Wrapped Drums vs. Satin or Lacquered Drums-Sound Difference
Old 29th May 2010
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Wrapped Drums vs. Satin or Lacquered Drums-Sound Difference

Is there any difference in the sound of wrapped drums (ie-DW FinishPly) compared to lacquered or satin finish (non-wrapped) drums? I have DW VLX drums in their FinishPly, and they are super durable, but I have heard that wrap can sometimes adversely affect the sound of drums. DW says that there is no difference. I am either going to order a completely new set and sell these, or add on to my existing kit, so any ideas or opinions would be appreciated!!
Old 29th May 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Robert Randolph's Avatar
 

Head choice, head tension, stick choice, player skill, player mood, set arrangement, song arrangement etc...

All these things make so much more of a difference that if there is a difference, it doesn't matter in the slightest.
Old 29th May 2010
  #3
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Well, this is a drummer's forum, and I wouldn't dismiss the question with a casual recording engineer-cookie-cutter answer. It's a valid question to a drummer and maybe a drummer only, but worthy of a real answer.

Wraps can affect the resonance of a drum, but there are a few variables to the wrap that determine how much resonance is affected. On older drums the wrap is generally going to be thicker than what's used today because manufacturing tolerances have changed. Wraps on newer kits tend to be thinner than what they could make even 20 years ago. Lower priced modern kits will sometimes have thicker wraps than those found on mid and higher priced kits that use better components all around. A thin wrap will have minimal effects on how open a drum sounds and a thicker wrap will cut down some of that resonance. Just as you'd expect.

In relation to the bigger picture of how a drummer relates to and expresses himself on a kit, all these little things that would seem trivial to some actually add up to the whole experience of being a dedicated drummer. Those who are less dedicated tend not to think of the simple things they could do to get the most from their instrument. Ironic.

Personally, I really like the sound of the natural finish on the Yamaha Maple Custom kit. Open to the point of almost being raw. DW doesn't do raw in my experience.
Old 29th May 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Robert Randolph's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax View Post
Well, this is a drummer's forum, and I wouldn't dismiss the question with a casual recording engineer-cookie-cutter answer. It's a valid question to a drummer and maybe a drummer only, but worthy of a real answer.
Considering I am a drummer, I feel it was a very valid answer. If you want I could have said that it depends on the type of lacquer or wrap, the wood of the drum, the height of the wrap, the type of hardware etc...

The point is that lacquer v. wrap is inconsequential.
Old 30th May 2010
  #5
Gear maniac
 
mrmike186's Avatar
 

I am more with Jax on this one. A`thick plastic wrap will add to the the character of the drum as it becomes one of the plys. The type of glue will also affect the sound. The biggest concern with re wraps is how the head will seat on a larger diameter drum. Newer drums with thin wraps will have less of an affect on the overall sound with all other things being equal.
Old 30th May 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
TRANQUILO's Avatar
 

Big Difference

There is a big tonal difference between wrapped and painted drums...I beleive it to be an equal difference. I like the sound of both. Wrapped drums have a vintage sort of dampened tone while painted drums could easily sustain forever. Its all a preference...which do you prefer?

Consider the old vintage ludwig drums of the 1960's...crude and not perfect shells, wrapped in thick plastic but still have a unique sought after tone. New drums are perfectly manufatured with computer presicion cut straight shells, thinner wraps and way cool stain/painted finishes. I have a set of wrapped drums and a set of painted drums. I like the wrapped drums for recording and I prefer the painted drums for touring because of the different tone applications.
Old 30th May 2010
  #7
Gear maniac
 

I love drum myths. If there even is a difference between wrapped and laquered drums, it's negligible at best. If you focus on and break down the shell, the inner ply has the biggest effect on the sound of the drum. The ply after that makes less difference, and by the time you reach the last ply or the wrap, it's so miniscule. As previously stated, your choice of heads, your ability (or lack thereof) to tune your drums all make up a significant part of the sound of your drums. There are hundreds of variables, and people always get fixated one just one, like the type of wood, or the hoops or something and make it seem like they have this gigantic effect on the sound.

So to answer the question; with all other things equal, I don't think anyone could pick out a set with a laquer finish from a wrapped finish. If you think you can, boy you can probably also hear ants farting.
Old 30th May 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
TRANQUILO's Avatar
 

HAHA

HAHA
Old 30th May 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Robert Randolph's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRANQUILO View Post
HAHA
Why this post?
Old 31st May 2010
  #10
Gear maniac
 

I guess different people hear different things and have different experiences. Some say there is a difference, others don't. Personally I think the difference between wrapped and not is minimal.
Quote
1
Old 3rd June 2010
  #11
Gear interested
 

wrapped drums have always felt very different to me compared to painted drums

wrapped drums- flat & fat feel
painted drums- open feel
Old 3rd June 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 
AudioWonderland's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate View Post
I love drum myths. If there even is a difference between wrapped and laquered drums, it's negligible at best. If you focus on and break down the shell, the inner ply has the biggest effect on the sound of the drum. The ply after that makes less difference, and by the time you reach the last ply or the wrap, it's so miniscule. As previously stated, your choice of heads, your ability (or lack thereof) to tune your drums all make up a significant part of the sound of your drums. There are hundreds of variables, and people always get fixated one just one, like the type of wood, or the hoops or something and make it seem like they have this gigantic effect on the sound.

So to answer the question; with all other things equal, I don't think anyone could pick out a set with a laquer finish from a wrapped finish. If you think you can, boy you can probably also hear ants farting.
Would wrapping your acoustic guitar in plastic effect its tone? of course it would. why would it be any different for any other wooden acoustic instrument? Of course it makes a difference. That does not mean its a bad thing, it just means it sounds different
Quote
1
Old 3rd June 2010
  #13
Gear interested
 
Lem0n's Avatar
 

According to my experience there's certainly a difference in sound between wrapped and not-wrapped shells. It's not so huge but it is there. I think there's a bigger difference in the feel, how it feels to hit the drums.

I've got 2 60's wrapped Ludwig kits that both sound and feel amazing.

I had a re-wrapped 60's Gretsch set that felt horrible, but sounded okay. Other 60's Gretsch sets that had their original wrap felt and sounded nice.

I've also had a wrapped DW set that felt horrible and I've played on many other wrapped DW kits and they all have a very weird feel. I think they sound fine, but there's just something that's wrong with how they respond physically.
Old 3rd June 2010
  #14
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioWonderland View Post
Would wrapping your acoustic guitar in plastic effect its tone? of course it would. why would it be any different for any other wooden acoustic instrument? Of course it makes a difference. That does not mean its a bad thing, it just means it sounds different
ditto!
Old 5th June 2010
  #15
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioWonderland View Post
Would wrapping your acoustic guitar in plastic effect its tone? of course it would. why would it be any different for any other wooden acoustic instrument? Of course it makes a difference. That does not mean its a bad thing, it just means it sounds different
Apples and oranges. You can't simply compare a guitar with a drum. A drum has lugs and sometimes other hardware drilled into its shell, can have any number of head combinations and is largely affected by how they're tuned. Also the type of hoops you're using and for toms the type of suspension system all play a significant role in the sound of the drum. When you add up all the factors, the presensce or absense of a wrap is just a drop in the ocean.

And people keep mentioning wrapped vintage Gretsch kits. Of course they sound great and have a certain sound; but not simply because they are wrapped, but because they have the gumwood between maple shells, rounded bearing edges, shell-piercing tom mounts and many of the other factors that comprise an old Gretsch kit! Bearing edges, another major part of a drum's sound that I don't think I previously mentioned.

I think there's a fair amount of psychological effects that wraps seem to be having on people if you ask me.
Old 5th June 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 
AudioWonderland's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate View Post
Apples and oranges. You can't simply compare a guitar with a drum. A drum has lugs and sometimes other hardware drilled into its shell, can have any number of head combinations and is largely affected by how they're tuned. Also the type of hoops you're using and for toms the type of suspension system all play a significant role in the sound of the drum. When you add up all the factors, the presensce or absense of a wrap is just a drop in the ocean.

And people keep mentioning wrapped vintage Gretsch kits. Of course they sound great and have a certain sound; but not simply because they are wrapped, but because they have the gumwood between maple shells, rounded bearing edges, shell-piercing tom mounts and many of the other factors that comprise an old Gretsch kit! Bearing edges, another major part of a drum's sound that I don't think I previously mentioned.

I think there's a fair amount of psychological effects that wraps seem to be having on people if you ask me.
You attach bridges, nuts, tuners, pickguards etc to a guitar. You can use a variety of diffferent string types and sizes. You can have a variety of finishes from a french polish to heavy poly. Its hardly apples and oranges.
Old 2nd July 2010
  #17
Gear Dude
 
Mr. Light's Avatar
I used to think there was a huge difference until received my latest kit from Yamaha. My first kit upon signing with them (in 1997)) was a sparkle green lacquer. I was later told by my friend and rep at the time that the sparkles were the thickest of all finishes they put on drums, even out of the wraps. Has to do with the specks that create that "sparkle" finish". needless to say it was the worst sounding kit I've gotten from them......though after 13 years it's starting to warm up.

From that point on I always ordered clear finishes, with the exception of a very thin, custom matte black paint job I had done two kits ago. They all sound great, the black one admittedly the better of the bunch (this may have nothing to do with the paint......and all drums were/are Maple Custom, not absolute).

A few years ago I picked up a 1940's Slingerland Rolling Bomber kit, snare and all, that came with original white (somewhat yellowed) pearl/oyster finish. I knew nothing about them but bought it because it looked so damned cool, thought it'd make a nice living room piece. I was pretty floored when I brought them home and changed the heads, I've since used these drums on a lot of recordings.

When it came to ordering a new touring kit I wanted one in the same vintage looking finish of those Bombers. The only thing Yamaha could do was a wrap so I went with it (I'm much less picky about a touring kit than recording....all subtleties are quickly lost in a club or arena).

I have to say, not only are they beautiful, they're the best sounding kit, BY FAR, that I've received from them! They sustain for days, much nicer than my previous, lacquer finish kits. I can only imagine how good they'll sound in 20 years!

I also have a 70's Gretsch in a blonde natural finish and they sound ridiculous (in a good way). Never mind that the original tom mounts are 4" in diameter and are bolted directly into the drum. That doesn't stop the 40 year old maple shells from singing like a bird

I'm converted now. If a kit sounds good, it sounds good. I don't care if it has a wrap or not and I no longer believe it's that important.

sorry for the novel, just my 2 cents
Old 2nd July 2010
  #18
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 

After years of recording I've got to say I've never noticed a difference.
Head choice, tensioning and room are much bigger differences and are variables that would make a wrap vs unwrapped comparison almost impossible to determine, unless you took two kits (wrapped and unwrapped) and tensioned the exact same heads to the exact same pitch and played them side by side.
Something I doubt many here have ever done.
Quote
2
Old 6th July 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Yes, there are plenty of factors that make a much bigger difference, but all those factors being equal, a wrap will affect the tone of a drum. Especially on an older drum. As one example, I have two 8x12 round-badge Gretsch toms from the same period. One has an aqua satin flame wrap, the other, a very thin lacquer finish. (The laquer drum was re-finished about 18 year ago.) Now, I'm ready to accept that they're different pieces of wood and whatnot, but the difference in these two drums is astounding. The lacquered drum is MUCH more open-sounding, sensitive, and easier to tune. Otherwise, the drums are the same. Both in-round, same dimensions, same thickness, same wood, same number of lugs, same type of hoops, same bearing edges. In fact, the wrapped drum has had the diamond mounting plate removed, so in the case of the hardware argument, the wrapped drum ought to be the more resonant, but it's not.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 20th July 2010
  #20
Lives for gear
 

An acoustic guitar really isn't a valid comparison...the wood is much thinner overall, and you do hear much more of the soundboard especially than you do the shell of a drum. The thicker the shell the more of the head you hear, so with a thinner shell it may make a bit more of a difference, but depending on how thick the covering is and how it's applied the difference should be anywhere from insignificant to nonexistent.
Old 31st December 2013
  #21
Gear interested
 

I have done blind fold tests and graphic readout comparisons. This This This came up years ago in the usenet group rec.music.makers.percussion. Big debate that lasted weeks. I decided to do an A/B test. At my drum shop, I took a 12" x 24" Keller 6 ply maple tube and cut two 8x12 adjacent pieces from it. Tapping the shells there was no perceptible difference between the two. I built two drums, same edges, same heads, same lugs, same RIMS holder mount on the same kind of stand. The only difference was one was wrapped in black wrap from Precision and the other one had a clear lacquer finish. We recorded them both at the same time with a very expensive large diaphragm mic equidistant between them in a pro recording studio room. I tuned them to the same not, about a medium tuning and left them wide open, no muffling. Heads; ambassadors - single ply coated on top and clear single ply on the bottom.I played them. 16 quarter notes on one and then 16 notes on the other, back and forth for a good ten minutes, with equal velocity strokes. The playback of the recording was impressive. The results? The graphic readouts on pro tools were just about equal. I could not tell which drum was which, and neither could the engineer or any of the other musicians who were there. We also set them up in the front of the store with a sign that said "take the blindfold test". They stayed there for a month and many, many pro drummers came by and listened to those two drums behind their backs. They were then asked if they could hear a difference between the drums and, if so, asked them which one was the wrapped drum and which one was the lacquered. Of over 100 drummers, only 5 said they could hear any difference. Of those 5, only 4 picked correctly which was wrapped and which was lacquered. So, as far as being the tell the difference? You can't, at least between a good glue job with a piece of black wrap from Precision and the same shell with three coats of clear lacquer. So those of you who said there was a difference? Surprise! Now there IS a very perceptible difference with glass glitter because it has a thick layer of glue and actual pieces of glass in it. That wrap is much thicker and pretty much kills the high end tone and the sustain of the shell. I always advise customers against rewrapping with glass glitter. It might as well be a blanket. With solid colors, pearl, and metal sparkle there is no perceptible difference. The metal sparkle has very thin pieces of metal foil between the thin colored back piece and the clear front piece. The adhesive and foil between them is so thin that it does not affect the sound. I'm not calling anyone a liar here, but it is easy to be deceived by the eyes, and the variables between different drums can be very significant.
Old 1st January 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
 

I hear no difference between wrapped and no-wrap shells. I suspect confirmation bias if someone claims a clear audible difference. Head choice makes the tonal difference.
Old 1st January 2014
  #23
Gear addict
 

That's it - now I know why a lot of the albums I've listened to in the past 50 years sound so bad - the drums were wrapped!
Old 2nd January 2014
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 

Both sound good. Depending on the wrap, there can be a big difference. I noticed when I was a kid that the first time I played a lacquered drum set that the tone was much more open than the wrapped drums I was used to at the time. There dogs in both camps, of course, just like there are great sounding drums in both camps.
Old 5th January 2014
  #25
Gear Guru
 

I remember a guy who stripped his drums and then wrapped them in coffin liner. It aws a satiny cloth/wallpaper kind of stuff with a glued backing. It looked cool but it did affect the sound somewhat.

Also because it was exposed cloth (with embossed fleurs-de-lis) it got damaged and worn quickly and lost its visual appeal as well.


Old 11th January 2014
  #26
Gear addict
 
relayer's Avatar
 

I can't tell a difference, but for those who claim they can, I think the bottom line is that by the time you get to the end of the recording chain, the difference would be so negligible that it would be inaudible.

Steve
Old 11th January 2014
  #27
Gear maniac
 
mrmike186's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmike186 View Post
I am more with Jax on this one. A`thick plastic wrap will add to the the character of the drum as it becomes one of the plys. The type of glue will also affect the sound. The biggest concern with re wraps is how the head will seat on a larger diameter drum. Newer drums with thin wraps will have less of an affect on the overall sound with all other things being equal.
OK, almost four years later and I will now back down and say the difference is negligible as long as the heads still fit the same.
Quote
1
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Entrainer / Electronic Music Instruments & Electronic Music Production
49
DreamSound / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show & Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
0
Classic / So much gear, so little time!
5

Forum Jump
 
Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.