We reviewed the shallow 4″- and 5.5″-deep versions of Beier’s vintage-inspired 1.5mm steel 15″ snares back in the February 2016 issue and fell in love with their deadly combo of power, punch, and crispness, especially at lower tunings. This month we’re checking out two of the company’s deeper steel models: a 6.5×15 and a 7.5×15. Both had eight lugs and came with Beier’s signature textured black finish. Priced very competitively, the 6.5″ sells for $535, and the 7.5″ is $575. Let’s check them out.
This drum came outfitted with Beier’s bridge-style engraved lug, which is a modernized version of the box-type lug found on many vintage drums that’s been designed to make minimal contact to the shell. The strainer featured DW’s super-smooth Mag magnetized throw-off. Twenty-strand Puresound wires and Remo drumheads (CS Coated batter and Hazy Ambassador bottom) were also included. The hoops were standard 2.3mm triple-flange steel. The tension rods featured black plastic washers to facilitate smoother tuning and to help mitigate detuning under heavy use.
Despite its large size, the 6.5×15 Beier had a lot of versatility. It could be tuned tight to get a snappy “pop,” but it had a lower and fatter tone than you’d get from a 13″ or 14″ drum tuned at the same tension. Medium batter-head tension produced some nice pitch bend, but it was in the lower ranges where this drum was most comfortable. Medium-low tension resulted in a meaty punch and super crisp attack, and low tunings had a huge Def Leppard–style “gush.”
There were some noticeable midrange overtones when I played the 6.5×15 wide open, but they were fairly contained. One or two muffling gels were all that was needed to eliminate the ring and shorten
the decay to achieve a thick, dense tone with bright, tight snare response. Microphones loved this drum;
I didn’t need to crank the high-end EQ to increase its presence at lower tunings. And it could easily project backbeats all the way to the back of the room when required to do so.
Aside from its extra inch of depth, the only difference on the 7.5×15 drum was that it had chromed-brass tube lugs instead of the engraved boxes. Everything else is identical. This deeper drum was sonically similar to the 6.5×15. Snare response was quick and snappy, the overtones were mostly focused in the midrange, the attack was strong and punchy, and it had plenty of thick, dense body. The sustain was a bit longer, but it didn’t ring forever. Again, a gel or two was all that I needed to shorten the decay and rein in the overtones.
The most notable advantage of this deeper Beier snare is that it never bottomed out or started to sound compressed when played at high volume. Again, low and medium-low tunings were exceptional, and produced a thumping, sizzling timbre that sounded as if it was lifted straight off a vintage Roland TR-909 drum machine. For those of you looking for larger-than-life snare tones, get yourself one of Beier’s steel beasts. There’s nothing else quite like them.