by Miguel Monroy

DW is renowned for producing top-quality drums and hardware, and the company has had a consistent output of innovative ideas that meet the needs of the drumming community. The two DW Collector’s series snares we have for review—an unusual concrete model and a classic rolled-aluminum drum—are prime examples of this combo of innovation and practicality. Let’s check them out.

6.5×14 Concrete

Let’s be honest: The thought of a concrete snare is both mysterious and just plain awesome. As we prepared to test this drum, we had two important questions that needed to be answered: Is it really heavy, and what on earth does it sound like?

We received the larger 6.5×14 version of the Concrete snare ($1,269.40), but the drum is also available in 5.5×14. It features a raw soapstone finish with satin chrome hardware and is equipped with DW’s MAG magnetic throw-off and three-position butt plate. The throw-off and butt plate allowed effortless adjustments between strainer positions and enabled us to easily fine-tune the amount of strainer contact with the bottom head. The body of the drum is a thin, cast 5.5 mm shell with 45-degree bearing edges. The material used to create the shell is a combination of ground bluestone and special polymers. I was happy to learn that weight was actually a nonissue, as the drum felt about as heavy as the nickel-plated brass snare that I usually play.

5.5×14 Thin Aluminum

Drummers have relied on metal-shell snare drums for years, for their versatility and resonance. Unlike its heavy-gauge cousin in the Collector’s series, the 5.5×14 Thin Aluminum snare ($662) features a 1 mm rolled shell, which proved to be packed with even more resonance and overtones. (A 6.5×14 model is also available.)

The drum has a matte-gray powder-coated finish with chrome hardware, and it too was equipped with a MAG throw-off and three-position butt plate. The shell features rolled bearing edges. Although I could control the resonance and overtones with any number of conventional muffling methods, I never really needed to. When the drum was set at a high or low tuning, the resonance and overtones of the aluminum shell were never overwhelming but were balanced perfectly to deliver the exact piercing crack that I wanted, with just the right amount of sustain.

For more on these drums, check out the complete review in the December 2013 issue of Modern Drummer.