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Satin vs Matte finish

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  • Satin vs Matte finish

    Hello everyone!

    I am finished with deciding about everything for my Masterworks snare, but I am unsure about what the actual difference is between the satin or matte finishes.

    In case anyone is wondering, I am going for a black mist over zebrawood finish:

    It has the regular high gloss lacquer on it, but I would prefer less gloss.

    I know I can get real finish samples sent, but for now I am trying to avoid it if I can see from other people how they look on pictures.

    Generally, I am going for a less glossy look, but both matte and satin could come into question.

    This finish for example is called "satin natural zebrawood".

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    But this one, called "satin sunrise fade over bubinga" is also satin, and looks more like the reflection "spreading" over the finish, which I personally don't like as much (although you have to admit it looks gorgeous):

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    (you can see more in this video:

    And regarding the matte finishes, I have found these:

    This is "matte walnut" and also has a nice amount of glossiness:

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    But this is also "matte red fade", and in terms of the reflection looks pretty much the same to me as the satin sunrise fade over bubinga:

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    So in both cases it seems like it can look the way I would prefer, but at the same time they both might have this "spreading" reflection.
    But of course the lighting conditions and environment you ar ein play a big part in it as well.

    I guess I am overthinking this a bit, but if I am already ordering a Masterworks snare, I don't want to regret things.
    And I am going to sleep over this as well, so maybe that will make me have the answer myself

    But still, I am curious what some of your kits in those configurations might look like to better help me out, so I don't have to order samples just for that.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Drummer764; 01-21-2022, 06:54 PM.

  • #2
    Here are a few other examples:


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    So it kind of seems difficult to tell the difference between satin and matte...


    • #3
      I always thought satin and matte were the same thing lol. Maybe satin is a bit smoother and matte is just natural? I don't really know sorry.


      • #4
        Thank you for your reply!
        Yeah, it almost seems that way...
        But somehow my intuition tells me I should go with matte.


        • #5
          I would suggest considering semi-gloss. This would fall between high gloss and what you are showing here. If you are looking for furniture like finish, semi-gloss is what you are looking for.
          My previous Ludwig kit; Pearl Sensitone Aluminum , Pork Pie, Black Panther and Crush snares.
          DW 5000, Pearl modded P-102, P-120P & P-2002B. IC Powerglide. Many cymbals from the big 3.
          Tiny pic of my old cymbal setup.


          • #6
            Thank you, well, that actually was what I initially wrote in my order form draft, but after searching for semi gloss finishes from Pearl, I haven't found any.
            And it turned out in that case I found matte to be better anyway.

            I think if you look at the black mist over zebrawood finish and imagine it in matte, (to me) it should look even better:

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            Especially the 14" floor tom has a reflection that somehow shows you nicely on how it could look in matte.

            So I am really happy with my decision!

            And eventhough I am usually a clear heads guy (even on snares I like a clear Remo CS for a nice pop), coated drum heads really seem to complement the hardware and wood color, so certainly something to check out.
            I have a coated CS laying around somewhere anyway...
            Last edited by Drummer764; 01-21-2022, 06:44 PM.


            • #7
              But to those who are still wondering about the actual differences, here are some examples I found of the differences between matte, satin, semi-gloss or gloss:

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              What I also find interesting is that the more glossiness you have, the more saturated the colors look, so that might be something to take into consideration as well:

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              And maybe these links could help you out as well:



              But of course, like with every reflective surface, the look depends a lot on the environment you are in.

              Also nice how I went from researching for drums into researching for furniture haha
              Last edited by Drummer764; 01-21-2022, 06:35 PM.


              • #8
                That makes sense I guess. Semi gloss has a bit of shine to it. Matte is basically natural.


                • #9
                  Yeah, pretty much seems like that.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Drummer764 View Post
                    Yeah, pretty much seems like that.
                    The satin sunrise fade over bubinga kit above you've posted is actually mine.

                    Satin was a conscious choice over 'matte' and the difference is incredibly subtle between the two imho.

                    The matte is more of a dry finish and has next to no reflection or light refraction. Satin has a very slight reflection and light element of light refraction but it's only really visible in real life.

                    Matte red fade is a very similar finish to my kit I will agree but mine has a 'sheen' to it, whereas matte does not at all.
                    Attached Files
                    Pearl Masters BRP 165 Diamond Burst
                    Pearl Reference Twilight Fade 14x5.5 Snare
                    Sabian AAX HH HHX
                    Pro-Mark Evans Remo Apple Shure



                    • #11
                      Thank you very much for your reply!

                      Regardless of what I have said, you kit looks amazing, you can consider yourself lucky to own this one

                      In the end those things are really personal preference, and everybody likes something else.

                      Maybe the differences are subtle, but I am going for something more matte without strong reflections, and even the matte finish seemed to have too many under certain lighting conditions.
                      So I asked my rep whether I could simply have a hand-rubbed oil finish, like they do on the solid shell snares, I think that should come closest to what I have in mind:

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                      Although I still need to wait for him to reply.
                      To be fair, I have sent him a few correction mails in a row, because I noticed I had changed my mind on some things, so I hope that didn't overwhelm him...

                      In the end, there is a lot to consider even when just designing a snare drum.

                      But I will keep you updated for those who are interested
                      Last edited by Drummer764; 01-27-2022, 06:31 PM.