Given their important role in shaping the character of your kit's sound, it's no surprise that snare drums are such objects of obsession.
Even semi-serious players might end up with two or three over the years - one for rock venues, another for acoustic jams and a little 'effects' snare for the odd stab at drum'n'bass.
Once the preserve of well-heeled players with cash to splash on Black Beauties and signature models, nowadays individual snare purchases are in reach of us all. And, as PDP's new Blackout range shows, drums with real character and sonic potential have never been more affordable.
The drum before us is the 14"x6" big brother of the Blackout series. PDP have catered to all tastes with an interesting offering of sizes, with a 10"x6", 13"x6", 14"x3" and 14"x5" also available, all of which are similarly constructed.
Eight-ply, all-maple shells finished in gloss black with black hardware (contrasting silver tension rods aside) is the order of the day, and the black-on-black styling looks spot-on.
Under the moody exterior, the shell displays very clean 45° bearing edges, which are nicely cut and finished. And while the maple isn't the premium stuff that US-made ﬂagship snares employ, it's attractively grained and should imbue the drum with a peachy rounded tone.
In keeping with the stealthy finish, PDP's oval lugs maintain an uncluttered aesthetic as far as the shell is concerned, while the chunky and positive throw-off adds a decidedly sophisticated touch.
With just a couple of slightly sticky tension rods to deal with straight from the box, tuning the Blackout proved a simple and rewarding task.
As soon as the Chinese-made Remo batter and resonant heads were settled in (at medium-high tension batter side and fairly well cranked on the bottom) the snare served up an eminently usable, crisp, firm backbeat and displayed great sensitivity, too.
Right to the edges, the drum delivers distinct, clear strokes that have the snares sizzling even with a very gentle touch. Impressive stuff.
The 6" depth clearly marks this drum out as the fattest of the Blackout range, so best for either classic rock styles or the kind of dirty funk that doesn't require a featherweight soprano note. But to be honest, it's a thoroughly valuable all-rounder.
We love its sleek looks, while construction standards are high and the tone is great 'from the box', set to only improve with your own choice of heads. This 14"x6" is a great step up from a budget snare - the 10" and 13" will be great add-ons for anyone.