- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 26 September 2011
TAMA, like many percussion manufacturers, has a Signature line, and in this case, snare drums which are built according to a well known drummer's specifications. The TAMA Stewart Copeland snare drum is made of 1.5mm thick chrome-plated brass, with 10 lugs, and is 5" high x 14" diameter. It has a die-cast batter hoop and flanged snare hoop. This thing is made to be wrenched down for a shotgun blast beat, and it gets the job done.
The photo below shows the die-cast batter hoop on top and the flanged hoop on the bottom, along with the snare. The strainer is basic, not fancy, but solid.
I used a Rhythm Tech drum lug torq wrench to tighten the lugs on the batter side to a standard (the highest number on the wrench). I then tightened the snare side lugs about 1/2 turn higher on each lug. A photo of the Rhythm Tech is shown below. I have also ordered a Regal Tip DT1 drum lug torq wrench to see if it is more suitable. The second wrench photo shows the DT1.
- Manufacturer Line: Signature
- Model: Stewart Copeland
- Shell Material: Chrome-Plated Brass
- Shell Thickness: 1.5mm
- Lugs: 10 Chrome MSL35
- Hoops: Die Cast Batter, Flanged Snare
- Heads: Single-ply Coated Batter; Single-ply Translucent Snare
- Strainer: MUS80A
- Snares: MS20SN14S
- Dimensions: 5" x 14"
- Weight: 8 Pounds
- MSRP: $615 USA; Street Price $399
I can see why Copeland likes this design. With the lugs very tight, the drum has a powerful whack that will cut through any amp stack. I also tried it out as a jazz snare, and just a light tap delivered the right amount of pop to back up the soloist (tenor sax), without getting in his way.
There are several sound files at the end of the review. I did not strike the drum as hard as one would when playing a concert, because the intensity drowns out the sound of the shell. These sound files were made with medium velocity, except for the rim shot, so you can hear the shell ring. I had to set the recording level so that it was well below clipping. So, you will need to turn the volume up on your computer speakers to get a more realistic sound impression.
The spectrum shown below used the same setup as I do with cymbals. Two laboratory grade microphones were arranged so that they were about 1 foot above the snare drum, pointed down at a 450 angle at a point midway between the center and rim.
This spectrum goes all the way out to 80 kHz, but in the future, for drum reviews, I will be using a scale of 20 Hz - 20 kHz because there is no drum sound beyond about 15 kHz.
You can see that the resonant frequency for the snare is 260 Hz (I used a single 5A nylon tip drumstick strike in the center, medium velocity, with the snare disengaged). This is the part of the "ring" that you will hear in the sound samples. However, the ringing is very short and not objectionable. About 20 dB SPL below the resonant frequency are some other peaks just above 1 kHz. The combination of peaks is the total ring sound.
Here are three more spectra, windowed at 0-0.1 seconds, 0.2-0.3 seconds, and 0.9-1.0 seconds. The scale on the left hand side changes so that the peaks will read full height. Notice that the resonant frequency has dropped 36 dB between 0-0.1 seconds and 0.3 seconds (first graph compared to second graph), and by 1 second, it is now 82 dB below the level during the first 1/10th of a second. We are left with a bit of deep bass in the 30 Hz region that is not audible. These are graphs made with 24 bit sound samples, so the Y axis goes to - 145 dB, but we cannot hear anything below - 120 dB (the numbers are recording levels, with 0 dB full scale being as loud as you can record without clipping). The graph shown above is actual SPL.
The TAMA Stewart Copeland Signature Snare Drum is superb. It has a tight, crisp sound that can be played loud enough that you will be glad you have ear protectors, but also, it works very well with jazz.