Cheap (inexpensive) vs high dollar snaredrums....

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
it just didn't do anything for me
I feel like this is a huge determining factor.

We all have that ideal snare sound that we like/want. Some snares just dont do that sound. That snare might excel at something else however.

I have a 13x5 poplar Pearl snare. It loves high tuning, it loves the PS3 head. It was passable with a coated Ambassador (kinda pingy). The thing sounds like mashed potatoes tuned anywhere else than high. At least I think so. Others may really enjoy its other tunings.
 

spelman

Senior Member

mattgallettidrums

Junior Member
My opinion (not fact, opinion) is that high-end snares take some of the mental gymnastics out of play for me. We drummers, we have a ton to think about. I look at it this way:

- We show up to gigs (generally) before other instruments to claim our space, setup our kit to our liking
- We have a lot more to pack (hardware, cymbals, drums, my stick bag I once forgot at home)
- We are generally the engine of the band, whether it be counting off tunes, driving different sections, etc... For example, in my wedding band, which has 10 people in it, I generally am the eyes from the band leader to the rest of the band with regards to communicating next songs while in the other and mentally prepping for transitions, etc...
- Our style has to be much more versatile than other instruments (HUGE generalization). For example, when playing in my jazz group, my actual playing with regards to afro-cuban, swing, straigh 8ths, etc... will change my sound and vocabulary to a wider degree than maybe a sax player, especially when soloing
- Most people in the audience, when they walk into a club, they "see" you before they "hear" you and they generally see the drums setup and make a judgement on the night ahead of them.

With all the above being stated, I opt for the higher end stuff that I can afford that will get me versatility, tone, ease of tuning, reliability and frankly, I want my setup and playing experience each night to not have any equipment hang-ups. That is NOT to say that cheaper items cannot work. I gigged with a Stage Custom for years, and more recently used a tour custom maple, DW Frequent Flyer, etc... I never felt they limited my playing at all, however...somewhere in the jumbled brain of mine, if I made a mistake or something didn't feel or sound right, I would start to question many things, equipment included.

Since deciding to gig with all my Sugar Percussion drums, which I have a few of their snares and kits, I have fully taken that out of the mental equation (for me). I find them easy to tune, easy to hold tuning and they are just extremely reliable, so I can focus my energy on other things.

This works for me and I am 1 of 1, so to reiterate my original point, this is simply my opinion and what works for me. And honestly, I am glad to have beautiful sounding and looking drums. They start conversations where people ask me about them, I tell the story and the give me accolades which gives me a bit of confidence when I play.

So there is that.
 

1 hit wonder

Well-known Member
I heard a great sounding cheap Pearl snare last year. Whoever did it, did it right. I never found out who worked it over.
 

Jcarlding

New Member
My opinion (not fact, opinion) is that high-end snares take some of the mental gymnastics out of play for me. We drummers, we have a ton to think about. I look at it this way:

- We show up to gigs (generally) before other instruments to claim our space, setup our kit to our liking
- We have a lot more to pack (hardware, cymbals, drums, my stick bag I once forgot at home)
- We are generally the engine of the band, whether it be counting off tunes, driving different sections, etc... For example, in my wedding band, which has 10 people in it, I generally am the eyes from the band leader to the rest of the band with regards to communicating next songs while in the other and mentally prepping for transitions, etc...
- Our style has to be much more versatile than other instruments (HUGE generalization). For example, when playing in my jazz group, my actual playing with regards to afro-cuban, swing, straigh 8ths, etc... will change my sound and vocabulary to a wider degree than maybe a sax player, especially when soloing
- Most people in the audience, when they walk into a club, they "see" you before they "hear" you and they generally see the drums setup and make a judgement on the night ahead of them.

With all the above being stated, I opt for the higher end stuff that I can afford that will get me versatility, tone, ease of tuning, reliability and frankly, I want my setup and playing experience each night to not have any equipment hang-ups. That is NOT to say that cheaper items cannot work. I gigged with a Stage Custom for years, and more recently used a tour custom maple, DW Frequent Flyer, etc... I never felt they limited my playing at all, however...somewhere in the jumbled brain of mine, if I made a mistake or something didn't feel or sound right, I would start to question many things, equipment included.

Since deciding to gig with all my Sugar Percussion drums, which I have a few of their snares and kits, I have fully taken that out of the mental equation (for me). I find them easy to tune, easy to hold tuning and they are just extremely reliable, so I can focus my energy on other things.

This works for me and I am 1 of 1, so to reiterate my original point, this is simply my opinion and what works for me. And honestly, I am glad to have beautiful sounding and looking drums. They start conversations where people ask me about them, I tell the story and the give me accolades which gives me a bit of confidence when I play.

So there is that.
Which kits are you running from Sugar? I’m checking them out they look amazing! That Eric Valentine involvement is huge.
 

classikdrummr

Active Member
my imperialstar thats probably worth $40 aluminum sounds better on Some songs than my $485 SLP Kapur. Th Kapur rings like crazy but i have given up trying to kill it. I just switch to the aluminum when i want a drier sound.
 

Bozozoid

Platinum Member
The 5.5x13 mapex cheap steel snaredrum 99.00 I found by accident dethroned my black beauty and superphonic for 20 years. Soundmen constantly praised that drum. I am superman with that tuna can and with your eyes closed will rock your 🌎.
 

mattgallettidrums

Junior Member
Which kits are you running from Sugar? I’m checking them out they look amazing! That Eric Valentine involvement is huge.
I have his mahogany bop kit-18/12/14, his 20” cedar kick drum, 6x14 cedar snare, 4.5x14 Sitka spruce snare, 5.5x14 aluminum snare. They are beautiful drums and have a pretty wide tuning range. I use them in my wedding band, which covers many genres, as well as my jazz group and pretty much everything else come to think of it.

all that said, I used a pearl sensitone brass snare for years back in the early 2000’s for musical theatre gigs and have not found a drum that performs as well in that setting. So, not sure what this all means...
 
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Chris Whitten

Silver Member
I was always amused by players who own 10+ snare drums listing versatility as one of their top priorities in a new drum.
I probably own 12+ snares. My Black Cherry Craviotto is extremely versatile.
I don't take ten snares on tour, or to a local gig. So it's great that the Crav seems to always sound good playing on a large stage with a loud band AND in a small bar playing low volume. It sounds great in rooms with bad acoustics, glass and chrome everywhere. It sounds great playing jazzy-folk and loud rock.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
all that said, I used a pearl sensitone brass snare for years back in the early 2000’s for musical theatre gigs and have not found a drum that performs as well in that setting.
I rented one for a Roland sample session and was mighty impressed.
I borrowed a Sleishman brass snare for a sampling session in Australia and thought it sounded 'OK'. It's one of their cheaper drums, usually discounted. When I got the recordings back to the UK I fell in love with the sound of drum. Unfortunately you can't find them over here.
 

River19

Senior Member
Snares are like cars......cheaper ones will provide basic transportation and a jump from low priced to medium will see a noticeable improvement in many areas but then from medium priced to higher end sees smaller incremental improvements that may or may not be noticeable to some. Whether or not those smaller incremental improvements in tolerances, finishes, etc. are worth the $ is up to the player.

All that being said.......the DW Craviotto in my Avatar is "meh", not bad but also not awesome. But then again when I bought it new in 2003 it was like a $400 snare. My N&C Alloy Classic is really my only metal snare (I'm a wood guy) and it is really a nice drum and plays and sounds great up and down the tuning range. The full price for that N&C was worth it to me as I spec'd it how I wanted and picked it up at the factory as it is relatively local to me. I know I can also pick that drum up used for like 60% of the price......but this one is "mine". No odd buzzes, overtones etc. that need to be sorted. Tuned it up, play it, record it.....it just works.

3 of my favorite snares are ones that I built/assembled myself including a 14x6.5" Cherry ply drum that I use most often. The others are a 14x7 Walnut Stave that has a narrower sweet spot but does "a thing" and a standard 8 lug 6" Maple that is a meat and taters snare.

Plenty of lower end or mass produced snares sound great now......if you can get the sound, range and looks you want without dropping large coin then cheers.......play what blows your hair back.
 

A J

Well-known Member
Pearl Sensitones spring to mind for a cheap snare that punches way above its weight and until recently the humble acrolite......moh yeah and worldmax

A&F spring to mind of overpriced and not all that.

Usually you get what you pay for. A lot depends on the player and how they set the drum up. I will say I've seen some amazing snares set up like crap.
Agreed. All I own are various Sensitones. They're great snares, are widely available on the used market and don't break the bank.

For the rest of my drums I'm kinda snobby and prefer Pearl Masters series. Actually... if truth be told, they don't sound a whole lot better than Exports with the same heads, but I'm a sucker for the fit, finish, hardware and asthetics.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Agreed. All I own are various Sensitones. They're great snares, are widely available on the used market and don't break the bank.

For the rest of my drums I'm kinda snobby and prefer Pearl Masters series. Actually... if truth be told, they don't sound a whole lot better than Exports with the same heads, but I'm a sucker for the fit, finish, hardware and asthetics.
Never owned a sensitone as I got my 400 for less than the standard aluminium sensitone but the ones I've played are just great. Ambassador top and bottom and away you go.

I had a little set of Pearl Midtowns I should never have sold. They were incredible for the price!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I probably own 12+ snares. My Black Cherry Craviotto is extremely versatile.
I don't take ten snares on tour, or to a local gig. So it's great that the Crav seems to always sound good playing on a large stage with a loud band AND in a small bar playing low volume. It sounds great in rooms with bad acoustics, glass and chrome everywhere. It sounds great playing jazzy-folk and loud rock.
Nothing wrong with requiring a snare to be versatile - 100% get that, but once you get beyond several versatile snares, surely the goal is to find specific voices / characteristics?
 

ToneT

Silver Member
Agreed.
My Gretsch Catalina Club mahogany 14x6 is a cracker for being wood. I played a DW of similar dimensions recently & other than many hardware upgrades, it felt & played like my Gretsch.
Yet the price difference is night & day.

The only time I really do snare comparisons is wood vs. metal shell.

On a size note: I've recently started liking deeper snares & want to look into getting an 8" deep maple model. The tuning range is pretty good and the versatility is spot on.
Have you tried the 8x14 Gretsch Gold series Swamp Dawg?
 
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