Best heads for a Black Beauty

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
112
Reaction score
147
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Sorry to be cluttering up the forums with my excited snare talk, but I'm thrilled to have acquired a new 6.5 x 14 hammered black beauty. I've been spending the last number of days just trying to get it dialled in, and am left wondering about head choice.

I replaced the factory wires with a set of 30 strand pure sound wires, and replaced the batter head with a Remo diplomat I had lying around. I'm not a heavy hitter, and use small light sticks. Durability and volume therefore isn't my primary concern, but the quality of sound is. I like a lot of sensitivity and articulation, as well as a ringing rimshot. The diplomat is nice and responsive but very open and ringing, it just doesn't feel like the best choice for this particular drum. Currently looking at a Remo Ambassador X, but I really don't know. I would appreciate all of the expertise and insights you lovely folks have to offer.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2010
Messages
999
Reaction score
821
Location
NY-NJ
A 6.5" Black Beauty with wide 42's, die cast rims, and a coated Ambassador is one of THE magic sounds of recorded rock music.

If you don't hit hard, and use brushes a Fiberskyn Diplomat will warm it up a bit.

For slamming backbeats, a coated reverse dot provides a little more control of overtones (black dots are after all called "Controlled Sound" heads) and is a pretty popular sound. Those thicker Ambassadors (to me) completely sucked the life out of the tone of the drum.

IMG_0867.JPG


A 1920's Black Beauty is a whole nuther kind of drum and mojo.
IMG_0728.JPG


I have found that the hammered modern drums (like yours) are a little it warmer and tamer, the hammering can tend to make the modern drums sound a little bit more "vintage" (for lack of a better term.) There was more metal (overlapping, etc) on the vintage ones, and that "self-tamed" them a bit. Resulting in less high end, better low end. I find this to be a similar sound to the hammered ones (but not exact.)

You have a very good drum there, I played one (backline) on a festival once, and was very impressed. Enjoy it!!!!

MSG
 

NobleCooleyNut

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
785
Reaction score
938
For metal shell snares my first choice of batter head is the Remo Control Sound with the white dot . Believe me the white dot version does sound different from the black dot version .
I also like the Ludwig x-thin snare side heads .
The thing I changed that made the biggest improvement to the sound of my Black Beauty was changing the stock Ludwig wires to Canopus Vintage snare wires . Eyedrum got me into these a couple years ago .
 

Targalx

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
1,146
Reaction score
767
Location
Los Angeles
My LB400B (COB version of the Supraphonic; essentially a cheaper Black Beauty) runs an Ambassador X with the Ludwig X Thin snare side and the stock snare wires. I've played it on several sessions — always a reliable drum with great tone. (It's now my backup snare to my SD495.) But then again, I'm playing rather hard on it with 2B sticks.
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
112
Reaction score
147
Location
Toronto, Ontario
I like a Ludwig Heavy, Remo Ambassador, or for your application, a Ludwig Medium sounds perfect.
You may have a point there, I might throw the stock head back on to see if it's an improvement over the diplomat. Forgive my ignorance and laziness, but would the Ludwig X Thin snare side be the stock snare head?
I've always found switching the stock heads to be an improvement, but are the Ludwigs decent?
 

Phantomlimb777

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
May 8, 2015
Messages
825
Reaction score
583
Location
SoCal
You may have a point there, I might throw the stock head back on to see if it's an improvement over the diplomat. Forgive my ignorance and laziness, but would the Ludwig X Thin snare side be the stock snare head?
I've always found switching the stock heads to be an improvement, but are the Ludwigs decent?
You should be aiming for the medium, it’s a diplomat weight, the heavy is ambassador. X thin is the snare side. I love those heads, but others seem to like replacing them.
 

hsosdrum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
460
Reaction score
693
I have a brass-on-brass BB (LB416BT) that I bought new in 2013. My preference for it is a Fiberskyn FA batter, but I only use that drum in louder situations. If I were to use it in a quieter situation I'd replace the Fiberskyn FA with a Fiberskyn FD.
 

CC Cirillo

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
804
Reaction score
1,243
Location
Northern California
I have a 6.5 smooth shell BB that came with an Ambassador X and 42 strand wires, well played in. I was going to swap the batter with a Remo Controlled Sound Reverse Dot and 30 strand wires, but the Ambassador X had a nice open tone without being too ringy and the 42 strands give it good crispy salty articulation.

I think I—often wrongly—tend to try to baseline a new drum to have a more familiar Acrolite sound with less overtones, but I realized that would be a mistake on a BB.

Those overtones are what that drum is about and sound good out front. They should no more be tamed than Lady Godiva’s hair be twisted up in a bun.
 

Neal Pert

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
2,303
Reaction score
1,726
Location
Among the Coastal Elites
I start-- and almost always end-- my experimentation with a new snare drum with the following:

Batter: Coated single ply batter, or, for loud music, coated single ply with reverse dot.
Reso: Evans 300
Snares: Start with stock, move to Canopus vintage or 42s depending on what it needs.

I would take the diplomat off, and maybe the Puresounds. At least for me the Puresounds are really hit-or miss-- I almost always prefer the cheapo stock wires.
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
112
Reaction score
147
Location
Toronto, Ontario
I start-- and almost always end-- my experimentation with a new snare drum with the following:

Batter: Coated single ply batter, or, for loud music, coated single ply with reverse dot.
Reso: Evans 300
Snares: Start with stock, move to Canopus vintage or 42s depending on what it needs.

I would take the diplomat off, and maybe the Puresounds. At least for me the Puresounds are really hit-or miss-- I almost always prefer the cheapo stock wires.
Thanks for the advice. I had the 30 strand PureSounds on my old Acrolite and had them working great. However, they seem to account for at least part of my frustration at this point, as they seem to have a very narrow and finicky "sweet spot" in terms of tension and reso tuning on the BB. I've got the Ludwig Medium head on the batter again, time to put the stock wires back on as well.

I looked at those Canopus vintage wires (they were already suggested here), but they're quite pricey. What do they offer over the stock wires or PureSounds?
 

Neal Pert

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
2,303
Reaction score
1,726
Location
Among the Coastal Elites
Thanks for the advice. I had the 30 strand PureSounds on my old Acrolite and had them working great. However, they seem to account for at least part of my frustration at this point, as they seem to have a very narrow and finicky "sweet spot" in terms of tension and reso tuning on the BB. I've got the Ludwig Medium head on the batter again, time to put the stock wires back on as well.

I looked at those Canopus vintage wires (they were already suggested here), but they're quite pricey. What do they offer over the stock wires or PureSounds?

You know, that's a good question, and it's a thing that's hard for me to put into words. They're modeled on vintage snare wire specs and seem quite well-built. For whatever reason, they just seem to make almost every drum I've owned feel and sound better. Maybe someone more articulate than I am could explain it better. The unplated ones have a warmth about them, but also a sort of pliability that responds better. But I've had few problems with cheapo stock snares. I'd say that if you try the stock snares again and are happy, stay with them. If you think, "Like this, but more," try some Canopus.

And yes on the Puresounds. They're odd in that they can sound amazing on one drum and kinda mediocre on another. I have a few sets here that I've removed from other drums, and I try them out from time to time. But it's such a personal thing. I know people who swear by them.
 

Seb77

DFO Veteran
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
Messages
2,441
Reaction score
1,059
Location
Germany
A 6.5" Black Beauty with wide 42's, die cast rims, and a coated Ambassador is one of THE magic sounds of recorded rock music.
...
A 1920's Black Beauty is a whole nuther kind of drum and mojo.

MSG
Have you, or has anyone else around, ever tried a dc top hoop only on the batter vs. on both sides?
Another question: How about the old style? I don't have a BB but a NOB - how does the sound change with a dc? Can you even fit one on?
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2010
Messages
999
Reaction score
821
Location
NY-NJ
Have you, or has anyone else around, ever tried a dc top hoop only on the batter vs. on both sides?
Another question: How about the old style? I don't have a BB but a NOB - how does the sound change with a dc? Can you even fit one on?

No I have never tried that but I should, probably a happy medium.

DC fitting on the 1920's NOB's and 1920's BB has never been a problem for me. Fits fine and just focuses the drum a little more, I go into that a little in the recent DFO thread about "what you want from your snare collection."

MSG
 


Top