I'm just about convinced

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
That I will never buy a truly High End snare or kit for that matter.


Whether or not you WANT to believe this man, I believe that he's definitely showing some truth here. I honestly believe that 1/2 of what we hear when we buy these drums has everything to do with the fact we are spending hundreds of dollars on these drums and we WANT them to sound like they're worth it.

I'm NOT saying all drums sound the same. There are some defining factors. A horribly cheap built drum, is just that. But distinguishing between well-built drums whether it's a $150 PDP or $600 Ludwig. . .at least in this video, seems MUCH MORE difficult.

The ONLY snare drums I will ever spend upwards of $300 to $400 or more, will be snares I build. I'm just not going to buy into the hype, as he calls it.


And for those of you that do NOT wish to watch the vid, be aware, he has a DW snare, Tama, maple, birch, stave shells, aluminum, chrome plated steel, etc. All in all, I think there are 8 different snares sitting there????? My point is, he's covered many bases as far as types of snares. NO ludwigs that I remember. Send him one of yours if you want him to include it in a video. I'm sure he'd do it.
I'm convinced.
The fact that you can buy snare drums made from such wildly different materials as concrete, perspex, 1" thick wood and 1mm steel and yet they ALL still sound like snare drums surely proves this guy's point about where the sound really comes from?
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Some snares, based on how they're built, what materials are used, etc. will have an inherently "sweet" sound that will sound good at most if not all tunings, and with just about any head you slap on it. Others aren't as inherently good, and you have to work at getting a usable sound out of it. Maybe it only sounds good at certain tensions, or with particular heads, or slathered with moon gels.

In both cases, you can usually get it to sound good. However the first example will likely sound good whether it's tuned high, tuned low, tuned to sound crisp, tuned to sound fat, etc, while the second example may only have one decent sound and that's it.

While it's not necessarily true 100% of the time, better built, more expensive snares tend to fall into the first category, while cheaply built snares tend to fall in the 2nd category.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Love the way he discounts bearing edge difference, then right at the end of the video, tells us that a particular snare is more crisp because he put the resonant side bearing edge he favoured on that drum.

Anyhow, he's correct and incorrect in equal measure. Heads, tuning, stick choice, playing style, room, all have a potentially greater affect on the resulting sound compared to any physical attribute outside of size, but yet again, here's someone trying to ascertain contribution value of one or two features in isolation, whereas the character of a drum (or lack of) is a combination of many factors, and the best instruments augment those features towards a defined goal.

As he built all the examples here, I wonder if he ever questioned if he has a knack of building consistently generic sounding drums?
Andy, I believe at one point he does say he likes the "feel" a 45 degree bearing edge gives him. I assume he's talking about rebound, springy-ness. And you have to remember, this is a continuation of TWELVE videos. He does nearly an hour in one single video, mostly about bearing edges.


Play a roll on the edge and tell me they all sound the same.

I don't really agree.

Other reasons for having several snares is the they'll be set up for specific things and those various setups may display the differences more.
He's shown exactly what you've described on other videos. Depending on where you hit a drum, the sound can certainly change. He tries to take out certain variables. He's mentioned that if you put 2 different drummers on a single kit, a rock drummer and a jazz drummer--that most-likely that one kit will sound different depending on the drummer.

He's being very objective, or at least trying to. He tuned the drums the same, hits them the same, etc. . . .

And remember, this is about what he calls ultra-hype. It starts out as discussion on how people are paying out boatloads of money for certain kits because they buy into the hype. He just wants to show, and basically proves through a ton of work and hours and hours of videos, that basically and objectively, that all drums sound the same.

Yes, I only posted his first video. But the title does say part 12. There's more than just this 39 mins.

I like the idea of multiple snares. I don't agree with everything.

He also mentions wood densities, and types. A direct quote, "Basswood does not sound like Bubinga". He's not saying that there aren't some variations that can occur. This is also from a different vid.


He mentions that some drums are cheap, some are not. And agrees he wouldn't buy nor play, a $15 4-lug drum. But that's in a different video.


Pete, you said your most expensive snares are your best sounding. . .REF I guess, would say prove it. Put the identical heads on your pricey vs less expensive snares. Tune them as closely as possible, LET OTHERS HEAR, and decide if there's a truly discernable difference. You paid for the pricey snares, would you even admit to one sounding worse than one of the cheaper ones, if it did? I would hate that. :sick: I absolutely WANT to believe that if I buy a high end drum, it will sound btr than everything else I own. I just built a snare. It's the best sounding snare I've ever heard! Bias is powerful.


To the person that said they haven't owned a kit over $750 etc. . . .I fall into a similar category. I just can't bring myself to spend TOO much, in the first place. I feel good about my tuning ability, I buy good drum heads, etc.

I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. What each person does is his/hers. Has no effect on me.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Drums come into their own when the heads are balanced between sound and action. I think he was being a bit fussy and disingenuous with his take.
A nice snare will both play well and sound pleasing at different tunings and playings. Not just hitting it in the center. the rims and other areas of the head respond differently on different drums.

There is also the concept that a certain proportion of the public can't tell what sounds good, and people shouldn't delude themselves that their ears are more cultured if they are constantly battling with economic variables. Microphone manufacturers get exorbitant prices for mics that many can't tell the difference, but some can and that's why we have producers, to keep the tin-eared artists from wrecking the sound because they think there's not enough difference in things.
 
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paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Well of course I've done that, I can hear/compare it everyday if I choose.. I'm not interested in what others hear or decide. my choice? your choice? doesn't matter ....I'm not going to try to convince you, just discussing what I believe, if you believe otherwise all power to you..I've watched those videos , not convinced....it all depends on what music is being played whether or not nuance is noticed or not, if it's not needed go bash a rubbish bin...they can sound good too!


Pete, you said your most expensive snares are your best sounding. . .REF I guess, would say prove it. Put the identical heads on your pricey vs less expensive snares. Tune them as closely as possible, LET OTHERS HEAR, and decide if there's a truly discernable difference. You paid for the pricey snares, would you even admit to one sounding worse than one of the cheaper ones, if it did? I would hate that. :sick: I absolutely WANT to believe that if I buy a high end drum, it will sound btr than everything else I own. I just built a snare. It's the best sounding snare I've ever heard! Bias is powerful
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Ok, before we disappear down a rabbit hole on this stuff, changes of construction material, mass, & shape can equate to practically audible differences in delivery characteristics, but only when the other design aspects of the drum conspire to emphasise that difference. In other words, it's the combination of elements, not usually a single element in isolation. Wether you see / gain benefit from those differences depends on your playing context and expectations.

In the context of manufacturing hype, I completely agree that, for the most part, deliverable performance differences will rarely match the sales pitch, and that price alone is not a guarantee of better performance.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I will buy a snare with my eyes. I look at it like this, I have a snare sound in my head I can replicate on just about every snare drum. What each particular drum does with that tuning is a different story. Same with heads, but again I can still get the drum to that snare sound in my head.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Don't be convinced by everything you've heard in the past. Especially if you haven't watched the video.
I don't believe much of what I've heard people say, I only believe what I've been able to confirm from my hands-on experience with the 150 or so snares I've owned over the last 55 years of sitting behind the drums. I know that heads, and wires, and edges, and hardware, and shell construction affect the sound in ways my ear hear and in ways that the drum feels (such as with a die-cast vs triple-flange hoop.) There's certainly some questionable hype out there in the name of marketing, but many of the features and design do affect the sound in the way the manufacturer says.

Again, my perspective comes from what I've personally been involved with in acoustic and miked situations, not what people or companies (try to) tell me.

Bermuda
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
My response?

The guy in the video definitely believes every word he's saying. ;)
How could you hear what he's saying? haha.

In a time where production quality is so high and easy to do - why is this man not capable of buying a microphone for speaking into. oof.

Having said that - my favorite snare drum I have right now (or I should say the one I'm using the most) is a steel piccolo that cost me $50. So take that for what it's worth haha.
 

mattgallettidrums

Junior Member
I will say, I watched the video a few times, on both my computer speakers and studio setup. I can hear pretty clear differences between each drum. I do not think the video was recorded with proper levels, as the output is rather hot, which is potentially distorting the details with each drum. I know he mentioned using a Zoom Q8. Never used one myself but have heard good things about them. I do not think you need 2k ribbon mics to capture the differences, either. Everyone's ears are different, some people hear things different than others. Doesn't make it right or wrong, just different. I know a good player, in a good environment, with good mics, etc..., can make a 50 dollar drum sound golden (I have one of Matt Chamberlain's old MIJ snares that records well, but man, it is a crappy drum, on paper). A great drum under the worst of environments, including the player, will most likely sound bad or mediocre at best. Geez, one of my favorite sounding things of all time is Gadd playing brushes on an old 2" tape box!

I also do not know the model of all of these drums. I do not think limiting it to shell material is quite the best method. A ludwig BB, the real deal, sounds different to me than a Pearl Sensitone BB clone or a World Max. Owned all three, it was no contest. Not just in the sound, but in the ability to GET the sound. I have drums ranging from a Gretsch Catalina, Rogers from 67, Sugar Percussion, etc... They all sound like me when I play, and they all have their place, but man, the Rogers and the Sugar in comparison to the Gretsch, it is not even close, with similar tuning and heads.

Finally, eluded to earlier, but the room he appears to be in is a boxy sounding room. Looks like a home office or bedroom setup. Nothing wrong with that, but acoustics tell us that the room limits you so much, so a boxy sounding room will sound boxy in general. I did not think any of these snares sounded too great. Not to say he needed to do it in Avatar (or whatever it is called now), but a close mic setup in a little bit of a better room would most likely yield a more honest result. I tend to agree with Bermuda on this, and trust his judgement and experience.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..I honestly believe that 1/2 of what we hear when we buy these drums has everything to do with the fact we are spending hundreds of dollars on these drums and we WANT them to sound like they're worth it..

I think thats very true and maybe even much more than half..

When someone for example says that their blablabla snare from $2000 sounds way better than their blablabla snare from $200, is a lot because they know when they play that certain snare..

In other words, when you know you play an expensive snare, your brain will hear an expensive snare..

Blindfolded tests with instruments have lots of times proved different though, both for player and audience..

Here is a nice article regarding that..

 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Blindfold tests are just that, with Familiarity and constant experience of each drum can one tell the difference.. Of course it's unlikely you could tell immediately on the spot during a blindfold test.... if it doesn't matter why have recording techniques to attain optimum tone. ??? the video proves that.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
"The New York City study also showed that listeners' preferences correlated with their assessment of projection, suggesting the loudness of an instrument may be a primary factor in the quality of its sound."

This is similar to how cheap brighter sounding mics are often preferred to neutral mics that can take eq smoothly.

I wonder if that Strad preference study did other dynamics like very quiet passages. The original youtube video of that guy was simply bashing the snares in the center.
I bet people would have a hard time distinguishing the qualities of a gong if each of them were bashed.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
There’s a general movement toward louder, brighter-sounding instruments that’s been going on for probably 150 years, at least. As to whether they are always better, depends on the listener and the room they’re played in, perhaps.
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
My response?

The guy in the video definitely believes every word he's saying. ;)
he says "Basically" a lot. Is it or isnt it dude?? around 7 min he says something like "there is no difference or something like that between this wood drum and this metal drum"...um I can hear the shell ringing on the metal drum when he hits it so basically there is a difference right there. He seems a little angry like he is trying to convince the viewer instead of doing a nice comparison. Also, I dont think any of them sound like he tuned them properly, at least not to my liking. when he goes around them all its a shit show of sound.
 
I can tell you this: I've been playing Pearl forever and have pretty much owned a specimen of all their products, save their custom-ordered Masterworks stuff. Of everything I've played by Pearl, I like my current Session Studio Select kit most, and, by strict definition, it's a midrange line in the Pearl catalog. I could spend more on a kit, but I have no need to in this case. I've got the sound I want and don't need to "upgrade," which is a pretty meaningless concept anyway when inspected beneath the lenses of logic.

A drum might not always just be a drum, but a drum sounds no better than its owner thinks it does. I mean, really, who's ever going to say, "Your drums don't sound good enough; get a new setup"? Unless your equipment is held together by giftwrap tape, you'll never hear that from anyone, at least not from anyone with the slightest credibility.

I think you're mostly right, Mr. Cans. The drum market is chiefly a load of hype.
C.M., with your extensive experience with Pearl, I was hoping you could help clarify something for me regarding the Maple/Gum lines Pearl has available. I understand that the Masters Maple/Gum is an even-ply shell with 6 layers, no re-rings, with 4 outer plies of Maple and 2 inner plies of Gumwood. I keep seeing comments and marketing messages that say the Masterworks Studio recipe is "the same thing, only with thinner shells". Then I see another comment that says the Masterworks Studio recipe is a 6-ply shell (Todd Sucharman even says this in a YouTube tour of his kit). The Pearl Drums website contradicts itself and states A) 6-ply, and then B) 4-ply with rings on the Masterworks Studio page. Pearl clearly has poor QA control of its website content and marketing messages when it comes to these two products.

What is the truth/difference between these two shell configurations? Any wizarding insight is much appreciated.
 
It's important to keep in perspective that when you pay X number of dollars on a drum, you're not just buying the sound it makes.

Close tolerances and higher quality materials lead to drums that are easier to tune faster, respond and react more dynamically, and have a longer lifespan. That also tends to lead to higher prices.

I'm sure most of us could make even one of those $40 Amazon snare drums sound like a snare drum. Maybe even a good snare drum. But that's not really the whole story, is it? How long did it take to tune it? Did you need to replace anything? How long will that drum last from just routine use?
Good points. I do believe that good shell construction (rounding, no bowing) and good tuning lugs are important. I had a DW kit for many years that was soooo easy to tune - and it stayed in tune until the heads stretched too much from playing hard. But the shells and lugs never let me down. My experience with lower-end kits didn't perform nearly as well. Others may have different experiences, but for me your comments ring true.
 
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