Bold and beautiful drums backed up by exceptional musicality.

Although its marketing strategy has been to remain relatively quiet and unassuming, Japanese drum maker Canopus has been building some of the most musical and meticulously crafted snares and kits since its foundation in 1977. From spot-on vintage and classic replicas to forward-thinking and cutting-edge designs, like the two snares we have here, you’d be hard-pressed to find fault with anything wearing the Canopus badge. Our review drums are from the new Stabilized Wood series, which comprises a 9-ply maple shell with an outer veneer that’s been treated with a special resin and lacquered to reveal a spectacular flowing color pattern, in either Buckeye Turquoise or Buckeye Violet.

Specs and Sounds

Stabilized Wood snares are available in one size: 6.5×14. But they can be ordered with brass, chrome, or black-nickel hardware and with either triple-flange steel hoops or die-cast ones. We received a Buckeye Violet drum with die-cast hoops and chrome hardware and a Buckeye Turquoise drum with brass triple-flange hoops and hardware. Both were outfitted with Remo Ambassador Coated batters and Ambassador Snare bottoms, as well as Canopus’s snappy-style wires. The throw-off is the company’s standard version, with a smooth side-action lever and knurled thumb screw. One subtle yet significant detail on all Canopus drums is the inclusion of Bolt Tight leather washers on every tension rod. These washers do a great job of preventing the drum from detuning as you play. They also help tame down some of the metallic ring. As a result, these drums have an amazingly full and balanced voice that can be played wide open at any tuning without being plagued by bright and biting overtones.

Both drums had wide tuning ranges and exceptional snare sensitivity all the way out to the edge. I don’t think I could pinpoint my favorite tuning for each; they honestly sounded incredible from high to low. The triple-flange version had a more open voice with a broader sound, while the die-cast drum was more focused and direct. The overtones on the triple-flange drum were more balanced across the frequency spectrum, which to my ear gave it a more satisfying spray, while the die-cast drum produced a more discernible pitch in the middle and lower registers. Neither drum rang so much as to require muffling, but in a pure side-by-side comparison, I would favor the die-cast drum for tight tunings and louder gigs, while the triple-flange could be a strong first-choice for just about any situation. The multicolored finishes are also surefire showstoppers without being gaudy. These snares represent yet another strong statement from one of the industry’s quietest champions.