Dixon Artisan Snare Drums Tested!


Wood/Steel Sandwich

When you first see the very attractive Dixon Equator snare drum, please don’t make the mistake I made. I looked at the black nickel hardware and the mod Matrix Green finish and said to myself, “Oh, Another nice-looking drum – yawn – and set it aside. Wrong answer! When I finally put the drum on the stand I was shocked at how good it was.

The Dixon Equator snare is a bit tricky. It’s a 4-ply oak drum with reinforcing rings and a steel ring that encircles the inside (like the Equator encircles the earth … tricky, eh?). Mixing wood and metal is not a new innovation, but man oh man does it work well in this combination. The entirety of the drum includes die-cast, black-nickel finish hoops and black-nickel hardware, a decent throw-off (sorry, no Dunnett here), tube lugs, and the very nice Matrix Green finish. The drum will probably sell in stores for less than $600, and I am shocked at how good it sounds.

Dixon should have named this the Sonic Sandwich Snare Drum! First off, you get the sound of steel via the internal band. Steel has a nice sonic point to it, a strong jab that articulates your exact notes in space and time. There’s also a warm tonk here, kind of like the infamous Alex Van Halen/Bill Bruford tone, but just a little. Then there’s a sandy, harmonious speaking of the wires, like a fat, even attack. Maybe it comes from the oak plies, I don’t know – but it’s in there, and it sounds really good.

All this sound grabbed me at once and by surprise after I swept up this drum, in its shipping box, on the way out the door to a gig. Driven by guilt, I was. I’m supposed to play these things out in the world because that makes for a better review. Here’s my review: I loved it. Furthermore, I recorded the gig, and on hearing the performance back, I still loved the Dixon Equator snare drum, much more so than my recorded performance.

I found, on the inside of the bottom hoop, a little tiny sticker that reads “Made In Taiwan.” And it’s true. And I’m willing to set aside my own prejudices about mass-produced import drums, and willing to embrace the realities of my limited budget, and say in a loud, clear voice, “This drum rocks!” If you press me for a complaint about the Dixon Equator snare I have two: It’s very heavy, and there’s no boutique name to brag about. Boo. Hoo.


Both of these drums offer great sounds, laudable innovation, and noteworthy value. If you are aching for a boutique snare drum but can’t quite afford it, the Brady-tagged Dixon Artisan drum, at a street price around $600, provides a high percentage of the performance and details you crave. If you love both metal and wood snares and wish you could meld the two, check out the Dixon Equator drum. It does just that with both great sound and good looks at a street price close to $500.


Models & Finishes

Dixon Artisan Chris Brady Rose Gum Snare Drum: Vintage Burst, Reverse Vintage Burst, Natural.
Dixon Artisan Equator Snare Drum: Matrix Green or Charcoal Black.

Model, Size, & List Price

Dixon Brady Artisan Snare 14" x 6.5" $919.99
Dixon Brady Artisan Snare 13" x 6" $845.99
Dixon Brady Artisan Snare 14" x 5.5" $889.99
Dixon Equator Snare Drum 14" x 5.5" $845.99
Dixon Equator Snare Drum 14" x6.5" $889.99


Dixon U.S.A.

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