snare drum vents : few big vs lots of small

ENRICO

Silver Member
Hi!

I was wondering what would be the difference between two snares (with same shell, hardware , heads , etc) but one with few big snare vents and the other with lost of small vents , with the total surface of the snare being the same .

it's not just a theoretical question , I'm restoring a vintage metal snare drum and I'm going to drill vents on it , but first , I have to figure this out

here a some pics , for :the ones that don't know what the hell I'm talking about , or some drum porn lol
 

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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I am going out on a limb here and say that the size of the holes determines the speed at which the air leaves the drum taking the sustain with it. I am again guessing that the larger holes allow air to leave faster. Some may say that the total area of all holes may offer the same result if the area is the same. And this may be true. I'm not sure if Venturi's principal works on air or not. Maybe some of the the mechanics can answer this. I am only speculating.
My question would be, why are you altering the shell to begin with rather than just refinish it?
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
If you apply speaker design concepts, it wouldn't matter until the hole got so small that the air going though it made noise (known in speakers as port noise). Which in the extreme would cause a whistle.

Air has a compliance to sound. It acts as a spring to the sound waves coming at it. A vent in the side of a drum has a resistance proportional to the mass of air contained in it (the diameter time the depth, boundary flow resistance doesn't really come into play here). Change the mass of the air and you change the compliance or springyness. So, in the original question, it isn't just the surface area of the vents, it is the total mass of air contained within them. All other things being equal, an equivilant mass contained in fewer large vents ought to be the same as more small vents.

Now, those very large vents in some drums are larger than the wavelengths of some overtones. So that may also have an effect. If you have a radiating surface (the pulse of air coming out the vent) larger than the wavelength, it tends to become directional. This may account for the perceived loudness and sharpness of such drums. The sound is more directed and carries more energy in a specific direction (radially out from the drum), as opposed to being distributed uniformly in a sphere.
 

Ian

Silver Member
I think vents take away from the sensitivity and tone of the drum.

If the "vintage" shell has any value I would not put more holes in it.

Why do you want to vent the drum? Most all vintage metal shells are going to be loud enough for just about anything, so what are you going for, especially if you don't know what it will do?

I'd skip it. Every vented snare I've played has been a one trick pony with lots of "white noise" quality and not too much tone quality.

If you want to vent a snare buy an Export snare and experiment with sizes and decide what you like before you do something irreversible on a vintage shell.
 

ENRICO

Silver Member
I think vents take away from the sensitivity and tone of the drum.

If the "vintage" shell has any value I would not put more holes in it.

Why do you want to vent the drum? Most all vintage metal shells are going to be loud enough for just about anything, so what are you going for, especially if you don't know what it will do?

I'd skip it. Every vented snare I've played has been a one trick pony with lots of "white noise" quality and not too much tone quality.

If you want to vent a snare buy an Export snare and experiment with sizes and decide what you like before you do something irreversible on a vintage shell.
hi! the shell is vintage but it doesn't have any real value , I wouldn't do this to a black beauty ,for example.

I want to make some vents in it because I have another metal snare ,so I thougth that if I add vents and put some wood hoops I would have two totally different sounding metal snare drums
 

Ian

Silver Member
You would have some different sounds there, that's for sure.

If you must vent I'd advise starting small. Take a 3/4" to 1" bit and
drill a few to see if you like the change.

Have you ever drilled a drum? Use masking tape to cover the area you are drilling and take it slowly to avoid burning up your bit. Make sure you have a bit that can cut the metal of the shell.
 

ENRICO

Silver Member
You would have some different sounds there, that's for sure.

If you must vent I'd advise starting small. Take a 3/4" to 1" bit and
drill a few to see if you like the change.

Have you ever drilled a drum? Use masking tape to cover the area you are drilling and take it slowly to avoid burning up your bit. Make sure you have a bit that can cut the metal of the shell.
thanks for the advice!
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
I think vents take away from the sensitivity and tone of the drum.

I'd skip it. Every vented snare I've played has been a one trick pony with lots of "white noise" quality and not too much tone quality.
My sentiment exactly.

I'll go one step further and say that I've never played a snare with 'pervasive venting' (my words) that sounded good to my ears. Of course, these are MY ears. ;)

Now, this may be different if I was playing in an extremely loud situation. I can see a pervasively vented drum being of some value in terms of volume and attack. But I don't think you'd ever hear anything other than that. I have great doubts that any vented snare has seen the inside of a professional recording studio. That's just speculation, but....

Like Ian, I believe the white noise sound would increase with bigger holes. A more graduated version of that sound would happen with an increase in smaller holes.

I've personally never seen a vented metal shell snare. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. :)
I'd be ready for a harsher, abrasive sound, especially with a lower grade shell. If you are doing this as an experiment and you don't mind tossing the drum or maybe scavenging the parts for a home made custom build (that's an idea!) then go ahead and report back so we know how things turned out for you.

After laying out my opinions above, I will say that all kinds of new sounds have come about with less than orthodox methods. Do your thing and see how it goes.


Jim
 
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