Tama SLP Dry Aluminum vs Acrolite?

I know used Acrolites are always great value... but that SLP is pretty great value for a new snare.

See, Long & McQuade often has the SLP on discount, which only makes it slightly more expensive than a clean used Acrolite... except it comes with a MUCH better throw-off (I have an SLP Fat Spruce and the throw-off is just superb), screws won't be rusted, hoops won't be twisted, etc.

Only Acrolite I ever go to test drive was the 6.5" version with 10 lugs, it was basically a slightly drier Supra for not much less money. I played the Tama a few times, and every demo of it online it just magnificent.

So... how about it?
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Given that the shell is spun (i.e., seamless), I think the sonics have more to do with the hardware, drum dimensions and heads than just the shell. I’ve played an Acrolite on several occasions and really liked its dry sound, but the throw-off was a disappointment. So, being a Tama fanboi, I bought a Starphonic Aluminum and was immediately smitten by its sound. It worked well in the rock/blues band I was with at the time.

Then Tama introduced the SLP aluminum. Shallower depth, 8 lugs, triple-flange hoops. I wondered why Tama would introduce a second beer can snare, so I bought one and made this comparison. Given that this simple comparison reveals that much sonic difference, I suggest you try out an Acrolite and and SLP Aluminum.

Then go with the SLP. ;)
 
Given that this simple comparison reveals that much sonic difference, I suggest you try out an Acrolite and and SLP Aluminum.

Then go with the SLP. ;)
Hahaha, I see what you did there

I do prefer to try for myself, but so far no luck in getting an Acro and an SLP in the same room. I can only find used Acros (usually beaten up, rusted and/or overpriced) and brand new SLPs (because of course who would want to get rid of theirs?)
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
I had a 70's acrolite and hated the throw off assembly and strings too. I bought the SLP dry aluminum and enjoy it more. Soundwise they are very similar but I never had them side by side to do a true A B comparison. But I am very very happy with the Tama.
Especially in Canada, we don't do the drum line thing really here so Acrolites are pretty expensive and not common to find like the US.
 

Jml

Senior Member
Own the Tama SLP Dry Aluminum. Terrific snare. I was looking for a metal snare, and this was the one for me after trying dozens of others in that price range. I use it for everything.
 
Update to my original post. So last week I went to a Long & McQuade and tried a bunch of different snares and the SLP Dry Aluminum really stood out for me so I decided to get it... but since they discount them by about 80$ at least twice a year I decided to wait until the next sale.

In the meantime, a 1968 Acrolite (Chicago Keystone badge) showed up locally, with a new P85 on it... so... I bought it. Saved myself an extra 150$ too and it sounds amazing. Early version with no powder coating (and 1.6mm hoops originally, don't know if these are the originals, they'd be 50 years old now)

Anyway, what I found is that it sounds a lot more "open" than any Tama snare I've tried or owned. Not as in more ring, but as if nothing is preventing the full range of frequencies from coming out of the drum. It feels free and natural. Amazed also at how much tuning range there is from low to medium, if anything it's the top end of the tuning range that is surprisingly not that great (it chokes rapidly when you try to crank it... I do have the X version of the Controlled Sound on it right now). But I'm not Carter Beauford so I'm more interested in the medium range anyway.

It had some cheap set of snare wires that just said "Made in Taiwan" on them, so I put a Puresound Super 30 on it (bought it for my Tama Fat Spruce snare didn't like it on that) and oh boy it's a beast now.

So yeah... the Tama is definitely a great option, but when you get a chance to procure a piece of history that works and sounds great, and it cheaper, the choice is easy :)

At least the Acrolite will always keep some value.
 

One Up One Down

Senior Member
Hey, I'm glad it all worked out and you're happy with it. I recently got a '71 acrolite on ebay, really happy with it too. I wish they were more common in Canada too but I paid CDN$197.50 for it and I think it's well worth it.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Everyone seems to bag on the P85 throw-off, and I'm not sure why. Sure, it's not the most elegant throw-off I've ever seen on a snare, but it gets the job done, especially if you have a newer model that utilizes a standard strap-type setup and not the one where you have to thread the strings through.

Maybe I'm a weird one, but I almost NEVER turn my snares off - I leave them on all the time unless something I'm playing calls for using a snare with the snares off.

I hear people talk about breaking snare wires all the time too. In 15 years of drumming (I started at age 33) I have never broken a single snare wire, and there was a period of time where I was packing up and setting up my gear 3-4 times a week. Could it be that the people who break snare wires do so when the snares are off and flopping about loose, and then they catch on something?

Getting back to the P85 throw, once I've got the tension dialed in, I pretty much set it and forget it - I've never understood all of the hate.

On a related side note, on one snare project I made, I spend a lot of extra dough and picked up a Trick 3 position throw-off. I have never been enamored with it, especially considering how much money it cost. The very next snare project I built, I went back to using this very basic throw that I've had good luck with in the past, and is considerably less expensive - I think I paid somewhere between $15-$20 for it.

 
Hey, I'm glad it all worked out and you're happy with it. I recently got a '71 acrolite on ebay, really happy with it too. I wish they were more common in Canada too but I paid CDN$197.50 for it and I think it's well worth it.
Indeed. I've been monitoring Kijiji and Facebook groups for a while and everyone with an Acrolite seems to think they hold a trophy and asks ridiculous price for them.

197.50$ is a good price. When I was travelling the US last year I would stop at every music store I could find on the way and almost every one had an Acrolite for 120-150$USD, but typically they'd be less desirable versions with worn-out throw off. Once you convert that to CAD$ you're getting close to what you paid for yours. IIRC yours is pre-powdercoating which is more desireable.

I see these stories of 25$ Goodwill Acrolites all the time, alas I've never found anything interesting at a Goodwill or yard sale.
 
Everyone seems to bag on the P85 throw-off, and I'm not sure why. Sure, it's not the most elegant throw-off I've ever seen on a snare, but it gets the job done, especially if you have a newer model that utilizes a standard strap-type setup and not the one where you have to thread the strings through.
This 68 Acrolite I just got has a brand new P85 on it and to be fair it works fairly well.

But compared to the dual tension throw off on my Tama SLP Fat Spruce (an affordable snare), it just makes no sense that arguably the best snare drum manufacturer in the world would use something that seems to come from an 80's stencil kit as the throw-off. The new P85AC at least look better, but when I had a 2016 Supra it would randomly switch off after a big hit and that was really annoying. So far the new but old design P85 is working well on the Acro.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
It’s really tough to not like the SLP snares. Quality and value all the way. Just like cbphhoto suggested. Compare the Acrolite and SLP, then go Starphonic and call it done. Everything about the hardware on the Starphonic is superior. Not one ounce of senseless innovation on those. Then there’s the sound....and price.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Acrolites aren't for everyone. I drank the Acrolite Kool-Aid. I had a 67 model and IMO it was one of the least satisfying drums I played. Sold it with a 66 Ludwig set I had. I also had a new 14 x 6.5 Acro w/ 10 lugs. I didn't really like that either. I sold it to Karl Crafton. I do like the Supra though. Which is strange to me.
 
Acrolites aren't for everyone. I drank the Acrolite Kool-Aid. I had a 67 model and IMO it was one of the least satisfying drums I played. Sold it with a 66 Ludwig set I had. I also had a new 14 x 6.5 Acro w/ 10 lugs. I didn't really like that either. I sold it to Karl Crafton. I do like the Supra though. Which is strange to me.
For sure, every body is different. Had an LM402 previously and loved it but struggled a bit to get it where I wanted. The '68 Acrolite though, I quickly found the sweet spot for me and I'm enjoying it more than I did the Supra. It's not the perfect snare though, I still need something deeper and warmer to add to the selection. But I feel like this is a snare I can take to most gigs and be ready for anything.

It's sort of like the vanilla cake of snares, the Zildjian New Beat of snares if you will. Not always the best choice, but rarely a bad choice.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
I hate the P85. Sure it's minimalist which is cool but it's also barely functional. And can we talk about the screws? How obstinate do you have to be as a company to flatly refuse to keep up with the times by swapping them out for drum key bolts?

Great drums are only as great as their hardware and a P85 on a $800 Black Beauty is like a hand crank on a Porsche...
 
I hate the P85. Sure it's minimalist which is cool but it's also barely functional. And can we talk about the screws? How obstinate do you have to be as a company to flatly refuse to keep up with the times by swapping them out for drum key bolts?

Great drums are only as great as their hardware and a P85 on a $800 Black Beauty is like a hand crank on a Porsche...
Well the good news is that as of 2016 they are using the new P85AC on new snares, which uses drum key bolts.

It still feels out of place on a $800 Black Beauty though
 

trickg

Silver Member
Regarding the sound of the Acrolite, I used one for a bit, and although I was never enamored with the sound acoustically, there was no denying how good it sounded mic'ed up.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I hate the P85. Sure it's minimalist which is cool but it's also barely functional. And can we talk about the screws? How obstinate do you have to be as a company to flatly refuse to keep up with the times by swapping them out for drum key bolts?

Great drums are only as great as their hardware and a P85 on a $800 Black Beauty is like a hand crank on a Porsche...
I have two Ludwig snares. One is an aluminium Standard with a P85, which I've never particularly minded (seeing as I grew up with P83s and P85s), and the other is a Black Magic with a throw similar to the import throw trickG posted, except in black. To be honest, both do their jobs. I think about the no-drumkey-bolts thing every once in a blue moon when adjusting the snares or changing the reso head, but other than that it works just fine.

I think part of the P85 antipathy comes from how many folks get used drums with badly maintained or bent P85s that don't work well.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I think part of the P85 antipathy comes from how many folks get used drums with badly maintained or bent P85s that don't work well.
My Acrolite was a drum I picked up used at Guitar Center - I got both the drum and the stand it was sitting on for $30. It was dirty - the hoops and lugs were covered with surface rust, (Some of the nipples on a few lugs had broken off, and there was enough pitting on the lugs that I chose not to use them) the snare wires were crusted with rust, and the heads were unusable, but the shell itself was in great shape. But, like you mentioned, the throw was also in pretty rough shape as well - it would hang when turning it back on, so I replaced it with a new P85, which works perfectly.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
I think part of the P85 antipathy comes from how many folks get used drums with badly maintained or bent P85s that don't work well.
I think that's true, but also just piles on the critique: that they are flimsy and easily bent when most other strainers can take the same abuse. I also developed a dislike for them early on as I learned on a Supra and was taught that in order to engage the snares one had to simultaneously pull them up while moving the lever... even at age 12 that seemed very... inefficient.

Anyway I do agree that one only deals with the screws once in a while but it's that moment of urgent repair where this is very annoying. For instance, if the snare wire cord breaks and you need to fix it; it's very likely a drummer will have a drum key on hand due to all of the other parts of a drum set that utilize it regularly, far less likely they will have a screwdriver on hand due to all of the other parts of a drum set that do not. It just makes sense to go with the flow and for that I have to rag on Ludwig.

That said, I do plan to get the P88ac as soon as I can. Now to get a tap & die set, because they couldn't get that right. Two steps forward...
 

KEEF

Senior Member
....go Starphonic and call it done. Everything about the hardware on the Starphonic is superior. Not one ounce of senseless innovation on those. Then there’s the sound....and price.
I recently bought the starphonic..... my 3x the price DW bnob has not been on the stand since. Very versatile for an aluminium ,wide tuning range, great snares off sound, and as AZH states, quality is un-questionable and a fantastic price. VERY hard to find used - and that says a lot!
 
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