...I remember being in 3rd grade band in the early 70s...and the other guy who played snare had a Ludwig Acrolite and I had a Slingerland (Radio King, I think)...what I do know is that his Ludwig sounded so much better to my ears. I then figured out that just about every snare (even if it isn't made by Ludwig) mimics the Supra, Acro or Black Beauty
. Kenny Aronoff or Gadd gives Yamaha or Tama a Black Beauty
and says "make me something like this". I researched setups of the pros and saw how many guys used Ludwigs...and those "holy grail" albums where I said to myself "I love that snare sound...it is probably a Ludwig".
But I knew that back in 3rd grade.
As for the shell composition...it depends on the year. Ludwig changed their shell from brass to spun aluminum for cost reasons. As similar as they are...they sound decidedly different. Supras remain metal shelled...Black Beautys are brass. The consensus is that Supras and Black Beautys are the holy grail...but Acros are beautiful, unique and almost as amazing (for a fraction of the cost). Shhhhh...it will drive the prices up.