April 22, 2010

Gear Review: Puresound Custom Wires

Many passionate drummers are conscious with their snare drum sounds. Many of us take great deal with possessing the best snare drum/s we can have, and checking out and understanding its technical specs (size, shell material, shell thickness, etc.), choosing the proper set of batter and snare side drumheads, then searching for the proper tuning. And when we are unable to find that perfect snare drum sound we've been hearing inside our head, we go on with our experimentation. This could involve trying out different brands and models of drumheads, which can be quite expensive for the average, blue collar drummer. Ah, the search for that great snare drum sound!
Yet, the most overlooked part of the snare drum is this set of wires underneath the drum where the instrument got its name. Yes, the snares! Snare wires are often ignored, yet it's one very important component in a snare drum sound. Back in the day, snare wires are pretty much generic. When your snare wires break down, there are plenty of generic, inexpensive replacement sets available in our local music store.

Thanks to research & development, and advancements in technology, snare wires are specialty equipment nowadays. We drummers can now purchase a set of these specially designed snare wires, which aims to upgrade or improve our snare drum's sound, performance, and overall quality. Today, there are several manufacturers who are offering snare wires of different models, gauges, materials, and various sorts of specifications. Among them are Puresound, who are best known for their quality wires and their Speedball bass drum beaters. Puresound's Custom Series snare wires are among the bestsellers in the market right now. Judging from the many artists who appeared on Puresound's ads on drum magazines and shared their testimonies, the Custom Series wires seem to be the real deal. At first, it may sound too good to be true. But after giving it a try, I am now a believer.

I've been using Puresound Customs on my Magic Drum 5"x13" Tama Artwood Maple snare drum since early last year. That workhorse drum had numerous modifications. It's been through different batter head changes, and I even replaced the throw-off mechanism. But the Puresound Custom wires were the biggest and most significant difference. I remember the day I beefed up the Magic Drum with the 13" 16-strand Puresound Customs. After mounting the Custom wires to the drum, then some tweaking and fine tuning, I just played, and played... And I kept playing! I was wearing a big smile the whole time. The Magic Drum was already a joy to play in the beginning; but with the Puresound Custom upgrade, it was like a rebirth for my trusty power piccolo. The overall quality of the drum's sound was leveled up notches higher. Snare sound was more crisp, more articulate, more sensitive, and more dynamic. Buzz roles and ghost notes are more defined and more effortless-sounding. And just like any other quality instrument, it easily responds to the player's touch. I also remember the Magic Drum's first gig with the Puresound wires. I got compliments that night from fellow drummers in the audience & even from my bandmates! (Note: You can backread this old blog of mine, where I documented my first experience with the Puresound Customs).

Just recently, I upgraded my Old Faithful 5.5"x14" Tama Starclassic Maple snare drum's stock snare wires. The stock carbon steel Starclassic snappy snare wires are no slouch, and it has done its job very well in the last seven years. But I was in search for a fresh new sound for my trusty all-around snare drum. Thanks to my godfather Chit Ramirez from the US, he shipped me a set of 14" 20-strand Puresound Customs. Just like my experience with the Magic Drum, I was all smiles with how the Puresound Customs revitalized my Old Faithful, with its snare drum sound now cracking like never before! I played the drum on church and on my recent gigs with my band, and every backbeat, roll, and ghost note was a joy to play. Oh how I wish Old Faithful already had Puresound Customs on when I was in the studio. Now I'm eager to hear how it will sound on future recording sessions.

I wonder how the guys from Puresound figured it out.
It is the design of the copper-plated clip? Is it the medium-gauged, evenly spaced, premium-grade steel alloy wires? Or is it a combination of these elements, plus some secret formula or special design from the Puresound designers and engineers that we've never heard of? Whatever it is, the Custom Series wires are working well and it's bringing wonders to those who have experienced it. Up to this day, I still wonder how a simple snare wire upgrade can make an already good-sounding drum sound even way better? I would like to compare a Puresound wire upgrade on a snare drum to a stock car being pimped and tricked out into a leaner and meaner machine.

I would love to think of the Puresound Custom snare wires as my snare drums' ultimate secret weapons (though it's no longer a secret). The Custom Series snare wires may be more expensive than most wires available in the market, but it's the best investment I've ever made for my snare drums. It's definitely worth it, and I highly recommend it to fellow drummers who wish to rejuvenate their snare drum sound.

You can order Puresound snare wires here in Manila, through Vinci Rodriguez of The Drum Shop.