This Flame Birch snare from UK firm Liberty Drums is beautifully finished with a finely-grained 'blazing' birch veneer.
CEO and master craftsman Andrew Street says "the troughs and crests of the grain reflects light in different directions", creating a fire-like effect which appears to flicker when viewed at a variety of angles.
Sporting a wispy-thin 3mm shell, this is the significantly lighter of the two snares. It has been given additional strength and rigidity with 3mm-thick internal reinforcement rings fixed top and bottom.
The drum also features the Liberty 'Iconic' metal badge and share similar chrome-plated hardware including snare strainer, throw-off, counter hoops, and lugs.
"The sound is both mouth-wateringly woody and rich"
These semi-circular Liberty 'beetle' lugs are, of course, isolated from the precious veneer walls by nylon gaskets. They are chunky but slick, each with a retro-esque elegance of their own.
As with many of the Liberty snares we have road-tested, the firm has opted for the superb George Way 'beer tap' snare throw-off and butt-end. This is surely one of the world's most simplistic but cunning levers, relying on nothing more than the tension of the strainer and lever angle to keep everything in place. Once adjusted to the optimum position, the butt-end has a knurled adjuster with four machined recesses to stop it from rotating.
Heads of choice are Evans - with a Level 360 white coated ST for the batter and a Hazy 300. Incidentally, ST stands for Super Tough as this batter has two 7.5-mil plies to thicken up the sound and give extra stick resilience. The strategically drilled air holes provide venting while also providing a fine tonal balance with good levels of overtone.
A key sound-shaping characteristic of this Flame Birch snare is its thin shell which, as Liberty says gives it a "focused girthy sound". Perhaps there might not be quite so much volume or projection to hand as a thicker shell but, overall, as the sound is both mouth-wateringly woody and rich, we feel this more than compensates... anyway, it might just need hitting a little harder - and we can do that!
It's worth mentioning the superb Evans ST Dry heads and the Puresound strainer which assist the snare with its superb stick definition - each strike clear and responsive, precise and accurate.
The well-engineered components respond smoothly and accurately so obtaining your preferred pitch and snare sound is a breeze, whether increasing or decreasing the tuning - we can go right up into timbale territory and down again for something a little more meaty.