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Musical Instruments

Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Pierre Luc LaLonde

Pierre Luc LaLonde


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In this article, we’ll have a look at the Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare series. We’ll focus on the Free Floating Brass snare 14” x 5’’ snare from that collection. But we’ll go through some of the general information that also goes for the other snares of the series.

Be sure to stick around until the very end so you don’t miss out on any key information!

What Is The Pearl Free Floating Brass 14×5?

Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare

The Pearl Free Floating Brass is a snare drum from a series of drums using a unique and patented system that allows the snare to be tuned from both the top and bottom head while not having any hardware going through the shell. 

That means you can also change the shell from one material to another at the same time as you would need to change the top skin of your drum. This is a very interesting feature for studio musicians

Because of the Free Floating Snare technology, the snare resonates more. Additionally, this allows for higher and lower tunings and dynamics to be achieved successfully. The Brass snare of the line is known to be a workhorse that drummers qualify as a general-purpose snare which means it is suitable for most applications.

Who Are Pearl Drums?

pearl drums logo

Pearl has been making percussion instruments since 1946, founded in Japan. The company is known for its high-quality drums, solid hardware, and road-worthy quality.  Pearl has a very large quantity of percussion instruments, percussion hardware, and wind instruments.

Pearl is one of the biggest drum manufacturers in the world, you’ll be able to find their products in most countries at reasonable prices and always with the high quality associated with Pearl instruments. They have extended distribution in South America, Europe, and North America.

Making available their wide range of instruments from drum sets and hardware to Brazilian, African, and Latin Percussion instruments.

The Free Floating Snare Line

Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare

Pearl describes the snare drum as follows: the “…unique Free Floating Snare chassis removes all hardware from the shell to greatly improve resonance and projection.

By combining the tonal character of each shell type with its ideally matched depth, each Free Floating snare drum is engineered to fit a specific task by model and gives you a unique voice for any sonic situation.” 

Why Is It Called Free Floating?

The shell doesn’t have any screws or holes in it, which is why they called them the “free-floating” snares.  The resonance is enhanced and the snares from this series are known to do great in live and studio settings.

Pearl’s Free-Floating snares allow you to remove the hardware from the shell, allowing you to change the shells as rapidly as you can change the top skin.

Additionally, the hardware is connected to a special edge ring, which holds the drum and heads together whilst allowing for regular tuning of the top and bottom heads.

Each snare of the series has its own character and will serve the drummer in a unique way for different applications. The ruggedness of these snares and the sound palette they offer is what made them popular from the late 80’s to today. 

Known as a general-purpose snare drum, the Pearl Free Floating Brass 14×5 is the snare of a lifetime. You’ll be able to play any style or any genre. Additionally, this makes it a great purchase for any session musician or growing musician who may be looking for his style of drumming. 

The flexibility of this snare drum, the quality of the tone, and its flexibility are some of its biggest features. The snare of course looks incredible and will provide a suitable look to any drum set with its brushed finish look.

There have been a few different versions of these “Free Floating” snares but the current versions available are the following.

Models Available In 2021 – Pearl Free Floating Series

Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare

All the snares are mounted with the MasterCast hoops, sr160f strainers, and snares.

  • 14’’ x 8’’ depth.
  • 1.2mm Seamless Aluminum and 10mm – 8 ply African Mahogany.
  • 14’’ x 6,5’’ depth.
  • 1.2mm Phosphor Bronze and 6 ply (7.5mm) made of 4-ply Maple/2-ply inner African Mahogany.
  • 14’’ x 5’’ depth.
  • 1mm Brass and (7,5mm) 6 ply Maple.
  • 14’’ x 3,5’’ depth.
  • 1mm stainless Steel and 6-ply Birch.

Features & Specifications Of The Pearl Free Floating Brass 14 x 5”

Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare

In this section, we will go over the features and specifications of the product.


  • Material: Brass
  • Construction: Rolled
  • Shell Thickness (mm): 1
  • Bearing Edge: 45°


  • Hardware Material: Steel
  • Hoop Type: Die-cast
  • Lugs: Tube
  • Throw-Off: Piston
  • Snares: Steel


  • Finish Type: Brushed

Pearl Free Floating Brass Price

money stock photo

So, how much does the Pearl Free Floating Brass cost? 

More or less 550 US Dollars + Tax or 550 GBP.

Pros Of The Pearl Free Floating Brass

Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare

In this section, we will take a look at what makes the Pearl Free Floating Brass a great piece of kit.

Here are the pros:

  • Beautiful look, very clean.
  • Unique product and sound.
  • Performs very well in recording situations.
  • Extended tuning range: You can tune this snare drum really low or really high depending on the sound you’re looking for, the extra resonance will keep you an edge at the top and bottom of the usable tuning range.
  • Extended Dynamic Range: This snare drum has a very wide dynamic range, sounds smooth and crisp with brushes, and also gives you the range you need to play in loud settings.
    A true general-purpose snare drum.

Cons Of The Pearl Free Floating Brass

Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare

If the Pearl Free Floating needs spare parts, you won’t be able to find the parts at your local store. You may need to order the parts, making your snare drum unusable for up to a few weeks. 

Additionally, the sound really does differ from a snare using “Floating” technology vs. a traditional snare, some drummers do not like the sound or feel of the free-floating drums.

Pearl Free Floating Brass Alternatives

The Pearl Free Floating Line is part of a category of its own. With its unique sound and unique design, there aren’t many products using similar systems. Here is one of the “Floating” Snares or drum systems. It is made by Sleishman from Australia. 

Additionally, the Ludwig “SuperBrass” and Yamaha Recording Custom Brass do not use a Free Floating Snare system but fall in the same family of sounds as the Brass Snare and also with a similar price point.

Sleishman Pro Series – The Brass Bomb (14×6.5” – 1mm Rolled Brass)

Sleishman Pro Series - The Brass Bomb

This snare drum would be the closest in design to the 14×5 Free Floating Brass from Pearl. It offers a very similar sound to the Pearl Free Floater. It seems to have the same sensibility, dynamics and very similar tone.

Of course, the sound will always vary from one snare to another because of the products used to create it.

Perhaps Sleishman Drums (made in Australia) is the only company with a system similar to Pearl’s Free Floating Series. The company started working with their system in the early 80s with a mission to get maximum resonance out of each drum. 

It allowed them to sing with their natural tone, free of interference from the hardware going through the shells. Something really interesting about Sleishman is that they offer full drum sets using the “floating” system.

This snare, for a used one, is more or less $500 to $1000 USD. This means a brand new one will definitely come in more pricey than a brand new Pearl Snare.

That being said, if you’re in Australia or find one locally and have the chance to try one out, you should absolutely try and compare it to a Pearl Free Floating Brass.

Yamaha Recording Custom Brass – 14” x 5,5” – 1.2mm shells – Dyna Hoops

Yamaha Recording Custom Brass

Yamaha’s recording custom line is very high quality. These drums were designed with “Steve Gadd’s” collaboration. It includes a 10-strand snare strainer of his preference as well as the 20-strand snares which would be standard with the other Yamaha snares.

The snare drum is a more traditional snare drum, it doesn’t have any “floating” features. It’ll get you a solid sound without having the very specific resonance of the free floating snare drums.

This Yamaha Recording custom snare is also available in different sizes, 14’’x5,5’’, 14”x6,5”, 13”x6,5”, and in different materials, Brass, Aluminum, and Steel. This makes for a wide variety of sounds from the one snare drum line.

Additionally, You can’t swap the shells like with the Pearl Free Floating or the Sleishman snares, but, you’ll get a very consistent sound and classic-looking snare at a reasonable price.

Ludwig “SuperBrass” Snare Drum – 14” x 5” – 1.2mm Shells – 2.3mm Triple Flanged Hoop

Ludwig “SuperBrass” Snare drum

Ludwig has been around for a long time, they have been producing snare drums since 1909, they gained a lot of popularity in the ’60s when Ringo Starr endorsed their products.

Their drums have evolved since their beginnings and of course, they also have retained a lot of their history by having reissue lines of some of their most famous drums. (Black Beauty, Supraphonic, Acrolites, Supralite, and Copper Phonic snares.)

This 1960s-inspired snare drum brings back the look and sound from the Transition-Era Ludwig snares. The “SuperBrass” doesn’t feature a Free Floating type snare drum but a more traditional one. 

With the classic USA seamless brass polished shells, the P88 throw-off mechanism, and the P35 butt plate, this snare has the looks and sound of the classic it represents. Additionally, it uses slightly more advanced technologies which will ultimately help the snare’s life span.

If you’re looking for a classic-sounding snare drum, this Ludwig, maybe the way to go. It is priced a little above the Free Floating and Yamaha Recording Custom without lacking features like nickel hardware and craftsmanship.

That Was Our Pearl Free Floating Brass Review

Pearl Free Floating Brass

The Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare 14 x 5” is a great choice to hit the road with or to start recording in the studios across different genres. The extended tuning and dynamic range will help your drums shine in any situation as a good general-purpose snare drum.

The Free Floating series as a whole is priced reasonably with each snare flexible to a wide range of musical situations.

With the quality of the Pearl products and the legacy of their instruments, buying any of the Free floating snares will be a great purchase, future-proof, and surely gaining in value. 

If you’re looking for a “go-to” snare drum, the 14” x 5” Free Floating Brass Snare is the right purchase for you with its classic but unique sound.

Make sure you try one out at your local music store and compare it with any similar nonfloating snare.

What do you think about the Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare? Let us know in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this review, why not share it on social media? Be sure to tag us @musicgateway!

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