Triple flange, die-cast or… wood rims?

The circles that are mounted on the drums, very often pass into the background in the definition of the sound we would like to obtain. We are all there to quibble whether to take maple or birch, whether to mount sanded or clear skins, but few consider the circle as an important element in the general economy of a sound.

Mistaken. The circles are important and knowing their characteristics, the way they affect the sound and what the advantages/disadvantages of each type are is equally important.

If you are on this page it is because all this is not yet clear to you.



The triple flange rim is made with a cold metal bending process, weighing about 1.6 / 2.0 / 2.3 mm.

There are differences in thickness with Die-Cast and can be heard in terms of sound. The Triple flange circle guarantees a wider spectrum of harmonics, with a less controlled and more ” open ” sound making the wood sound heard. It adapts better to the stem, especially if there are small imperfections and requires greater care in tuning.


The Die-Cast rims are printed and have a greater thickness, around 3.0 mm.

The Die-cast instead guarantee a more controlled sound, with a cleaner note (the harmonics are heard less), since being heavier and more robust, they guarantee a muted effect in themselves. They are also more suitable for those who often play using the rim shot (shot of the snare drum which is performed by simultaneously striking the skin and the rim) giving more power and in general they hold the tuning better.

These circles are usually made of steel, but can also be made of bronze or other alloys.


The research, marketing and the need to differentiate led the industry circles today to the drums to a point where every famous brand designs, records and sells its own kind of circle.

We, therefore, have the DW that mounts the True Hoops with intermediate thicknesses between the triple flange and the Die-cast, or the Sonor that mounts on the Gavin Harrison signature snare of the triple flange with the flanking facing inwards, or some manufacturer is back to the vintage by re-proposing a single flange.

each famous brand designs and markets its own type of circle


When to use one and when to use the other is not easy to say, obviously if the genre is very “heavy” the Die-cast is more suitable than a Triple flange, which instead is better suited to the genres where the sound of the drum, more than the “pacca”, it plays an important role.

However, I don’t want to fall into the generalization and label circles with genres. For this reason, I suggest you try some of the two types, maybe using them together like Stewart Copeland (Police) who uses Die-cast on the swing for his snare drum, for better control and tightness of the tuning and a Triple flange on the resonant, to bring out the harmonics and the tailpiece.

Is Rim shot your “must”? Go to Die-cast


The circle in wood instead is a variation a bit ‘particular and not very used although having its nutritissima array of fans, even famous as Steve Gadd, Steve Jordan, and Akira Jimbo.

As general characteristics they tend to give a warmer sound than the previous ones, cutting some harmonics and giving more resonance to the stem in general. Obviously they are less resistant than steel and if you play a genre in which rim shots are important, I do not recommend using them as wood tends to crumble in the long run.


It’s hard to say from behind a keyboard, my advice is to play, play, play, try them all, maybe from some store or some friend who has them and then choose. All of them could do for you and not close you behind gender labels or materials.

In general, as already mentioned, the Die-Cast are more suitable for those who play “heavy”, with a lot of rim shots, while the Triple Flange is more suitable for those who prefer a sound richer in harmonics and is less “thug”.

But it is not said! These are general guidelines only.

Experiment with your favorite snare drum

Changing all the circles of the battery I understand that it can be expensive, but if for example, you have a snare drum that you particularly care about, take a different circle than the one mounted and give it a try. You will see that it will be important to understand how the sound varies and see if it is closer or less to your taste.

Try them and as always make your ears choose, not your eyes.

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