Based in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, EcHo is the father and son team of Dave Quinn Sr and Jr.
EcHo began when Dave Jr, keen drummer and coded welder, made his first aluminium snare. Impressed, Dave Sr decided to join him in the venture. EcHo now makes snare drums using brass, aluminium, carbon steel and copper - and complete kits from aluminium.
The snares are hand-made, utilising highest certified metals, with punched (not drilled) holes, hand-spun bearing edges and pressed (crimped) snare beds. Each shell has a single vertical welded seam.
An almost limitless array of finishes includes polished, brushed or raw shells, powder coating, spray painting, clear lacquering and even vinyl wraps. Hardware can be plated in chrome, black or 24 carat gold, while shells may be beaded, hammered or engraved.
Lugs are solid machined and solid aluminium hoops are made in-house. Tube lugs and triple-flanged or die-cast hoops are bought in.
The four review drums line up as follows. The big fella has a 14"x7", 1.2mm brass shell with 30° spun bearing edges. It has a central concave bead and is polished and lacquered. There are 10 chromed tube lugs with high profile die-cast hoops.
The 14"x5½" has a 3mm thick aluminium shell in an almost translucent Exotic Blue with 45° chamfered (cut) bearing edges. Triple-flanged hoops are chrome plated and the 10 lugs are solid machined in aluminium/stainless steel.
Representing great value there is a 14"x5" 1mm steel shell, this time with 30° spun bearing edges. This one has a glossy black shell that has a stove-enamel mottled look, with Exotic Red triple-flanged hoops and 10 chromed classic Beavertail cast lugs.
Finally, the striking 13"x6¼" white and gold drum has a 1.2mm double vented invert (convex) beaded brass shell and 30° spun bearing edges. The finish is Gloss Arctic White (inside and out), engraved with a custom Celtic pattern and it also boasts a customised brass nameplate - 'The Gaffer' - 24-carat gold die-cast hoops and tube lugs.
All four drums are fitted with excellent Fat Cat steel snare wires. The steel drum has a workaday generic side-lever throw-off while the other three have the luxurious Trick GS007.
All our drums came with Evans Power Centre Reverse Dot batters and Evans Hazy 200 resonants. Review drums often arrive de-tuned - a sensible precaution if they have shipped all the way from China.
This does mean, however, you have to tune them up before playing and sometimes first impressions can be depressing. We mention this because these UK-made drums all arrived perfectly tuned - and they sounded to die for, every one of them. EcHo has thoughtfully fitted KD plastic tuning locks, which help.
We took out the blue aluminium drum on a couple of gigs, and what a stonking drum it proved. The sound is thrillingly vivacious, particularly on rim-shots. It's never thin though, and in the centre it is fat and gloopy, thick as porridge - so you'd think it was a 6½" drum not a 5½". Meanwhile, at the edge it is more like a 4½"; put another way, everything is exaggerated.
Although the 14"x5" steel drum is easily the cheapest to buy, it is no less impressive sound-wise. It has a slightly sharper edge than the aluminium; a touch clangier. It's just as versatile too, offering plenty of cutting power, but also remaining sensitive to your slightest touch.
Unsurprisingly, the big brass 14"x7" drum has the fattest, richest tone of the lot, like a hearty warm winter soup. It's full of good things: loud when you want it, but capable of great sensitivity too; not as sharp as the steel,
The white and gold 13"x6¼" brass drum not only looks special, it has a sound to match. The brass shell offers a similar tone to the 14"x7", but the tighter dimensions make for a more controlled feel, and there is a touch of the exotic in the timbre.
Where you might use a slip of damping on the steel and even the aluminium, you wouldn't on this and not even on the big brass drum - they are contained and crisp with no nasty overtones.