We reviewed three of the 13 revamped Pearl SensiTone Classic and Premium snares back in July. Those all had metal shells and now we reveal one of only three wood shellers, which all boast the Premium specification with new ARL arched bridge lugs. The drum we have here is the 14"x5" Premium Maple.
As we saw with the Premium metal drums, the new ARL Arch-Tube lugs replace the previous, less striking square bridge lugs.
They have a three-part construction incorporating two separate brass tubes held in place by a chromed, minimal-shell- contact, cast arch. Since the two tubes are separated in the middle they are essentially self-aligning, reducing the possibility of cross-threading.
Also new is the impressive SR-150 strainer/throw-off which Pearl calls Click-Lock, with a Gladstone-style action. As the lever is engaged, a 'C'-shaped clip hugs the tension knob preventing both the lever and the snare tension from slipping under heavy playing.
The polymer bearing action is commendably smooth and quiet. This is aided by the way both the strainer and butt ends have block clamps set at 45° to the shell for attaching the snare cords (or alternative tapes).
Finishing off the design are Pearl's engraved SuperHoop IIs and a new oval 'Made in Taiwan' badge. You pay a bit more for the premium range but they do have cool looks and distinctive hardware.
The general feeling of the the maple drums in Pearl's overhauled Sensitone line is that these are more familiar fare than the African Mahogany model, though no less worthy and probably more suited to being all-round workhorses. Maple is brighter and a little broader toned possibly, more cavernous sounding, with good sustain.