Acrylic snare tone

claytronica

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I tried searching the General cat before posting this - but didn't see a very in-depth conversation.
What are the impressions on acrylic snares?
I confess that the aesthetics of snares like the DW seaglass acrylic have me drooling - but I'm interested in what the tonal characteristics are.
Thanks in advance.
 

dsop

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I'd like to get me a complete acrylic set one day. My limited experience is that they have a limited or focused frequency response, but I like what I've heard. I'm only afraid of the tendency for the shells to crack.
 

hsosdrum

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When I bought my Vistalite kit back in 1973 I didn't get a Vistalite snare with it because I thought the snares tended to have too much "boing" in their sound. Instead I bought a Fibes SFT690 fiberglass, which worked out great.

In all honesty I wasn't crazy about the sound of the rest of my Vistalites either. They had a very focused sound with limited harmonics — all fundamental and few overtones. And although they cut through very well on a loud stage, their sound didn't have that much body. I also found that they had kind of a limited tuning range: they didn't sound very good at lower tunings. If at the time the 21-year old me hadn't had such stars in his eyes for clear drums I would have bought regular wood Ludwigs with 3-ply maple/poplar shells instead. (But they wouldn't have looked nearly as cool on stage.)

As for durability, I had those drums on the road for five years with absolutely no problems whatsoever: no cracks, no seam separations, no dings, nothing. They traveled in unlined fibre cases, with 6 single-head toms nested inside each other in two cases and each one of the double-headed toms and bass drums in its own case. Our HQ was in Minnesota, where the drums sometimes spent days outdoors in our equipment truck in temperatures as cold as –40°F. The drums (and the roadies) also survived three truck crashes, one so serious it totalled the truck!
 

Torquey

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I had Ludwig Vistalites back in the day which I loved, but I loved them most since I was going to be John Bonham. I also loved Stainless Steel drums, but mostly since I was going to be Carl Palmer. I do love the crispness of those stainless steel toms, but nothing sounds like wood(s). I now own a Ludwig 3 ply Legacy Mahogany kit, which is WAY in the opposite direction.

My biggest problem with my Vistalite snare was it looked best with a clear, one ply head, but sounded best with something like a Coated Ambassador, which to me ruined the look and almost made the whole point moot. The toms sounded pretty good, but my 14 x 22 basses produced all fundamental, and no undertones, which I wanted. Unmuffled, with or without controlled heads or felt strips only, it produced a midrange BOOM, as acrylics do not absorb sound. If I stuffed the shells with towels, pillows, and other items from that era, it produced a midrange thump, but I never could get any true low end out of them, regardless of head choice, foot pedal brand, beater head, etc.
 

Freewill3

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I tried searching the General cat before posting this - but didn't see a very in-depth conversation.
What are the impressions on acrylic snares?
I confess that the aesthetics of snares like the DW seaglass acrylic have me drooling - but I'm interested in what the tonal characteristics are.
Thanks in advance.
I picked up the DW Sea Glass 6.5" x 14" acrylic a few months ago, it is a beautiful looking, sounding drum! I have it tuned on the low side for now but it does have a broad range. Acrylic has it's own unique characteristics, which latzanimal correctly described above as being representative of head choice. There is a certain "thickness" & pop to acrylic and I'll add that this snare is very sensitive and responsive. I switched out the stock DW head for a coated emperor with great results. Guitar Center/Musician's Friend sell these for $299 but if you're signed up for coupons or wait for a sale (Memorial Day coming up), they sell them for $250.
 

bassanddrum84

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Had a dw acrylic kit and it sounded great. I put lights in it was a cool kit but got very bored with it after a year.
 

Seb77

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I recall hearing Jim Keltner say he used an acrylic snare (Vistalite[?]) for recording Steely Dan’s “Josie”, so there’s that.
"90 dollar Vistalite, super sensitive, made me want to play" Used it on Josie, and never again, seemingly.
 


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