoops made to accomodate the claw hooks on the tension rods. Plus, at 1.6 mm they're actually very light.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
The Tama hoops are not die-cast, though! They're flanged hoops made to accomodate the claw hooks on the tension rods. Plus, at 1.6 mm they're actually very light.

The Starphonic hoops contribute to the harmonics of the snare by bringing in high frequency overtones and keeping the drum sound open. Die cast hoops mute the overtones compared to the Starphponic hoops.

If you’re looking at brass snares, consider one of these to round out your quiver. The newer models come with die-cast hoops, the older models come with 2.3mm brass, triple-flange hoops.
 

enormitydave

Junior Member
Looks like die cast to me. Definitely does not look flanged.
EDIT: oooh I see what you're saying now. Never seen that kind of thing before
 

trickg

Silver Member
I wouldn't use those two vids as a means to make the decision on which drum to buy. From my perspective, the drums are tuned differently. There are too many variables at play (IMO) to make the choice between the two based on those videos.

Here's the thing - either one of those drums is probably going to be solid. They are both 1.2 mm beaded brass shells. I'm pretty sure the Starphonic has a seam, and I think the Yamaha snare does too.

One difference is the depth - the Starphonic is 6" whereas the Yamaha is 6.5.

For my money, I'm lusting after the Starphonic. I'm on the fence between that and a Black Beauty, but there are some things that I think I like about the Starphonic better, mainly that the hardware is higher quality than on the Ludwig.

Between the two, the Yamaha or the Tama, they are roughly the same price, but I think that the Tama is the better value.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
. . . I'm pretty sure the Starphonic has a seam . . .

Yes, there is a seam in the Tama brass shells.

From what I can tell on their web site, the only seamless metal shells from Tama are the aluminum (Starphonic & SLP) and their bell brass offerings.

Sidebar:
At dinner during a drum recording workshop at Sweetwater with Kenny Aronoff, I asked him how he got his own signature snare (thinking that he'd spent months working on it). He said Tama wanted to develop one for him, and at the time he was using a Ludwig Black Beauty (seamless shell). He gave it to them and said he liked its sound. The snare they built him has a seam. Go figure.
 
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