AD Drums Birch snare review

A dynamic snare from the UK custom drum house

  • £395
The drum (right) is wrapped in Teal Blue Pearl with an insert of off-white Marine Pearl

MusicRadar Verdict

AD has once again produced an impressive snare drum.


  • +

    Good value for money, given it's custom-built in the UK. Rich, warm wood tones. Powerstroke 3 heads.


  • -

    Not much.

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Considering the usual wares of AD Drums' Carl Haffield are eye-catching to say the least, our 14"x61⁄2" birch ply snare looks somewhat nostalgic.

It's finished with a wrap of teal blue pearl with a 28mm insert of an off-white marine pearl. This slightly off-centre band gives the appearance of a drum that has spent its entire working life in some smoke-filled jazz bar. The tube lugs assist with this retro ambience, complementing the purposely-aged wrap.

"It produces a beefy, rich crack which is really quite pleasant and not so sharp or high-pitched it makes you wince"

Hoops are provided by a pair of S-Hoop counter hoops. These are designed to give focus with the aid of a rather large, oversized overhang which points inwards towards the head centre. This also gives additional strength to the hoop and has all the benefits of a rigid die-cast while being incredibly stick (and hand, if you're that way inclined), friendly.

For the throw-off on this model AD has plumped for the Trick GS007 - regular readers will know of our penchant for this superbly engineered throw-off. Head of choice is a Remo Powerstroke 3.

Carl says the make of head is really up to the customer, he admits that he just likes to experiment with different head combinations - a bit like his shells, then!

Hands On

The hoops make it easy to pin-point and adjust the slightest pitch differences. Initially, where there is a slight drop, there's noticeably less resistance from the tuning bolt, fortunately confirming we're at the right lug. Also, the opposing side of the drum can also be affected - so, where necessary, this is also adjusted.

After a few strikes on the birch, our ears and sticks are enjoying themselves - the top flange of the S-Hoops is perfectly angled so the stick shoulder has maximum contact with both the head and the hoop.

This produces a beefy, rich crack which is really quite pleasant and not so sharp or high-pitched it makes you wince. We are sure though, it would make anyone in close proximity blink like crazy.

From the first strike the birch shell responds with an impressive level of attack followed by some woody warmth. The Powerstroke 3 does a great job of providing plenty of 'oomph' when needed. That well-aimed shoulder crack across that S-Hoop reminds us of its head-turning capabilities.

When it comes time for something more subtle there is so much control at hand with the combination of drum and the Puresound snares - from a wispy tickle to a full on wallop (and everything in between), this highlights its musical articulation and versatility.