A faithful reproduction of one of the most legendary drums of all time.
Rogers Drums is an American manufacturer that was founded in the mid-nineteenth century. The company gained notoriety in the 1950s and ’60s for its cutting-edge innovations, including the infinitely adjustable Swiv-o-Matic series hardware and ultra-sensitive Dyna-Sonic snare drums. After several decades of success under private ownership, Rogers was sold to CBS Musical Instruments in 1966 and eventually discontinued in 1983.
The Rogers brand was revived in 1998 by Brook Mays Music Company, mostly as a line of low-cost budget drums, and was then picked up by Yamaha Corporation of America in 2006. But it wasn’t until 2013, when Taiwanese manufacturer Reliance International Corporation acquired the rights to the company, that a true Rogers revival was put into motion, beginning with a reissue of the coveted Dyna-Sonic wood snare.
The new Dyna-Sonic snares are designed to be accurate replications of the original wood-shell models made during the company’s heyday in the 1960s. The drums, which are only available in 5×14 and 6.5×14 sizes, feature ten lugs on shells constructed of five plies of maple and poplar with reinforcement rings. Original-era finishes include White Marine Pearl, Black Diamond Pearl, Silver Sparkle, Red Onyx, and Blue Onyx. We received a 5×14 in White Marine Pearl and a 6.5×14 in Red Onyx for review.
The initial run of Dyna-Sonic snares, which were released in 2017, featured classic-style “bread and butter” cast lugs. Last year the drums were adorned with Rogers’ famed “beavertail” lugs, which were invented in 1963 to provide more durability and stability, as well as a slick art deco–inspired look. Unlike the original drums, new Dyna-Sonics feature plastic gaskets under the lug casings and between the tension rods and hoops to minimize metal-to-shell contact and to help promote smooth and secure tuning.
The triple-flange steel hoops are 1.6 mm thick, and the bottom hoop has a special gate used to mount the patented Dyna- Sonic floating snare rail system. The strainer is an exact replica of “clock face” design used on the original drums, as are the script Rogers and oval Dyna-Sonic badges. The drums also include a thumbscrew- operated tone control system that comprises a 1.5″ round-felt pad that lifts onto the underside of the batter head to dampen the sustain. The heads are a single-ply Remo Ambassador Coated batter and an Ambassador Hazy snare side.
Designed for Supreme Sensitivity
The defining feature of the Dyna-Sonic drums is Rogers’ proprietary floating snare rail system, which is said to provide extra sensitivity and control. While all the extra components of this system may make it seem complicated and over designed, the concept is quite simple: the system allows you to tighten the wires for a crisp response without choking the bottom head. This is achieved by including independent control knobs for the height and horizontal tension of the wires. That way the throw-off height can be adjusted to raise the wires to make light and even contact with the bottom head while the rail screw is used to dial in the length of snare response.
It took a bit of experimenting to get a feel for how the two adjustments affect one another, but once I had it dialed in, these Dyna-Sonic snares proved to be exceptionally sensitive across the entire drumhead. And I could utilize tighter than typical snare tension for a super-short and crisp sound without the tone becoming choked.
Dry, Pre-Aged Tones
We tested these drums across the entire tuning range, and at each tuning we played them with and without the tone control muffler engaged. Both drums had an exceptionally dry, warm tone, even when played wide open. Without the tone control activated, the drums produced a balanced swathe of overtones that added a pleasing amount of ambience and brightness without obscuring the warmth and smack of the attack. With the muffler turned on, the drums sounded ultra dry, crisp, and punchy.
The 5×14 version favored higher tunings and performed exceptionally at lower dynamics, whether I was playing light, delicate jazz comping or quick, articulate ghost notes. It also produces a dry, popping backbeat that would give any James Brown–inspired groove an extra dose of authenticity. The 5×14 also does the ever- trendy deep thud sound very well. Just tune the batter head about as low as it can go, engage the tone control, and you’re good to go.
The timbre and tone of the 6.5×14 Dyna-Sonic parallels that of the shallower version in terms of its dryness, musicality, and super-crisp sensitivity. While it sounded great at any tuning, it excelled in the coveted but often hard to control low-mid registers. Even without using the internal muffler, the overtones on the Dyna-Sonic were balanced and controlled, providing a supportive cushion of reverb-like sustain beneath heavy backbeats. If you’re in need of a big, deep-sounding drum that can articulate the inner beats of the “Rosanna” shuffle like a shallow piccolo, this is the snare for you.