A while back I was looking at adding on a side snare to my kit. I wanted something smaller to use for certain grooves that would add a different color to my palette since my current snare (DW Collector Series 14″x5″) is tuned so low. I needed something that I could get a good “crack” out of at louder volumes and a very responsive and sensitive snare sound when playing lower dynamics and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. That’s when I ran across the Pearl M-80 snare drum!
The M-80 is a small cannon (10″ x 4″) that can react to what you throw into it and the tuning range is somewhat broad for such a small shell. It’s made from poplar wood which gives it projection. I removed the factory head and replaced it with a black Aquarian Jack Dejohnette head and it really mellowed it out and cut out some of the overtones. I like to run a tack cloth on top of the batter head sometimes to completely deaden the batter head for certain situations.
The overall quality of the drum is fairly decent. I would say the only complaint I have is that the badge on mine has come loose from the shell. Yeah I know it’s not a major issue but the badge is just a thin metal type sticker that’s just glued on to the wrap and if it gets a little warm it will cause the badge to rise off of the wrap. Besides that I have no complaints about this snare drum. The hardware is decent and the snare throwoff isn’t the nicest but It does exactly what I need it to do and it didn’t break me when I purchased it. In the end I feel that I came out with a pretty good auxiliary snare that has good tuning capabilities.
You can find this snare on musiciansfriend.com for only $69.