The set was a four piece bebop size kit - 14 x 18 bass drum, 8 x 12 mounted tom, 14 x 14 floor tom and a Zelkova snare drum. It was tuned extremely high, in the jazz and bebop range. It sounded beautiful. Extremely clear tones.Read More
Canopus Drums is entering the 2017 Snare Drum Olympics! Japanese drum manufacturer Canopus is well known for their extremely well-engineered drum products and for the great sound of their instruments. In particular, the unique Canopus Zelkova snare drum which is hollowed out from one piece of two hundred-year-old Zelkova trees (Japanese Redwood) in a special parabolic shape. We don't know which drum or drums Canopus is entering in the contest yet, but any of their high-end drums will set an early benchmark for the contest.Read More
We caught up with Johnny Drugan of Drugan's Drums at the Chicago Drum Show where he was showing off the latest Canopus Drums...Read More
“My Signature snare drum series has a fat, deep, crisp and powerful sound that is great for all styles of music : Rock, Jazz, Funk and Fusion and more!”Read More
Canopus Drums has been very innovative in new designs of instruments, hardware and parts. Now their newest offering is a much needed improvement on an old classic- the CIM-20 baseball bat internal muffler. It is an exact copy of the baseball bat but with new features. Not So Modern Drummer carries all Canopus products.Read More
Canopus has added some new models and colors to the current Yaiba Maple and Birch snare series. Until last month the models were only available with the Yaiba kits I reviewed earlier this year. They are now available as individual drums in the Canopus snare line up. They are not up on the Canopus website yet so this is kind of a sneak peek.Read More
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.Read More
Canopus sent three unusual snare drums from their Neo Vintage series for me to review this month: I’m including their specs and descriptions as well.
NV70-M4 (4th of Neo-vintage series)
Shell : 5ply Maple + Poplar 9mm Finish : Superior Maple Lacquer Size : 6.5 x 14 Top Hoop : 12 tension round edge hoop Botom Hoop : 6 tension round edge hoop Snare Wire : Non-plated Canopus vintage wire (CPSL-14DR) Lug : Japanese sword separate lug
MSRP : $1530.95 MAP : $918.57
From Canopus’ literature:
"NEO VINTAGE M4 is based upon the technology and specifications of some outstanding drum designs from the 1970s. Its unique design features 12 tension rods on top and 6 on the bottom. A 5 ply maple and thicker poplar shell construction, and Canopus' precision bearing edge shaping, combine to create a characteristically "mellow and dry" vintage sound. With these specifications - providing a blend of tight attack and a comfortable, loose reverberation, it is a totally unique instrument. Certainly, this conspicuous sound will be highly prized and sought-after by a great many drummers."
I found this to be the most intriguing of the three drums. I started out with medium tuning. Great sound and throatiness in that range, but the low tone of the poplar and maple shell begged to be tuned down. So I loosened the twelve top tension rods considerably and found the sweet spot on this drum. It makes a great “fat back” drum. The resonance of the drum at the low tuning has just the right amount of “gonk” in it. This would make a great recording drum for those who like to tune low and splashy. I also tried it at a tight tuning, not expecting much from the poplar in the shell but was surprised at how nice and snappy it sounded. Very articulate. I especially like the Slingerland type stick saver hoops. Something about those hoops makes a drum sound “rounder”. It’s the perfect compromise between a softer triple flange hoop and a stiffer die cast hoop. The 12/6 ratio of top to bottom lugs is cool. With the stiffer stick saver hoops, the 8 lugs are not needed on the bottom head, but I would like to hear one of these with 8 lugs on the snare side. The lacquer finish on the maple outer ply is flawless. The Japanese Sword lugs are the coolest thing. Why did Sonor ever let that style go?
SIG-1465YE1 (Yoshihito Eto's Signature Model)
Shell : Maple＆Birch Hybrid 8ply Finish : White Satin Wrap (Inner Ply Black Oil Finish) Size : 6.5 x 14 Hoop : Die-Cast BlackNickel Plated Snare Wire : Non-plated Canopus vintage wire (CPSL-14DR) Lug : Solid Brass Tube Lug Black Nickel Plated w/ Inner Muffler w/ Tension Adjustable Butt
MSRP : $1359.36 MAP : $815.62
From Canopus’ literature:
“In order to suit the eclectic playing style of drummer, Yoshihito Eto, his signature snare drum needed the capacity to shine in a wide variety of musical situations - from Jazz to Pop and Hard rock. It needed to be a true "all-rounder", but at the same time it needed to reflect Eto’s playing personality. This was a major challenge - because it is often observed that an "all-rounder" snare drum seems to lose a certain individual character in order to function in all musical situations. Canopus produced many prototypes of this model - in search of the perfect combination of sensitivity, power, "clean" tone, and "complex" sound. We have met the challenge and realised this ideal sound. This drum features a hybrid shell - a perfect blend of maple and birch. The maple provides clear, clean projection and birch adds complexity and character to the sound.
To fully realise the potential of this hybrid sound, we have achieved a perfect balance of several elements - we have utilised Canopus' precise edge shaping, snare tension adjustments at both strainer and butt-end - to control the snare wire more efficiently, and an internal muffler which allows the tone to be controlled and varied at any time - even mid-song! The potential of this snare drum is infinite - all elements of the sound can be directly changed and controlled by the player. This is a remarkable instrument, of which the Canopus company is justly proud.”
Beautiful drum with great color scheme: white satin flame wrap and black hardware. Very clean sounding. The die cast hoops give it a stout voice, but does not dry the head up completely like I’ve experienced on other snares. The snare response is very nice at tight, medium and loose tensions. The tension knob adjustment on the butt end is a nice feature. I especially liked the internal muffler. I‘m not a fan of muffling but on this drum the muting was effective without choking the head. It would make an all around workhorse drum that would be at home in many music genres.
NV60-M3 (3rd of of Neo-vintage series)
Shell : Phenol Fiber Finish : Deep Ocean Wrap Size : 5.5 x 14 Hoop : Steel 2.3mm Snare Wire : Plated Canopus vintage wire (CPSL-14NP) Lug : Solid Tube Chrome Lug
MSRP : $946.67 MAP : 568.00
From Canopus’ literature:
“With these unique drums Canopus has brought back the drum sound that was immensely popular from the mid 1960's through to their peak in the 1980's. Since that time fiber drums have become increasingly difficult to find. Fiber material has particularly unique sonic qualities when compared to wood or metal shells.
Canopus' process is to layer "craft paper" with phenol resin and apply a heat treatment (known as annealing) to the shell. This allows us to considerably harden the surface layers of the shell to get the best sound as a drum shell and extract the optimal sound. The combination of ideal shell hardness and thickness, combined with the perfect bearing edge, has allowed us to recreate the vintage fiber sound - Neo Vintage M3.”
Warm, and deep. Not at all what I expected from this unusual type of shell. Very meaty and throaty tone. Easy to tune. Snare response is great. The tube lugs keep tension off the shell and add to the resonance of the drum. I would love to have this drum in my arsenal.
I’ve known about Canopus’s high quality drums for a long time, having played one of their unique Zelkova wood one piece barrel shaped snare drums in my drum shop in the 2000s, and sold their accessories. I heard my first Canopus drum set at a NAMM show around 2006. The very small bass drum on that kit sounded huge and attracted a lot of attention. I had high expectations of these Yaiba drums before they even came out of the box. The Yaiba line has been around for three or four years and this is their new revised kit – revised for lower price but not lower quality. Both sets list for $1500 which is quite a price drop from the original Yaiba kits. Canopus’s drums and sets have never been cheap because they don’t make any cheap drums. This new Yaiba set is their first set that I think puts their sets within reach of the amateur or working drummer who wants to afford a very high quality drum set at a mid-line price. To achieve this price point on an already existing line, Canopus says that they adopted a different approach to the shell construction, heads and hardware from the original Yaiba kits. They also switched from nitrocellulose lacquer to a standard type of lacquer that reduced the time of the drying process and shortened their overall production time and cost. The new models also come in many color choices - Yaiba gray sparkle lacquer, dark red sparkle lacquer, ebony lacquer, and matte white lacquer. The word Yaiba means “Japanese Sword” by the way.
The Groove Kit sizes are very standard five piece sizes ; 18x 22 bass, 8x10 and 8x 12 toms, 16x16 floor tom, and a 6.5 x 14 snare drum. The shells of the Groove Kit are birch and have a nice punchy attack with a healthy underlying low end. This kit is aimed at the rock, funk, pop, fusion and modern country player who needs a kit that can deliver substantial volume with great tone.
My impressions upon inspecting them:
- big fat and rich sound with lots of snap and high end cut
- nice deep snare beds
- canopus vintage snare wires sound great,
- bearing edges great – tuned right up, very rich fat sound, great snare response from very edge to center
- snare throw off is a Canopus proprietary p85 type that works great and has “Canopus” molded into the side of it, a nice touch
- the snare drum sounded great at all snare wire tensions; loose, medium , and did not choke out when tightened heavily
- the double lug design on the snare is very attractive and clever
- Very full sounding with lots of distinct cut
- Easy to find the sweet spot when tuning
- RIMS type holders on the rack toms
- Tom mount? The only negative about the whole kit for me - no tom holder on the bass drum or double tom stand. I realize there are a lot of drummers who mount their toms on stands, but a holder on the bass drum for two rack toms is the norm. No mount puts the consumer and dealer in the position of having to have one installed or providing a holder of some kind.
- Very deep and powerful, punchy
- Nice adjustable ratchet spurs
- The die cast claws have rubber gaskets that make them line up with the lugs easily and to keep them from gouging the wood hoop, which is finished in the same lacquer finish on the outside
Hardware and Appointments:
- No generic hardware on the drums. All proprietary made specifically for or by Canopus
- Nice sculpted badge. The logo on the bass drum is very classy
- Came stock with Remo UT clear ambassador heads on toms, Nice Power Stroke III heads on the bass. Coated anbassador on the snare
- Beautiful finish. Great looking gun metal glitter type finish called Yaiba Gray. “Very Sparkly” as Rain Man would say
- Canopus’s “Bolt Tight” leather washers included on each tension rod on all drums. Two leather washers with a metal washer in between keeps the tension rod from loosening and also isolates the hoop and bringing out the low end of the shell – they work
The Yaiba Groove can be summed up in one concise phrase – this is a very, very, very, very nice sounding and versatile drum set. This is a high level pro kit at a mid-line price. I would recommend this kit to anyone who is looking to step up to a nice five piece work horse kit with a finish that looks expensive.
The Yaiba Bop set sizes are traditional as well – 14 x 18 bass, 8 x 12 and 14 x 14 toms, and a 5.5 x 14 snare. The shells are maple and have the warm and pleasing sound that maple is known for. This kit is aimed at the jazz or small group player, but the bass drum can be tuned quite low and is more full sounding than the average 18” bass drum. It could be substituted for a 20” bass drum easily.
My impressions upon inspecting them:
- One word; snappy! Most plywood snares sound boxy to me, but this one had a nice bright attack with lots of body and no midrange boxiness.
- Snare response is exceptional from the edge of the head to the middle. Snare wire tension sounded great at loose, medium and tight settings.
- Tuning it was easy
- Warm and big. Nice round notes at high and low tunings.
- Plenty of attack and lots of sustains. Nice blend between the two.
- Single bass drum mount for the rack tom with ball and socket arm. Yay! Thank you very much.
- Rims type suspension mount for the mounted tom.
- This is the biggest reason to buy this drum set. Canopus’s 18” bass drums are known for their big, deep sound. I don’t know what they are doing to achieve this, but they are in a class by themselves.
- Fitted with ratchet spurs and with matching paint on the hoops.
Appointments and Features:
- I already mentioned the bass mounted tom holder.
- The red glitter paint finish on this kit is stunning. They call it Dark Red Sparkle. Very classy. Nobody would kick this finish out of bed.
- The workmanship on all the hardware and the chrome plating is top notch. There are no compromises in the construction and machining of this instrument.
- The heads on this set are all Remo Ambassador coated medium weight heads.
The Yaiba Bop set has a great sonority. When we play a small drum set tuned open with no muffling, we want the drums to blend pleasantly in a chord. The Yaiba Bop set, if tuned correctly, achieves this. I tried the toms and bass at very high, medium and low tunings. A very pleasing and sustaining blend was present at all tunings. The dynamic range is wide. No choking out at high volume and nice whispering tones w pianissimo strokes. Definitely a beautiful sounding jazz set that can double as a small setting pop or funk set.
My overall impression and rating of the Yaiba line is a solid ten out of ten. From a construction, features, performance, and visual standpoint, Canopus has delivered a superior top shelf professional instrument in two configurations at a price that is attractive.
Before I get into the meat of this review, let me say that I was already very familiar with the Zelkova snare drums, having played a few over the years. I knew what to expect with this particular review drum. I have a predisposed bias to this drum so I apologize in advance for gushing.
The Zelkova is a unique snare drum cut from a hollowed section of a 200 year old Japanese Zelkova tree stump. This wood is also called Japanese elm or redwood. Using the traditional techniques of making the barrel shaped Japanese Taiko drums, Canopus achieves the resonant and sonorous sound of the Taiko. The barrel shape is designed to be stronger than other barrel shaped stave drums which have traditionally prone to cracking. Its unique thickness and structure of the shell disperses the tension forces equally. The shell is thicker in the middle and thinner at the edges. The bearing edge is extremely sharp. The shell is seasoned for three years and the drum is dried in a specially designed wood drier to reduce the moisture content down to nine percent. This drying procedure also contributes to minimize the shrinkage and cracking of the drum shell. The snare beds are fairly shallow. The craftsmanship that goes into the shell is immediately obvious.
Fat, warm, solid, thick, sweet, rich, sharp, strong, throaty, resonant, with a lot of body. It is a unique sound that I have never heard from another snare drum of any kind. It does not sound like maple. It has its own distinctive tonal qualities which can not really be compared to other woods. powerful love spell
The hardware is kept to a minimum: eight small and simple, yet somehow expensive looking, solid brass lugs, each of them attached to the shell with just one screw. The reason for eight lugs as opposed to ten is to lower the overall mass of the hardware and to allow larger sections of the shell vibrate freely, unimpeded by the lugs and screws. The revolving height adjustable tubular lug has a mechanism which enables height adjustments at the interval of plus or minus 2mm by turning its center pole. The die cast rims keep the drum perfectly in tune even with extended playing times. The snare mechanism is a simple P85 type that works well, and the snare wires are Canopus.
If you are worried about tuning with just eight lugs, don't be: the die cast rims keep the snare perfectly in tune, as I can attest, having played it for about half a year now. The leather washers under each tuning screw also help keep the heads in tune. Those washers are actually a Canopus product that can be bought separately, called "Bolt Tight". The air hole is simply that; a hole cut in the drum with no grommet, in keeping with Canopus's philosophy of minimal hardware and contact.
When I play this drum, it feels different than other drums. It feels like the shape of the shell produces more "give" in the head, which is very pleasing. The sound has a lot of character - lots of bottom but with crisp highs at the same time. And the bottom does not disappear with high tunings. The tuning range is very wide. The snare sensitivity is perfect - very even all the way across the head. The drum is very responsive and does not choke when played loudly. I was not hesitant about digging into it. The rim shots and rim clicks are very crisp while maintaining the warm, fat shell sound - not unlike a triple flanged hoop feel. Most drums with die cast hoops have a drastically sharper rim sound. The Zelkova rim sounds are more organic, even with the die cast hoops.
One of the best snare drums money can buy. A definite "10". I wish I owned one but I need another snare drum like I need a hole in my head. It is a very versatile drum that does not bring attention to itself in a recording mix. It's just……………right. Let's hope that the Canopus Drum Company has a long history with this holy grail drum. You can hear very accurate sound samples of the 5x14, 6.5x14 and the 8x14 models at the website.