Author: Dawson, Michael
Date published: June 1, 2012
Canopus launched the Yaiba series a few years ago, in an effort to bring down the cost of manufacturing without sacrificing quality. To do that, the company developed new die-cast lugs, in the shape of Japanese swords, to replace the more expensive solid-brass tube version.
The JSA-1450 is the latest addition to the Yaiba snare line, which also includes steel and maple models. This 5x14 drum has eight lugs and features a 1 mm aluminum shell, which is said to produce a crisp and fat sound for a wide range of musical applications. The drum is very lightweight yet solidly built. The throw-off is simple and smooth, and the tension rods feature Canopus's Bolt Tight washers to minimize detuning.
We tested the Yaiba aluminum snare in the studio at five different tunings: low (80 on a DrumDial), medium-low (82), medium (85), medium-tight (87), and tight (90). At all of the tunings, the drum produced an open, lively, and vibrant tone with a crisp attack and very musical and controlled overtones. (No muffling was needed during our testing.) When tuned tight, the drum had an explosive pop with a short, metallic ring, similar to the sound that funk drummer Stanton Moore gets out of his signature metal snare. A medium-tight tuning also had a lot of pop, with more midrange overtones for a fuller sound. (Think Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith's snare tone circa 1992.)
A medium tuning elicited even more midrange, with the attack widening into more of a smack. The pitch of the drumhead also became more prominent. This tuning would be my choice for a lively, all-purpose metal snare sound. The two lower tunings had a longer sustain, a wider and punchier attack, and a bit of pitch dip that sounded great under a microphone and would be an excellent choice for sloppy rock tracks. Snare sensitivity was supreme at all dynamics and tunings. This drum could easily become any touring or recording drummer's workhorse metal snare. List price: $650.