New reso snare head, now super loud

Mastiff

Senior Member
I have an Acrolite aluminum snare and finally got around to replacing the reso head which was on it since I bought it (used). It was a Ludwig "x-tra light" (or something like that). It looked fine on, but looked quite worn out when removed. I replaced it with an Evans clear 300. Now I notice that the snare is seemingly 10 times louder than before. It's super piercing and swamps out the rest of the kit. Any ideas on this? Is it a worn head thing, or something about the difference between the ones I chose? Maybe tuning? I haven't really played with a lot of gear in my drum life thus far.
 

johnjssmith

Junior Member
It likely was a 2mil thick head, and that together with the age will make an obvious difference in sound and volume compared to a new 3mil thick head.
I'd say the thickness relates to volume more than the wear, which relates more to sensitivity and brightness/tone, though it's hard to say which one makes the biggest difference on either.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
It likely was a 2mil thick head, and that together with the age will make an obvious difference in sound and volume compared to a new 3mil thick head.
I'd say the thickness relates to volume more than the wear, which relates more to sensitivity and brightness/tone, though it's hard to say which one makes the biggest difference on either.
I've been unable to find out a reliable spec for the thickness of that Ludwig head, but I use them, along with the Remo ambassador (usually collarless) snare side head. My impression is they are the same or similar thickness, and I haven't noticed a difference in volume. The clear film of the Ludwig makes them extra crispy and lively, though, and is quite similar to the Remo clear collarless. :) That's why I said they may sound a little different, but wouldn't be noticeably louder, IME.

If the old head was so stretched it couldn't be tightened to the degree the new head can, that could definitely make a difference in the perceived loudness, if not the actual volume.
 

Ron_M

Senior Member
The Ludwig X-tra thin snare-side head is 3 mils, and that's straight from Ludwig. The Evans 300 and the Ludwig are the same thickness, so the issue must be caused by something else. The films are most likely different.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
The films between Ludwig and Evans are most likely different, but it's the high end overtones that fade the most as a snare side head ages, and it just so happens that it's high end overtones that most people perceive as loudness.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's just the head being fresh that made the difference.

On a tangent: if I'm getting more snare rattle in the sound, as opposed to a tight focused hit, would that indicate the reso is too tight or too loose? It could be the snare itself too I suppose, but I've been experimenting with that more and have it pretty tight already. I want to hear the individual hits in my rolls and not just a continuous snare fuzz.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
With everything snare drum it's a little more complicated than that. The amount of snare buzz is related to how tight the snare head is, how tight the wires are, and the pitch relationship between the top and bottom heads. Articulation also comes from how tight the batter head is too.

I always start at the bottom when setting up a snare drum. I usually tune the snare side head to around the G right below A=440, then adjust the wires so they're snug but not tight. Then I tune the batter head for pitch and feel.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Sometimes, though stock snare-side heads are marketed as Ambassador snare-side weight (3mil), they're actually thinner than Ambassadors. The thinner head results in a drier sound with less sympathetic buzz. I've heard several players say that they've liked certain stock snare-side heads more than official Ambassador snare-sides. In those instances, the replacement solution might be the Diplomat snare-side, 2mil instead of 3mil. It delivers a more controlled sound than its Ambassador counterpart.
 
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