The ALUMINUM Snare thread.

MetallicaItalian

Senior Member
I'm thinking about a new snare drum soon. I absolutely love the sound I can get from my Ludwig LM404 Aluminum Acrolite 5" x 14" snare with triple-flanged hoops and 8 lugs. I have had this thing since elementary school concert band and now use it for a prog metal band with an Evans ST Dry head. The hardware is really starting to fail though and as much as I'd like to and probably will replace it I wanted to see what other aluminum options are out there. It seems to be the only material I can get a TON of attack and projection out of without excessive hard to control overtones. I find the aluminum snares incredibly versatile as well. I love the dryness of aluminum.



So basically this is a thread to discuss your experience with particular aluminum snares or their sound in general and their qualities versus other materials. Which is your favorite aluminum snare? If other metals like brass or steel are your thing, why are you more drawn to them than other aluminum shells you've had experience with?

Though aluminum seems to be a relatively popular shell choice there seem to be less options than other metals like steel or brass. I have had experience with some of these models though not necessarily with my preferred heads/tuning which is another reason why I ask for your input. I am interested in the shallower models for attack.


The aluminum options are (beside the acrolite):


Pearl Ultracast:

Shell: 3mm Cast Aluminum
Stock Hoops: Triple-Flanged
Lugs: 10
Preferred Dimensions: 5" x 14"


Pearl Sensitone Elite

Shell: 1.2mm Seamless Aluminum
Stock Hoops: Triple-Flanged
Lugs: 10
Preferred Dimensions: 5" x 14"


Pearl Tico Torres Signature (not considering)

Shell: 3mm Cast Aluminum
Stock Hoops: Die-Cast
Lugs: 10
Dimensions: 14” x 6.5”


Ludwig Supra-Phonic

Smooth OR Hammered
Shell Thickness: Same as Acrolite?
Stock Hoops: Triple-Flanged
Lugs: 10
Preferred Dimensions: 5" x 14"


Yamaha SD-3455/6

Shell: 2.0mm Aluminum
Stock Hoops: Triple-Flanged
Lugs: 10
Preferred Dimensions: 5.5" x 14"

Tama Starphonic Aluminum

Shell: 1.2mm Seamless Aluminum
Stock Hoops: Die-Cast
Lugs: 10
Dimensions: 6" x 14"


Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic Cast Aluminum Snare

Shell: Cast Aluminum, Thickness?
Stock Hoops: Die-Cast
Lugs: 10
Preferred Dimensions: 4.75" x 14"


DW Collector's Aluminum

Knurled and Smooth finishes
Shell: Aluminum, 3mm/5mm at edges
Hoops: Die-Cast OR Triple-Flanged
Lugs: 10
Preferred Dimensions: 5.5" x 14"


Gretsch G-4160SA

Shell: Solid Aluminum, Thickness?
Stock Hoops: Die-Cast
Lugs: 8
Dimensions: 5" x 14"


UDRUM Cherry Bomb:



Spaun Aluminum

Shell: 1/8" thick Aluminum
Stock Hoops: Die-Cast
Lugs: ?
Preferred Dimensions: 5" x 14"


ddrum Heavy Hitter

http://www.ddrum.com/heavyhitter.php


ddrum Louis

http://www.ddrum.com/louisalmn.php


I am not particularly interested in the ddrum models because of their depth but inculded them for reference.


I have remaining questions about certain variables.


How do hoops (triple-flaged vs. die-cast) effect sound and feel?

What effect doe shell thickness have on sound? I hear wonderful things about the Pearl Ultracast but I worry with the thicker shell I may not be able to get some of the resonance I can out of my Acrolite. I like minimal, controlled overtones, rather than none at all. Then again I know little about drums.
What are the sound differences between a smooth and hammered shell?


People can't seem to praise the Ludwig Supra-Phonics enough but at the same time despise their hardware

At this point, I'm leaning toward the Sensitone for it's similar construction to my current Acrolite but superior hardware to the Ludwigs and the 2 additional lugs. The Yamaha seems to be almost identical to the Supra-Phonic and Sensitones as well.

If I ended up with a Sensitone would I want to get Die-Cast hoops for it?
 
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W

wy yung

Guest
Here is mine. It's a great drum. Very good price too. I recomend it.

 

RobertM

Platinum Member
I believe you can put orders in for them now, finally. I inquired about them back in August, and I was told that orders could be taken and that they would hit shelves in September / October.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
How do hoops (triple-flaged vs. die-cast) effect sound and feel?
Die cast will alter the ratio between attack and sustain. The attack will be stronger and the drum a little drier. Also, the rimshots are almost painful and stand out a lot more.

I've experimented with 4 different hoops on my Supra: triple flanged in both 1.6mm and 2.3mm, S-Hoops (another 2.3mm triple flange with a twist), and die cast.

I thought the 1.6mm (stock Ludwig) were too weak and the die casts were too harsh. I flipped a coin and chose the S-Hoops because I liked the 2.3s and was feeling adventurous. I like them a lot.


What effect doe shell thickness have on sound? I hear wonderful things about the Pearl Ultracast but I worry with the thicker shell I may not be able to get some of the resonance I can out of my Acrolite. I like minimal, controlled overtones, rather than none at all. Then again I know little about drums
Dunno.

What ere the sound differences between a smooth and hammered shell.
The hammered drums are dryer.

People can't seem to praise the Ludwig Supra-Phonics enough but at the same time despise their hardware.
That would be me! But I also like the Art Deco Imperial lugs. Hardware is upgradable and worth it if the shell is really nice.

At this point, I'm leaning toward the Sensitone for it's similar construction to my current Acrolite but superior hardware to the Ludwigs and the 2 additional lugs. The Yamaha seems to be almost identical to the Supra-Phonic and Sensitones as well.
The only other thing you should consider among all the non-cast aluminums is whether they are seamless or not. I have a Sensitone brass and it isn't seamless. I don't think the aluminum is either, but I know the Acrolites and Supras are. Given the choice, I'd take the seamless. I may upgrade to a Black Beauty someday because of that alone

If I ended up with a Sensitone would I want to get Die-Cast hoops for it?
Sensitones come standard with 2.3mm hoops are are perfect for that drum, IMO.
 
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RobertM

Platinum Member
The thicker shell usually means less resonance but increased volume and projection. The Pearl Ultracast and N&C Alloy Classic will fit this category at 3 mm thick, along with your uDrum Cherry Bomb, which I believe is also 3 mm thick.

To me, the thicker shells sound tighter and less airy/ringy, but they have more a punch to them.

If you want to go with Ludwig but hate the hardware, then just contact Mike McGraw, a forum member. He designed a retroplate that will allow you to get rid of the Ludwig p-85 throw and replace it with either a Dunnett or Trick throw.

By the way, what's the scoop with uDrum? How long have they been around? Is their Cherry Bomb aluminum a solid, cast shell, or is it welded?
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Very timely thread for me, as I happen to be shopping for a new aluminum snare. One of the drums on my short list is the Peace SD-503 - 5x13, aluminum hoops and lugs:



Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get my hands/eyes/ears on one of these in person--wondering if anyone out there has??

spleen
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
MikeM/RobertM:

Thanks for all of the helpful info!

I think the Sensitones ARE seamless aluminum shells.

From musiciansfriend: "Seamless aluminum with a dry, naturally- EQd sound."

I am still torn between the Sensitone Elite and the Supra-Phonic (both 5" x 14" ).
Considering getting one and upgrading the hardware getting S-Hoops. I would have to make a decision between hammered and smooth for the Ludwig. Now I have an idea of their sonic differences another wuation would be, which is more versatile or at least better suited for prog metal?

Hardware aside, does anybody have experience with both of these drums comparatively? Based upon what I've read with same heads and tuning these two are hard to tell apart. Some seem to say the Sensitone is more SENSitive. If they are so similar maybe the Pearl would be the wiser choice for its superior hardware.

I'd rather have overtones I can fully control with the right head than a thicker drum that wouldn't provide sufficient overtones. How considerable iss the projection/attack gain from a thicker shell? I find my Acrolite to be more than adequate in volume and attack with JUST the right amount of overtones with an ST Dry head.

What is advantageous about a seamless shell?

Too bad these aluminum drums are so boring looking though their sound will more than compensate. I'll miss my black galaxy finish haha.
First, the Pearl Sensitone Aluminum is seamless--it states this on the Web page for the Sensitone Aluminum snare. Not sure technically what makes the seamless shell stand out over the welded shell. Just about every brass, bronze, and copper snare out there these days is now a welded shell, save the higher-end Ludwigs and the aluminum Sensitones, Yamahas, etc. For some reason, the aluminum is easier to get seamless.

If you need sound files to compare, try visiting Indoor Storm (http://www.indoorstorm.com). The drum manager there, Barry, is a great guy and he puts up sound files of the actual equipment they have on hand. Since you are into aluminum, here are some files you may find useful for comparison research:

1. GMS Freddie Holliday Signature snare, 5.5x14 cobalt blue aluminum shell (has die-cast hoops, machine-cut bearing edges):

http://www.indoorstorm.com/Gms_Snare_Drum_Freddie_Holiday_Signature_Series_55x14-p-4139.html

2. GMS Special Edition aluminum snare, 5.5x14 (has triple flanged hoops, machine-cut bearing edges):

http://www.indoorstorm.com/Gms_Se_Snare_Drum_Aluminum_Shell_55x14-p-5026.html

3. Trick Aluminum snare, 6x14 (seamless shell, machine-cut bearing edges):

http://www.indoorstorm.com/Trick_Drums_Snare_Drum_14_Rpm_Aluminum_Shell-p-2615.html

4. Gretsch Cast Aluminum snare (3 mm thick):

http://www.indoorstorm.com/Gretsch_Snare_Drum_Cast_Aluminum_Usa_5x14_G4160sa-p-3263.html

5. Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic (3 mm cast aluminum, machine-cut bearing edges), 6x14:

http://www.indoorstorm.com/Noble_Cooley_Snare_Drum_Alloy_Classic_14_Natural_Black_Hardware-p-2837.html

6. Taye Aluminum Alloy (6 mm thick) with wood hoops, 6x14:

http://www.indoorstorm.com/Taye_Snare_Drum_Wood_Hoop_Aluminum_Alloy_14x6-p-4658.html

The following files come from Shane's Drum Shop in New Hampshire:

7. Ludwig Supra-phonic 5x14 seamless aluminum (folded bearing edges):

http://www.youtube.com/drumcenternh#play/uploads/4/yojTdlk8wo8

8. Ludwig Supra-phonic 6.5x14 seamless aluminum:

http://www.youtube.com/drumcenternh#play/uploads/5/hWepMLBfkvM

9. Ludwig Supra-phonic 5x14 hammered seamless aluminum:

http://www.youtube.com/drumcenternh#play/uploads/3/ws8liy6uqyY

10. N&C Alloy Classic 6x14--another sound file but from Memphis Drum Shop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CccKkQnoNYU&feature=channel

11. DW Aluminum Wrinkle 6x14 snare:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL1t4aOyNIw&feature=channel

Hope these sound files help--I always search for stuff like this to help make decisions.

Happy drum hunting!
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
For the Peace snares, contact Noel at Heartbeat Percussion in Canada. He is very friendly and specializes in a lot of Peace drums.

For forum members who use Peace extensively, contact Stan "Steamer" (he uses a Peace Bubinga kit and swears by his Peace Bronze snare) or Nick Masoni (I think I got his name right).
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I think the Sensitones ARE seamless aluminum shells.
You are correct, my bad. I was thinking of the brass shells
I am still torn between the Sensitone Elite and the Supra-Phonic (both 5" x 14" ).
Considering getting one and upgrading the hardware getting S-Hoops.
If you got the Sensitone, then upgrading the hardware shouldn't be an issue, unless you really want the S-Hoops. I put them on my Supra, but left the 2.3s on my Sensitone.
What is advantageous about a seamless shell?
Just that there isn't a dead spot on the shell. The weld on my Sensitone is pretty uneven and ugly. It's hard to imagine that the shell can resonate evenly with that thing there. I'm thinking I'd pay extra for the seamless, or at least avoid shells with seams.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Great thread, loving the info! I've been debating over the Tico Torres or the Sensitone Elite. I think I'm going w/ the Tico first, since it's a free-floater and I could swap out for other shells. I still want the Sensitone, someday.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
For the Peace snares, contact Noel at Heartbeat Percussion in Canada. He is very friendly and specializes in a lot of Peace drums.

For forum members who use Peace extensively, contact Stan "Steamer" (he uses a Peace Bubinga kit and swears by his Peace Bronze snare) or Nick Masoni (I think I got his name right).

Thanks Robert--yep, I've been in touch with Noel, as well as Stan, and they've both been very helpful. Noel is willing to let me return the drum if I don't like it (which is great) but I've got to tell you, the Sensitone (which I've played) and, now, the new Starphonic (which I haven't played) have piqued my interest as well. I've also heard consistent praise about the Noble and Cooley andl....well, you get the idea!

BTW, thanks for posting all of the links--I look forward to checking them all out when I have some time!

spleen
 

MadJazz

Silver Member
How do hoops (triple-flaged vs. die-cast) effect sound and feel?

What effect doe shell thickness have on sound? I hear wonderful things about the Pearl Ultracast but I worry with the thicker shell I may not be able to get some of the resonance I can out of my Acrolite. I like minimal, controlled overtones, rather than none at all. Then again I know little about drums
I think both hoops and shell thickness affect the sound more than shell material.
My maple shell has a more metallic attack because of the die cast hoops than my brass shell with flanged hoops. Therefore, the brass snare is more mellow and less aggressive.
Another variable is size. A one inch increase in diameter or depth has a drastic effect.


A thicker shell increases the volume, attack and frequency quite a bit.
I'd say, take a thin or medium shell and buy a PS3 or other muted head if you need to tame it down. More drastic measures are moongel and o-rings but these kill all the overtones. If you do the opposite and buy a thick shell, there's no way to make it more gentle.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
MetallicaItalian:

I just heard back from uDrum: the Cherry Bomb aluminum snare they make is a rolled and welded shell. So, it apparently is not cast and is certainly not seamless.

Don't know if I would drop $600 (US) on a welded aluminum shell unless I could play it in person and check out the sound en vivo. Usually drum companies charge more for seamless snares (e.g., Ludwig). For $150 more, you can get the N&C cast, solid aluminum shell, or for about $450 (US) you can get the Pearl Ultra-cast aluminum, which I believe is also cast (should be solid).

Hope that helps...
 

pie

Member
definatly go for the Cherry bomb. Its an amazing snare. ive heard the sound but not played. it sounds great, plus uDRUM is candian, and its a solid aluminum shell, not welded. theve been arrrround for a while. and there the best custom drum company orth of the border.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
definatly go for the Cherry bomb. Its an amazing snare. ive heard the sound but not played. it sounds great, plus uDRUM is candian, and its a solid aluminum shell, not welded. theve been arrrround for a while. and there the best custom drum company orth of the border.
I'm not sure where you are getting your information regarding the solid shell on the Cherry Bomb. Here is the exact response I received from Paul at uDrum:

The drum is rolled and welded. The bearing edges are cut into the wall thickness at 45 degrees. The shell is not tapered in. The beds are precision cut with a machining jig we have. They are fairly deep and wide to give the drum excellent snare response.

The drum is a well rounded drum. It is very full sounding with a ton of snare sensitivity. The guy from DRUM magazine who did a product review took it out on a jazz gig and really liked it.
I have not been able to find this Drum magazine review, though I did discover the other day that it may be featured in the December issue(?).

MetallicaItalian: You may also want to consider the Taye Stainless Steel snare. It is reviewed in the current issue of Modern Drummer and received very favorable remarks. Plus, it is a lot more affordable than the Luddies, Cherry Bomb, N&Cs, etc.
 

drumhammerer

Silver Member
This cherry bomb drum probably uses an Allstar shell. You can buy these shells on ebay from Joshua Tree's ebay store for 99 $ in any size, and make your own snare pretty easily. I believe these shells are the same thickness as the ultra cast, but they're rolled and welded instead of being cast.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
People can't seem to praise the Ludwig Supra-Phonics enough but at the same time despise their hardware


This seems to be a common theme. I own three Ludwig snares, 2 Supra's, the 5 x 14 and the 6.5 x 14 and I also own the 6.5 x 14 Black Beauty. Personally I've never had any issues with the hardware, the only changes made to all three drums have been head swaps (coated emperors over snare side ambassadors). Whilst I have definitely seen better hardware, I'm always surprised to hear the outright bagging that the P-85 throw-off and hoops seem to get. They've always done the job for me...even the old P-83(???) throw-off on my 5 x 14 ('66 model) is still as reliable today as when my old man bought it back in the day. I'll just take it that the Luddy god's have smiled on me I guess. But I am a big advocate of the aluminium supra's, they are the consumate workhorse and either model will get my vote first time every time. New or old, they are a certainty to get the job done. As for the cost here in Oz....now there's an issue for another thread.
 

sqadan

Senior Member
Let us know how you like your Sensitone when you get it - and how it compares to the Acrolite.

I have a '68 5x14 Supra and was thinking about getting a new 6.5x14 supra as well... but if if the Sensitone is close in sound - they do seem to be a much better deal price wise.
 
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