Wraps or finished shell. What floats your boat & why.

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I did a little checking and found the owner was wrong. The Tama was a wrap. Why I liked the wrap was that to my ear, the wrap focused the sound nicely. My bass drum has a nice round , bright, focused sound. I think it's the wrap. I am sure some sonic expert will disagree but that's why I bought it.

When all is said and done, if I am using a coated head on a lacquer, or a clear head on a wrap, it may not really make a difference. One of the things I've noticed is that I can't use a coated head on my wrap. It just loses too much resonance.
I'm using coated Ambassadors over clears on my 12" and 14" toms on the small kit and Vintage Emperors (very thick, coated heads) on the 13" and 16" toms on my "big" kit. Tuned up well, the sustain is almost too much to bear. There isn't any difference to my ears between the natural lacquer finish 13" and 16" I've been playing for months, prior to getting these wrapped drums.

I've heard that Tama uses a very thick wrap, however. This comes from a friend who owned some B/B drums w/ one of the glitter wrap finishes...have never owned or inspected them myself. Tama's shells are quite thin too, aren't they?

Anyhow - I accept that there's no audible difference. I'm sure if you examined them thoroughly and scientifically, you might be able to measure a difference in frequency on a scale not audible to human ears, in most cases with most drums. If you're *hearing* a difference...well...I'd say your imagination is the biggest factor.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
If you're *hearing* a difference...well...I'd say your imagination is the biggest factor.
As I said earlier in this thread, I had a kit that went from not wrapped to wrapped and it did definitely change the sound and it was NOT my imagination.

Seems to me you can only really check this by taking a kit or a drum that you're already familiar with and adding (or removing) a wrap.

Also, go back to the '80s Tama catalogs where their own literature talks about the mellowing effect that the wrap has on the Imperialstars (as if 9-ply zola-coated mahogany needs mellowing!). If I get some time I'll see if I can find it.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
As I said earlier in this thread, I had a kit that went from not wrapped to wrapped and it did definitely change the sound and it was NOT my imagination.

Seems to me you can only really check this by taking a kit or a drum that you're already familiar with and adding (or removing) a wrap.

Also, go back to the '80s Tama catalogs where their own literature talks about the mellowing effect that the wrap has on the Imperialstars (as if 9-ply zola-coated mahogany needs mellowing!). If I get some time I'll see if I can find it.
I'd agree that if the wrap wasn't applied properly (wrong kind of glue? applied incorrectly onto the shell?) that it could have a negative impact on the sound.

But I don't think there's an *audible* difference for those applied properly. Like I said, I had very thin DW shells both wrapped and not....and med. thin shells (Ludwig CM) and there was literally no way I could tell a difference. They were/are identical to my ears.

That's just my (very limited) experience.

Someone else also mentioned that rubbing oil into the shell or spraying coats of lacquer onto it, could affect the sound. I doubt it could be any more/less detrimental to the sound than a wrap.

Also keep in mind that we're playing plywood drums where the same amount of glue exists in between each layer of wood in the shell. How much of an impact can a (properly applied) super-thin 1/32" thick wrap with one more layer of glue have to the naked ear?

I remain skeptical...haha! :)
 

volvoguy

Senior Member
A poorly applied wrap (even with contact cement) can absolutely kill a drum..... which is why I don't trust myself to ever cover a drum again. :)

...but wrap alone won't kill a drum. Even my Element SE's (covered in thick Citrus Mod, and probably taped to boot!) sound great. Vintage covered drums can sound phenomenal.

As a purist, I ordered my 6-ply Classics in Natural Maple way back when (Indeed, scratches don't show much on a natural finish), but I'm pretty sure the next kit I order will be a wrap. Lot's of neat wraps have been coming out lately... also lots of neat drums that are sold wrapped, too.

-Ryan
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I'm using coated Ambassadors over clears on my 12" and 14" toms on the small kit and Vintage Emperors (very thick, coated heads) on the 13" and 16" toms on my "big" kit. Tuned up well, the sustain is almost too much to bear. There isn't any difference to my ears between the natural lacquer finish 13" and 16" I've been playing for months, prior to getting these wrapped drums.

I've heard that Tama uses a very thick wrap, however. This comes from a friend who owned some B/B drums w/ one of the glitter wrap finishes...have never owned or inspected them myself. Tama's shells are quite thin too, aren't they?

Anyhow - I accept that there's no audible difference. I'm sure if you examined them thoroughly and scientifically, you might be able to measure a difference in frequency on a scale not audible to human ears, in most cases with most drums. If you're *hearing* a difference...well...I'd say your imagination is the biggest factor.

What you are actually hearing sitting behind the kit, and sitting fifteen feet from the kit, may be different.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
What you are actually hearing sitting behind the kit, and sitting fifteen feet from the kit, may be different.
That's true, and I have heard it both ways and in different rooms. My recordings also yield absolutely no audible difference w/ the exact same mic placement and mixer/software settings.

But...this is just w/ the two brands I mentioned and my experience. YMMV.
 

Chunkaway

Silver Member
Thanks for this CA. Not sure I can subscribe to the "no sonic difference" thing though. Are your lacquered & wrapped kits of identical construction & size? The reason I find it difficult to accept there is no difference, is that I've taken a wrap off a quality drum in the past and noticed a significant difference. Ok, I accept the difference may not necessarily be that significant in the real world, but to my ears, there was a pronounced close quarter increase in lower mid to upper bass frequency sustain.

APPEAL; Anyone work in a drum store, or for a quality drum manufacturer who offers both finish types, or has access to two identical kits? One wrapped, one not. Would be great to do a direct comparison, preferably with a good qualty kit with thin - medium shell thickness. Both kits recorded as naturally as possible with something like a Zoom H2 or similar. Both kits placed in an identical position, or directly side by side in the centre of a room, equidistant from the recorder. Would be great to have something to go on rather than informed guesswork, or highly partisan/selective snippets of so called research.
Yes, I used two Ludwig Classic Maple kits- one wrapped and one lacquered - in exactly the same sizes. I also used a DW wrapped kit on the session-also the same sizes.

The Ludwig kits honestly sounded too similar to tell any difference. The engineer- who has worked with Wilco, so he is not some schmuck- could not tell the difference on the recording, so I think my comment is valid. Now the DW definitely sounded different than either of the Ludwig kits. The kick drum was actually considerably lower than the Ludwig kits. In fact all of the DW drums were lower pitched than the Ludwig drums. The Ludwigs tended to be a little clearer and a little brighter.
 

JDC

Member
All I've owned are wrap kits, that is, until I recently acquired a set of ochre stain finished Premier Genistas. Haven't played it yet (or gigged with it for that matter) so I can't say much about durability or sound. I know I'm already a little stressed about keeping it looking good though!

Part of me thinks a "musical instrument" shouldn't be wrapped in plastic, but I forget that every time I see a Ludwig wrapped in a sparkle or pearl finish.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I own kits that are both finished and wrapped.
I love them all!
It makes no never mind to me!
If you like the drums, Play the drums, Don't worry about if the kit is wrapped or not.
 
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