Only 15 of Pearl's Limited Edition Vintage Sensitone snares are available in the UK. Make that 14, as Rhythm is in no hurry to return the review drum!
Much of the drum's design is based on a signature snare that Pearl made for a former endorsee. Since the drummer in question has upped sticks to a different manufacturer, Pearl can no longer produce said signature model.
Stripped of its former gold fittings, the Vintage Sensitone is an altogether sleeker and less ostentatious-looking drum.
It is a 14"x6 " nickel-over-brass shell with a central horizontal bead, 10 tube lugs and tripled-flanged hoops, made from a joined sheet of brass rather than the more expensive spun/seamless method. Bearing edges are formed by folding over the shell to 45°.
Externally, the smoked nickel coating has been buffed to a deep mirror-like sheen giving the drum an ice cold appearance. The liquid-like gloss of the shell is set-off perfectly by the chrome-plated lugs and hoops.
Finely-milled stainless steel tension rods offer tuning stability while a standard Pearl throw-off, butt end and set of snare wires complete the hardware.
While looks aren't everything, first impressions count for much and it was with some excitement that we placed the drum onto a stand. We weren't disappointed with the bright and urgent response.
There is a distinct edge to the snare and it remains crisp and metallic even when hit dead-centre (any drum's driest spot). The warmth of the brass sweetens the sound, infusing it with a degree of darkness and rounding off any harshness.
Tuned up, the snare is funk-tight yet deep and throaty, capable of filling pockets the size of those found in clowns' trousers. With the head slackened off the sound becomes bigger, wider and altogether denser, pointing decisively to rocky horizons.
A whole range of dynamics can also be found across the snare; ghost notes flutter effortlessly from the sticks while rim-shots crank up the volume to 11.
Pearl's loss of an endorsee has turned into a gain for us punters. For an instrument of this price the snare release is functional rather than flash, but it works, and the end product - a drum versatile enough to go from tickling buzz rolls to slamming out crunching backbeats- is hard to improve on. The only real problem is getting hold of one.