Ludwig Supralite Snare Drum
The Ludwig Supralite snare will give you bright sound out of the box, when tuned to your preferences. That’s the upside.
The downside is that this isn’t the workhorse snare you expect from Ludwig. If you’re a hobbyist that plays for pleasure when time allows, or if you’re investing in a good starter kit, then don’t hesitate to put your money on one of the four Supralite sizes.
But if you plan to put this snare to a hard-driving marathon over the next 10 years, there might be better options.
To rip off an old political meme: We knew the Ludwig Acrolite snare.
The Acrolite has been a durable friend, delivering decades of quality play for many drummers since its introduction by Ludwig in 1963.
This is no Acrolite.
It’s not as sturdily built in any detail. And that diminishes sound and durability when compared with the Acrolite.
But it isn’t junk either. It’s priced about right, well below the Acrolite line, and it will satisfy when expectations are in line with the drums’ fit and finish.
The Likes and Dislikes below explain exactly what we mean.
Ludwig Supralite Steel Snares
Ludwig offers the Supralite in four classic snare sizes: 5×15, 6.5×14, 5.5×14 and 8×14.
A 4×14 is no longer manufactured, but you might find one for sale, new or used.
The steel shells are chrome that is polished to a mirror finish.
The coated stock heads from are pretty generic and of decent quality. Their sound is less than spectacular. If you know what sound you’re looking for, and they don’t produce it, expect to make a switch.
Ludwig Supralite Steel Snare Information
- We mentioned the beautifully chromed shells. They look fabulous.
- Where the shells fall short is in their build. For several years, Ludwig advertised them as 1.5mm thick. They aren’t and never were. The shells are 1mm thick. In short, they are 33% thinner than many unsuspecting purchasers believe. Ludwig has corrected the error on its site and promotional materials and packaging.
- Some retail sales sites still haven’t made the correction, so buyer beware.
- Triple-flanged hoops are 2.3mm, and that’s the truth.
- Brass snare wires and chromed brass lugs complete the package.
As you’d expect from steel, these snares deliver a crack attack. This snare won’t get lost regardless of the musical genre.
Nice mid-range overtone played live and in the studio – it can be surprisingly warm for steel.
The 8×14 is the best-sounding of the bunch, if that’s the size you’re looking for. It’s sharp, yet deep and rich.
Normal wear will produce more tear on this drum due to the lighter shell and the mediocre quality of the screws holding everything together.
Finicky tuning. Expect to have to play with the settings on this snare to get your sound more than you do with most. Quite a few users find the strainer to be especially touchy.
The snare on some drums rattle even when off. While rare, that’s a tough fix.
Overall 3.5 Stars
Some reviewers say this is the best snare they’ve played. A few call it junk.
The truth is in the middle, closer to good than to garbage, and that’s where experienced drummers rate it. We agree.
We recommend the Ludwig Supralite snares for:
- Newer drummers buying good starter equipment
- Those that normally play wood but want to try steel
- Anyone that wants to make a modest financial investment that might deliver excellent ROI
Steve Feldman says
Sounds like it might be a good affordable option as a backup snare. Every drummer should have one. Other than that a good snare for lighter dates, like a cocktail date. Even a second snare that a lot of drummers have to their left side would be a solid option.
The Acrolites are still a great and sought after snare. A nice dry sound.
I played a Supraphonic for years. Like many of us, I made the mistake of selling it (at the time many of us sold to buy something else). The Supraphonic is potentially the most recorded snare in pop music..
All things considered, it sounds like there’s a place for the Supralite.
Great to hear from you again!
It seems from the reviews I’ve read that drummers ARE finding a place for this snare in their arsenal.
Comments about the snare wires rattling even when turned off being a difficult fix is ridiculous. Adjusting a snare strainer is not rocket science. Any first year drummer should already be able to understand and correct such an issue. Lol this drum sounds great out of the box. I changed the Ludwig batter head to a head more to my liking. Beautiful. I’ll be using this plenty.
Thanks, Robert! Glad you’re really happy with this snare! I’m hearing you say it’s extremely versatile which is great!
Jonathan Cruz says
I purchased this snare on Black Friday I got the 14 for the 13in price (their bad)
When I sampled it at the store I loved that dry sound
I knew it was steel but dug the sound .
I currently own a Jazz Fest and love my. mahogany wood!!
I’ve found a video on YouTube that compares this Supralite with other top end Ludwig snares and to my ears this Supralite sounds WAY better
Thanks for stopping by and giving us your take on the Supralite!
Could you share the YouTube link so I could post it in the review?
Richard Hingle says
I bought the 14×8 as a backup snare. I realize I probably don’t have a national exposure, but I’m coming up on 59 years as a touring and studio musician. Right out of the box I pre-purchased an Evans Reverse dot and Reso 300, installed those and a Fat Cat strainer. I’m having the last laugh because a prominent drum company forgot to remove an old ad and I paid $140+ for it brand new. This drum has an astounding Crack! Granted, it’s a deeper shell so it has to be driven a little harder… Rimshots ring with perfect tone, and cross-sticking sounds just like a studio recording. By the way, I own the studio too, so I have to be able to provide excellent sounding equipment or won’t make any money.
59 years as ANYTHING shows either a preference for pain or COMPLETE dedication-LOL! I’m sure yours is the latter, right? LOL!
140 bucks? Are you kidding me? Sounds like you got reimbursed for a small bit of all the money you’ve spent over the years. Hey, we’ll take it when we get it, right?
Where are you located, by the way?