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.