Gloss lacquer vs satin vs wrap... sonic differences?

angus

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I have a definite view on this but interested in the views of others. Imagine an identical shell finished 3 different ways:

1. Gloss lacquer
2. Stained natural wood (satin)
3. Wrap

... ignoring all other variables like durability etc., what are the SONIC implications of these 3 finishing options???
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Personally I feel the difference in Sound between gloss lacquer and satin (stained ) to be negligible at best .

Wrap compared to lacquer depends mainly on the thickness of the wrap and size of the drum . Wrap definitely inhibits resonance compared to Lacquer finishes . It is not as obvious a difference as some people would lead you to believe .
 

dsop

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I had a Gretsch kit in Black Nitron that sounded killer. I also had a Gretsch kit in Dark Walnut Gloss that sounded great. Both different, but both great. My next Gretsch will probably be wrap of some sort. Just because. My current Yamahas are satin (Real Wood).
 

sixplymaple

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I think a poor wrap job would effect the sound the most. Especially if there’s a gap of air between the wrap and the shell.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Personally I feel the difference in Sound between gloss lacquer and satin (stained ) to be negligible at best .

Wrap compared to lacquer depends mainly on the thickness of the wrap and size of the drum . Wrap definitely inhibits resonance compared to Lacquer finishes . It is not as obvious a difference as some people would lead you to believe .
I have an old Rogers Holliday set that is wrapped and the amount of tweaking/muffling needed to keep the length of the notes decay to an acceptable length for faster stuff is pretty significant. These drums just want to sing, loooooooong notes. I mean if I'm anywhere close to equal pitch on reso/batter, even with very dark sounding and pre-muffled coated heads, they resonate so much (decay longer than 5 seconds) it is almost un-useable for recording anything faster than extremely slow and open ballads. And even then, you want to tune them in the general key of the song to minimize conflict with the other instruments' sustain because even with the slightest compression applied, the volume of the decay goes up and it gives off the impression that they resonate even longer...

I can't imagine these resonating more without wrap!!! Just like Nigel Tuffnel's '59 Les Paul: you could go and have a bite and it would still be here whan you come back. :lol:

Since my band members like the thuddy-er Ludwig-like sound, wich is way easier to blend and takes less space in a mix, so I have to get creative to reign in the Rogers...

Maybe with thicker wraps on shells with lower quality woods/craftsmanship it has more of an impact.
 

bpaluzzi

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I think a poor wrap job would effect the sound the most. Especially if there’s a gap of air between the wrap and the shell.
Oh absolutely -- my flippant response above was assuming a good wrap job -- glued solidy all the way around the shell, applied by someone who knows what they're doing. :)
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Depends on whether the wrap is taped or glued???? (yes, I'm that guy!)

I prefer stained satin, then wrap then lacquer. I would think satin & lacquer will be the same or extremely similar. Wrap, if done "properly" (fully glued IMO), adds some weight and bulk to the tom and I would think deaden it ever so slightly......
 

017

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Just ask Canopus:



 

mpthomson

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You might conceivably be able to tell using very sensitive mikes and technology to measure the sound, but in the real world and certainly as far as audiences are concerned tuning and heads make far more difference than wrap or lacquer ever will. In a studio setting anything can be adjusted anyway so it's irrelevant.

I'd put Canopus' marketing up there along with DW's timbre matched shells and Sonor's oscilloscope tuned drums, to be honest.
 

noreastbob

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The differences in resonance or sustain, however you perceive those terms, is extremely subtle I believe.
However any wrap, especially a thick "spongy" type can't help but deaden the vibration of the shell. That could be a plus for many but it's not an earth shattering difference.
 

angus

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Thanks all for the replies. Obviously any differences are going to become largely negligible in the context of a full band and yes the shell hardware, hoops etc. likely add up to a much bigger difference. But I'm interested in the sonic differences of the finish -alone if all those other variables were constant. And not under the microphone but under the judgement of a good pair of ears :) Personally in my experience there is a difference. Subtle yes but certainly not inaudible. I hadn't before seen the Canopus chart shared above but it that correlates pretty well with my own thoughts. I'm not sure exactly how Canopus define "Solid" but I'm taking it to be along the lines of "Focused" - i.e. a gloss lacquer focuses the sound subtly versus a stain/oil, the latter having a SLIGHTLY more diffuse and harmonically rich tone. I think that wraps do tend to SLIGHTLY warm the tone and potentially reduce resonance slightly, but these may of course be positives depending on the drum, personal taste etc.

As an aside, personally I love the visual options and inherent durability offered by wraps, but my only reservation is the potential for the wrap beginning to come unglued the shell over time (or even not be glued perfectly when new!), in which case it logically follows that the wrap may start to act as dampener on shell resonance. You'd think that modern kits would have this problem "licked" but I have in recent years experience it on a kit of my own plus a wrapped snare, and I have also seen it also on a friend's kit. And all from premium brands and stored away from excess heat, damp, etc. Maybe we were just unlucky but it's still made me nervous of wraps.
 

Sequimite

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I think the main difference is how much they add to the thickness and stiffness of the shell. The inside finish or lack makes a bigger difference than the outside, IMO.

I have a custom stave set from back when I worried about glue. Now my favorite is fiberglass, which has to be mostly epoxy glue.
 

esooy

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Wrap lowers the fundamental pitch of the shell. Now add all the other factors into that like the hardware and heads it may or may not make a difference. I would think head choice would make a bigger difference in sound.
 

repete

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I can’t recall ever owning a gloss lacquered kit but I’ve owned satin finished, wrapped, painted and solid lacquered kits that have all sounded amazing. The best 2 wrapped kits were DW’s. The solid lacquered ones were old Yamaha Tour Customs and the satin kit was a Magstar. Use your ears. If it sounds good it sounds good.
 


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