Tama Soundworks Snare Is Six Identities in a Single Series
The Tama Soundworks snare drums are more an eclectic collection of drums than a unified series of snares. Five sizes across three materials, maple, kapur and steel produce distinct sounds rather than versions on the same theme. That’s more observation than criticism. The Soundworks snares offer solid quality and deliver a colorful range of tones. The Tama Soundworks snare drums are priced in the upper range for hobbyists and low-mid range for pro drummers.
Tama makes Soundworks snare drums in maple, steel and kapur (sometimes spelled kapor). The first two are traditional snare materials; kapur is an up-and-coming wood, a tropical hardwood that grows in the rainforests of Malaysia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia. It’s being used in drum making because it provides rich, resonant and fat sound that’s quite versatile. If you’ve got a good ear, listen to demos on the Tama site of Dan Bailey playing the various models in this line, and you’ll notice the difference kapur delivers.
Tama Soundworks Series Overview
Due to the varying materials and sounds, it only makes sense to give a mini-review of each material and the two drums built with it.
These are 5mm, 6-ply shells with Sound Arc six-hole (12”) and ten-hole (14”) hoops with a lovely matte vintage maple medium-blonde finish. Very easy on the eyes.
- DMP1255 Maple 5.5×12 – This is a full-bodied drum that keeps its focus whether tuned high or low. Because it is laidback rather than assertive, this Soundworks maple snare is best suited to studio work and live acoustic sets. It works as a main or side snare.
- DMP 1465 Maple 6.5×14 – There’s plenty of warmth in this open and resonant drum. It’s quite versatile, a rich studio snare with enough power for many live settings.
The Soundworks kapur snares feature 6mm, 7-ply shells with eight-hole (13”) and ten-hole (14”) Sound Arc hoops. The matte brown kapur finish is a walnut brown –attractive in an understated way.
- DKP137 Kapur 7×13—Superior low tones, but this drum doesn’t shy away from a high-and-tight tune where it’s a good choice for tracks that need the snare to pop and crackle without leaving a lot of sound lingering in the air. This drum can add an interesting depth and power to your playing.
- DKP146 Kapur 6×14 – Very warm and chunky-fat sound with excellent sensitivity, range and versatility. Tuned low, it boasts a classic, rich snare sound. It has good crack when cranked. This is a fine studio drum
These drums are built on 1.2mm steel. The 5.5×10 has a Triple Flanged six-hole hoop; the 6.5×14’s is the Steel Mighty hoop with ten holes.
- DST1055 Steel 5.5×10 – This little snare packs a surprisingly colorful range of notes from cracky high to rumbly low. An interesting second snare choice.
- DST1465 Steel 6.5×14 – Big steel snares can make a lot of sound, and reining it in can be a challenge. The Tama Soundworks 6.5” snare stays under control and focused. It has an excellent rimshot and produces dry ghost notes. It’s powerful and tight enough for playing live.
All Soundworks drums feature the can’t-go-wrong Evans G1 coated batter head.
This series delivers plenty of sound options for those looking for a unique tone for their side snare. The kapur 7×13 and steel 5.5×10 come to mind especially.
If you’re looking for a good middle-of-the-road versatile snare as your main snare, you also have good choices, especially both maple snare sizes and the kapur 6×14.
The kapur drums are the best-sounding of the bunch, and it’s not just that they’re different. These versatile snares excel wherever tuned.
While the kapur snares, in our opinion, fit the price tag, the steel and maple snares are overpriced at the MSRP of $325+, but not so bad in the $200 range.
Again, not a big deal, but this really is three separate series of drums without much consistency. The point is that if the 6.5×14 maple snare suits your style, for example, there’s no guarantee the kapur 6×14 will too.
Overall – 4 Stars
The kapur drums are worthy of 4.5 Stars; the steel and maple fall in the 3.5 to 4 Star range, for an overall 4 Stars. If you can get one of the kapur snares for less than $235 or so, that’s a good value.
Which Tama Soundworks snare is best for you? Take a second look at the mini-reviews for each, and you’ll find one or two of them that will hit the right tones for your purposes.
Getting a Tama Soundworks Snare Drum
For the first time, we are giving the Snare Drums Reviews readers a choice. You can buy your Tama Soundworks snare drum on eBay or, starting this month, from Guitar Center.
We realize you like a choice when it comes to your equipment purchases! We want to give you our two favorite sources for doing this.