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Copper Snare - Limited Projection on Stage

Drum Gear Review

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I've got a Tama Star Copper snare drum with brass hoops that sounds beautiful in rehearsal spaces and on recordings. Unfortunately, it seems to lose a bit of steam in a live setting. With a PA and heavily amplified instruments, it sort of chokes and hits a volume ceiling when things get very loud.

I think part of that is because it's got such a dark tone. Even tuned slightly above medium, it still loses some cut at the top end. It's a pretty thin shell.

Any suggestions for how to add some brightness into this one, or is unlikely that I'll break through that ceiling?
 

jtpaistegeist

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This is my experience with my Ludwig 8x14 Copperphonic as well. The snare sounds a feels great in the studio and rehearsals, but in a very loud environment loses its cut. The Ludwig stays on my RC kit in the studio for this reason, unless its a softer gig of course. No comparison to my DW Performance Series 8x14, which is LOUD, much louder than the Ludwig in the same size both with cast hoops.

I have been able to achieve more volume with the copper snare using Evans G12 & G14 heads. They seem to project much more.
 

HalldorL

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Is it the Star Reserve Hammered Copper drum?

To begin with I would try swapping out the hoops for die cast or 2.3 triple flange and see what they do. I’ve played that drum in a studio and thought it was plenty loud. Funny how environment can affect the sound.
 

Drum Gear Review

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Thin heads (coated Amb) and tuned tight.......I have 3 copper snares (4x14, 5x14, 6.5x14)....
all sound best in the tighter ranges.

I was worried that might be the case. Hard to get away with a tight batter in the two bands I gig with most. It feels like they need something fat and medium or low-ish. This just might not be the right drum.

Is it the Star Reserve Hammered Copper drum?

To begin with I would try swapping out the hoops for die cast or 2.3 triple flange and see what they do. I’ve played that drum in a studio and thought it was plenty loud. Funny how environment can affect the sound.

It is the hammered shell. I'll swap in some different hoops and see if that changes anything.

And yeah, some of those differences really surprise me. When I first got the drum, I played it in a few rooms throughout the house and brought it to some rehearsals. It's really, really great in those settings. Four gigs now in four different rooms though, and it just hits that threshold every time. Bummer.
 

Ptrick

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I had Ludwig hammered bronze and brass shells at one point, loved them for jazz and recording, live for louder stuff they couldn’t keep up. Sounded choked. I think the hammering breaks up the sound waves too much.

I have an unhammered Yamaha seamless copper that cuts just fine in louder environments.

Those brass hoops might also be a factor, as others have mentioned.

There is that new Tama copper unhammered drum they just came out with that might get you a similar tone with more cut. I’d love to try one.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PCP147--tama-starphonic-copper-snare-drum-7-inch-by-14-inch
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Sounds like you need a 6.5 Supra or Acro.

I got my 6.5 Copper (seamless Yamaha) because one of my jazz mentors has the same one. He only does jazz gigs (acoustic) and it cuts thru the entire venue when needed.....
 
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jaymandude

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I had that issue trying a copper Crav/AK. Kept on tuning it tighter till it just didn’t sound good. Just not the drum for me. I’ll stay with bronze
 

Balance

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Live - Don't use shells/cymbals with dark attributes, they don't cut. Everyone's doing it, dark rides, dark/deep snares, etc. Instead of buying new hoops/snare wires/other accessories, spend that money on a cheap hardwood snare, not too deep either.

Using cheap snares for live shows is no problem, as long as the bearing edges are good.

For example; for the amount of money you can spend on new hoops, you can just buy a cheap maple snare (which will cut, very much), even brand new. Even a cheap maple/birch snare will sound much better than an expensive copper one, live. In the studio, it may be a different story.
 
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This is the reason I sold my semaless 6,5 Yamaha.

26BF8014-B16B-458D-99DF-F0F40CAC0416.jpeg


Beautyful dark snare, just too dark for good live projection, especially from the players side for me back then.

This was in my brilliant cymbal days. I went for a darker vibe later on so it might be better suiting now.
 
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JazzDrumGuy

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I may try die casts on it or wood hoops as I have them laying around. My current gigging snare is a 6.5" bronze Black Beauty.....that baby cuts thru.....

Recently scored a Pork Pie patina brass 7x13....that thing is super loud.....and pretty decent $$ if you can find it used....
 

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Thanks all for your feedback. Very informative.

I'm going to swap the hoops, but I'm getting the sense this might just not be the drum I need for my current gigging situation. I hate to hear that because I love the sound so much. Copper has always been my favorite metal shell sound, and this one is a total knockout.

Is anyone playing a Copperphonic, Oriollo, or Q Gentleman's Copper in mid to high-volume settings? How do your experiences compare to what I'm experiencing here?
 

hefty

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I have a seamless Yamaha like posted about above, 6.5x14", that I've played with my loud rock project and didn't notice a lack of presence or volume with it. I'm doing rim shots on backbeats so there's that. I haven't fully taken to the drum yet though since I've rediscovered my love of my Black Beauty, so I've only used the copper at a couple rehearsals. This thread is making me think about trying some aluminum die cast hoops I have on it though...
 

Ptrick

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Unfortunately only other copper snares I have are the Yamaha seamless copper, and a trick 3mm copper. The Yamaha is plenty loud with that copper fatness.

The trick is a different animal. It’s as thick as a bell brass, but a welded shell. That thing will cut through ANYTHING, but is even fatter sounding than the Yamaha.

There are definitely copper drums out there that should meet your needs.
 

stevil

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I sold a 6.5x14 Copperphonic because I didn't feel it kept up with my loud band. I often play very loud shows where the drums aren't mic'd. It was a beautiful sounding and looking drum, but it didn't suit my needs.
 

fitzsy

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Of course for those of us that play mostly low volume gigs like small group, this volume issue is a feature not a bug. I ordered my first copper snare today!
 


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