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

unregisteredalien

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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.
I hear ya. This is a pretty recent development for me too. I've just ordered a 15" snare and I've completely gone off all my 16" crashes.
 
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unregisteredalien

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It might. But unless I record the show or someone sits in I’ll never know.

AKA “ dude I can’t hear your ride “
It's a challenge, no doubt. Experiment with recording rehearsals/shows to listen back later. Get bandmates to play your gear while you wander around the room. Quality will often suck in both cases but you'll get new information about how your gear might sound.
 

Mcjnic

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Well ... my experiences tell me there is a pretty good difference when comparing the same snares with differing depths.
The shallower drum speaks quicker and is generally more sensitive ... but that depends on the actual snare, of course.
The deeper snare has considerably more tone and “sustain” ... you can define that however your life experiences dictate.
Interesting thread.
 
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jaymandude

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The other potentially interesting thing is...

outside of the studio, you often, or almost always see certain guy with the same drum, or same size drum.

I don't know a lot of the modrn rock guys, maybe they're 6.5. But Gadd, Vinnie, Weckl, Roy Haynes,Zig, a lot of other guys. on the 5 or 5.5. Bill Stewart, Ferrone, Anton Zipp, Country guys. almost always on the deeper drums..

The point being, even if they could switch from gig to gig, depending on the circumstances. They don't..

It kind of makes me think could sell some of my 6.5's, and even my 8" Craviotto
 

Treviso1

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It's funny because I had a 3.75x14 N&C SS piccolo from 1988 that had an extra butt cheek...I had Bill Detamore recut the edges on it and he didn't want to give it back to me because it sounded so FAT and HUGE. That drum had more bottom end than my 8x14 did! I think that there are generalities that can be made, but occasionally we find exceptions to the rules. This N&C SS piccolo was an exceptional drum.
 

jaymandude

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It's funny because I had a 3.75x14 N&C SS piccolo from 1988 that had an extra butt cheek...I had Bill Detamore recut the edges on it and he didn't want to give it back to me because it sounded so FAT and HUGE. That drum had more bottom end than my 8x14 did! I think that there are generalities that can be made, but occasionally we find exceptions to the rules. This N&C SS piccolo was an exceptional drum.
I have one. Yes. That’s a magical size for NC
 

dsop

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I don't think there's much difference between 5" and 6.5" sound-wise. I prefer 6.5", but I've been happy with 5" snares when I've had them. I think the deeper shell may enhance some of the lower mid frequencies a tiny bit, and since I tend to tune pretty tight, it helps.
 
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Tune the two snares to the same pitch and turn the snares OFF. The 6.5 will have a little more body or low end (consistently, to my ears.) Most 5" drums sound a little timbale-ish to my ears with the snares off.

Ok, I can hear the replies now. "But I don't ever play with the snares off, so what does it matter?"

But whether you play a drum with the snares off or not, THAT sound is THE sound of the drum. When you turn the snares on, you can hear the difference in the body-low end between the two sizes. It's subtle, but you can FEEL it too.

Sometimes all of the obvious high end crack of a snare can mask the low end, until you remove that high end by turning the snares off. High end is easy to get on a snare, but the low end can be a little difficult on a snare, but that tighter low end is what makes all the difference to me.

I don't hear the pitch to be of any real notable (noticeable) difference between the two sizes. But I do hear difference in tone and timbre. A 6.5" (or deeper) will be rounder, have more body, a little less attack, and more low end.

I hear "crack" (attack) as cutting through the music, and "low end" as projecting beyond, and blending with, the music. I also like DC rims on deeper drums because I think it focuses the tone a little more, and removes some high end sibilance that will mask some low end (to my ears.)

Using another medium, on snare drums I hear high end as "volts" and low end as "amps." Interesting question.

MSG
 

drummingbulldog

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While this thread is cool, is there really any difference? It just seems like trying to quantify a personal thing. Toms come in standard 8x12 (for example)/fast 7x12/fusion 9x12/power 12x12 etc. Feel & air movement. I am not a physicist but I think we all tend to find the happy place or look for the sweet spot no matter the size/wood/heads.
 
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mikeylicious78

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To add, I think certain depths sound better at certain tunings. I personally think that shallower snares do low and thuddy better than deeper snares. Conversely, deeper snares sound better to me at higher tunings than shallower snares. This is all just my opinion of course!
 

Ptrick

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To add, I think certain depths sound better at certain tunings. I personally think that shallower snares do low and thuddy better than deeper snares. Conversely, deeper snares sound better to me at higher tunings than shallower snares. This is all just my opinion of course!
This is how I tune mine. Shallower snares low/deep, deeper drums higher (but still retain body because of depth of shell).
 

Seb77

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To add, I think certain depths sound better at certain tunings. I personally think that shallower snares do low and thuddy better than deeper snares. Conversely, deeper snares sound better to me at higher tunings than shallower snares. This is all just my opinion of course!
Interesting; this could be because you like a certain tone-to-wires ratio. Shallower snares tuned high tend to lose tone, whereas deeper drums tuned low have massive tone, bordering on tom tonality. I am starting to embrace those differences/extremes more, rather than trying to make any snare sound medium or balanced.
 

drumtimejohn

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When I compared two 10 ply maple Gretsch New Classic snares with identical heads, wires, and tuning (Dial). The 6.5 was louder than the 5.5. The 6.5 pitch was lower evidenced in Hz using the iDrumTunePro App. Sorry I don’t have those exact numbers on hand. I do recall tightening the 6.5 batter head to 87 or 88 on the Dial to match the Hz of the 5.5 tightened to 85.
 
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Drumceet

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My 1984 6.5 Ludwig hammered Supra all the way, enjoy it much more than a 5. I like the deeper tones that I can’t seem to get with a 5.

891EA927-756D-4D4F-B106-D402C36790A9.jpeg
 

phdamage

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any snare i've played that is shallower than 6.5" has felt or sounded thin to my ear, and for that reason, less satisfying to play. I owned a 5" supra, a 5.5" (i think?) dw cast bronze and sold em both for that very reason. still have a couple oddballs kicking around, but i never play them. it might also be cuz i crank the hell out of mine.

even when recording other drummers, i always find more often i am dialing in eq to thicken it when they play shallower snares - exception being if they were 15" in diameter
 

drumtimejohn

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When I compared two 10 ply maple Gretsch New Classic snares with identical heads, wires, and tuning (Dial). The 6.5 was louder than the 5.5. The 6.5 pitch was lower evidenced in Hz using the iDrumTunePro App. Sorry I don’t have those exact numbers on hand. I do recall tightening the 6.5 batter head to 87 or 88 on the Dial to match the Hz of the 5.5 tightened to 85.
Oddly I’m replying to myself and want to challenge my own statement. Recently listened to Drum History Podcast, the builder of GMS drums states fatter tone comes from a more narrow shell. He did not provide much rationale or numbers however he is an experienced builder and that is noteworthy. Similarly paradoxical, I’ve heard John Good say reinforcement rings brings pitch up.

34:00 is where the GMS builder talks about tone.
 
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funkypoodle

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This week I had my LM402 & my no. 411 Supersensitive side by side so I tuned them as similarly as I could. The LM402 definitely has a little more low end as well as the ability to be a bit louder Same barking aluminum, bigger dog.
 

drumtimejohn

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In another experiment I detailed 5 Luddies and outfitted them with new medium and x thin weather master heads. I determined the bearing edges were good and hoops laid flat prior to installation. Batter heads were seated and brought to 85 on a Drum Dial and snare side cranked to 80. Despite differences, the snares tuned up to 230 hz (+/- 2) or B3 ish at that tension. The sound similarities were so great I began to question why I have so many snares but then I remembered that I'm a "Collector" and then everything was ok again.

Here were the results listed from left to right, warm to bright timbre: '65 jazz fest 14x5.5 8 lug w/ 1.6mm COS hoops, '14 Raw Hammered Bronze Supra Prototype 10 lug 14x5 w/ 2.3mm COS hoops, 90s Blacro 8 lug 14x5 w/ 2.3mm COS hoops, '66 Supra 10 lug 14x5 w/ 1.6mm COS hoops, and '09 100th Anniversary Black Magic 10 lug 14x5 w/ die cast hoops. Note how the only wood drum presents as most warm. In addition to the material, I gather the extra depth and 8 lugs configuration plays an important role.

The measure of timbre is certainly subjective thus this experiment is anecdotal yet I gather many are not surprised by the outcome. Wood is often warmer than metal and bronze, especially hammered, is the warmest metal. Acros are warmer than Supras because of less lugs and the absence of chrome plating (in this case the presence of a painted Blacro interior). Lastly, brass shells are notorious for their brightness.

This was not an experiment of shell depth but rather one of shell type. (The depth research with New Classics is posted above.) If someone is looking for that fat warm timbre you are likely going to find it in an 8 lug wood snare. If it must be metal than a suppose a 6.5 will help however I’m certain warmth can be achieved with advanced tuning and proper head and wire selection. Summarizing my takeaway, I can likely get all of my 50 snare drums to sound the same thus should only own about 2.
 

Elvis

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When I compared two 10 ply maple Gretsch New Classic snares with identical heads, wires, and tuning (Dial). The 6.5 was louder than the 5.5. The 6.5 pitch was lower evidenced in Hz using the iDrumTunePro App. Sorry I don’t have those exact numbers on hand. I do recall tightening the 6.5 batter head to 87 or 88 on the Dial to match the Hz of the 5.5 tightened to 85.
I don't do a drum dial, but tell me (since you obviously do), is that much of a jump in tension?
How many more turns of the rods did you have to give the deeper drum to bring the pitch up to the shallower drum?

Elvis
 


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