Being a drum reviewer is a tortuous job. No, really. Companies send you new, cool, and often very expensive equipment that you could never afford; you play it for a while on different gigs, write your best impression of its strengths and weakness, and then send it back. That last part’s where the torture kicks in.
I recently received two beautiful snares from Dynamicx Drums, which is located in Michigan. You may not have heard of this company yet, but it is the latest creation from the people who also make Black Swamp Percussion’s exquisite snare drums and percussion instruments, as well as Drum Foundry’s drum-making tools.
Dynamicx is a division of the Drum Foundry side of the company. Whereas Black Swamp creates very high-end snare drums for symphonic drummers, Dynamicx snares are designed for drum set players. While the shell manufacturing, hardware, and design throughout these three companies is thoroughly state-of-the-art, the Dynamicx brand was created specifically for kit players who don’t need the more elaborate and expensive multitimbral strainers that classical snare drummers often require. But don’t feel cheated; these Dynamicx snares have some very unique features that set them apart from many other high-end drums you’ve seen.
Let’s start with the nuts and bolts. Both drums employ the RCK throw-off and butt. This is a custom strainer created by company president Eric Sooy. It’s stylish yet offers a modern take on a classic vintage look and uses a unique roller bearing actuator just like Black Swamp’s more elaborate units. The wires drop a bit further than many strainers so there won’t be any unwanted snare rattle against the bottom head when the wires are disengaged. It’s solidly built and worked smoothly, allowing me to easily fine-tune the tension with the wires engaged.
The drums feature ten arch-style double tube lugs. Rather than mount the tube on two posts, this lug uses an arched piece to support the tube that suggests art deco and looks much more unique than a standard tube lug. I liked these lugs a lot.
The drums had Dynamicx wires underneath and also came with both “df” (Drum Foundry) and Dynamicx badges, and the wood drum had a die-cast air-vent grommet. The hardware was all beautifully chromed and shiny.
Dynamicx sent me two 14" x 6.5" snare drums to review; a titanium model and a maple-and-purpleheart-segment snare drum with maple hoops. Both of these drums were beauties and had flawless construction.
If you’re not that familiar with segment drum shells or wood-drum construction methods in general, here’s a brief primer.
The most common drum shell construction method is to make them out of plywood. There is more glue used with this type of drum than with the next three methods, which some believe is an undesirable characteristic of plywood drums. The least common method is probably to make a drum from a single board, steam bending it and gluing the joint together. Some think this is ideal since you’re hearing pretty much just the wood and very little glue. Steam-bent, or solid shell, drums invariably use reinforcement rings to help them stay round.
There are two other construction methods that are common among high-end drums. One is stave drums, which are made like a conga drum where vertical boards are glued together at the edges and then shaped into a cylinder. Occasionally, drums made this way can separate if there’s a defect in the materials or if the drum is dropped, which is why congas sometimes have a metal band around them for added support. The other is segment construction, which also has a low glue-to-wood ratio but is believed to be stronger and more stable than stave or solid shell construction. This method is made from staggered blocks of wood much like a brick wall.