Best Snare Wires — How to Choose One and Be Satisfied
Hello there! My name’s Chad, and I’m a full-time professional drummer. So, you have decided to tweak your snare sound? That’s a hell of a plan. Snare drum wires are the key element that will let you experiment with the acoustic color of your snares.
But don’t forget: there’s a whole caboodle of nuances. Depending on your snare wire choice, you may get radically different results. Their number, material, and tension will determine the character of your snare sound. So, before doing it consider the following:
- How big your budget is;
- Which music genre you prefer;
- For which purpose the drum set will be used: touring, recording, etc.
Top 7 Snare Wires
I have tested a bunch of wires over the years. The best items are included in this review. You will find both affordable and fancy models. For my part, I will give you insight on all pros and cons. I will provide you with genre tips. And I will tell you which snare wires to use in different situations. So, let’s rock!
PureSound Super 30 Series – One of the Best Snare Wires
PureSound Super 30 Series is our first specimen. If I had to characterize this product in just a few words, my vocabulary choice would be: affordable, decent, crispy, loud. The wires are crafted from a steel alloy. What does it mean?
Well, as you know, each material has a distinct sound. Thanks to steel, your snares will get a loud, piercing tone. And what’s even better, you won’t need to hit very hard. The wires will create a good resonance, so your drums won’t choke from the volume overkill.
Its end clips are made from copper. They provide: a) solid fastening b) nice responsiveness. As a result, you can get prolific with your grace notes. Practice triplets, flams, and drags that you want. And get less muscle fatigue — it’s a pretty important thing for live performers.
All in all, I’d say that Super 30 Series is a universal tool. If you often record — they’ll provide snappy and sui generis sound. If you perform, your listeners will be pleased with the loud & crisp snare cannonade. Consequently, practicing becomes much easier.
As for genres, Super 30 Series cover a good deal of them. Metal, hard rock, grunge, pop rock, funk, and others. Anything energetic, loud, and bold.
- Designed for 14" snare drums; 30 strands of wire
- Evenly spaced coiled snare wires offer consistent snare response
- Penetrating sounds;
- Affordable price;
- Easy to tune;
- Minimal noises;
- Needs wider snares.
PureSound Blaster Series Snare Wire, 20 Strand – Golden Standard
Blaster Series is a standard set of 20 medium gauge wires. I’d call it classic, though it’s not exactly vintage snare wires.
This item is another affordable example on our list. But cheap doesn’t always mean bad. In Blaster Series case, you get a louder, noticeable, and warmer sound.
If you’re displeased with your current snare wires, I can recommend this set as a substitute. It is engineered from a steel alloy. You know what it means already: loud and chest-hitting sound. However, I wouldn’t say that it’s overly aggressive.
On the contrary: these wires react well to gentle touch. As a result, you can expand your genre repertoire: from soft rock to country, blues-rock, and so forth.
Blaster Series also make drumming responsive. You get less muscle tension. So, you can play a longer concert or practice a bit more than usual. Articulation is a charm with these beauties. But I would recommend them only as a rehearsal/live gig solution.
As for recording, these wires may not be the best choice. The problem is, they produce a certain rattle noise when you hit the toms. While it’s not that critical during a concert, a recording may suffer from unwanted sound artifacts.
Overall, Blaster Series are worth every penny. They do a marvelous job for the price. They are easy to lodge and attach. They give more character to your snare. And, finally, you won’t be physically tired too much.
Pro-tip: if you have 10-inch snares, PureSound Blaster Series 10 snare wires can do the trick. It’s basically the same thing.
- Designed for 14" snare drums; 20 strands of wire
- Premium-grade steel-alloy wires developed for high volume, high intensity drumming
- Colorful snare sound;
- Attractive price;
- Steel alloy;
- Causes less muscle fatigue;
- Great for live performing.
- Makes audible rattling noise.
Gibraltar SC-4467 Snare 14 Inch – Snare Drum Wires for Live and Studio Work
Okay, our next item is a bit more expensive. But the growing price is justifiable — it’s Gibraltar, after all! This is a well-known brand in the drumming world. Their cymbals, pedals, and percussion are favored by many notable musicians. Among them are Bashiri Johnson, Benny Horowitz from Gaslight Anthem, and Alan White (go figure which one).
So, here’s what we’ve got on the menu. First of all, this item is universal. SC-4467 has been designed for standard 14-inch snares. So, you will have zero problems with the installation. Once it’s done, you can check the sound right away.
It has a standard acoustic snare color. The one you hear on most of the live shows, sample libraries, and a good deal of studio records. However, it’s far from being dull and boring. Gibraltar SC-4467 has its own personality, as well as a decent potential for punchiness that we all love.
It gives the snares a solid and a bit elegant tone. You can instantly hear these wires resonating in a jazz parlor. Or in a country club, where square dancing happens. Or at a Belle & Sebastian concert.
At the same time, you can gain a pretty loud and bright sound. Due to the articulation and appropriate drum material, SC-4467 can be a deafening thunder. That means a marching band can also benefit from using these wires. It’s loud enough to fill a football arena with aggressive syncopating.
- 20-Strand Strainer for 14" Snare Drum
- The Gibraltar 20-strand Strainer is designed to fit many Manufacturer's 14" Snare drums
- Warm and crisp sound;
- Good for live and studio work;
- Awesome responsiveness;
- Fits standard snares;
- Can be quite loud.
- Higher price;
- Occasional buzzing issues.
PureSound Custom Pro Brass Snare Wire CPB1424 – More Brass, Less Buzz
Our next gladiator is in the same price segment as the item by Gibraltar. But it has some smart know-hows. Let’s go through the basic features first. These are a standard set of 14-inch wire, 24 strands in total.
As a simple rule goes, the more strands — the brighter they sound. And Pro Brass lives up to that decree. We get a nice, clear, juicy and saturated tone. At the loudest fortissimo Pro Brass delivers a soul-puncturing punch. But barbaric drive isn’t everything this model is capable of.
Moreover, Pro Brass is wonderfully balanced. Its response feels sensitive and alive. In turn, this brings more subtlety to the snare tone. You can experiment with volume range and achieve different results. Gentle rhythm, tight and loud pace, rumbling drumming — it seems the wire can do it all.
But my favorite part of the configuration is its brass coil. Brass isn’t the material you regularly investigate that is put inside your snare. Its function here is to add extra texture to the tone. Besides, there are anti-choke plates added to the coils. This solution kills unwanted buzz and affects the tension level positively.
Besides, Pro Brass Snare Wire is a charm to install. Thanks to the number alignment, positioning the wires is a no-brainer. Plus, they remain straight for a long time before loosening up.
To sum it up, I highly recommend these wires as a substitute to your customized ones. They eliminate that pesky buzzing noise. They sound way smoother, which is vital for practicing, performing, and recording. And their dynamic palette is lustrous.
- Designed for 14" snare drums; 24 strands of wire
- Speed Release Strap allows the player to disengage the snare wires for quick head or snare wire changes
- Wide dynamic range;
- Anti-buzz mechanism;
- Easy installation;
- Smooth resonating;
- Solid response.
- Relatively pricey;
PureSound Equalizer Snare Wire – Laconic & Tight
What I like about this model is its simplicity. Simplicity coupled with effectiveness. Pure Sound Equalizer has a steel coil. As a result, you get an accurate response and a saturated, bright sound. It’s perfect for energetic music genres. So, if you need to knock the audience out with a single hit — consider this snare wire.
PureSound Equalizer is a charm when it comes to recording. Thanks to its tiny gap in the middle, almost all unwanted ring and buzz disappear. This trick with the wires allows to minimize the sympathetic resonance. So, when it’s time for another tom roll, you’re saved. Snares won’t reflect their thundery sound. And your demo record will be saved.
There are two sizes to pick from: 13 and 14 inches. Installing Equalizer seems a bit tricky. Instead of classic snare-cords, it has its own blue wires.
Attaching them may take some time. But once it’s done, you won’t have to worry about tension fading away. Besides, you can tweak it to achieve a desirable sound. With a necessary level of reverberation or dryness.
To conclude, PureSound Equalizer is full of surprises. It’s a bit pricier than other models on the list. But it banishes 98,9% of sympathetic vibration. As a result, you won’t need to come up with lifehacks and techniques to make your drumming cleaner.
- Designed for 14" snare drums; 16 strands of wire
- Off-set snare wire design with removed center snares for increase shell sound
- Sympathetic noise reduction;
- Great response;
- Easy articulation;
- Punchy, crisp sound;
- Great for studio work.
- Charges a handsome fee;
- No 12 snare wires version.
Canomo 2 Pack Steel Snare Wire – Professional Snare Drum Wires
To be honest, I’m not very familiar with this Canomo brand. But the results of testing their snare wires turned out fantastic. Canomo seems to know what it does. First, I would like to praise the sound. It contains that meaty, penetrating punchiness. The sound is clear, strong, and pretty loud.
Second, I really enjoy its tension. Just like Grover snare wires, Canomo has each strand equally tensioned. But there’s even more. Thanks to the system of silver brackets, your snares will be fastened tight. That means no more loosening up.
As for the sympathetic buzz, Canomo 2 Pack has it too. But it’s pretty ghostly and elusive. I guess you can use this wire set for recording. There won’t be any unnatural resonating. As for live performances and practice — Canomo shows excellent results.
A snare equipped with this wire feels very tactile. The responsiveness is quite decent. So, playing with articulation, dynamics, and experimenting with intricate patterns feels rather enjoyable. So, Canomo seems to know how to eliminate the feel of chore. And… bring the groove back!
- Size: 33cm/ 13inch in length, 7cm/ 2.76inch in width, please ensure the size
- With 20 strands of steel wire, high-quality and durable
- High quality sound;
- Awesomely balanced tension;
- Unwanted noises are barely audible;
- Good for all purposes;
- Enjoyable to play.
- Not the cheapest wire ever;
- Only standard 14-inch size.
Pearl S022 20 Strand for 14-inch Snare Drums – Best Snare Wires with Straps
Pearl is a gem of a company in the drumming world. This brand has some history. It’s been around for almost 80 years! Such a long tradition of making drum gear must be taking its ‘toll’. Pear’s hardware rarely ceases to amaze. Their instruments toured together with Erykah Badu, Prince, Willie Nelson, and a myriad of other artists.
So, let’s see what we have. Pearl SO22 is an excellent configuration. It includes 20 strands designed for a canonical 14-inch snare. The first thing to intrigue your ears is its sound texture. Pearl SO22 adds its own warm color and tone.
Besides, Pearl wires are famous for having a wide tonality range. That means there are more texture and saturation. Which makes your drumming feel more alive. More breathing, so to say.
Setting the wire up is a cruise. It’s compatible with basically any snare material. Its straps fasten the wires securely to the snare drum. Tension remains nicely intact. Even if you had a bombastic performance the other day, it won’t need much fixing.
Sympathetic noises don’t really stand a chance with Pearl. The company has had a ton of experience in making studio drums. They know how to keep the annoying buzz unheard. So, I can frankly recommend this snare wire for any artistic mission you may get: album recording, world touring, or perfecting a double stroke roll at home.
An interesting bonus. I’ve rarely seen this happening, but Pearl SO22 can reincarnate an old drum snare. So if you have something like Spirit Plus or Slingerland Lites with their snares drummed black and blue — try Pearl. It provides a fat chance of bringing them back to life.
- 20 strand wire
- 14" snare drum
- Excellent sound;
- Tight fixing;
- Tensions never seem to loosen up.
- Has a personal sound character;
- Can revive old snares.
- The priciest stuff;
- Can’t be delivered to certain countries at the moment.
Light a Fire with a Kickass Snare Wire!
Okay, now you know which models to pay attention to. I strongly recommend you to change your snare wire if you’re still using the stock ones. At first, it may affect your muscles negatively, causing more fatigue after each rehearsal. This, in turn, may damage your drumming technique.
Secondly, you will be surprised by how differently your performance may sound. By adding extra textures and overtones, snare wires breathe a brand-new life into your rhythms. And this will spark inspiration. Help you sculpt your own style. Develop unique drum tricks of your own.
Just don’t forget: a good drum wire must kill the sympathetic noise. If you’re planning to practice solo for a while, you can pick a cheaper model. But if you’re serious about studio work, then anti-choke-plates, brass coils, and other nuances are vital.
I review drum gear and soft regularly. If you want to hear about the next big drum app for Android or find some drum hardware that suits your needs and budget — stay tuned! Which drum wire brand is your favourite one? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments!