Review of "Cherub WSM-330 Classic Mechanical Metronome"

published 09/08/2014 | Nar2
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Super
Pro Cheap and cheerful, comes with a snap on front cover, glossy, doesn't require much effort.
Cons Can be pricey due to greedy sellers, a few downsides due to plastic construction.
exceptional
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Value for money

"A Heavenly Metronome For Musical Precision?"

Cherub WSM-330 Classic - the black version still has a clear and legible look to it plus numbers and Italian words.

Cherub WSM-330 Classic - the black version still has a clear and legible look to it plus numbers and Italian words.

In my travels as a teacher I don’t tend to review a lot of the resources online that I have purchased other than products that could be of help to a wider audience.

When it comes to music performance, there are only a few reliable gadgets and devices I fully trust. If I didn’t have an electronic keyboard that has a metronome built in, I would rely on a very old vintage battery operated Seiko metronome that was gifted to me when I was 14. Now, some thirty years later, the little Seiko is still going and it is a pity that the company no longer sell the metronome unless I scour auction sites.

To make life easier for the little Seiko, I decided to buy a mechanical metronome largely for the purpose of usage with my students at home, rather than a gadget that travels with me. I have tried several metronome apps on my Android phone as a portable alternative but like most apps, the battery on my phone tends to run out faster, as with the typical usage of anything other than text and call usage!

Whether you are guitarist, singer, pianist or other instrumentalist, I find it helps massively to have a metronome sat nearby that isn’t going to be moved around much. Whilst there are hundreds of brands who produce mechanical “dome” metronomes, they are often too overpriced in my experience and the one that stood out to me at the end of 2013, was a metronome by a Chinese made company called “Cherub,” who produce a lot of different instruments including this metronome.

Their “WSM-330 Classic” mechanical metronome is a case in point. Currently it holds a general UK market price of between £11 to £15 dependent on stockist and for such a large looking metronome helpful to beginners as well as professional musicians, I think it is a bit of a bargain compared to its rivals from more distinguished brands names such as “Wittner” and “Fleor”. But does cheap Chinese build mean a false economy?


General Design & Quality


Out of a rather generic brown cardboard box, the Cherub WSM-330 classic mechanical metronome has a pleasant enough modern shape in my hands and to my eyes, even if it yields the more classic “Pyramid” angular shape than Wittner’s more expensive “Piccolo” metronomes. Those products usually cost twice as much but twice as small where the general shape is concerned but it is also made of thinner plastics over the Cherub “table top”.

I keep the box when the metronome isn’t in use, so that the Cherub only gets taken out during term time or per usage and last year it cost me £15. For the black colour I am very impressed as it matches my piano very easily.

It is quite a big metronome to my eyes though, no more taller than a 1 litre carton of milk - so it isn’t the kind of gadget you would want to take with you, if you are a travelling freelance music teacher.

Measuring approximately 21.5cm height by 10cm width and a 12cm diameter, the Cherub WSM-330 can best be described as a “table top” metronome in my opinion and it is fairly lightweight at around 610grams.

Complete with three stable permanent plastic feet and a snap on clear Acrylic cover to keep the front dust free, the whole item is glossy and smooth black PVC plastic, though purposefully angular without any hard edges; these aspects are important for anyone who plays an instrument with their hands – we don’t want sore hands before we play!

At the time of purchase, and largely thanks to the zoom facility on Amazon UK’s website, I didn’t want another “Wittner Piccolo,” since the last one I had got lost in a house move and I never quite liked the dark writing on the main front of the metronome, as it was impossible to see and to rely on.

Here Cherub have wisely used gold writing on its generic glossy black PVC plastic body. To the left hand side looking from the front, you’ll find Italian terms that describe speed or character of music styles in terms of alternatives to actual speed of crotchets or other parameters in music.

Aside from the PVC black plastic body the right hand side of the metronome looking from the front are where the extra control functions are located. From the wind up mechanism which has a handy flush angle turn key style fob in silver style metal and a likewise ribbed pull out metal pin style slider that can ring beats out from 2 to 6 beats dependent on the metre of the music.

So, for example if you are playing or learning to play a piece of music in a waltz style, you would require to count three beats in a bar. This metronome (and mostly all do this) has the option to have a single bell ring out every three beats or tick-tocks to a bar.

By pulling out the metal pin that allocates each setting, single numbers have been stamped onto the metal that are legible and easy to see, whilst the mechanism of selecting the beat preference is also easy to do since the Cherub mechanism has a rather stiff action of pulling out the metal layered switch, but fairly easy for my fingers to lock the time signature required. In short, this metronome doesn't feel cheap at all!


General Performance & Downsides


This is a very easy to use mechanical metronome that is both reliable and simple to operate. Where clarity is concerned, I don’t feel the Cherub WSM-330 embarrasses itself easily. Okay, the gold painted writing of each parameter could be written on with a thicker layer of paint but from afar, I find it very legible to my eyes, doesn’t allow glare to happen and the silver pendulum travels up and down the single arm of the metronome easily without being too stiff to move.

Each time the pendulum weight is moved, I find it moves up and down a ratchet style system and moves effortlessly. The flat edge of the pendulum at the top allows the top edge of it to show off the speeds either rising in 2 numerical increments or using the more common time signature speeds in western music. I find it faster to use this kind of basic scale than faffing about with push buttons on Seiko’s more labour saving LCD based credit card metronomes.

In the middle you will find several Italian words (since this is how western music started off, thus Italian words are far easier to understand than common English, in classical music). I have had other metronomes like this before where the markings rub off or can be hard to see.

The size and quality of the pendulum feels just about right on this metronome and doesn’t slide weakly when trying to slide to the desired speed or Italian wording. I have had others in the past where the pendulum slides off all too easily and ends up getting lost! Once you lose a pendulum on a thin spine of a metronome, you may as well forget the whole idea of using one! However what I do like about the Cherub's pendulum size is that any size of fingers can safely slide or lower the pendulum up and down to the desired speed. There are no viewable areas here where a child could get their fingers trapped.

When it comes to metronome reliance or performance though, I find the Cherub WSM-330 works quite well – provided that it is continuously wound up properly without over tightening the mechanism – and that it always requires a flat and level surface to swing side to side properly. It isn’t too annoyingly loud to my ears but it is loud enough that it can be heard in a room next to my music room. The incessant ticking can get monotonous at times, but it only requires the spine to push in and lock behind the tab at the top to stop it. I'd sooner rely on this mechanical ticking as opposed to a more electronic sound that really grates on my nerves after a while!

One early downside is easily revealed when I was surprised when I put the Cherub on a shelf in the hope that it would give me precise performance. It was basically because at the time, I didn't have enough space on my nearside table to place the metronome. Once I got the metronome started, I soon realised that the Cherub couldn’t beat in time. This usually points to the surface it is placed on, rather than a clear indication that it requires to be wound up again; so the precision of its ticking and swinging depends on the surface that it has been placed on and if the mechanism has been wound up gently.

If there is only one other downside to this mechanical metronome, it is the bell tick feature. The bell has quite a high shrill about it and sounds like a continuous “ting” alarm from a mechanical style microwave oven. The bell is so loud that it often reverberates through the plastic and through the base of the whole metronome, which then illustrates that the company have made no attempt to offer vibration insulation.

This is where those rather handy round rubberised jar opening lid cloths that can be bought at supermarkets come in – using them as a base coaster to this metronome eliminates the vibrations of the mechanical bell, should it be relied upon and placed on flat, hard surface.

Once the metronome has been finished in use, the handy snap on cover keeps the front of this metronome dust free. It pushes in easily and has a snap lock at the top that snaps into the top of the pendulum holder inside. Compared to far more expensive wooden metronomes on the market, I’m happier with the plastic cover here – at least it won’t warp in warm rooms with daily or weekly usage.


Other Sorts & Final Thoughts


Being Chinese made by production, the Cherub WSM-330 also sells under a choice of two colours – light blue or black – but it also available on Amazon UK under several different brand names such as:


• Digiflex Elegant Pyramid Metronome: £19-99/£34-99
• Tiger Classic £20-28/£26-99
• EiioX Pyramid metronome: £19-99 to £23-99
• HCL Friend pyramid metronome: £26-31
• JOYO JW-69W Pyramid metronome: £23-89 to £30-00


Despite a similar design, the Cherub WSM-330 has been on the market far longer than any of these brands and thus I find that the Cherub model can be purchased for a far cheaper cost price – and only differ in slight details due to the shape and material colour of the swinging pendulum inside. On the high street and in private or independent music shops, I often see the Cherub WSM-330 priced at no more than £9-99; so it does pay to shop around to get the best deal.

If you don’t mind what colour choice you get, I don’t think you will go far wrong with what this basic, but cheap and easy to use mechanical metronome. It isn’t compact, but then it isn’t supposed to be.

For the £15 I paid, it is far cheaper than what I would normally depend on and for the fact that it doesn’t look too out of place, the Cherub WSM-330 Classic metronome is a heavenly bargain, despite a few downsides that I can still live with. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2014.

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 19/08/2014
    vh :o)
  • angelboouk123 published 12/08/2014
    Superb x
  • RICHADA published 10/08/2014
    A very well deserved E here - really enjoyed reading this one on such an unusual - for Ciao - subject. R.
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Product Information : Cherub WSM-330 Classic Mechanical Metronome

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Type: Mics and Music Stands

Manufacturer: Cherub

EAN: 6936257200976

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Listed on Ciao since: 02/08/2014