Sweet Spot is a range of percussion products sourced in Taiwan and imported into Europe by Kidderminster's enterprising Music Shipping Company. Music Shipping gets the parts for each drum sent over from Taiwan, and assembles them over here.
This means it has direct control over specification and quality, and also allows MSC - which also imports American Aquarian heads - to fit top-quality Aquarian batter heads as standard. The brass snare tested here is constructed in the classic vintage style pioneered and formulated by Ludwig some 80 years ago and, as a result, sports a 5½" deep brass shell with a centre bead for strengthening and 10 double-ended tube lugs.
It's amazing how this design is regularly resurrected by so many companies, and is obviously a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.
The snare also benefits from another design lesson learnt by Ludwig many years ago: the importance of a simple but dependable side-lever strainer. The Sweet Spot strainer used here is isolated from the shell by a thick rubber gasket, is silent in use and has an ergonomically contoured rubber grip.
The attention to detail doesn't stop there though, and there are loads of other features that would previously only have appeared on top-price drums. Generous touches include the nylon washers on each tension rod, the black plastic gaskets isolating each tube lug, the solid cast snare butt plate, as opposed to a cheap pressed-steel one, and the pro-quality lug fixings on the shell interior.
Brass has always been the upmarket choice of metal for snare drums, and Sweet Spot's gleaming polished shell doesn't disappoint. The beaded shell is constructed in heavy gauge brass, and gives the whole drum an expensive, weighty feel. Look inside and you can see the neatly finished vertical welded seam.
The bearing edges of the shell are accurately turned over and cleanly finished, too. A professional batter head makes a huge difference to any drum, and the combination of the brass shell and Aquarian Satin Finish Coated batter produces a great sound straight out the box. The 10 minimum-contact tube lugs allow the shell to breathe, and the slightly dark and thick timbre imparted by the brass gives the drum an attractive, resonant and ballsy sound.
Cross stick sounds and rimshots always seem to have an extra dimension on brass drums, and it's no different here. There's also a wide tuning range, from deep mud-funky to bright and bell clear.
Most drummers start out with a budget kit and, after a while, realise they need to upgrade to a better level of snare drum. As a result, there's stiff competition in this upper-budget arena. Ludwig makes a range of drums of broadly similar quality in brass, bronze and steel, however, the Sweet Spot snare more than holds its own.