Shell : 1.2mm Brass with Black Nickel Plating
Tension : 8 Tension
Hoop : 2.3mm Steel Hoop
Lug : Solid Tube Brass Chrome Lug
Wire : Back Beat Nickel Plated 30 strand Wire
These people know how to make an impressive sounding and looking drum. When I first took it out of the box I noticed how heavy it was. Well of course it is because it has a thick brass shell and solid brass tube lugs. After tuning it up with the bottom head very tight and the top head medium tight I put it through its paces. I hate to use the obvious comparison, but it does sound very much like the heavy brass Ludwig Black Beauty drums that were made in the seventies, which are sought after. And I think that’s what Canopus was going for since they mentioned it on their website. With eight lugs the drum tunes up nicely and, of course, slightly more resonant than it would be with ten lugs.
The resonance of the drum is very pretty. There was a good amount of head ring which some drummers with less technique might find objectionable, but most pros understand you are supposed hit the blooming thing in the middle of the head, in the dry spot, if you don’t want it to ring. I personally prefer drums that ring out a lot. When hitting the drum off center, the note of the ringing was very pure.
The overall sound can be described as fat. I know that word is over used but this drum, to me, has the archetypical “fatness” at high, medium and low tunings. When tuned really low the drum has a BIG sound, perfect for fatback drumming. I also tried it with a zero ring at a low tuning to see if it would get that deep, dry seventies sound. And, yes, it did!
The snare wire sensitivity from edge to center was perfect, as it has been on every Canopus drum I’ve played. Effortless press rolls in every area of the head.This drum came with the new Back Beat 30 strand wire, which I am reviewing separately.
The Canopus throw off is a very smooth and simple P85 type. Nothing fancy, but easy to adjust and silent.
The 2.3 mm steel hoop and all the other hardware has very high quality chrome.
The tube lugs are elegant, and I noticed they sent an extra one in the box. I guess this is for those who have to learn the hard way not to cross thread the tension rod into the tube, which will strip it out. The tubes have very subtle and rounded stair step pedestal sculpting on their center studs. Classy.
Another feature that sets Canopus apart in the “paying attention to details” department are their leather tension rod washers which make tuning the drum so easy and also keeps the tension rod from slipping and the head going out of tune. Again, simple but effective. All drum companies should use these instead of metal or plastic washers.
The MAP price for this drum at $724 is a very reasonable price for such a finely made instrument. If I can’t locate one of those Ludwig 70s Black Beauties, I might have to buy this. :-)
I was going to make a video but discovered some very nice video and audio samples on the Canopus website here: http://canopusdrums.com/en/product/blacknickelbrass-snaredrum/