Serious snare question - The actual sonic difference between 5 and 6.5

jaymandude

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Happy Sunday -

I have 4 great, approaching KILLER 6.5 snare drums. Plus a 7, plus an 8 And yet I never play them. Everytime I reach for a drum to gig with, or the first thing I try on a session. It's always a 5 or a 5.5.

But if I tune the heads to the same pitch/tension on each drum, won't the pitch of the drum be the same ? ( I should actually do this. Supra vs 402. Bronze Supra vs same in 6.5) What is it that am am viscerally responding to ? Just a quicker response ? It the deeper shell " wider" or " fatter" sounding at the same pitch ?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Remember kids, it's not about what drum you use. Or about why you use it. It's about the difference between the two sizes.

Thanks people
 
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jaymandude

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Deeper drum = deeper pitch.
Ok, cool. That's not necessarily helpful. But.... deeper is not an accurate accoustic term. "lower" is. So you're telling me with the snare and batter heads tensioned the same. The 6.5 drum will have a lower pitch ? That the extra 1.5 the air moves will create that ?

Or do you mean maybe " wider" that the pitch will be the same but somehow more " body" ? Ahhhhh. subjectivity... love it...
 
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Tornado

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I think the difference is mostly imagined. I go for 5.5 because I think it responds better. Which is also probably imagined.
 

kdgrissom

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I'm not an acoustician, but off hand I would say that the deeper the drum, the more air mass (volume) is moved when struck and thus renders a more hefty, deeper sound.
Many of may be aware that when the local HS marching band is rehearsing outside, (from some distance away) it is the Bass drums that we often hear first as low frequencies take longer to dissipate over distance. That is one of the reasons marching drums had deep dimensions. These drums were signal instruments to the men in the field at the time.
 
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mikeylicious78

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I find that I get more lows and low mids from a deeper snare at a similar tuning to my 5.5”. The shallower drum sounds quicker and slightly sharper in attack.
 

Elvis

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Everything else being equal, the deeper snare drum would sound darker and more resonant than the more shallow drum.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I have found that a 5” snare is more articulate and crisper than a comparable 6.5” snare . Both sizes can do the fat thing and resonant thing . For me the biggest difference is in stick articulation and crispness .
The other difference for me is stick response , I find when playing a 5” snare the stick rebounds better and feels better to me . I play a lot more shallower snares these days than deeper .

This being said I think a 14 x 6” snare drum to be the optimum size for a snare drum and we are seeing more and more makers build this size
 

Matched Gripper

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Ok, cool. That's not necessarily helpful. But.... deeper is not an accurate accoustic term. "lower" is. So you're telling me with the snare and batter heads tensioned the same. The 6.5 drum will have a lower pitch ? That the extra 1.5 the air moves will create that ?

Or do you mean maybe " wider" that the pitch will be the same but somehow more " body" ? Ahhhhh. subjectivity... love it...
deeper drum = lower pitch. Better? :)
 

sw532121

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I find shallower drums to be a bit faster in the snare response. The drum isn't any more "sensitive" per se, just a tiny bit quicker to activate the snares. It's really more of a feel to me. I used to think that deeper drums would be lower in pitch and have more "body" to them, but I haven't really found that to be the case.
 

Seb77

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More fundamental tone in relation to, well, all the rest: batter head, snare wires, rimshot, cross rim... more "doosh". I think I hear less harsh high-end with deeper snares.
Another aspect of drum sound is the length of the decay. With drums tuned high such as snares, there is this theory that deeper drums sound shorter. The energy goes into the stronger tone, but dissipates faster for that reason. Lots of variables here though; a deeper shell might still be the weapon of chocie for a long "doosh" sound.
Slightly lower pitch from the additional depth, but we're only talking a quarter- or semitone here.

Each of us is used to certain drum/cymbal sounds. I'm just in a process where I'm getting to know a new snare. I need to spend some time getting familiar with it before I take it to a gig.
To my ear, a deeper drum likes to be tuned a bit lower most of the time, and that's a departure if you're used to shallow drums tuned higher.
 

jaymandude

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deeper drum = lower pitch. Better? :)
It is. But you’re the only person who has come out to say the actual pitch will be lower.

i think I have to do this myself to know. I have the same 5 and 6.5 drums in alumimium and bronze. And no gigs
 

GaryComeHome

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Pitch depends on diameter/thickness/material of the shell. More depth is more body! More depth (6-8”) will be thicker/fatter/punchier. Shallower depth (3-5”) will be smoother/crisper/snappier. Most snare are around 5” and will give you the most versatile/balanced sound near that depth. some YouTube videos and compare the same snare of different sizes to get an idea of the changes that may take place.

both of these examples are the same snare (Ludwig Supraphonic) besides shell depth

Here is a 5”


This one is 6.5”

 

swarfrat

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I think the deeper the drum relative to it's tuning, the narrower the resonance peak. But short of octobans no drum is that peaky.

If you do the math on speaker boxes, with a long enough port you can tune almost any box to 20Hz. But your lunchbox with 1.3km of hyperdermic needle tubing is not really excited at the tuned frequency the way a bedroom with a short hallway "neck" would be. Likewise you could tune the room "box" to 3khz and the peak is so shallow that it's essentially not resonant even though the equations say the room is tuned to 3khz.

For all the speakers calculations I've seen I've never seen anything describing the bandwidth of the resonance, but intuitively it's obvious.

Basically this works out that you get more head/attack and less note bloom with a shallow snare.
 

unregisteredalien

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The pitch of the note produced will be the same for 14" snares of various depths tuned to the same tension. To get a higher pitched note, go 13" or smaller. A lower pitched note, go 15", etc. (Or tune your 14s differently - some operate better than others at higher/lower tuning ranges.)

You're appreciating the other sonic and feel-related qualities of the shallower drums. Quicker response, more focused sound, etc.

It's worth remembering that you're sitting on top of the drum. What sounds perfect to you may sound thin out front over a bed of other instruments. A snare that sounds too big, roomy, ringy, etc to you might have the perfect amount of presence from the audience perspective.
 

Seb77

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It's worth remembering that you're sitting on top of the drum. What sounds perfect to you may sound thin out front over a bed of other instruments. A snare that sounds too big, roomy, ringy, etc to you might have the perfect amount of presence from the audience perspective.
That's what I meant by getting used to a new instrument. The sound at the player's seat is not why I choose a certain size by now, it's the context, the end result that matters.
I started out on a 6.5 Pearl Export snare, but most other snares around were 5x14, so this seemed like the normal size. Same with 16" crashes. It took me quite a while to figure out that 6.5 snares and 18" crashes aren't that big and pretty standard, and I like the results I'm getting.
 

jaymandude

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The pitch of the note produced will be the same for 14" snares of various depths tuned to the same tension. To get a higher pitched note, go 13" or smaller. A lower pitched note, go 15", etc. (Or tune your 14s differently - some operate better than others at higher/lower tuning ranges.)

You're appreciating the other sonic and feel-related qualities of the shallower drums. Quicker response, more focused sound, etc.

It's worth remembering that you're sitting on top of the drum. What sounds perfect to you may sound thin out front over a bed of other instruments. A snare that sounds too big, roomy, ringy, etc to you might have the perfect amount of presence from the audience perspective.
It might. But unless I record the show or someone sits in I’ll never know.

AKA “ dude I can’t hear your ride “
 


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