Supraphonic vs. Black Beauty

tml_fan_5@hotmail.com

Senior Member
hey guys, i was just wondering if anyone knew what (besides the colour) is the difference between a Black Beauty and Supraphonic. I am assuming what the shell is made of, and how they sound, but i am not too familiar with Black beauties, so i was wondering if someone could enlighten me.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Supraphonic= The style of snare strainer.
Black Beauty= Brass spun shell with black nickel plating
Chrome over aluminum (often referred to as a supra) = Ludalloy. Ludwig's patented aluminum alloy shell.

If you do a search on Youtube, there are some videos demonstrating the difference in sound between those shell materials.
 

willieboy_sf

Senior Member
So just to further help out the original poster - this is why it's confusing:

A Black Beauty (which is nickel over brass) can have a Supraphonic strainer, but for some reason they are never called "Supraphonics." They are called Black Beauties.

A Ludalloy (chrome over aluminum) or a Ludwig chrome over brass ("LB" series) are often referred to as "Supraphonics" even if they don't have the Supraphonic strainer.

A bronze Ludwig snare can also have the Supraphonic strainer, but in my experience, these are not often called "Supraphonics."

I don't know how this happened, but many people simply refer to Ludwig's chrome plated seamless snares as "Supraphonics." This is what causes the term to be confusing.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I don't know how this happened, but many people simply refer to Ludwig's chrome plated seamless snares as "Supraphonics." This is what causes the term to be confusing.

Same reason people incorrectly refer to typefaces as fonts, yet it's universally accepted. People have disregard for the nomenclature.

A Black Beauty has a different sound than a Supra. With a brass shell, it's more focused, maybe a little richer or warmer. A Supra - aluminum shell - tends to have a little more 'bark' and may sound more open. Both are terrific rock snares, my preference is the Black Beauty (6.5".)

But note that the current Black Beauties aren't simply old COBs that are black. The early '60s brass shelled Supras had slightly thicker shells, with an even better sound than today's BBs. So the most-sought-after Ludwig brass drum were those older Supras with the seamless shell.

Note also that the transition badge version of the Supras were welded shells, so they were yet another sound. Great drums, but not as in-demand as the roughly '61-'64 models. FYI, probably my favorite recording snare is a '63 6.5" COB, it just sounds killer.

Bermuda
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Supraphonic= The style of snare strainer.
Black Beauty= Brass spun shell with black nickel plating
Chrome over aluminum (often referred to as a supra) = Ludalloy. Ludwig's patented aluminum alloy shell.

If you do a search on Youtube, there are some videos demonstrating the difference in sound between those shell materials.

Just to clarify.There is no such thing as a Supraphonic strainer.Ludalloy spun aluminum,one piece shell,chrome plated snare drums models LM-400 5 1'/2x14,and LM-402 6 1/2x14 were introduced in the 64 Ludwig catalog as Supraphonics with a P-83 Strainer.The P-83 strainer was also used on the Acrolite,the Pioneer,Jazzfest.Ludwig Standard , and some marching snare drums.What defined the Supraphonic was the shell material..not the strainer.
The P-83 strainer was replaced with the P-85 strainer 69-70 and was used on all the models listed above as well.
The modern Black Beauty,did not make its reappearence till the 70's,which was a one piece spun brass black nickle plated shell,using the P-85 strainer.The same P-85 used on all of the above snare drums and most Vistalite snare drums.
Till the 80's the only snare drums that were considered Supraphonics were chrome plated Ludalloy(aluminum) using the P-85 strainer in common with neary all snare models.At some point Ludwig started calling almost metal shelled snare drums,Supraphonics,with the exception of the Black Beauty,but the ALL used P-85 strainers at that point in time,untill replaced by the P-86.The only exception to the rule was the Supersensitive which used the P-88 or P-70 Strainer.

So actually the only difference between a Black Beauty and a Supraphonic is the finish.Supras come in different materials such as Ludalloy,brass,bronze,and steel with some chrome plated (with some 70's chrome over brass models out there),but the Black Beauty is nickle over brass only,using the same strainers as Supras.

Steve B
 
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Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I stand corrected. Thank you for the good education and clarification on that.

Now if I could just find a new Ludwig die cast batter hoop for my snare drum...
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Now if I could just find a new Ludwig die cast batter hoop for my snare drum...

I'd been thinking that for years JB. I recently found Luddy cast hoops on Aussie ebay and pounced on 'em. I threw them on my BB last week. Man does it focus the sound. I don't hate it, but the jury is most definitely still out. It does seem to take away much of what makes the BB such a 'beauty'.

I'm guessing all I've effectively done is make my Black Beauty sound exactly like every other World Max or Pork Pie or any other Black Beauty knock off that's available. Whether they remain on it remains to be seen.....probably not though to be honest. I'll certainly try them on my hammered bronze too, but have a feeling that would just dry out an already dry sounding drum a lot more than I care for. And I just can't bring myself to throw them on my 402....I love that drum exactly for what it is, but who know's...I may just give it a shot yet. So I guess after years of wondering, I've figured out they may not be all beer and skittles.

What drum did you have in mind for the cast hoops?
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I just put some old Tama die cast hoops on my BB knock-off last week and have played on it twice. The first time was terrible, but I didn't really have time to tune it up properly. The second practice with it I took 10 minutes and dialed it in better but it was still lacking with the band. A little more tweaking and I found a sweet spot, but it still wasn't as nice as the 2.3mm S-Hoops that were on it before.

I put those die casts on the 402 one time and hated it right away. I've been using S-Hoops on both snares for many months now and I think they're the ticket. I think the stock Ludwig 1.6s, although classic, are just a little thin sounding to my ears.

Next practice, I'm going to take the S-Hoops off of the snare sides of both snares. I think they're probably not necessary, but soon I'll know for sure. What I do know is that snare side heads get a lot more tension than batters and the S-Hoop inner edge pulls down all the way until it makes contact with the drumhead, which seems like a problem!

I do like them on the batters, though.
 
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Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I think the stock Ludwig 1.6s, although classic, are just a little thin sounding to my ears.

That poses my next question. I'm sure I've read somewhere that Ludwig replaced the 1.6 hoops with 2.3.....am I right, wrong or simply dreaming? As far as I can recall, that move was the guilty culprit in causing the lug splay....dreaded by some, not given a second's thought by me.

Anyone got the skinny? Tama....anyone else? Curious now.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
That poses my next question. I'm sure I've read somewhere that Ludwig replaced the 1.6 hoops with 2.3.....am I right, wrong or simply dreaming? As far as I can recall, that move was the guilty culprit in causing the lug splay....dreaded by some, not given a second's thought by me.

Anyone got the skinny? Tama....anyone else? Curious now.

I remember reading something similar,but i can't remember where,but the concern was with drums that had tube lugs.I don't remember their being a problem with imperial or bow tie lugs,because of spring inserts.The 2.3mm hoops were a knee jerk reaction I think,since all the other drum companies were supplying their drums with thicker rims.I think they focus the sound a little more also,so i'll stick to my 1.6mm,COB rims thank you

Steve B
 

Mr.L

Senior Member
Supraphonic vs. Black Beauty...
Dealing with apples and oranges I'd say! Both great drums, it just comes down to what you like.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Supraphonic vs. Black Beauty...
Dealing with apples and oranges I'd say! Both great drums, it just comes down to what you like.

+1 on this.
Both sound great.
My original BB was purchased with the UFO hoops.
The hoops were HEAVY. wish I still had them though.

The drum sounded really solid and could be tuned down as low as you'd ever want 9as well as tight).

But, when I put standard triple flange hoops on it, it opened up and I liked the sound of the drum a lot more than I did before.

I've had single flange and claws on the 2 Brass BB's and those were great too.

Have some COB Tama Mighty hoops and those sound pretty nice...

Using different hoops is a great way to change things up, and not break the bank buying drums.

I'm good with all my snares with 2.3's or 1.6's TBH.
Not that much difference IMO. I get the sound I want out of the 402 and out of the BB's.
The straight hoops and claws (Pearl, with the rim things too) was a cool look with the tubes, and the sound was solid, but I like the crack and 'tonk' tone I can get with regular hoops.

The 402 only has "that sound" when it has regular hoops to me.

I actually love the sound of the 402, but playing it, for me, it feels kinda light.
No other way to describe it, it just feels light under the sticks and the Brass and Bronze drums don't, so I use them 90% more than the 402.

Love the sound of a 400 when other drummers use it, but it doesn't do it for me on most stuff I do either.
....Like it's "a tragedy" that I'm stuck using a 6.5 Black Beauty hahahaha!
 

mrmike

Silver Member
The aluminum shell is drier than the brass shell but both models record like a dream. Other manufactures make some nice metal snares but these two models are at the top of many recording engineer's list.
I own about 10 name model snares and could be happy with these four (6.5 and 5).
If I could only have two I would keep the 6.5's and if only one it would be the Supra.
 
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