Cast vs thick rolled snares

Ptrick

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A few years back I bought a Tama bell brass after wanting one for 25 years. Since then, I’ve begun to acquire other cast bronze and non-cast but thicker 3mm welded shells.

I absolutely LOVE the sound this type of snare puts out. Loud, fat, gut punch, and not particularly ringy.

Curious if any of you that have the Paiste, N&C, Tama, Sonor, Oriollo, treebronze, Duluth cast shells have compared them to thicker walled shells of similar material that aren’t cast.

I have a Tama bell brass, Oriollo in a few floating chassis that are both cast, the Oriollo I believe is 3.4mm. The Tama is probably the punchiest and most “solid” sounding. The Oriollo is fat, a bit more tone, just as loud.

Next is a 220 bronze shell built from an Allstar Drumworks shell and lugs (which is actually BRASS-just to add to all the confusing bell brass/bell bronze confusion) that is 3mm and a welded shell. In a blindfold test, I’d have a hard time telling it apart from the other two above. Playing it, it has a slightly shorter overall note, but still very loud and fat. (I have a replacement black hoop on the way, original is chipped badly)

Just picked up a trick copper 3mm shell. It’s a touch darker in sound than the others, but same character.

All are within a pound of each other, about 18 lbs, the Oriollo maybe a half pound heavier.

I also have a Duluth Alu-bronze coming in January to throw into the mix with matching bronze hoops.

I’m starting to think with similar shell materials (all of these copper based), it’s the thickness of the shell that is contributing to their overall characteristics, regardless of whether cast or welded. At least maybe 90% similar.

What do you think?
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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I just learned about the WFL III drum company today, I had no idea that existed! William Ludwig III is working with Trick to make their metal shell snare drums. I believe the drums are aluminum and you can see that the shell is solid one piece with a lathed bearing edge and not a fold over. The videos I watched showcased some very good sounding snares.
 

cornelius

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That’s a great collection of heavy duty druns- I’m a fan of heavier gauge metal shells - I’ve found they can easily get that “loud, fat, gut-punch.” IME it’s the gauge that has more affect on the sound, than the type of metal or build method. My main drum is 3mm Steel and it has that full sound at any tension. I can also get a fat sound from my thinner, steel Dunneet, for example - but it lacks some focus, and doesn’t have the tonal complexity of the Heavier drum...
 

aparker2005

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I've got a Drumcraft series 8 cast bronze that I absolutely love. It's a 6mm cast shell and extremely heavy.

Compared to my pork pie black brass, it has more volume, cut, and is more sharp. The pork is more rounded and a warmer tone. Sounds exactly like the black beauty I had. Love having both drums!

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stevil

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My understanding is that a cast shell is more likely to be perfectly round. The manufacturing process for a welded drum is more prone to error (resulting in an oval instead of a circle). I've heard that rolled/welded drums can have a *slight* tendency to want to revert to their natural flat sheet state. Whether there's any truth to that is debatable. I'd like to see evidence at the very least. I sort of doubt it, or suspect that one would never notice. I do think there's truth to the idea that welded drums are less perfectly round than cast or spun drums. A truly round drum with proper edges is far easier to tune.
 

stevil

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I also have a Duluth Alu-bronze coming in January to throw into the mix with matching bronze hoops.
Who's making your alu-bronze? I bought a B20 cast drum from Savage Custom a few months back and love it. He suggested the alu-bronze, but I went with the more traditional alloy. I'm curious to hear about yours when it arrives.
 

jtpaistegeist

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I just learned about the WFL III drum company today, I had no idea that existed! William Ludwig III is working with Trick to make their metal shell snare drums. I believe the drums are aluminum and you can see that the shell is solid one piece with a lathed bearing edge and not a fold over. The videos I watched showcased some very good sounding snares.
I have one of these new WFL III Aluminum Snares in 6.5x14, all gold. These are GREAT sounding and well built snare drums. The shell is over 3mm thick and welded. Trick is making the shells for Bill, and they are top notch and perfectly round with precise bearing edges/beds.

I had one of the DW Billy Ward sig snares in 5x13 using a similar concept, only the shell was cast with no seam. Honestly, I cannot tell the difference and actually like the WFL snare much better overall.
 

Ptrick

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Brought the trick 3mm copper welded snare and the cast Oriollo free floater to a recording session yesterday. The Oriollo sounded as expected...loud, focused, cutting, great.

The Trick...oh my goodness. HUGE sounding. They are both tuned to the same head tension (88.5 top drum dial, 85 bottom). The Trick is at least a note deeper. The Trick is dark, wide, fat, with a built in reverb. Sounded almost like an 80’s monster ballad’s snare (in the best way possible lol). Just gigantic. I love copper.
 

Treviso1

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Brought the trick 3mm copper welded snare and the cast Oriollo free floater to a recording session yesterday. The Oriollo sounded as expected...loud, focused, cutting, great.

The Trick...oh my goodness. HUGE sounding. They are both tuned to the same head tension (88.5 top drum dial, 85 bottom). The Trick is at least a note deeper. The Trick is dark, wide, fat, with a built in reverb. Sounded almost like an 80’s monster ballad’s snare (in the best way possible lol). Just gigantic. I love copper.
The Trick Copper shell 6.5x14 snares are the bomb! Super fat no matter how you tune them.
 

jaymandude

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this is an interesting thread for me. I've always been a Ludwig seamless spun guy but I think my ears prefer a cast shell that's thicker and doesn't choke at higher tunings like the 6.5 Bronze Supraphonics do. I've steered away from the Gretsch and Tama Bell Brass because of the price, but some of the names in this thread are new to me.

Thanks for the info
 

Ptrick

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The best “bang for your buck” for a cast bronze are the Duluth snares. Not sure if John from Duluth wants the price out there in the open, but let’s just say it is much more economical to get a shell (and hoops) if you so desire, and choose your own hardware.

Mine will be here middle of January.

The trick was put together for about $700 total getting the raw shell (already drilled and with edges) from drum factory direct and purchasing the hardware to go with it.

It is every bit as great as any of the others I’ve played. Darker and throatier. Probably due to it being 100% copper.

The Oriollo I found on eBay as a shell only for $600, just threw it in a free floating chassis. May drill and finish it at some point, but it already sounds SO good.

Still curious what any of you that own Sonor HLD’s or other bell brass/bronze think about thicker but not cast drums.
 

Normandy Drums

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My first foray into Loud, Fat, Gut Punch snares is my DW 6.5”x14” rolled 3mm steel drum. Found it used in 2016 and love it. I bought the DW rolled brass 3mm drum last summer on vacation due to the shell thickness. It’s not a true bell brass but I don’t mind. Currently seeking a cast aluminum (any brand) to fill out the trilogy.
 

Ptrick

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I started this thick shell journey on aluminum. I think it was an ultracast over a decade ago. Still have and love.

Picked up a Tico Torres free floating cast aluminum, but couldn’t gel with it. It was loud and dry, but lacked tone.

Picked up an allstar Drumworks 3mm rolled shell for the free floater that sounded a ton better than the Tico shell.

Grabbed a N&C alloy classic 6x14. Dry and loud. Crispy.

Then had a 6mm cast aluminum shell made by americancastshells.com. That thing is a BEAST. Louder than any of the bell bronze type drums I own. The guy casting the shells works for Spaun, got frustrated outsourcing to find cast aluminum shells, and started making them himself.

If you’re feeling adventurous, he can make a shell for a really great price and help drill and finish it, probably cheaper than buying a new one. I personally dig that kind of project.

I think I’ll update this thread with all the drums mentioned above for kicks.
 

Ptrick

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Alloy classic in silver vein

Ultracast w/aftermarket chrome hardware (it was too black before)

Allstar Drumworks 3mm welded shell in FF chassis

American cast shells 6mm cast shell in oldest FF chassis (sounds best in this one for whatever reason)

Last one is a Pearl “Vectorcast” snare. Not a true cast in the traditional sense, but a filament mixed with resin (most likely carbon fiber-Pearl is cagey on this detail) is woven over a mandrel, then baked to create a solid shell.

It is dry, loud, with a huge “pop” to it. Most similar to the N&C Alloy classic in sound. Might sell this one because of that.
 

Frank Godiva

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I owned the Sonor Danny C Signature snare welded bronze.... this guy, he is not my kinda guy... not a drum for me. Sold it, but the guy who bought it loves it, so all things subjective

Heard great things about the Steve Smith cast steel, but can get pretty loud I been told.
 

RIDDIM

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I've got a Drumcraft series 8 cast bronze that I absolutely love. It's a 6mm cast shell and extremely heavy.

Compared to my pork pie black brass, it has more volume, cut, and is more sharp. The pork is more rounded and a warmer tone. Sounds exactly like the black beauty I had. Love having both drums!

View attachment 381105 View attachment 381106
- I have one also. I like it a lot. I will have to try the diecast on the batter side.
 

singleflammedmill

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I love thick cast snares as well as spun snares, but I've little interest in thick welded snare.
I owned two Ayotte Keplinger and a Trick Aluminum snare. They were good snares, but I prefer a cast or a spun alternative to each of them.
I rarely heard thick metal snare fans preferring a welded alternative to their favorite cast model.
But I keep on open mind, if I heard from credible sources that a thick welded snare sounds better than a vintage Tama Bell Brass it will definitely worth a try.


Tama Bell Brass Snare Drum Brothers



Tama Starphonic Bell Brass / Tama Starphonic 5mm Steel



Ocheltree Dangerous Prototype Snare Drum 14 X 6.5



Kenner Custom Aluminum Snare Drum 14X4
 

Ptrick

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So, with some time off for the holidays to really bug my neighbors, put all these snares thru the paces. Tuned them to the same tensions with a drum dial, and tried to figure out if I could tell a major difference between the cast/non-cast counterparts.

To my ears, the cast shells have a ‘pure’ type sound, whereas the welded shells have more partials coming out in the ring. It’s similar to what I hear with a welded vs seamless drum. I think the sheer volume these thicker shells put out had my ears missing the difference.

In a live setting, and In a recording with other instruments, I don’t know if I could tell a difference. I think the material and thickness of the shell gets you 85-90% of the way there.

Looking forward to my Duluth alu-bronze shell coming end of January to throw into the mix.

As an aside, playing the trick copper snare has really piqued my interest in what a CAST copper snare would sound like. The Trick sounds super fat no matter what you do to it. I think worldmax makes a 3mm with 5mm edges cast copper drum. And I bet I could get one made somewhere...(evil grin)
 

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