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Thread: DW Snares - VLTs w/out Re-Rings

  1. #1

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    Default DW Snares - VLTs w/out Re-Rings

    If anyone has seen my snare collection, then you're probably already well aware I am huge DW fan, and especially of the VLT models. I own 3 VLTs, in sizes 14x4.5, 14x5.5 and 14x6.5.

    Now for the review. I actually got my first VLT a little over a year ago. I had owned a couple of DW maple 10&6 snares, but never a straight shell. I went to my local GC one day and they had the new Neil Peart Time Machine snare sitting on the wall. I'm not a Peart nut or anything; I was more drawn to the steampunk theme and the stave painted reddish walnut finish. After a couple of weeks of stewing on it, I went in with some used gear and haggled it down to what I thought was a fair deal for both parties. I did not try the drum before I bought it. I had experience with DW snares, but since this one was as much a collectors piece, I figured it wouldn't see a ton of action.

    Once I got it home, I banged on it right out of the box. There was very little sensitivity, but the depth and low pitch of the drum was immediate. Turned out on my drumdial, it was sitting at a 67/64; barely above finger tight. I tuned it up to ideal for me (86/78) and spent some time with it. My first impressions were "why in god's name have I not found a VLT before". In seriousness, it is a ringy snare with lots of low end and great pop. The VLT really makes it sound like a 7-7.5, versus the actual 6.5 depth. The lack of re-rings also bring out overtones of the drum. Like all DWs, it has a controlled sound and is very musical; take the snares off, tap it and you could almost call it a tom.

    My next two VLTs were more calculated buys. I got the 14x4.5 thinking I was getting a picollo. I was wrong; again, it has body and depth one would not expect from a shallow drum. The pitch is higher than my 6.5, but that ring and pop are still there. The 14x5.5 was a recent purchase and is intended to be my workhorse. It's great; just like the other two, but the natural pitch is in the middle.

    I have played an X-shell snare and honestly couldn't tell much of a difference between the VLT and it. However, the VLTs (and X-shells) and worlds away from the standard 10&6s.

    Pros - Great looks, build quality and the mag throw-off and 3P butt plate are great features. Great low end and beef at all depths; really pops. Nice ring and musical overtones.

    Cons - Expensive and VLTs are hard to find unless ordered new. Not the most sensitive drums on the market. Even cranked, it's not easy to get one of these in the "high" range. Probably not a snare for funk or R&B.

    Overall - Truly, my personal favorite line of wood snares on the market. I have found my holy grails. If I was limited to one, I'd probably go with the 14x5.5 and never need another snare again. The price is not cheap, but DWs hold their value well and if one has the $300-$500 to spend, think of it as an investment.

    The three wood snares in the middle:

  2. #2

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    Default Re: DW Snares - VLTs w/out Re-Rings

    Quote Originally Posted by JimboJim View Post
    ...I have found my holy grails... The three wood snares in the middle:
    More like the Holy Trinity! <taking cover from lightning bolt>

    That is one sweet stack of pancakes you got there JJ!

    Nice review!

  3. #3

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    Default Re: DW Snares - VLTs w/out Re-Rings

    Hey Jimbo. Very good write up. Have you mic'ed these out and if so what mic's did you use and what were your impression of the sound once through the preamps and onto the speakers. Thanks

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