Acrolite vs Supraphonic: The Major Distinctions

Acrolite vs Supraphonic
Acrolite vs Supraphonic

There are tons of different musical instruments for bands to excel at, but drums certainly take the cake for being one of the most important instruments to use and master. And while learning and mastering drums is important, investing in the right drum kit is also necessary.

The right drums should not only fit your playing style and be compatible with the genre of music you do, but create great live sounds and mesh with other instruments in the band. And as drums are expensive, you certainly need a durable option to last all the long hours of practicing each day.

Because there are so many drums available online and in-store created by a multitude of popular brands, it can be difficult to find the right drums with the perfect balance of good sound quality, precision, portability, and durability.

That being said, you can narrow down your drum choices if you invest in drums that are flexible and can be used in multiple genres and blend with other instruments in a performance easily. The Acrolite and Supraphonic are two such drums.

Both these drums are manufactured by Ludwig and are one of the best options under a convenient budget in terms of both looks and performance. While you can never go wrong picking either of the two, there are a few key differences between them that can affect your final performance. We’ve discussed these below, so let’s get started!

Comparing The Acrolite vs Supraphonic

PriceAround $500.Around $600.
Design ColorMetallic aluminum gray. Copper sides available.Chrome aluminum gray.
Lugs8 lugs on the standard size.10 lugs of all sizes.
Sound QualityMore open sound. Good for live performances and concerts.More closed sound. Excellent for recording.
PlayabilityMore beginner-friendly.Better for pro players.


Acrolite is one of the most popular drums manufactured and distributed by Ludwig. Because Ludwig is a big name and widely-trusted brand, there’s definitely no question on the quality of the drum itself.

Acrolite features a clear white top with metallic drum sides. The metallic sheen is either grey or pure brass-copper color.


Acrolite’s design is aimed at beginners and it makes for a great students’ drum. Introduced back in 1963, the drum has evolved greatly in terms of build quality and playability and now it is arguably the best Ludwig drum for beginners to try.

It’s easy and convenient to fine tune and adjust, and you can install, maintain and play these drums pretty easily for playing all kinds of genres. When it comes to the design, you’ll see a shiny chrome on the tension bolts and lever featured on the P85 model.

Picture of drums and drumsticks lying on snare drum

If you don’t like this trusty old model reminiscent of the silver-aluminum on car dashboards, you can opt for the Classic design, which features the copper-like contrast on the plated hardware. There are two seamless aluminum shells, both carefully crafted and finished with smooth over-bearing round edges.

There are two sizes- 5×14, and 6.5×14. The 5×14 carries eight lugs while the larger size has 10 lugs. The Classic lugs on the different sizes still have the decades-old design, carrying the vintage feel. The only modern modifications made are the heftier hoops, which are about 2.3mm.

The tension screw washers and the small locking washers are both black in color and work together to prevent your tension bolts from falling off the drum when you change heads or tune the instrument. The Ludwig Acrolite has gained a lot of popularity for its cracking snare too.

This dry and sharp snare is the choice of pro players, who can learn to manage to blend it with other instruments


Moving on to the build, the seamless aluminum shell is 1.6mm thick and uses a Weather master coated head (medium) to enhance the overall performance. You can adjust the tension on the head with twin lugs on the sides.

Snare Drum Set with Sticks

Adjusting the head tension is good for adjusting the sound according to the genre you’re playing, making the sounds and snares louder, sharper, quieter, etc. The number of lugs does affect the sound quality and end result. The fewer lugs there are, the more open the tone is.

This is because lugs restrict the shell, which closes the tone and makes it deep. Because of the fewer lugs, you get a drum that’s more adaptable and produces crisp and lively sounds, especially at the rim-shots. That being said, you can get a healthy ring while playing from the center of the head too.

The larger model is pretty crisp too, and is quite comparable in sound despite having more lugs. It’s clean, snappy, and has the hollow clunk sound that’s characteristic of aluminum. If you want to feel the brilliance of this drum, we recommend tuning to the mid and higher settings. Low tuning can leave the drums sludgy.

Although the aluminum on the Acrolite is a softer metal compared to steel, it’s more musical and slightly spreader. This tempering with the strident nature of the metal naturally, created better notes. The material is what has made Acrolite a firm drummer favorite for a long time.


Action shot of a drummer hitting a snare drum with motion blur

If you’re looking for cool drums to get your hands on for playing and recording in multiple genres, then Supraphonic is an excellent choice. These are cold-gray metallic drums manufactured in the USA. They have a seamlessly beaded aluminum shell and feature chrome plating.

The metallic luster is only a bonus- the metal build adds to the durability first and foremost, so you can expect to play hard rock without worrying about any accessory falling off. Supraphonic drums are popularly used in recordings, as they create a better sound in the studio.

They are used in a wide range of genres and are compatible with most instruments. These drums strike a sweet balance of snare crack and full resonance which most other models fail to excel at.


To elaborate, the Ludwig Supraphonic is a hit-making snare drum with a crisp and bright-feeling full sound. It’s the professionals’ choice for studio work, but it performs really well at live events too. The chrome-plated hard aluminum shell creates that distinct snare while keeping the resonance deep and rich.

The snare is sharp and super responsive, and it’s only further enhanced by the triple-flanged hoops. You can expect the drum to create the right sound for all genres, from pop to metal, rock to jazz, classic rock to alternative.


When buying this drum, look for tube or imperial lubes with a hammered shell finish. Smooth shell finish is also suitable and a good alternative. The drum is available in standard 5×14 size. A 6.5×14 model is also available, and you can get this larger size with an extra sensitive strainer, so even the quietest beats are amplified.

Ludwig Supraphonic is praised for its classic, crisp, and clean sound. It’s very easy to tune, and has basic knobs and keys for adjustment. Once fine-tuned, it remains in tune for most of the play time.


One con of purchasing this drum is the build quality is lacking in some versions, namely the P-85. This often throws buyers off, but doing some market research and investing in a beloved model like the P-86 can save you from disappointment.

Big metal snare drum

Another small issue is the snare wire, which can burn out quite faster than the Acrolite, though they’ll still last a while before being damaged.


Overall, the durability of the aluminum shell and the classic snare produced are outstanding. The issues with the snare wire and such are manageable too. Supraphonic drum is fantastic for anyone who plays long hours and isn’t at the beginner stage, where they need quality snare and durability.

Some models and versions of the Supraphonic also come with different shell options, so you can find something for all your drum-playing needs.

The Winner

Drums and drumsticks

While both drums are excellent, we find the Acrolite to be slightly better sounding, more versatile and cost-effective. The Ludwig Acrolite is our winning pick, especially because of its ease of playing.

Leave a Comment