Lovingly nicknamed “MVP,” this is something like DW’s take on a Black Beauty (kind of?) – at least in that it’s nickel-plated, thinly rolled brass.
This beast of a drum has some serious output. It projects like crazy, and is mostly manageable in the overtone department (I tend to like a deader, snappier snare sound). For a long time, this was my go-to drum for most applications – it’s sensitive enough for quiet ghost notes, and has a gnarly crack on the rim shots. It also seems to go WAY high in the tuning range without sounding choked out.
I’ve been using it less and less lately – just because of a few other bits in the arsenal – but it’s still one of my favorite drums. It’s a small detail, but the DW Mag Throw Off is about the single most satisfying mechanism to operate – almost like compulsively opening and closing a Zippo just for the feel of it.
Because I’m not much of a tinkerer (though I’m getting more into it all the time), I haven’t done a ton of experimenting with head types… I’m currently rocking an Evans prototype head I got in the mail a while back (I think I signed up for it somewhere) and one DrumTacs “sound control pad.”
I recently swapped out the stock DW snare wires with a PureSound 30-strand, and it has added some snare response, taken out a touch of the overtones, and made the snare sound a little “wider” in frequency… It’s my first experience with 30-strand wires, so I’m still figuring out just how it affects the overall sound of the drum.
I love the look of the nickel plating, and every little detail speaks to the quality of the DW Collector’s Series – from stainless steel tension rods to the wonderful True Hoops.
The only real downsides here are the overall weight – it is made of brass, after all – and the sometimes clangy nature of the overtones in certain rooms. This thing is a workhorse, and an absolute tank of a drum. It will remain in my collection for the foreseeable future as a regular part of rotation.
Generally speaking, this is a fantastic snare drum that has served me well in a pretty wide range of uses. It’s certainly got some “sharpness” in tonal characteristics, and the rim shot overtones you’d expect from a metal drum of this size – but in any kind of live situation, that “clang” gets eaten right up by guitars and vocals, and this baby just sings.
It might not be my current “MVP,” but it’s among the first high-end snares I’ve owned, and the quality definitely shines through, just like the whipcrack of the rim shots.