Reinforcement rings and scientific data: the quest.

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I'm looking for some type of actual measured data, experiment where identical drums w/ the exception of 1 having rings and the other didn't, were mic'd, tested, recorded, sound waves analyzed, etc. to show actual differences in sound caused by the either the absence or presence of the rings.

Now a few things before the responses start:
1. I'm familiar w/ the legacy of why the rings existed in the past (actual reinforcement) and reasons why they're used for today -to focus sound or provide more "attack."

2. I know having the rings allows more variety for bearing edges to be cut and variety of mass of wood against the head.

3. I don't care what personal opinions are regarding them on new or old drums, what someone believes regarding their placement on snares, bass drums, toms, etc.

4. I'm not looking for marketing materials that state rings do a certain thing to the manufacturers drums.

5. With respect to the very talented builders here, I'm not soliciting their knowledge and experience in building drums with or without them and what they've learned through the years.

I know no two drums are identical, let alone two drum sets. I understand the hardware, finish options, heads, tuning, etc. can affect drum sound. What I am looking for is an A-B comparison of two drums or kits from the same manufacturer, same finish (or type of finish), same heads that are tuned the same way (using whichever method: TuneBot Tension Watch, etc), same hardware, same sticks hitting said heads, etc.

I realize this is a tall request to ask people to refrain from offering their opinion on rings since there are several threads on the forum already on them -and believe me, I looked for my answer in those threads and on a couple other forums (with no luck).

So if you know of such an A-B type comparison video or study out there, please let me know. I am especially interested in those that would have images of the sound waves or spectrogram analysis.

For those who are curious as to why I'm looking for such a thing: The discussion of reinforcement rings came up in a discussion with a mechanical engineer and the question of "Well, how is it measured?" came up. Lucky me.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Now a few things before the responses start:
1. I'm familiar w/ the legacy of why the rings existed in the past (actual reinforcement) and reasons why they're used for today -to focus sound or provide more "attack."

I think that you might have a bit of false dichotomy happening there.

Reinforcement rings are for structural reinforcement. I do not believe they "focus sound or provide more attack", they only add mass, which has well understood implications. References to focus and attack are most likely creative marketing.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I think the only true A/B comparison would be to test a drum with rerings, then remove the rerings and run a second test on the same drum.


.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I think the only true A/B comparison would be to test a drum with rerings, then remove the rerings and run a second test on the same drum.


.

Possibly, but the process of removing the re-rings may introduce as many variables as two examples of the same shell construction.

Personally, I would like to see this comparison, too, but I'm not aware of one, and I can't really imagine a manufacturer putting the money into it. It would be nice, though.
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I think that you might have a bit of false dichotomy happening there.

Reinforcement rings are for structural reinforcement. I do not believe they "focus sound or provide more attack", they only add mass, which has well understood implications. References to focus and attack are most likely creative marketing.

Hence why I used the word, "legacy."
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Hence why I used the word, "legacy."

You have the wrong half.... The half that is false is the statement that they're now used "to focus sound or provide more attack."

While I can see a sly advertising department trying to weasel that statement into a GC mailer, I have trouble believing that any major drum manufacturer would add a re-ring to a structurally sound drum for that purpose.
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
You have the wrong half.... The half that is false is the statement that they're now used "to focus sound or provide more attack."

While I can see a sly advertising department trying to weasel that statement into a GC mailer, I have trouble believing that any major drum manufacturer would add a re-ring to a structurally sound drum for that purpose.

Look, I'm not going to argue with you. I'm saying the old legacy is for structural purposes. The modern legacy/reason is, according to advertising, for sound purposes.

If you want to debate rings purpose and modern manufacturing, take it to another thread. I set this one up in an effort to find an A-B type comparison -which is why I didn't post it in one of the other threads.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
You have the wrong half.... The half that is false is the statement that they're now used "to focus sound or provide more attack."

While I can see a sly advertising department trying to weasel that statement into a GC mailer, I have trouble believing that any major drum manufacturer would add a re-ring to a structurally sound drum for that purpose.

I had to go back a ways to find this, but I know that Tama used to market reinforcement hoops (they call them Sound Focus Rings) as an option on their Starclassics. Why? You guessed it, to focus the sound. In fact, they went on to explain that they called them Sound Focus Rings to distinguish them from other makes of thin shells that require rings as reinforcement.

This is a screen shot from an old Tama catalog.
 

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D

drumming sort of person

Guest
I know that Yamaha publishes various sound analyses from time to time when they are comparing different shells, but they don't use any reinforcement rings with their drums, so... never mind.
 

indedrum

Senior Member
Scientific data is REALLY hard to achieve on a drum. The problem is there is just so much going on, you can't really isolate a single variable with any quantitative data. A quarter turn on a tension rod, or striking the head in a slightly different spot will create a totally different audio output.

You could alternatively subject the drum to a frequency sweep and observe the amplitudes of the response to different harmonics, but it is really hard to transfer that data to tell you anything about the functional sound.

I think there is a flawed premise to the OP's quest here also (and something MANY builders don't get about re-rings too). You don't add a re-ring to get something different out of the drum. You add a re-ring to allow you to use a thinner shell. To use the same shell with and without rings defeats the purpose. The reinforcement ring stiffens the shell radially, without stiffening it axially. The "tap test" that is commonly used (thump the bare shell on the side, John Good style) will show a much higher pitch after a re-ring is installed, but that does not represent how a shell vibrates in the context of an assembled drum. That particular mode of vibration is not significantly excited when a drum is struck on the head. The modes that vibrate parallel to the shell's axis are the biggest contributor to the tone of the drum. Using re-rings allows you to leave the drum more flexible in that axis, and stiffens it radially to be usable and durable.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Yes quite correct a re-ring is applied to reinforce the shell. The Tama marketing copy is interesting; marketing is quite different than actual practice. I'd venture to guess that the Tama marketing team was tasked with coming up with a campaign to help sell the drums, and it's not the real reason their engineering and production added re-rings.

It would also be hard to do any sorta testing on identical shells with the only variable being manipulation of re-rings, since most model shells either have them (thin) or don't (thicker/ not required structurally).

There are also not a lot of scientist doing studies of drum shells. Scientific data would require applying scientific method rigorously and controlling all variables. There are not a lot of scientist funded to study drum shells lol. They're off doing more frivolous things like, oh, studying global climate change, DNA, black holes, nuclear particles. Drum shells not so much.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Canopus Drums said:
While developing the R.F.M. series, we first visualized what a maple shell should sound like. The modern maple drum shell has a solid, bright sound, but there are also some shortcomings that we believed could be improved upon. The shell itself does not resonate enough, the mid-range does not sustain enough, and there are often unwanted overtones.

We concluded that it must be possible to develop maple shell drums that maintain the existing desirable traits, yet also address these issues. With this in mind, CANOPUS has moved forward with an ongoing research into maple-shell construction, closely examining problems that arise as we experiment. For example, when we make a thin shell for greater resonance, we lose sustain and cannot feel the power of the drum. We know this through our experience and accumulated observations.

Reinforcement quickly drew our attention as a means to achieve a better sound. Reinforcement was originally meant to reinforce the shells, but we decided to use it proactively as a tool to shape tone. Through rigorous testing of all combinations in width, thickness and numbers of ply we have established our unique approach to reinforcing shells. Depending on a shell’s diameter and depth, we utilize different reinforcement construction as well as different shell construction. The result is our R.F.M. series that has a bright, solid sound with enough mid-range tone and resonance. We achieved a fantastic core drum sound as well; our maple drums have a wide tuning range, plenty of resonance and an excellent balance with the drum-set. We highly recommend our maple drums for all genres of music.

RFM-shell.jpg


http://canopusdrums.com/en/product/rfm-series/
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I also eventually found the Tama stuff about 3 pages into google and dismissed it as marketing hokum. The Canopus stuff is interesting in that it is still used for reinforcement in the classic sense, but they're changing the attributes of the ring (Depth/Width) in order to affect the sound.

Lee, I wasn't trying to poop in your Cheerios... But when someone says "They say Blah", and I can't find anyone actually saying "Blah" with a fair amount of searching, I call it.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
....."we first visualized what a maple shell should sound like. The modern maple drum shell has a solid, bright sound, but there are also some shortcomings that we believed could be improved upon. The shell itself does not resonate enough, the mid-range does not sustain enough, and there are often unwanted overtones"...

I could have saved them a lot of R&D time and money. Solution: build a 6 ply Gretsch 1960's era shell. It sounds like what a drum should sound like. Amazing so much modern bull, when drum makers got it right 50 years ago: Ludwig Acrolite, Gretsch 6 ply shells, Slingerland Radio King snares.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
The Tama marketing copy is interesting; marketing is quite different than actual practice. I'd venture to guess that the Tama marketing team was tasked with coming up with a campaign to help sell the drums, and it's not the real reason their engineering and production added re-rings.

I'd maybe buy that explanation if the Sound Focus Rings weren't an optional feature. But since you could order the shells without the re-rings (same shell thickness either way), then clearly they weren't required for structural integrity. That's why I specifically searched for the Tama literature, as I distinctly remembered them having those rings as an option. So if they weren't needed structurally, then there had to be some reason why they were offered. So I'm guessing there's some truth to the sonic claim.

BTW, I work in advertising, and I write a lot of stuff like this (though mostly for the financial and automotive industries, not drums). Everything I write has to be based on facts, and everything is thoroughly vetted. We never just "come up with something" out of thin air.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Simon Philips starclassic have re-rings. He likes lively sounding drums.
I have re ring on almost all my drums, I don't know precisely what it does, I just like the sound, a lot ; there were Signia without re ring but I never played or heard them.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
....."we first visualized what a maple shell should sound like. The modern maple drum shell has a solid, bright sound, but there are also some shortcomings that we believed could be improved upon. The shell itself does not resonate enough, the mid-range does not sustain enough, and there are often unwanted overtones"...

I could have saved them a lot of R&D time and money. Solution: build a 6 ply Gretsch 1960's era shell. It sounds like what a drum should sound like. Amazing so much modern bull, when drum makers got it right 50 years ago: Ludwig Acrolite, Gretsch 6 ply shells, Slingerland Radio King snares.

Geez, I dunno, I'm thankful there are more than just that. I own and love old drums, but am also thankful for new technology and developments that often make for even better drums. I'd agree to not to read into too much, or maybe not read at all...and rather use them ole' ears as to what works for me.
I'll go with the Inde post on here. Nothing like a drum builder to know the physics of drums.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Whiole Gretsch is what I want and like the most, quite a lot beause of the tone that cuts through it's good that it's not the only option.

Now, Star Classics are as far as I know very much inspired by Gretsch, but they're not the same either. The new Star drums, too. Similar but different.

Usually when I play a decent house kit its a Yamaha. I don't think they could make a bad drum if they tried.

My chooice is boring, but I still think it would be a boring world if that was the only choice.
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
I have two Keller shells stripped down right now. Both are 10 X 8 maple and very thin. One is six ply 3/16" with no rings, the other (a DW Collectors) is a five ply 5/32" with three ply rings. Now given what we know about the relation of mass to pitch the five ply shell should have a lower fundamental, but it it is in fact higher. We know that modern ply shells do not require rings for the purpose of added strength. So raising the pitch of the shell is the likely reason for rings. Raising the pitch without losing or changing the resonance of a thin shell. When these two drums are headed and tuned they sound extremely similar. I tune to the fundamental so the ringed shell is higher, but tonally they are very close. If they were tuned to the same note, with the same heads and mic'd/recorded, I doubt sincerely that there would be much if any discernible difference.
 
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