> > > BeatIt Vintage Test: 14″ x 5″ Tama Imperialstar snare drum

As most of those who regularly follow our reviews know, sometime last year we locked ourselves away at Perlazza Studio (based in Poznań, Poland), where we tested quite a number of vintage drum kits and snares provided by Mateusz Wysocki and his MW-Vintage company, which (as the name suggests) specializes in vintage drums. We performed the test under the sonic supervision of musician, award-winning producer, studio owner and, most of all, a drum maniac, Przemysław Wejmann. To be more exact, it was drummer Max Psuja, who tested all the gear while the beatit.tv team recorded the video and the sound engineer/producer took care of the sonic side of things.

Max Psuja, as an utter vintage drum maniac, a former employee of a drum shop, and a great drummer, who has collaborated with a host of popular acts in Poland, such as Kumka Olik, Holak, Lilly Hates Roses or Yoachim, was perfect for the role of ’lab tester’. Needless to say, he was more than eager to do the job.

We have been publishing the results of our tests successively in the last few months, and there’s lots more to come. Today, it is time for…

We are testing a 14″ x 5″ Tama Imperialstar Snare Drum

photo: MW- Vintage

1. Basic product specification

  • Manufacturer: Tama
  • Model: Imperialstar
  • Size: 14″ x 5”
  • Material: Seamless steel
  • Shell: 2 mm
  • Hoops: 10 tension rods
  • Strainer: Cast leaver
  • Lugs: Single
  • Snares: Pearl, 20 strains
  • Muffler: „One Touch”
  • Color: Chrome Over Stell (COS)

2. Test and sound

When testing the 14″ x 5″ Tama Imperialstar, we also used a Premier B202 drum kit, Impression cymbals and Aquarian heads (Control Sound drumheads on the toms, Texture Coated on the snare as well as Super Kick I on the bass drum).

Max first presented the sound of the snare produced by single strokes at different levels of dynamics, he then proceeded to playing rudiment-based patterns to finish off with a rhythm figure using all the kit elements as well as performing a groove.

In our opinion, the snare needs no introduction as almost every 80s TAMA endorser used it back in the day, and that is exactly the time period this instrument most probably comes from. Many a drum freak (especially the metal heads) used to dream about having one at the time.

The snare can be tuned high, low, whichever way you like… You can be sure it will respond to all kinds of playing dynamics, which means even the quietest of your ghost notes will be audible while hard hits will not choke the drum nor cause the cry of a wounded animal. With a drum head placed on the drum upside down, you can achieve that big, fat sound practically in no time. The snares produce a very nice rustle, while the rim shot is very civilized and does not damage the ear with excessive volume. The sound of this snare drum is very universal and the instrument delivers practically in any music style such as rock, metal, funk, soul or fusion. It is certainly one of the most universal snare drums we have ever played.

Drummers and Drummerettes! It’s time to put the 14″ x 5″ Tama Imperialstar snare drum to the most important test of all, i. e. the en.beatit.tv viewers’ test! Exclusively for you, we give you Max Psuja!