If you’ve been interested in drum gear for any amount of time, you would have come across the term “drum hoops” being thrown around a few times. While most people put most of their focus on shell types and drum heads, the hoops on the kit are another determining factor for how the drums sound.
Triple flanged hoops and die-cast hoops are the two main types of hoops you’ll find on drums. We’re going to look at the key differences between them and see which ones may be better for you.
What are Drum Hoops?
Drum hoops are the metal parts that connect drum heads to the drum shell. They’re a vital component of any drum kit, allowing the tone to transfer through them from the shell. You’ll find them on every drum set you see, and they play a more important role than many drummers realize.
They’ve gone through a few design changes over all the years that drums have been around, but you’ll mostly find metal drum hoops on the kits of today. You’ll also find two hoops on every drum. One will connect the batter head while the other connects the resonant head.
The size, design, and weight of the hoops determine a lot of the sound quality that you get from the drum. This is where the argument of triple flange vs die-cast hoops comes in.
Triple Flanged Hoops
Before talking about triple flanged hoops, you may be wondering why you don’t hear of single or double flanged ones? Drum construction has been through many changes over time, and single and double flange hoops used to chew through drum sticks at rapid rates.
So, the triple flange hoop was designed to preserve sticks better, stopping them from being chopped up after every rim shot.
Triple flanged hoops are what you’ll most commonly find on drum sets. It’s the most common type of hoop, especially in entry-level and mid-tier drum sets. They are made of strips of steel and are designed to enhance the tone of a drum whilst preserving drum sticks.
A triple flanged hoop has edges that vibrate freely, producing a fair number of overtones from the drum shell. When a drum has this type of hoop, you get a good amount of sustain and a very open sound.
If you hold a triple flanged hoop on its own and hit it, you’ll get a ringing sound that is similar to a triangle. This gives you a bit of an idea of how the hoop will bring the tone out of your kit.
- Open tone from drums
- Easily accessible
- Don’t stay in tune for long
- Not great for heavy-hitting drummers
Die Cast Hoops
Die-cast hoops are seen as the heavy-duty option. They’re a lot heavier and provide more tonal control from the drums. A drum with a die-cast hoop on it will have less sustain, fewer overtones, and have an overall tighter sound.
They’re made from cast molten metal which is what makes them heavier than triple flanged hoops that are made from strips of steel.
Die-cast hoops were invented so that drummers no longer needed to use reinforcement rings inside wooden shells. Since die-cast hoops are stronger than flanged hoops, they’re often seen as a better option in terms of sound and quality.
However, there are benefits of both types and it would be wrong to say that one is clearly better than the other.
- Hold their tuning for long periods of time
- Great rimshot sounds
- Louder drum sound
- More controlled tones
- Very expensive
- Physically heavy
Triple Flange Hoops vs Die-Cast Hoops
Since triple flanged hoops are more accessible, they’re always the cheaper option to go with. If you’re looking to buy a new set of hoops for your drum kit, you’re going to pay a significant amount more for die-cast hoops.
Die-cast hoops are also heavier than triple flange hoops. They’re harder to carry around, especially if you have a full set of them on your kit.
In terms of tone, the choice of hoop is subjective to your sound preferences. Die-cast hoops give a very dry and focused sound, which many drummers love. They also give a killer rimshot sound, making die-cast snare hoops incredibly popular.
However, die-cast hoops cut off a lot of the higher tuning of a drum. You can get higher tunings much easier with triple flanged hoops. They’re a better option to go with if you want a wide-open tone from your kit.
Can You Mix and Match Them?
It’s fairly common for drummers to mix and match different hoops on a drum kit. Mixing them together is a great way of getting the best of both worlds.
The typical way of doing this is to put die-cast hoops on the batter side and triple flange hoops on the resonant side of drums. You get all the control and power from the batter head while still getting a bit of resonance and singing tone from the resonant head.
Another thing that you’ll commonly see is drummers having a snare drum with die-cast hoops while the rest of the drums have triple flange hoops. Since the die-cast hoops give a better rimshot and cross-stick sound, it’s usually the better snare option in most settings.
One of the best things to do is to have two snare drums with the two types of hoops. You’ll then be able to swap out the hoops whenever you need a certain sound.
What About Wooden Hoops?
You may have also come across wooden drum hoops at some point or another. While they’re not as commonly seen, you’ll usually see wood hoops on certain types of snare drums.
They’re a bit closer to die-cast hoops than they are to triple flange ones. They control the tones of the drum quite well, eliminating a fair amount of the sustain. However, they give a more earthy and natural tone. They make the drums sound very organic and rich.
On top of that, a snare drum with a wood hoop will give you the best possible cross-stick sound you can get.
If you’re thinking of buying new drum hoops, there are a few things you should take into consideration. New hoops have the potential to change the sound of your drums fairly drastically, so you need to be sure of what you’re getting.
Should You Replace Your Current Hoops?
There are two big reasons for replacing your current hoops. The first would be if your current hoops are damaged or rusted. This is incredibly common on drum kits, especially in places where the climate affects your gear. A new set of hoops will make your drum kit look almost new. It will also bring back a bit of tone that the worn-out hoops weren’t bringing out.
The second reason for getting new hoops is to have a slight tonal change in your drums. If your drums are constantly going out of tune because you’re a hard drummer, it would make sense to get some die-cast hoops.
If that’s not the case and you just want different sounds, it may be cheaper to replace your current drum heads first. You may find that doing that will achieve what you’re looking for. If that doesn’t work out, then you can consider switching out the hoops.
The general rule agreement between drummers is that die-cast hoops are the best option for playing rock and metal. Triple flanged hoops are the best option for playing jazz thanks to the open tone and potential to tune the drums quite high.
However, these differences are quite mild. Any hoop will fit in all styles of music. The sound of the drums mainly depends on the drummer playing the kit.
As I said earlier, die-cast hoops are expensive. You’re going to be spending a fair bit of cash if you plan on having die-cast hoops on every drum.
This is also true when you’re buying a new kit that has die-cast hoops. Kits with triple flange hoops will most often be less expensive than ones with die-cast hoops.
If you love the qualities of die-cast hoops but you don’t have the funds for a whole kit, the best place to start is with the snare drum. That’s where you’ll hear and feel the biggest difference. A good set of die-cast hoops on a snare drum have the potential to change the world for a drummer who plays rimshots all the time.
Many drummers don’t hear much of a difference between toms that have die-cast hoops or triple flange hoops. You’ll start hearing the difference as you get more experienced with the different hoops.
It’s always good to remember that how you play the drums is more important than what they’re made of. That’s should always be your first thought. After that, the content of what they’re made of can take you a bit further in whatever setting you’re in.
Both triple flange and die-cast hoops have their place in the drumming world. It would be good for you to experience both and decide which one you like better.
If you’re still looking for clarity and understanding of the hoops, here’s a video of Bob Gatzen explaining the differences. It’s old, but it’s gold.