Very interesting Mike. I haven't closely scrutinized my reso head and how it's seating at the beds. I literally opened the box and put it on the stand after looking it over for a half a minute. I'll admit at first I wasn't knocked out. I thought, "well I guess metal shelled snares aren't for me". I took a minute and walked around my kit feeling a little disappointed. I decided, alright let me give it a little more detailed tweaking. After I tensioned the batter down a touch I started to get a little more character from the drum but it was lacking a tad on snare response. I tensioned the snare side up 1/16 of a turn at all the rods except the 4 rods around the beds and actually took them down 1/16 of a turn. Bingo, I was blown away. The slightly looser tension on the rods surrounding the beds increased the snare response and the higher overall reso tension coupled with the slightly lower tension on the batter created exactly the sound I was hoping for when I made the decision to try a JN. The drum came to life and I fell in love. This method works for me with this drum and creates the sound and feel I desire, whether or not it works for you is another story. Worth a shot however.He said that it wasn't worth worrying if the head was seated there or not and that if it was the wrinkling that I was concerned with, that I could take a hair dryer or heat gun to remove it. Now here's the rub: how could it possibly NOT matter if the head is seated? I mean, we have these discussions about minutiae like snare cords vs. straps and their sonic differences (cords all the way - I can definitely tell the difference) but being able to seat the reso at the beds and otherwise evenly tension the reso all the way around isn't worth worrying about? I'm skeptical; I think it absolutely matters, but I won't go as far as to say one is better than the other. It's preference. I'm trying to be as thorough as possible, but am coming to the conclusion that deep snare beds overly complicate tuning a drum, despite what it's benefits might be - at least for how I like to tune. I think this drum would probably be a total beast with a barely bed, but that's just me and not part of the JN philosophy.
FWIW, I measured the beds, which are 3" wide and 3/16" deep (as opposed to more than twice and wide and less than half as deep for a barely bed). Pretty hard to get a head to seat in such a deep and narrow channel, but I'll take it on faith Curt's claim that it doesn't matter as long as that's a sound you're happy with.
Is your snare bed that deep and are you seating it all the way down to the bottom of the bed? If you haven't closely scrutinized it already, try checking under really good lighting and carefully run your fingernail over the head above the beds to verify whether it's actually seated. I'd be curious to know.
I have always been a wood shell guy, with a proclivity to stave construction. I tried a lot of highly regarded metal drums and none captivated my attention enough to hold onto longer than a month or so. I have some amazingly nice wood shelled snares and the JN is loved as equally as my favorite wood shelled drum, some days more haha. I have the stock heads on my drum as well. That said, if the drum isn't knocking you over, maybe it's not the drum for you. I barely had to try (although I did have to try) to get my drum sounding amazing. One of the things that I value most in a drum, is how easy it is to get it dialed in. If a drum eventually sounds good but is a major fuss to get it there, then I take points off for user unfriendliness. I don't want to spend hours and money on different heads/wires, trying to get a sound out of a kit or a snare, when I could be spending those hours enjoying and playing them. If you're trying this hard and still not satisfied then I would only assume that it's not the right drum for you. Hopefully you will hit the magic tuning for you, with your shell, and get just as much satisfaction as I have experienced. I know what it's like, to almost try to force yourself to like something because the investment is so great and the reality of a financial loss is present. Whatever you do, I hope you can get the snare sound you may have thought the JN was going to give you, either with it or another drum. Good luck and I look forward to hearing what happens either way.