Matt Halpern Snare Drum
Things I know about Matt Halpern: he plays with Periphery; he plays Meinl cymbals; he hits hard; and, having walked past him at a drum show once, he’s quite a lot bigger than me. I might watch what I say from here on in…
Ok, so seriously, the one thing I can say about Matt Halpern is that he knows how to design a good sounding, solid snare drum.
The drum in question has a black powder-coated 1.5mm brass shell with three air vents. The hoops are Pearl’s MasterCast die-cast model and the strainer is the SR-150 Click-Lock design (long and quite skinny). The black/brass STL Swivel Tube Lugs may not be to everyone’s taste – I found that out first hand as I have a kit with them on and someone told me they didn’t like them so much – but I like them all the same. The wires are Pearl’s Ultra Sound design. Both heads are by Evans with a Heavyweight Dry being on top.
So first off, the look.
I’ve always liked all black drums and while this one technically isn’t as black as it could be, it’s black enough with just tiny hints of colour like with the yellow gaskets, for instance, being in all the right places. I like it.
I found this a very easy drum to tune and play.
I love a drum that feels solid under the stick and this is one of those drums. If you’ve played a thicker shelled metal drum (I’m talking 3mm plus here), you’ll get what I mean. It’s a similar thing but this drum’s shell is half that thickness. The hoops and shell almost welcome being hit hard; they just absorb the stroke. That said, I found the drum able to be sensitive too, with ghost notes being easy to produce.
Sound-wise, I felt the drum sat best at a medium to higher tensioning where it had a great crack to it. That’s not to say it wouldn’t go lower, I tried that in the video, but I thought it lost something when down there. At the medium and higher tensionings, the drum was loud, cutting and full bodied. It has a definite crack to it which I think will break through a loud band without needing a PA.
In summary, I think this is a great snare drum.
It comes ready to go straight out of the box, it’s visually appealing – it’s true, black really does go with everything – it’s very solid to play and sounds fantastic with very little effort.
Probably goes without saying given who Matt Halpern plays with, but it’s a great rock drum, although I’d be happy using it on a more general purpose basis too.