Gibraltar is now owned by DW so they're still getting your $$$$A lot of brands are similar these days, most probably made in the same factory. I have found Pearl superhoop II’s to be the most consistent as far as being flat, and the chrome doesn’t flake. DW has their “true hoops” which are supposed to be guaranteed flat, but I don’t go out of my way to buy DW products.
I’m usually fine with Gibraltar ones, but I do buy a few at a time and send back the ones that are a little off.
Brass hoops are definitely softer than steel and if you're a heavy hitter that always plays rim shots you can actually deform the hoop over time.I find the COB softer on my hands than steel for backbeats on my supra.