Tried 20 snares - unexpected results

Chasforeman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
79
Reaction score
101
Location
Denton, TX
Went to Lone Star Percussion in Dallas and played about 20 snares ranging from $400 to $1500. Brands included Ludwig, Yamaha, Canopus, Q Drums, Pork Pie, Sonor, Gretsch, and DW.

It was just me and the store rep. I’d play while he listened across the room and then we would trade positions.

There were a few brands I thought I’d walk out with before I played them, but I was surprised that the store rep and I both agreed on a drum (based on sound) that I’ve never particularly cared for aesthetically. It also happened to be one of the least expensive options on the shelf and I was willing to pay twice the amount.

It was the DW Performance Series 6.5x14 HVX in Black Diamond. It had that dryness and gut punch I was looking for.

Other lessons learned:

Sonor SQ1 had an amazing feel, just not the sound.

Ludwig Neusonic sounded better than the Maple.

Ludwig Hammered Copper was choice number 2, but it was a little ringy and loud and I wanted a different result to contrast my main snare.

Q Drums are beautiful and probably would choose it based on looks alone, but wanted a fatter copper shell than what was available.

Canopus was too ringy.

Pork Pie Copper/Maple was nice looking and sounded great, maybe just too loud.

Gretsch Brooklyn sounded great playing, but uninteresting compared to others from afar.

Really wanted to try a Raw Copper and Classic Oak, but they were not in stock.

There is something special about having a place where you can try lots of options in person.
 

Attachments

Last edited by a moderator:

drawtheline55

Owner/admin
Administrator
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Messages
4,301
Reaction score
1,119
Location
Boston
Snares are a funny bunch, price really doesnt mean alot....to sound, feel etc.
I have gigged out with a Ludwig Supralite....nothing wrong with that pupster...and short money.
My go to for playing out is my Yamaha Recording Custom Brass...13x6.5 and I am not a 13" kind of guy.

I have 3 Canopus snares and like them very much.......you said "too ringy" ok fair enough, but maybe not so when playing with a band. It is all trial and error for sure, glad you found one you like and for less $$.
 

Chasforeman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
79
Reaction score
101
Location
Denton, TX
True, true. I liked the Canopus. Just wanted something more on the dry/focused end this time around. I did pull it off the shelf twice!
 

notINtheband

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
334
Reaction score
665
Location
Kentucky
Well Done!
I had a similar experience with a snare I was surprised by.
I wrote a lengthy explanation for a review. Reminded me of your experience;

AF985E73-34D6-420E-A351-DFCEEFA364DF.jpeg


OCDP 25-ply Maple snare:
it’s a shame that this drum has some embarrassing provenance. Sure it sucks that it’s only available new thru MUsicians Friend or GC. Sometimes that invokes a less-than-legit-for-passionate-musicians connotation. And I agree the vents lacking any kind of grommet make it look like rodents are responsible for the vents look.
I also agree that 25 seems like some arbitrarily huge number of plys for the sake of making a thick shell just to add heft and smother out personality.
There is nothing sexy about the shark tooth lugs nor the sparkle fade wrap.
And yet...
I have a collection of 31 snare drums including the classic Ludwig LM’s, brass snares, signature snares, even a couple of lofty collectibles, but all players with use and time in the studio and on the road. I don’t collect them to display, but to play.
And here is how I came across this generic, unsexy drum.
I was doing a session for a band and once my parts were tracked, the producer asked if I wanted to replace the snare sound on the tracks with something else. The tracks, recorded using an LM-402, were fine, but since we had a dozen snare samples at our fingertips, why not experiment.
Among the bell brass and 1920’s big band, and Craviottos, were some average drums.
We pulled them in and they all brought a different personality.
Then we brought in this OCDP vented 25 ply snare via pro-tools sample.
It had it all. The attack, tuned to a G, the depth, the resonance, sustain, it gave life to the tracks that was already good, and made them bounce.
So impressed with the sound that when that same band asked me to do their tour in support of the record, I sought out the drum that had been flown in on the record. Found it at, yes, Guitar Center, and bought it just to replicate their record to the truest level I could as a player.
Well that snare proved to be amazing.
It so rarely needed tuning that I found myself going several gigs in a row without even checking the lugs, and when I did, rarely did I ever tweak more than a fraction.
House engineers praised it, the monitor mixer guys bragged on it, and other drummers were surprised by it even after laughing at the thickness of the shell.
Cross sticking is AWESOME on this drum. Ghost notes are soft and beautiful.
Another embarrassment is Guitar Center/Musicians friend videos that demo the drum and only talk about it’s projection, as if it’s only made for, and only competent at LOUD! What a joke. This drum is so much more versatile than that and they completely missed the boat.
I have several favorite snares, and some I like better. But this wallflower of a snare is in my top 5, and that’s with no sex appeal, no collectibility, and no rich history or lineage. It’s just so damn good at all the things it does well, so reliable, and demonstrates how you just never know what a drum is truly capable of till you put it through a crucible of road gigs.
I love this bastard of a snare drum.
 

5 Style

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
6,871
Reaction score
442
Location
SE Portland, Oregon
Cool... I have to wonder though if pretty much any of those more premium drums would be satisfying to me. Sure, I have opinions about tone, but I kind of feel that as long as the drum is in a pretty wide ballpark for that and the response of it is really working so that the snare sound is really controlled and is present even with the softest buzz rolls that I'm mostly good to go! I really like an old wood Ludwig Standard snare that I have and a fiberglass Tempus one. Though the tone of each is a bit different the both have the kind of response that I like, making them for me almost interchangeable! It's a nice luxury though to be able to walk into a shop with the budget to get anything there that appeals to you so that you really can hone in on the finer tonal aspects. For me, if I was looking for a snare, I'd be more likely to find any of the ones that you mentioned on Craigslist for some gimme sort of price, buy it, tune it up and be totally happy with it... not ever realizing what I might be missing by not having something else, but not caring all that much about it...
 

Chasforeman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
79
Reaction score
101
Location
Denton, TX
True. Ignorance can be bliss and light on the wallet.

I didn’t mention that I turned my back when I listened to each option from across the room.
I’ve already asked myself why I needed to be so “scientific” or unbiased in my purchase, because I would have chosen something different if I bought from a forum member or other online option.

I just enjoy experimenting in any situation. Food, hobbies, work. I like surprise. I also like supporting expert and local businesses. I could have walked out and found the drum for alot cheaper online after testing, but maybe there is an ethical question there.
 

glynch

DFO Veteran
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
2,443
Reaction score
393
Location
Texarkana, TX
Well Done!
I had a similar experience with a snare I was surprised by.
I wrote a lengthy explanation for a review. Reminded me of your experience;

View attachment 519389

OCDP 25-ply Maple snare:
it’s a shame that this drum has some embarrassing provenance. Sure it sucks that it’s only available new thru MUsicians Friend or GC. Sometimes that invokes a less-than-legit-for-passionate-musicians connotation. And I agree the vents lacking any kind of grommet make it look like rodents are responsible for the vents look.
I also agree that 25 seems like some arbitrarily huge number of plys for the sake of making a thick shell just to add heft and smother out personality.
There is nothing sexy about the shark tooth lugs nor the sparkle fade wrap.
And yet...
I have a collection of 31 snare drums including the classic Ludwig LM’s, brass snares, signature snares, even a couple of lofty collectibles, but all players with use and time in the studio and on the road. I don’t collect them to display, but to play.
And here is how I came across this generic, unsexy drum.
I was doing a session for a band and once my parts were tracked, the producer asked if I wanted to replace the snare sound on the tracks with something else. The tracks, recorded using an LM-402, were fine, but since we had a dozen snare samples at our fingertips, why not experiment.
Among the bell brass and 1920’s big band, and Craviottos, were some average drums.
We pulled them in and they all brought a different personality.
Then we brought in this OCDP vented 25 ply snare via pro-tools sample.
It had it all. The attack, tuned to a G, the depth, the resonance, sustain, it gave life to the tracks that was already good, and made them bounce.
So impressed with the sound that when that same band asked me to do their tour in support of the record, I sought out the drum that had been flown in on the record. Found it at, yes, Guitar Center, and bought it just to replicate their record to the truest level I could as a player.
Well that snare proved to be amazing.
It so rarely needed tuning that I found myself going several gigs in a row without even checking the lugs, and when I did, rarely did I ever tweak more than a fraction.
House engineers praised it, the monitor mixer guys bragged on it, and other drummers were surprised by it even after laughing at the thickness of the shell.
Cross sticking is AWESOME on this drum. Ghost notes are soft and beautiful.
Another embarrassment is Guitar Center/Musicians friend videos that demo the drum and only talk about it’s projection, as if it’s only made for, and only competent at LOUD! What a joke. This drum is so much more versatile than that and they completely missed the boat.
I have several favorite snares, and some I like better. But this wallflower of a snare is in my top 5, and that’s with no sex appeal, no collectibility, and no rich history or lineage. It’s just so damn good at all the things it does well, so reliable, and demonstrates how you just never know what a drum is truly capable of till you put it through a crucible of road gigs.
I love this bastard of a snare drum.
I have the exact same experience with this snare. A drummer friend of mine gifted me one of these recently. I was not expecting to like it at all. Figured it would be a one trick pony with a lot of crack. Boy was I wrong......this drum sounds wonderful. Very sensitive with lots of body at all volumes.

Price really doesn't matter when it comes to sound.

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack the thread.
thunder stump.jpg
 

notINtheband

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
334
Reaction score
665
Location
Kentucky
Price really doesn't matter when it comes to sound.

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack the thread.
View attachment 519454
Me too. After I posted my copy paste of that old review I almost took it down realizing I had practically done just that.
Just inspired by the thread and the lengths at which he went to get the snare he wanted based on sound. Inspiring. I love reading the original post as it demonstrates a passion for sound above romantic notions of custom builds, rich heritage, or brand name-dropped bling.
 

Whitten

Very well Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2009
Messages
792
Reaction score
1,718
There are great snares and great kits at all price points.
That doesn't necessarily mean expensive boutique drums are a waste of money though.
Probably my best* snare is a $1200 Cravotto Dark Cherry. *Best - because whether I'm in a nice studio, or a terrible room with horrendous acoustics, or I haven't had time to change the head for a while, it always sounds fantastic.
Maybe I was just lucky with this one. I've had it over 15 years and it has never sounded bad, while most of my other snares (some also expensive) have had their off days.
Regarding prejudice - I wanted to dislike Spaun because of all the silly custom finishes, but I've recorded three kits now and they've all been superb. You can pick them up cheap used because 1) the silly custom finishes and 2) they are under the radar, most average drummers are looking for DW, Tama, Yamaha etc.
 

mebeatee

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2012
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
984
Location
Sechelt(ish), B.C. Canada
This is really great and all but......ya go back to the store the next day, or week and try a bunch out again and you like that flavour of the day better and go.....urrr ahhh....wait a second....did my ears change??
Just kidding......however I’m sure this has happened to folks on many occasions ;)
I’ve not done this with a snare(s), but hihat cymbals....14’s and 15’s. I bought the 15’s and the next day went and bought the 14’s as well....go figure.
bt
 

Chasforeman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
79
Reaction score
101
Location
Denton, TX
@mebeatee You ain't changing, you ain't learning. I do have a bit of buyer's remorse just because the drum is so ugly looking to me. :)
 

Vistalite Black

Ludwigs in the Basement
Joined
Feb 17, 2015
Messages
5,045
Reaction score
3,411
Location
North Carolina
Did the same thing, sort of ... Went down to my local Basin-Robbins and tried all 31 flavors -- cone after cone.

Shocking results: I've long favored Strawberry Cheesecake, but it did not match the complex intersecting flavors of Gold Medal Ribbon, with its vanilla and chocolate varieties swirled together with a ribbon of caramel. I'd never tried it before, but after A-B testing against all 30 of the other flavors, it stands out as the best.

Your mileage may vary.
 

Attachments

cruddola

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1,058
Reaction score
1,018
Location
usa
There's quite a spectrum of choice in drums these days. Some mighty killer-choices out there. It's great that you got a try at so many and are to be envied by many here, including myself. Quite a feat, Congrats! For me it's always been an Acro or a Phonic regardless of the 13 different brands of kit I've owned, rented or played the last 58 years. I won't say they are the best because they're not. I will say I know them best and have always gotten what I need from them regardless of genre of music I've played. Kinda like the F250 and F350 of snare drums to me. From Ayotte to Yamaha, My Luddie Acros and Phonics have been the snares of choice. I have others, but they've never gotten the playing-time I've put on the Ludwigs.
 

cruddola

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1,058
Reaction score
1,018
Location
usa
Well Done!
I had a similar experience with a snare I was surprised by.
I wrote a lengthy explanation for a review. Reminded me of your experience;

View attachment 519389

OCDP 25-ply Maple snare:
it’s a shame that this drum has some embarrassing provenance. Sure it sucks that it’s only available new thru MUsicians Friend or GC. Sometimes that invokes a less-than-legit-for-passionate-musicians connotation. And I agree the vents lacking any kind of grommet make it look like rodents are responsible for the vents look.
I also agree that 25 seems like some arbitrarily huge number of plys for the sake of making a thick shell just to add heft and smother out personality.
There is nothing sexy about the shark tooth lugs nor the sparkle fade wrap.
And yet...
I have a collection of 31 snare drums including the classic Ludwig LM’s, brass snares, signature snares, even a couple of lofty collectibles, but all players with use and time in the studio and on the road. I don’t collect them to display, but to play.
And here is how I came across this generic, unsexy drum.
I was doing a session for a band and once my parts were tracked, the producer asked if I wanted to replace the snare sound on the tracks with something else. The tracks, recorded using an LM-402, were fine, but since we had a dozen snare samples at our fingertips, why not experiment.
Among the bell brass and 1920’s big band, and Craviottos, were some average drums.
We pulled them in and they all brought a different personality.
Then we brought in this OCDP vented 25 ply snare via pro-tools sample.
It had it all. The attack, tuned to a G, the depth, the resonance, sustain, it gave life to the tracks that was already good, and made them bounce.
So impressed with the sound that when that same band asked me to do their tour in support of the record, I sought out the drum that had been flown in on the record. Found it at, yes, Guitar Center, and bought it just to replicate their record to the truest level I could as a player.
Well that snare proved to be amazing.
It so rarely needed tuning that I found myself going several gigs in a row without even checking the lugs, and when I did, rarely did I ever tweak more than a fraction.
House engineers praised it, the monitor mixer guys bragged on it, and other drummers were surprised by it even after laughing at the thickness of the shell.
Cross sticking is AWESOME on this drum. Ghost notes are soft and beautiful.
Another embarrassment is Guitar Center/Musicians friend videos that demo the drum and only talk about it’s projection, as if it’s only made for, and only competent at LOUD! What a joke. This drum is so much more versatile than that and they completely missed the boat.
I have several favorite snares, and some I like better. But this wallflower of a snare is in my top 5, and that’s with no sex appeal, no collectibility, and no rich history or lineage. It’s just so damn good at all the things it does well, so reliable, and demonstrates how you just never know what a drum is truly capable of till you put it through a crucible of road gigs.
I love this bastard of a snare drum.
I have that very drum sitting with a Tour Custom kit at my sister's house in Wisconsin! GC was gonna give a guy 60 bucks towards a trade. I was there spending a month's worth of overtime on the job. The seller was playing it and I heard it's potential. Great dynamic response! I gave the seller 100 bucks, mine! I used it on a light lounge-jazz gig two hours later. A most phenomenal snare at that! I went and scored another used one via GC online out of Denver for 125 bucks a week later. Killer Drum!! I've never bought a new snare in my life yet. The only two kits I've ever bought new was a Re-ringed set of 1978-80 Tama Imperialstars in March of 1981 and a 1991-92 set of Yamaha Rock Tour Customs bought new in 1992. I still have those. Over 50 kits owned or rented in 13 brands in almost six decades. New drum investments have never called me. Never even cared about their color, only the tuning spectrum I could get. New hardware and cymbals? Yes! Those OCP bullet-resisting 25-ply snares are a gem in disguise!
 
Last edited:

hawker

DFO Veteran
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
2,605
Reaction score
145
I hate to say this...but I bet if you tried all these drums again while on the gig, you might make a different choice. But all you can do is all you can do. I have tested 15-20 cymbals at one time twice. Both times...I got so confused it was waaay frustrating. Not only confusing but your ears get tired and are not as accurate at the end as they were in the beginning. You were lucky you found someone to work with you at the store. Even some drum shops can be touchy that way. :)
 


Top