With more than twenty years of experience in drumming and drum technology, LCD owner Buddy Love prides himself on knowing what it takes to make instruments that have the durability and toughness to hold up to the rigors of the road while also providing dynamic, expressive sounds. The company’s metal snares we have for review this month—a 5.5×14 brass, a 6×14 copper, and a 6×14 heavily oxidized Old Steel—are designed with working drummers in mind who need to get the most versatility out of a single drum. Each had its own unique flavor while also being able to run the gamut from high to low. Let’s take a closer look.

5.5×14 Brass

Every drummer needs a workhorse metal snare, and LCD’s 5.5×14 brass fits the bill. This drum has a .05″ rolled-brass shell with eight center-point lugs, triple-flange steel hoops, a Trick GS007 throw-off, and Puresound twenty-strand wires. The batter head is an Evans Power Center Reverse Dot, and the snare side is Evans’ 3mil 300 series. The shell wall is straight (i.e. no folded flange on top or bottom to create the bearing edges), and there are two small vent holes drilled beneath the throw-off and butt plate to help improve snare response. The tension rods and lugs are insulated with plastic washers to minimize metal-on-metal contact.

Of the three LCD snares we reviewed, the brass model had the fullest voice and most balanced overtones. Capitalizing on that versatility, I favored it at a medium tension and without any muffling. I could get plenty of articulation from ghost notes at that tuning, while drawing out a strong, smacking attack from rimshots that had musical overtones that decayed quickly and evenly. I could also crank the batter to dry up the overtones without choking the life out of the drum. And when detuned the brass shell throws out a lot of beefy low-end while maintaining crisp snare response and balanced sustain. List price is $650.

6×14 Old Steel

The oddball of the trio is the 6×14 Old Steel, which has a heavily oxidized 16-gauge shell that looks like it came directly from an industrial salvage yard. Love purposefully went for a tougher vibe on this drum by including distressed lugs, rather than the shiny chrome versions used on the brass and copper. The rustic look continues to the weld in the shell, which is left raw. Buddy also outfitted the shell with a simple washer-type round badge rather than the more ornate family-crest badge used on the other two drums.

The Old Steel snare came with an Evans Genera batter, which has a preinstalled muffling ring on the underside, and a 300 series bottom. Like the other two drums, the Old Steel has eight center-point lugs, a Trick GS007 throw-off, and Puresound wires.

The combination of the muffled batter head and aged shell gave the Old Steel snare a fat, dry sound that felt most at home at medium-low and low tunings, where it provided a dark, powerful punch that mixed well in modern rock applications. You could also crank the batter for a thick, dense “crack” with minimal overtones, and medium tunings had a more transparent tone that smacked quickly without ringing excessively. List price is $500.

6×14 Copper

Aside from an extra .5″ of depth and metal type, the LCD copper snare is identical to the brass. The shell thickness, hardware, and other appointments are the same. And like the brass, the copper snare could cover a wide range of sounds and timbres. But the overtones were more focused in the higher registers, and they decayed a bit slower. For those reasons, I preferred the sound of the copper drum at tighter tunings, where the brighter overtones could bring in a bit more presence and personality to an otherwise dry, crisp, articulate “pop.” I also enjoyed the compressed, controlled tone that the copper drum produced at a super-low tuning without muffling.

If you tend to go for tighter and more focused snare sounds, then the LCD copper is an excellent alternative to the more open, full-range tone of the brass and the fatter, darker vibe of the Old Steel. List price is $700.

For more info on these snares, visit lcdcustomdrums.com.