Ludwig LM400 Supraphonic Classic Tuning

cangaroo

Junior Member
Hi there, i have a question for all you LM400 users and Supraphonic Experts.

Though i owned this beast for years, i'm still strugglin to obtain a decent snare tone from it.

My goal is to get the "classic" supra tone, but all i'm getting is a harshy meatless sound.

For reference the kind of "classic" tone i want to obtain is like this one :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOaROTP-iCM

listen from 1:24 to 1:30

What is in your opinion the tuning fitting this kind of tone ? Should i tighten the heads ? Should i keep them loose ?

Thank you
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Cang, how do you currently tune? And go to youtube and look up steve maxwell tuning.. it helped my snare tone a ton.. not the toms though..
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
On my LB417..

Snare side is typically tighter than tight. The batter side tuning range begins somewhere at one-turn past finger tight and ends at about 3 turns. I'm usually somewhere between 1.5 and 2 turns, though the low/high extremes are perfectly usable for music that demands them.

I may also recommend giving Ludwig Heads a try. I use them on my Ludwig snares and they sound exactly as they're supposed to.
LW3314 (Snare Batter Medium Coated)
C1114 (Snare Resonant Head Clear Xthin)

The tone in the video sounds gated and dampened. When I think about what I believe the quintessential Supra sounds like, I'm drawn more towards this sound.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
thats a treated sound in that vid. but i understand what you mean. what heads?
a Supra with coated 1 ply head speaks its tone best to my ears. maybe loosen your wires a bit to get it fatter and tune your batter to medium tight.
lastly have you recorded it? my Supra does not sound supergreat up close from my throne but has excellent tone when heard further away.
 

cangaroo

Junior Member
Hi, thank you all for your replies.

My luddie has Remo Emperor-X batter side and classic Remo Ambassador clear snare side. I tried every kind of tuning combination, from low batter with high snare to the opposite, and almost every combination in the midst.

When tuned high i get a harsh sound like "SBAAAM !!" and no body at all, when tuned low it reminds me more of a shaken box of cornflakes rather than a snare.

I understand that the sound in the video may be processed, but anyway you can hear that classic body/fatness of the supra.

Another snare sound (and i bet it's a ludwig) that i take for reference is this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJyQpAiMXkg very dry but with body.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
............Remo Emperor-X batter side..........
Overkill mate.

As far as heads go, they really don't come any more focused. An Emp X is designed for a specific sound.....or to tame some pretty severe overtones on errant drums. I'm yet to hear either a 400 or 402 that would require such "taming".

Try a stock standard single or double ply head like an Ambassador or Emperor (or Evans or Aquarian equivalents) and I'm sure you'll at least be halfway towards a decent sounding drum before you know it.
 

cangaroo

Junior Member
Honestly i can't hear much difference between emperor and emperor-x. AFAIK the only difference between the two is the black dot on the center.

Anyway i've already tried all the "classic" heads, ambassador, emperor, etc.
 

octatonic

Senior Member
That Tame Impala song is commercial release.
The 'in room' sound will sound significantly different to the final product as the drums will go through several EQ and compression stages to get to the final sound.

I can hear the compressor working on the snare attack and tail.

I use a CS on my LM400- with a couple of bits of moon gel (3 1/3rd pieces).
It is still 'ringier' than that recording.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Honestly i can't hear much difference between emperor and emperor-x. AFAIK the only difference between the two is the black dot on the center.

Anyway i've already tried all the "classic" heads, ambassador, emperor, etc.
2 x 7.5 mil plies vs 2 x 10 mil plies plus a 5 mil dot and you're not hearing the difference? Suggest you have a much closer listen. The difference is not only apparent, but obvious.

That aside, guys have been making these drum shine with "classic" heads since the early 60's. If you're not feeling it, then it's either a case of tuning skills or unrealistic expectations of what a live, unprocessed, ungated snare drum actually sounds like. If the former, then it's just a matter of trial, error and a little patience until you find a tuning range that suits your ear. If the latter, then it's not gonna matter what drum or head combo you choose, you're still likely to run into the same problem.

Drums seldom sound like they do on recordings. It's a fact worth noting.
 

cangaroo

Junior Member

mikyok

Platinum Member
Thinner the heads the better I find, let the drum sing. Especially with a 400. I prefer Emps or G2s on my 402 but that's just the Bonham in me coming out to play.

Evans Hazy 200 on the resonant and nothing heavier than a Ambassador or G1 on the batter.

Tune the resonant head way up and then tune the top head until you get the sound you want. I've tried double ply heads on a 400 and it doesn't sound right.

The classic sound is more of a played in sound, a played in head sounds better than a fresh head on older drums or older style drums in the case of your 400. I get a fatter and more sensitive sound from 42 strand wires too but that's my preference.
 

octatonic

Senior Member
Yes but that recording is live. The studio version is this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh1-T1HqEJY

Ans yes ... i prefer the snare tone on the live version :)

How are thicknesswise remo CSs compared to other heads ?
Yes, but there will still be compression and EQ on the snare, the entire kit and the mix.
Live doesn't mean they stick a mic in front of it and that is it.
There will be channel compression/EQ on the snare, on the drum bus and then the whole mix is squashed and boosted.
You can hear it.

The CD is basically an Ambassador with a dot.
Tight and punchy is how I would describe it.
 

cangaroo

Junior Member
The classic sound is more of a played in sound, a played in head sounds better than a fresh head on older drums or older style drums in the case of your 400. I get a fatter and more sensitive sound from 42 strand wires too but that's my preference.
My heads are always pretty worn out :eek:)

Anyway i have never tried a 42 strand on the LM400.

I acknowledge from all your suggestions that the common point is having the snare side head very very tightened. I Will work on that, let's see what happens.
 

VitalTransformation

Silver Member
Not a "classic" head, but I prefer the Evans PCRD batter for everything. Tames the lower pitched sustain that can get muddy and interfere with the punch, but retains the higher pitched harmonics that keep the drum sounding open and alive.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I'm on my 3rd Ludwig 5" Snare. I already owned an Acro and a 400 Supra that were just not doing it for me till I came around to a tighter snare sound. Now I crank the hell out of my Acro and my 402 Supra and they sound very good.

For that class Supra tone I found myself really cranking up that reso side, a new battery head did wonders too. I like an Ambassador normally but recently came around to the Fiberskyn.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
I just picked up a late 70's Supra a few weeks ago. I put the Ludwig coated Heavy on the batter, Remo Hazy Ambassador on the reso, and some brand new 16-strand Gibraltar wires. I was amazed how easy this thing was to tune up. A few things to point out:

1. Many swear by the Ludwig heads on their Ludwig snares, so I decided to try it out. Ludwig's head terminology can be misleading. The "Heavy" is 10.5 mil thick (slightly more than the 10 mil Ambassador or G1), and the "Medium" is 7.5 mil (slightly more than a Diplomat batter). So far I'm very happy with it.

2. Snares wires. Again, many swear by Ludwig wires on Ludwig drums. Having recently purchased both Ludwig snare wires and Gibraltar's standard wires, my hunch is they are made side-by-side in the same factory. The construction/quality seems identical; they even have the same "Made in Taiwan" sticker. The only difference appears to be the stamped "ludwig" logo on the Ludwigs. The 16-strand Gibraltars give me plenty of snare on my Supra. Snare sound response is much more a function of head tuning and snare tensioning than of more wires, IMO.

Really, on a 400, I wouldn't go any heavier than the standard 1-plies or the aforementioned CS or PCRD. How are your tuning skills? There's no shame in admitting you may not have the best ears. Have you tried any tuning aids, like the Tune-Bot or iDrumTune?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
1. Many swear by the Ludwig heads on their Ludwig snares, so I decided to try it out. Ludwig's head terminology can be misleading. The "Heavy" is 10.5 mil thick (slightly more than the 10 mil Ambassador or G1), and the "Medium" is 7.5 mil (slightly more than a Diplomat batter). So far I'm very happy with it.

2. Snares wires. Again, many swear by Ludwig wires on Ludwig drums. Having recently purchased both Ludwig snare wires and Gibraltar's standard wires, my hunch is they are made side-by-side in the same factory. The construction/quality seems identical; they even have the same "Made in Taiwan" sticker. The only difference appears to be the stamped "ludwig" logo on the Ludwigs. The 16-strand Gibraltars give me plenty of snare on my Supra. Snare sound response is much more a function of head tuning and snare tensioning than of more wires, IMO.
I think that those are perfect answers for a thread that's ultimately asking "How do I make my Supraphonic sound like a Supraphonic?"

One note: The reason I use a Ludwig reso head on my BB is because Ludwig heads have the correct collar height for Supras. I find that Remos tend to go down to the rim or make the rim bottom out against the butt, and no-colar heads tend to rest too high.

I see a lot of people suggest 42-wire snares, and looking at the drum, I'm not entirely convinced the snare bed is made to accommodate that many wires. I believe you are correct, Gibraltar's factory manufactures the L1929 and L1930 for Ludwig.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
Its going to be nearly impossible for your snare to sound like that - to your ear from behind the kit. The Cocaine snare sound will be sloser to what you might hear acoustically. If you got a 402, you'll hear more body and low end from your snare, from behind the kit, if that's more what you're after.

But you can get to a classic sound by doing classic tuning techniques, and muffling #gasp. Coated Ambassador or Emperor works best.

Your reso snare head should always be as tight as it will go without choking, or nearly there, you have some room to play with it, but tight is the way to go.
Batter head at med high, and you'll be almost there.

Get a felt tone control installed, or tape some tissue paper to your head. Your wallet may be too heavy but its worth a try. Something like Richie Rings with get you closer to that first video.

Check out this video and this snare sound/tuning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mrNjz_U0ZM ~3:00
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
Ludwig Weathermasters did the trick for me after trying a lot of heads. Made the Acro and Supra come alive like magic. May be hard to believe but it's true.
 
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