I only have one but I like it, a Gretsch 5x14 4160 shell with New Classic lugs. It came with die-cast hoops, but I currently use 1.6mm cos hoops. Standard 20 strand wires at the moment. So, not a very Gretsch-like setup anymore! Ringy, open, bright, articulate yet wet. I have played regular 4160 that I think were more contained, due to dc hoops, but also because of the bigger lugs. One aspect of the thinner hoops that I actually like is that rimshots don't sound as sharp/spikey as with dc. Those original 4160 are very loud in that area.
Someone mentioned nickel coating was a bit thinner than chrome, so maybe even more open sounding. I am not sure I would hear it, but it's the little things that add up.
Cool question... Until being replaced by copper, my favorite snare drum material was brass for many years so I had a lot of them with many being COB. As I started thinning the herd, I was surprised to find that I still clung to just one, my lowly early 70's Slingerland 5”X14” Gene Krupa Sound King 130. Such crack and articulation, you guys can have it when I'm gone!
I only have one, but it's one that I'm madly in love with!!
My 14"×6.5" Pearl B-4814L "Jupiter" from the late 70's... It's been my main snare for a few years now actually. The thick brass shell just sounds soooooo sweet!! Combined with the parallel action strainer and "split 10" extended snare wires, it instantly became my favorite snare drum.
Amazingly after a couple of years of searching, I even managed to find a replacement set of NOS Pearl S-023 extended snare wires just in case my originals ever break.
There are a few different aftermarket options out there as far as extended wires that'll fit the Jupiter strainer (some require slight modification), but I really like the original Pearl self-centering split 10s.
Gretsch 4160 with the standard diecast hoops - the only Gretsch snare that interests me and it is a good one for sure . They came still be purchased bee for a reasonable price , especially compared to what Ludwig is asking for COB snares these days .