Dry snare upgrade recommendation

claytronica

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Apologies in advance - as I know there are probably many threads of this nature here, but I wanted some fresh insight.
I have a maniac 8 year old drummer who can really play, and I share his kit (though drums aren't my primary instrument).
I got a cheap pdp set for his first full sized kit, and we are chipping away at upgrading to good cymbals (moving from the Sabian B8 hats to New Beats was a game changer - he said "Papa! My hats don't sound like a cow bell anymore!")
Hoping the shells will be adequate for a while.

Next up is a snare upgrade. He's into Grohl and Bonzo, and he wants a pretty dry snare with a good crack to it - the pdp snare isn't terrible, it's just a little anemic and has no character.
I'd love some recommendations for something I might be able to get with a max price of roughly $200 used, and that even if he moves to a different style snare, will always have its own tonal integrity and be useful for recording, etc.
I like the Acrolites, including the price point, but am concerned that they may be a tricky beast to tame - is a maple shell going to be easier out of the gate?
In covid times - going out to listen to some snares in a shop ain't gonna happen, so huge thanks for any advice y'all might have.
 

phdamage

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hmm.. i find thin shelled metal drums (like an acro - i do have two!) are ringy as hell. i also like dry snares and my noble and cooley solid maple is my #1. that said, i recognize that might be a bit pricey for many (i got lucky and got a serious deal!). but there are many solid ply snares out there in used land that are far cheaper. I know Summit have a great rep on here and seem very affordable - i'd drop them a line and see what they can do.

additionally, single ply snares pop up used on reverb all the time - there are several now. admittedly, most i see are not maple. unsure how other materials would fare.

and one more thing - i find diecast hoops help dry up my snares - i have them on most of mine. Oh and Evans HD Dry heads help as well.
 

ARGuy

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Any snare drum, wood or metal shell, can ring excessively. The keys are good heads, good tuning and adjustment and a little gaff tape or moongel if desired. IMHO, a single ply shell snare drum for an 8 year old is overkill. (Unless you get extremely lucky and find one at an Acrolite price.) An Acrolite is a great idea, and so is any student snare drum from a reputable manufacturer. I'd look for something that has a simple easy to adjust throw off.
 

cplueard

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Aluminum tens to be dry. Die Cast hoops tend to focus/dry as well. For a really solid middle of the road with the standard woody dryness I'd say go 14x6 or 14x5.5 or 14x6.5 (Ideally 6", always seemed more versatile to me in the eras of deeper snares) in most any wood of choice. I'll post a few on reverb. The first one (The dixon Mel Gaynor) seems perfect in my book, if I didn't already have a solid shell in that size i'd grab it myself.




Ash tends to be a drier wood

ARGuy had a good explanation. Any style snare can ring excessively, it really just depends on how it's put together. If you want some good tubby dryness I'd recommend a Evans G14 or Remo Ambassador X14 on top. Thicker heads that's still get good tone but will tame a lot of ring and keep the tone darker and fatter. Slap a little moon gel on there and it'll be thick and dry.
 

Malc

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I tamed an old Pearl Export snare last year by using an Evans HD dry over a hazy 300 reso, which dried it out quite nicely.
IMG_20201030_132455483.jpg
 

JazzDrumGuy

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What snare exact is it now? And the heads? If you want a dry sound, which is easier that livening up a snare, I agree dampen it with a thicker top head or throw a nice fat piece of duct tape on it. I think Dave played an Aquarian Powerhouse batter head which they don't make anymore. Remo has a P 77 which is a thick head with a dot which would probably reach a similar result.
 

claytronica

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Wow - thanks for all of the feedback - this is great! I don't even see any markings on the drums other than the black PDP res head on the kick.
The snare measures 14 x 5.5" from outer edge of the hoops (is that how to measure?).
I suspect the heads are stock. Top looks like a coated ambassador, but I can't tell the ply - bottom is clear. I have a gel on it and a small amount of gaff on the reso. which helps quite a bit. I'm sure somebody could do better with setting up the drum - but I consulted my drummer, who is legit, so I think it's probably at least reasonably set up.
I bought a Remo controlled sound X and an ambassador hazy res, and then thought why should I put so much love into this snare if I can step up to something a little more fun. But anybody thinking "Dude, he's 8" - you're right about that -I confess I'm also doing this for myself.
Thanks again!!
 

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lossforgain

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Acrolite or Supraphonic is the right choice. Both can be made to be very dry sounding. Acro will be easier to find in the sub 200 range. Getting one with an internal muffler will allow you to dial in the dryness without a bunch of extra materials and trial and error (tape, studio rings, moon gels).
Maple in general is not easier to get to the place you’re headed. Aluminum is the right choice. Another possibility would be a Slingerland steel Festival snare, which can be found all over the place for sub 200. I have one I got super cheap and it’s a good Acrolite substitute.
 

lossforgain

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I suspect the heads are stock. Top looks like a coated ambassador, but I can't tell the ply - bottom is clear. I have a gel on it and a small amount of gaff on the reso. which helps quite a bit. I'm sure somebody could do better with setting up the drum - but I consulted my drummer, who is legit, so I think it's probably at least reasonably set up.
I bought a Remo controlled sound X and an ambassador hazy res, and then thought why should I put so much love into this snare...
I would also say that those stock heads are likely to be crap, even though they don’t look all that different from the Remos you bought. Chintzy stock heads will keep low end drums sounding thin and boingy for sure. If you want that drum to be usable, I would put the new heads on it. There’s no harm in doing that while you look for other snare options.
 

Philaiy9

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I would agree with the others on the Acrolite. That was a huge game changer for me when I was starting out and it still gets a ton of use. I've also seen some Slingerland ribbed aluminum snares going for cheaper--those seem to sound just as great.
 

claytronica

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I would also say that those stock heads are likely to be crap, even though they don’t look all that different from the Remos you bought. Chintzy stock heads will keep low end drums sounding thin and boingy for sure. If you want that drum to be usable, I would put the new heads on it. There’s no harm in doing that while you look for other snare options.
Solid advice - will do!
 

mfk252

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If substituting high quality heads doesn't work, a used Acro is your best bet. It is one of the best "chameleon" snares on the market. There's a reason why pros still bring these into the studio.

I find them one of the easiest snares to tame. Medium to medium tight tension all around (top/bottom heads and snares). Internal dampener (or small piece of gaff tape or half a moongel) just kissing the top head should get you mostly there. Detune two lugs closest to your throne and add a wallet for the low fat sound.

I find Acros to be a little mellower sounding (compared to other quality snares), which works well in a smaller room.
 

claytronica

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Acrolite it is then! - last question: Some had internal mufflers while others did not? If the muffler is desirable, I'll be sure to inquire about that.
If there's anything else I should be mindful of while buying one on these semi-blind over the net, please lay any last bits of wisdom on me.
Super thankful again for all of the guidance - y'all rock.
 

claytronica

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Aluminum tens to be dry. Die Cast hoops tend to focus/dry as well. For a really solid middle of the road with the standard woody dryness I'd say go 14x6 or 14x5.5 or 14x6.5 (Ideally 6", always seemed more versatile to me in the eras of deeper snares) in most any wood of choice. I'll post a few on reverb. The first one (The dixon Mel Gaynor) seems perfect in my book, if I didn't already have a solid shell in that size i'd grab it myself.




Ash tends to be a drier wood

ARGuy had a good explanation. Any style snare can ring excessively, it really just depends on how it's put together. If you want some good tubby dryness I'd recommend a Evans G14 or Remo Ambassador X14 on top. Thicker heads that's still get good tone but will tame a lot of ring and keep the tone darker and fatter. Slap a little moon gel on there and it'll be thick and dry.
These are all great links here - damn. I want all of them.
 

lossforgain

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Acrolite it is then! - last question: Some had internal mufflers while others did not? If the muffler is desirable, I'll be sure to inquire about that.
If there's anything else I should be mindful of while buying one on these semi-blind over the net, please lay any last bits of wisdom on me.
Super thankful again for all of the guidance - y'all rock.
I think some of the most recent ones may not have internal mufflers, but I'm not 100% on that. The good thing is, Acrolites go back almost 60 years so there are lots out there. The unfortunate thing is that the older ones are more "collectable" and have gone up in price in recent years.
 

pgm554

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Evans HD Genera dry or a coated Remo Power Stroke 3.
 

A.TomicMorganic

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Even without an internal muffler, a Yamaha zero ring ring will mellow out almost any snare drum.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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All Acrolites are pretty much the same. Find the cheapest one you can used on GC or MGR. Sweet snare for an 8 yo. I bought my 5 yo a First Act dumpy kit for his bday and he played it for a week. When he turned 8, I bought a Sonor Safari kit foe him, a great upgrade. He is now almost 13 and plays guitar and trumpet now, not drums, so my little guy, now 8, has the kit.....
 


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