Topic: GEAR REVIEWS (by members)  (Read 88993 times)

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Offline Bart Elliott

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GEAR REVIEWS (by members)
« on: January 01, 2007, 09:56 AM »
Here you'll find Reviews on a wide variety of instruments, gear and equipment ... all written by current (or past) Drummer Cafe members. All comments are those of the individual writer  and not necessarily the views or opinions of Bart Elliott or the Drummer Cafe.

Please provide the brand and model of the piece of gear you are reviewing
 in the SUBJECT heading of your post.

To read the official Drummer Cafe Reviews & Recommendations by Bart Elliott, click HERE. Updates and new items being added monthly!

If you are looking for some of the best prices on drum & percussion instruments, gear, equipment and recordings (CD, VHS, DVD), use the search features here at the Drummer Cafe ... using our]Musician's Friend  search engine,]Amazon search engine  or eBay Auction Portal.,14536.0.html]Be sure to view the GEAR REVIEW (by members) - Archives (2002-2006)

Offline DrumDude

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Yamaha Russ Miller Groove Wedge
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2007, 01:57 PM »
I'm not one that goes for new gadgets or accessories for my drums, but I took a chance on this product.

I play country music mainly and the band members werent too happy with my cross-stick sound that I was getting with my "new" Yamaha Recording Custom snare. I love the sound of the snare on warmth and depth, but couldnt figure out how to get the cross-stick sound that "snapped" like my metal snare.

So while I was in Nashville at the end of December, I went to a local drum store and picked up the]Yamaha Russ Miller Groove Wedge .

Last night was the first time that I was able to use it in a gig enviroment. The band loved it! I loved it! I was able to get the sound I've been looking for while keeping the warmth of the birch snare.  I also didnt have to "slam" the stick down so hard in order to get this sound, I had actually been "jamming" my hand so hard that my hand was beginning to revolt on me :)

Pro: wonderful attachment to snare, no attaching to another stand like a jam block. Low profile as to not get in your way. The version I bought has no jingles, but that is an option.

Con: pricey (for me anyway) at $36 (I paid $45), it doesnt fit with the snare into my snare case so I have to remove it before storage. It has two wing nuts that makes it easy to remove from the snare without removing entire bracket (which is a good thing), but fear I may lose the wingnuts over time. A misplaced strike is more pronounced, but once I found the "spot" it was very consistant with projection and clarity.

overall: if looking for something to get a nice cross-stick and you play alot of them, I'd recommend this before a jam block of either color.

Offline Chris Whitten

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K Zildjian Dark Ride, Medium
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2007, 12:13 AM »
I just tried one of the new K Zildjians developed with the help of Cindy Blackman.
It was a Zildjian 22" K Dark Medium Ride Cymbal 22 .

The sound and playability impressed me.
It didn't sound that dark, not too dark anyway.
It had a sweet, bright attack, but with a warm wash underneath. It was very crashable, without taking off and becoming too washy with heavy playing.
A very nice all-rounder IMO.
I might get one.]

I'm an endorser, but I hardly ever request new cymbals, and would only do so if I thought I was really going to use it a lot.

PS: I tried the hi-hats that are from the same series (Cindy again).
They sounded quality, but weren't quite crisp enough for my current taste.
I could get excited about these C.B. designed cymbals.

Offline Gregg Rivers

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EV 767a Microphone
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2007, 05:14 PM »]EV 767a Microphone
Wow! I have to say I was surprised. I was very surprised at the response this little handheld mic has offered. I just picked up this mic today, so my field test is incomplete, but initial reaction has been very favorable by me and the stations IT/Engineer. The other DJs I've let use it have actually picked the 767a OVER the EV RE20 mics used in all the on air and production studios!
The first thing I noticed is its hotter signal level. While recording into Cool Edit, it was easy to see the input level difference in the wave file. It was significant! Audio clarity comparisons left the RE20 sounding very flat and maybe a bit thin! Then here's the big difference! The 767a cost me about $120.00. My RE20 at home was $430.00! For the money, on vocals, I'm thinking the 767a may very well be my new favorite!
By the way, the reason for the purchase was to replace my Shure SM57 mic I use for vocals during band gigs. The EV767a has a super cardioid pattern that is excellent for drummers! I might actually be able to put a mic on my SNARE drum now! LOL We'll see what the sound guy says! It also has better low end response than the SM57, so when I'm doing the low/bass background vocals on Proud Mary or the spoken part of Van Halen's Panama I think you'll be able to hear it better! I'm excited about this mic and can't wait to use it live!
I don't solo!


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Saluda Cymbals
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 11:12 AM »
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a set of Saluda cymbals for a church for whom I do the maintenance of their drum set. Their old cymbal set was a mix of Zildjian A custom crashes (1 broken), Sabian HH ride and hi-hat, UFIP splash (broken), and Wuhan china (broken). they asked me to recommend a set of cymbals, and I opted for Saluda after asking Jamie if he could do a security engraving on the cymbals (church initials and a serial #), because of previous cymbal mysterious dissapearences.
Since the church has about 5 drummers, who actually play on various worship reunions, I asked Jamie what series was more suited for general playing (like Zilds. A and A customs, or Sabian's AA), so he recommended a set of Mist X. With that, I ordered a set which included a 14" hi-hat, 12"splash, 18" and 16" crashed, and a 20"ride from the MistX series, along with an 18" Voodoo china (I already own a 15", so I knew this was the type of sound for them). I also stated some descriptions on the cymbals, except for the splash. On the hi-hats I was more precise, since I wanted god balance between stick, and foot work.
Last saturday, I picked up the box with the cymbals, and went to set them up at the church's drum set. After dusting off the drums, and re-tune them, me and 1 of my students, went ahead and started setting up the cymbals.
First was the splash (don't know why, I always put hi-hats first), full bodied sound, not a small crash, but a splash. Never liked 12" splashes, but this one won it for me. It sounds like the brother of an old 10" Zil. K Brilliant, from early 80's, that's way thinner than newer ones (even A Customs).
After that were the crashes. Again, full bodied sounds with the sharp attack I described. The decay was just fine, and they complimented each other and the splash.
Third was the ride. Good sick definition, with a musical wash under it. Good responsive cup and a great crash. Unlike the 20 Sabian HH, they had before, the wash on the Mist X was just phenomenal. It doesn't hurt the ears, doesn't get in the way of the stick sound and the crashes, and it has a set of overtones more complex and not monotone.
The last one to get on a stand was the Voodoo china. Trashy, good tone, just enough sustain, again, complements the set just fine.
The hi-hats, weren't the last to go, but the one in my review (this isn't bad). I know I went for a lengthier description on the hats, when I ordered them (and when it's time for my own set, it will be worst), so I was curious when I saw a Mist X paired with a Diamond on the box. Jaime didn't stated which one was top, and which one was bottom. I had a ball finding which combination sounded best. First were Diamond Top/ Mist X Bottom. This way the hats had everything I told Jamie, with a low fundamental tone, more on the dark side of the spectrum. I can see where I can play that sound, and that I can live with it on a day 2 day basis, but decided to switch them around and check them. Now it was Mist X Top/ Diamond Bottom. Wow, again everything I told Jamie was there, but with a higher fundamental tone. I've mix/matched and switch side of hi-hats before, but never got 2 distinct sounds like with this set. One thing that got me was that the Diamond is marked as the heavier one (not that much, but heavier), but it felt lighter than the Mist X.
After all were set, I played for a moment and was very pleased with the set, and the reaction from my student who was standing to my back. The drums are set behind a Plexiglas sound barrier, and while the previous set was obnoxious and hurtfull to unprotected ears, the Saluda's where musical, sounded like a family, and pleasant to unprotected ears. After I played, I gave my student a chance at the driver's seat, and got to hear them from about 10' front of the plexi. There they sounded exactly like my descriptions, and even more musical. My student told me he was impressed with the crashes (specially the 18"), and with the ride.

Thanks Jaime, for such a beautiful set of cymbals. Nexi stop it's another church in need of a cymbal set, and start my own set of Saludas.
Sorry there are no pictures at the moment, but I got out of my house on a hurry, and couldn't grab the digital camera. I will go there later, and get some pics. to post.

Offline nridgedrummer

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Aquarian Black Small Hole Regulator Bass Drum Resonant Head
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2007, 07:46 PM »]Aquarian Black Small Hole Regulator Bass Drum Resonant Head

I just purchased this incredible head to put on my bass drum along with my Super Kick II and I must say I am very impressed. It is much thicker and more durable than my previous head which was only a 6 year old Ludwig stock head. The sound this head produces is simply amazing. It gives such a solid punch and gives me the sound I've been trying to get for 3 years since I started playing seriously. It is a perfect fit with my SKII and love the muffling ring that is on the inside. I finally don't have to play with old sheets and a towel in my drum, it's now as open as a golf tournament (du dum ch). Seriously though this is a great head and I'd recommend it to anybody trying to get that punch out of their bass drum.

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Yamaha Flying Dragon Pedals
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2007, 12:58 AM »
incredibly affordable (the singles cost around $130...and you can usually find doubles for around $200), incredibly tough, and ultra smooth.  i bought this pedal (the single) when i was actually planning on buying a dw 9000.  it's half the price and plays just as well (imo).  buy this pedal.


Offline Gregg Rivers

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Moving Air With MACKIE PA
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2007, 09:09 PM »
You know I think most of us have been to a concert event and felt the sub speakers massage our chest cavities with the concussions of a cannon. I rather enjoy being able to "feel" the kick drum at a show! Whether I'm a spectator or the instigator of mass pulmonary defibrillation! Over the years I've spent thousands of dollars and man hours studying how the sound engineers achieve that goal. I think now I full understand how it works and now can produce the rock concert kick drum with my own kit and PA system. Well on a small scale anyway! Of course you need to start at the source (your kick drum) but I shant get in to head choice, drum size and leaving the laundry in the clothes hamper and not in your drum right now. Instead I'd like to show you ladies and gentlemen a great club rig my bass player and I have put together that allows us to cover up to 1000 people, with enough punch that all will feel the earth move! Ya ready?

4 MACKIE SWA 1801 Subs

We now have 4 of these small but mighty boxes on the trailer. Coupled with 4 of their friends....

4 MACKIE SR1530 Full Range/Mid-High packs

Each sub box is loaded with a single 18" transducer and powered by a 900 watt (continuous power) amp built in to the cabinet. The mid high boxes are also self powered (triamped @ 500 watts continuous) and are loaded with a 15" woofer, 6" mid and 1" tweeter.
We've owned a pair of each of these remarkable boxes for the past 5 or 6 years and done a huge number of shows with them. As the venues get larger and requests for more outdoor performances continue to rise, we decided it was time to double up. Over the past several years we've experienced only one failure to my recollection. One of the SR1530s died during a gig, but we were able to work with out it and finish the gig.
That brings us to the only BAD thing I can say about "Active" or self powered cabinets... if the amp goes out, you lose the speaker. With passive speakers, if the amp goes, you can hook up another amp. That's not possible with these boxes. But that is the ONLY thing negative about them. Having said THAT... the great thing about these boxes is there's no need to lug around a 300 pound amp rack to push these boxes! The amps are built in and still the cabinets weigh in about 100 pounds each! They are highly reliable, affordable and sonicly superior to most speakers in their class and price range! They just sound freakin awesome! Do they move air? HA! They'll take your breath away! If you're looking for a great PA rig for medium to small crowds, say 100 to 1,000 folks, take a listen to these cabs before you buy anything else! The SWA1801z retails for about $1,300.00 new on Musician's Friend. We just picked up a used one in great shape for $650.00! For small clubs and crowds ONE of these is plenty! The SR1530z go for about $1,000.00 each new. Mackie makes some smaller versions for smaller venues and crowds too. So look at the entire line and see what fits your requirements.
I know a lot of you guys and gals don't NEED PA or if you do, not this much! But if you want to be a self contained (have your own PA and Lights) band that can tackle whatever size crowd happens to beckon you on to the stage, take a good look at Mackie gear. It's great stuff and my years of actually using this stuff has really made me appreciate what this equipment is capable of. Is there better gear out there? Yep! At the same price range? Not that I've seen OR heard!  Oh and these speakers sound really great when you use the Mackie consoles too! LOL Here's what we use!

The Mackie Onyx 32.4 console

It's a rock band! We're loaded for bear and movin some air! Rock on kids!

I don't solo!

Offline Drum Slave Jack

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Sabian 13" AAX Fusion Hi-Hats
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2007, 12:38 PM »
Ok, I'm very bad at reviewing stuff but i'll give it my best shot:
These came today.

I had ordered them on last week and was very surprised to find them on my doorstep so early! Credit where credit is due, Chris Whitten did a grand job finding me this deal! Paid a very cheap price for them.(around 150 bucks if you include international shipping)
Right, Now for the review. I'm not very good at describing a cymbal with words like 'wash' and 'attack' they don't mean a huge lot to me! But I'll bring up sabians description of them and tell you my opinion on the statements according to what i've heard from them:

purifies sounds by filtering out conflicting overtones
I would definitely agree with that. I was surprised by how 'simple' they sounded, especially in the half open position. Simple not in the bad sense. In the sense that it sounds quite shimmering and it's just solid crisp sounding cymbal all the time.

AAX sounds are pure and accurate
That's kinda what I was just trying to say. They are so clean sounding.

Tap with your finger or thrash with a stick, Auto-Focus Response maximizes sensitivity
I don't really believe that is fair. They perform very well when struck hard. But the sound isn't too consistant when hit gently.

AAX delivers the freedom to sound great in any music
Most definitely. These hats sound amazing, whether i'm playing funk or rock or metal. I think the same would apply when played in other genres.

These really are great hi hats. I don't know if i'd be willing to pay the full first hand UK price of about £189 though. But that probably goes for most cymbals.
If you have any questions, please ask.

Drums O Clock

Offline ayotteTL

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Re: GEAR REVIEWS (by members)
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2007, 08:03 AM »
Love my Gibraltar Dome Throne!Model 9608D. $99.00 from Cascio which was the best price I could find.

This is by far the most comfy throne I've ever sat on and I've checked out(Pork Pie,Pacific,other Gibraltar,Pearl,Tama and prolly a few others). I've done some gigs on it already(around 2.25 hrs long).

Shape of seat is based on an exercise ball(thus "DOME Throne"). It works as it should. Forces you to sit w/good posture. You can actually feel your obliques(side of abs) after playing which means your weight is properly supported by muscle but your back feels fantastic and your butt and thighs don't go numb. A problem I have with flat-topped thrones. Also, your legs do not feel constricted so you have the benefit of a saddle throne but I find it more comfy than saddle throne. Edge of seat don't bind into thighs. Big deal to me.

The seat has memory foam in it that I find exceptional at popping back to shape. Awesome support and you feel perfectly balanced.Sides of seat are nice thick vinyl and top is a soft velvet-like fabric.

It is so comfy,I have it setup in my living room cuz it feels better than sinking into a couch.

If you ever get numb legs and butt this throne is the ticket!I think it'd take much longer to get fatigued sitting on this thing.

Legs and feet are up to par and solid but not excessively heavy.
My pic is of Diana Krall's sidemen - Karriem Riggins,Robert Hurst and me at Rossini's Jazz Bar & Grill in Vancouver BC Canada come check us out if you're in town. Sorry Karriem & Robert will not be there tho.


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Remo Powersonic
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2007, 10:31 PM »
Man, I was truly suprised by these, they offer punch and a good low boom. Take off the pad, and it favors a sound for jazz or hip hop/r&b drummers.  I'm really glad I bought this head, and it just came out too. 

Offline metalshredder

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Pearl Free Floating Brass FB1465c
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2007, 10:24 AM »
Had to special order this drum, and after (very) much anticipation, it arrived yesterday.  It took hardly no time at all to tune it up and, needless to say, in a very short time I was pounding away some KILLER brass tones!  At the moment, the heads are stock; Ambassador coated, and ambassador snare.  I wanted to see what it would do before making a decision for a batter head.   It's got the sound of a much more expensive drum, and let me say LOUD!  It can be a bit ringy, but not necessarily in a bad way.  I may try a Remo CS head on it though.  Clear.  Those things can do wonders, I've seen it.

My recommendation:  buy this drum, I say hands down, money well spent.

Oh yeah, and it looks nice too! ;)
Crush 5pc Clear with light kit, Pearl Reference 5pc Granite Sparkle, Pearl Free Floating Brass Snare, OCDP 14x7 25-ply snare, Paiste Cymbals, Tama Iron Cobra pedals

Offline Dave Heim

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GEAR REVIEW - Meinl Spark Shakers
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2007, 01:09 PM »
I recently picked up the new Meinl Spark Shakers.  These are very cool, nicely sized, relatively inexpensive, and they offer a nice range of sounds.

This is the basic Spark Shaker.  It fits in the palm of your hand (they all do), and produces a very light sound - almost too light.  The body and beads are metal, so the sound is more metallic than that of the ever-popular egg shaker - it has a rather airy quality to it.

This is the Spark Spin Shaker.  It has what amounts to a bell cup (or resonator) screwed onto what would otherwise be a basic Spark Shaker.  The attached piece rings a bit giving the shaker a bell-like effect.  Leaving the attached bell screwed in tight gives a high pitch, loosenng it a little gives a lower pitch.  I found it a little challenging to get this shaker situated in my hand  - the shape is a tad awkward.  But once you get it where you like it, it gives a really nice effect - like tiny sleigh bells.

This one is my favorite.  It's the aptly named Headed Spark Shaker.  It's half of a basic Spark Shaker, with a tiny drum head (goat skin) on the other side.  Shaken all alone it gives a nice sharp rattle effect.  But push a finger into the head just a little and you get a very interesting and unusual pitch bend effect!

These are very nice little shakers, with distinct and interesting sounds, and I think they'd make a nice addition to your shaker collection!

Working with: Second Time Around, James Curley, Scraps of Brass, The American Wind Band, and other notable Chicago musicians.

Teaching through Quinlan & Fabish Music Stores.


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Gauger Percussion DynaMount
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2008, 04:06 AM »
I just added the Gauger Percussion DynaMount to my floor tom and it is FAB-ulous! It was on a RIMS system and rack mounted prior to conversion.

I have posted a comprehensive, profusely illustrated step-by-step how-to guide here for anyone interested.

Offline jokerjkny

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Re: Gauger Percussion DynaMount
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2008, 09:59 AM »
I just added the Gauger Percussion DynaMount to my floor tom and it is FAB-ulous! It was on a RIMS system and rack mounted prior to conversion.

I have posted a comprehensive, profusely illustrated step-by-step how-to guide here for anyone interested.

i have one of these for my 12x14 fibes hanging rack tom, and while a cool thing tonally, i do have some hangups.

notable is the considerable weight.  compared to a set of 3 or 4 lugs and a random set of legs, the dynamount's aluminum construction do nothing!  literally made the tom feel about twice as heavy.  BUT, i will say that using the dynamount is definitely better than carrying a heavier double braced stand in the ol' hardware case.  but dont be expecting the lighter than air like weight of the aluminum gauger rack RIMS mounts.

also, forget about your usual soft bag or hard shell that you use to carry around said tom.  i had to buy a larger 14x16 just to keep the dynamounts from a really really tight squeeze.

but the niggles aside, it actually does sound good.  isnt any better than a dedicated floor tom w/ drilled lugs, so dont go throwing out the stock config for these guys.  but again, if you really wanna put that larger rack tom on legs, this is it.
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline jokerjkny

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Roc 'N Soc MS Throne vs. DW 9100M Round Throne BATTLE ROYALE!
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2008, 11:07 AM »

two weeks ago, my 2 yr old, $50 pearl d70w throne i had bought purely on the basis of it being light and very compact, was finally on its last legs.  from the first song on, the stop lock was losing its grip on the smooth aluminum support tubing, annoying the hell outta me.  even with my trusty leatherman, nothing could keep the lock tight enough.  course, murphy's law strikes, and later that week,  my cheapie "called up from practice pad duty" tama throne suffers the same fate during the following day's rehearsal.

so, finally realized, i should invest in something much more roadworthy which most likely meant, i'd be adding more weight to my already hippo like hardware bag.  but whatever.  if its one less thing to worry about on gig, i'm all for it.

so, in doing my best to avoid GC at all costs, i head out to good ol']long island drum center  in plainview, where their selection bests any bigbox music mall.  they usually have more thrones than amy winehouse has paparrazzi, but unfortunately, their stock was very low due to their NAMM blowout.  thankfully, two thrones still hit my criteria:

a.) something with a spindle.  anything with teeth is definitely gonna have more grab than anything without. 
b.) no need for the fancy schmancy.  roadworthy usually means simple. 
c.) double bracing is a must.  i tend to bounce  around and nothing bugs me more than a wobbly throne.
d.) price has to be right.

from the mapex, tama, yamaha thrones (no more pearl or pork pie thrones), the DW and RnS turned out to be the only real contenders.  on the surface, their bases seemed somewhat similar.  both their spindles rotated smoothly and were wide and substantial.  both were supported by double braced legs with thick rubber soles that seem like they'd hold their own against whatever shamoo like stress came their way.

but the more i sat on either the more i realized they were as different as night and day.  despite the relatively high price tag, my bony butt was no more comfortable on the DW than sitting on my old pearl throne.  the wide and round, so called "special foam" felt cheap, hard and stiff like a flat hard rubber tire.  and, no matter how much i tightened every knob on the throne, it seemed to wobble a touch.  sure, it was just a minor wobble, but for a throne that shares its series w/ the venerable 9000 pedal, i expect it to be 9000 series steady!

the roc n soc, however, was every bit its surname.  rock solid and ready to do business.  i like how it only has two fastening clamps: one for the tripod base, and the other for the spindle, which seems to make for quick and easy adjustments btwn songs in a set.  the DW, on the other hand, had three, where two alone were for the spindle.  and yet, those two seemed like they added up to the roc n soc's massive single heavy duty spindle clamp!

and oh how i love that seat!  one of the best ones in the whole store.  the pork pie thrones i remember are easily the most comfortable, but dang, they're also tooo freakin' expensive.  the roc n soc, however, was $30-40 less than the nearest competitor.  also, i found out that a few manufacturers like gibraltar actually use roc n soc seats as marked up OEM's for many of their own thrones.  roc n soc definitely equals value.

if anything, this whole experience has taught me that a good throne is like any other major investment in your life, where one should expect a good return.  already, my posture feels better, and my body feels much more relaxed when i play.  you wouldnt want to sit on a barstool all day at work.  why should you while drumming?
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline Ryan

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Some people had expressed an interest in how these two pieces of Gibraltar hardware performed, so now that I've had a little chance to use them, here's what I have to say.

Gibraltar Ultra-Adjust hi-hat stand:

I got the model with legs.  The main idea behind this hi-hat stand is that drummers are always having to make a compromise between having a comfortable position for his foot on the hi-hat pedal or the distance to the actual hi-hat cymbals.  To that end, there is an 8-inch long section of the hi-hat that can be positioned vertically (like a standard hi-hat stand), horizontally, or anywhere in between.  This means the placement of the hi-hat can be up to 8 inches closer to the snare drum and still have comfortable pedal placement.

Initial setup was a little slow for me.  The footboard has a couple of wingnuts that go into it, and I've never seen a footboard that was solid before, so that took a minute to get everything lined up.  Actually positioning the cymbal part took a little effort, too.  There are two ball joints to make it extremely adjustable, and I ended up basically setting them both up at the same time, which would have been fine if I had 4 hands, but took a lot of maneuvering by myself.  However, I'm not very likely to change the position of either of those joints now, so that was a one-time issue.

It's got the rotating three legs, which I find very convenient.  Right now my hi-hat is right next to an end table, so I was able to turn the legs to a good spot.

As for the use of the hi-hat, I have three small complaints.  The first is that in my setup, the little screw that typically adjusts the angle of the bottom hi-hat cymbal ended up under the side of this cymbal.  This makes the hi-hats look kind of funny - but since I can angle the hi-hats using the actual stand, I'm not really using the screw to do anything.  So that's not really a complaint, it's just not really necessary.

Second, the rod that the clutch for the hi-hat attaches to will freely spin.  I'm used to the DW5000 hi-hat rod which screws in to the hi-hat assembly within the body of the hi-hat, and doesn't turn that much.  It just has a sort of loose feeling and the rod itself has room to wiggle around a little bit.

Third, and I suppose this is a result of using a cable and probably similar to other remote hi-hats, it seems like the first half inch or so of depressing the pedal is stiff and doesn't get much response from the cymbals.  This is most noticeable when putting the cymbals on, because I will depress the pedal and then tighten the clutch for the top hi-hat, and then when I release the pedal I don't get as much separation as I expect from the cymbals.  (Going back and looking at this now, it seems to be more a function of how loose I had the spring set on the hi-hat.  Adjusting the spring is very easy, it involves lifting a little switch-looking thing and rotating a stepped piece of plastic underneath it.  I don't really know the best way to explain it, but it's very simple and making the spring tighter takes away from the pedal response problem.)

While I don't think it's quite as smooth as my DW5000 hi-hat, it's not far behind, and I think the closer positioning of the hi-hats is worth the slight trade-off in smoothness.

Catapult Linear Motion bass pedal

This pedal is first of all very smooth.  There is a small wheel on the end of the pedal which rolls down the beater arm.  It's definitely smoother than my DW5000.  However, the spring seems pretty weak, and the pedal doesn't rebound quite as far as I want it to even under the tightest tension.  I think I'll just get a new spring for it, which shouldn't be very difficult or expensive.

The strangest thing to me is that the pedal is one piece.  I'm used to having a hinge closer to the heel.  A couple of times when I've gone to make an adjustment to beater height or something, I've let my foot rest on the back of the pedal like I would with a hinged pedal, and then I'll get confused when the beater is buried in the head because it doesn't "feel" like I'm still pushing the beater down.

The beater itself is a flat paddle beater which is supposed to eliminate the need for an impact patch on the bass head because it spreads out the impact zone.  I like that, but that doesn't mean I will never try another beater with it.  It has a small weight on it and a fairly impressive range of heights (I have it more or less centered on my 24" kick and have about an inch and a half or beater rod left).

The side of the pedal which attaches to the bass drum has a curved metal surface covered with rubber.  That makes it easy to attach to the hoop, and although I was a little worried it would be curved to fit a 22" hoop and might attach funny to my 24", it seems to work just fine.  Either the rubber is a little moldable, or there's just not that much difference between the curve of a 22" hoop and a 24" hoop.

One strange thing is that the wingnut that holds the beater rod is big enough that it will touch the head if I bury the beater.  I don't think it comes into contact with my normal playing but it's very close.

It's also really big.  It sticks out about 15 inches from my bass drum, and I don't have another pedal to compare it to, but it seems further than my previous pedals.

It feels very sturdy though, and isn't very expensive, so I'm pretty happy with my purchase.

If you have any other questions about either of these, send me a PM and I'll add to the review.

Offline Vintage Ludwig

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Craviotto snare drum 6.5x14 solid shell unlimited maple
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2008, 08:41 PM »
This is a follow on review of my recently purchased snare drum.  I had sold a Yamaha snare drum awhile ago and that left me with only metal snare drums to go to.  My usual go to snare drum is usually a 1968 LM-402 and while its quite a versatile drum, there are qualities that any metal shell snare typically wont have.  I wanted a wood snare with a wide tuning range of a Supra but with warm overtones.  After looking around what was out there and learning a bit about shell composition and what a broad rang in price there is, and a suggestion by Chris Whitten, I decided to go with a Craviotto.  I missed out on one slightly used on Ebay that sold for under $400 and was a little disappointed.  But at the time the auction ended, I hadnt made up my mind so I opted out.

Then as I was looking at the Craviottos then listed on Ebay, my drum came up.  The man I  got mine from bought 3 from a drum shop that closed.  Its brand new, never played and included everything that they come with-except the spare batter head.  No big deal.

The drum as I received it

The first thing I noticed was why these drums sell for what they do.  The retail is over $1000 and the cheapest I found one was for $657.  I paid $550 shipping included.  The shell is fantastic.  The bearing edges are 30 degree and very sharp and unbelievably consistent.  Craftmanship is spectacular.  The throw off is a Dunnett I believe-not positive.

Here is the bearing edge

And the inside of the shell

I placed a Remo coated Emperor head on the drum.  This was the easiest and FASTEST snare to tune.  It took about 10 minutes.  The bearing edges are the reason why this drum tunes so easily.  Fine tuning was accomplished with simple small changes in tension.  I left the drum overnight to let the head settle in.  It lost a little tension and a simple retune top and bottom and It was ready to play.

I bought the drum mainly to be used with my maple Ludwigs.  I had my Clear and black Bonham sized kit setup and was too lazy to set up my 70s green sparkle Bonham kit-plus NASCAR was coming on in about 2 hours and I didnt want to miss the race ;D  So I played the snare with the Vistalites.

The Crav settled right in and after raising the tension top and bottom for more sensitivity and to get more of "that" sound, I was completely blown away at the sound from this snare.  Its everything my 402s do but with that warm woody tone I was after.  Its nearly as loud as a Supra, plenty sensitive with the stock wires (Craviotto) as opposed to 42 stranders I typically use.  Mr Whitten was right-I probably would be happy with the drum right out of the box.  And I certainly am.  The only reason I changed the stock head was it has the Craviotto emblem on it and its too nice to play on ::)

On a scale of 1-10 this is hands down a 10.  Im sold on a solid shell-one solid piece of steam bent maple in this case.  2 reinforcing rings and rock solid.  

This is a fantastic drum-and a bargain for under $700.00

Thank you Johnny Craviotto!


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Saluda Earthworks and Voodoo China cymbal set review
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2008, 02:00 PM »
Saluda Earthworks set review.

12” Medium Earthworks Splash

Splash weighs in at 509 grams. Finish is top notch and very smooth. Light hand hammering is found on this cymbal and it is fine lathed. The edge of the cymbal is sharper than I would have expected for a splash. It’s edges where sharp enough to cause concern that they would cut into my sticks, but it doesn’t.

Sound wise, it has a moderate to loud volume and a longer wobble like sound. The wobble sound is longer in duration, but gives great texture as its decay is not abrupt. When chocked, it has more of a traditional splash sound thus making it very versatile. I usually don’t like 12” splashes but really enjoy this one. I would compare it to a Sabian 12” El Sabor splash with a little more wobble if that makes sense.

14” Medium Earthworks Hi-Hats with sound edge bottoms

Top hat weight is 1012 grams while the bottom is 1276 grams. Finish is also smooth with fine lathing. The hammering is a little more aggressive than on the splash. The sound edging is tighter than other ripples I have seen on other cymbal manufactures and not as defined.

The cymbals matched up perfectly to one another and nothing was off center or warped. The sound is amazing to say the least. They give a great defined click when played with the foot but with moderate to loud volumes. The hats don’t give a heavy click from what I can best explain is a more musical melodic click without the harshness from heavier set of hats.

When played with the stick, they can be played at almost any volume level. I’m still working for lower volumes but that’s probably me and not the cymbals. Closed is again a great click without being overpowering. Open is where these things really shine. The best way I can explain them is like listening to a Zildjian K medium or thin hat with a heavier bottom but with more volume. The sizzle is amazing and I’ve been told this by 3 other drummers who play high end Zildjian’s and Sabian’s. I wouldn’t give these up for the world.

17” Earthwork Dark Rock Crash

Cymbal weight is 1411 grams. Finish is smooth with a little deeper lathing, but also fine in nature. This cymbal has a mixture of hand hammering and machine hammering. Hammering is a little larger and deeper than the others.

This one was hard to evaluate because I ordered the wrong type of cymbal for my playing. This cymbal is meant for heavier rock or metal situations and for someone like me who is playing lighter rock, pop and country, well you can see the issues.

To say this cymbal cuts like a knife would be the understatement of the year. It is loud, focused, and defined and no harsh overtones. The decay is longer in duration than other 17” crashes I’ve played. It is explosive and loves to be cranked on. I will give you this much, the more you hit this cymbal the more you like it. It just rocks, and if you are playing something heavier, this ones for you. Unfortunately, it’s not really versatile and doesn’t working with my present set up, but I’m sure I will find a use for it. I would compare this cymbal to a 17” Sabian AA Rock Crash but louder and more focused.

19” Earthwork Dark Rock Crash

Cymbal weight is 2001 grams. Darker finish than the 17” and smoother lathing that is fine. This cymbal is hand hammered and the hammer markings are larger, but not as deep as the 17”.

This cymbal was more versatile than the 17” and I’m not sure why. It’s a heavy cymbal and the finish is awesome just like that other. It’s also loud and can cut, but the decay is a little longer than the 17” and after the first initial bite of the cymbal, it darkens up on the decay side. I’ve also been able to play it at lower volumes although it does take some practice on my part. This cymbal has become my preferred crash over other models that I’ve had in the past. Again the only thing that I could think of that would be close is a 19” Meinl MB20 Heavy Crash.

20” Earthworks Custom Ride with oversized raw bell

This ride cymbal weighs in at 3033 grams. Like I’ve said before, it’s heavy. I had an oversized bell added and left it raw (bell from a 22” ride I believe). The ride has thin lathing with hand hammering. The hammering is light like most of the others, but they appear closer together.

The bell is raw for a cleaner sound. This ride is loud very loud, but with melody. It can cut though anything. It’s bright and then gets darker over the decay. The decay last forever too. A surprising feature is that you can play is softly and it works wonders with bundle sticks. Playing with bundle sticks gives a warmer tone and that is easily played over. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you can turn things around in a second and unload on this ride and it will take it. As for comparisons, I would say that it’s close to a Sabian AA Heavy Ride or a Meinl MB20 22" Heavy Bell Ride. Really it’s a mixture of those two cymbals. Stick deflection is great, and I absolutely love this ride.

17” Pre-Aged Voodoo China

The only one I haven’t included is the 17” Pre-Aged Voodoo China. I don’t have the weight and it’s a little hard to describe. What I can tell you is that it looks amazing and has a clear china sound. It has a shorter decay. It of course has a trashier sound, but is mellower and not over bearing. Nor does it have the harsh overtones from some other china’s I’ve played. I don’t have enough backgrounds on china’s to make a comparison but I really enjoy this cymbal.

All in all I am really happy with the cymbals. The only one I had problems with was due to my own mistake in ordering. That said, I really enjoy that cymbal, but not for the style of music I mostly play. The fit and finish of these cymbals are amazing. The color along with the lathing and finishing work is top notch. Not only do they look great but there sound quality is superb. They are louder than most cymbals I have played in the past, but still versatile. I would suggest trying out Saluda’s if you haven’t already.

I am not an endorser, nor have I contact them to become one. I have been playing on and off again for 24 years and played mostly Zildjian, Sabian, and Meinl in recent years. Please remember that this is my opinion on my cymbals and would invite anyone to try them. I really don’t think you would be disappointed.


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This really isn't a piece of gear but it could be if your a drum instructor.   ;)

Through my "trials" of teaching younger kids (under 10), I've been noticing that most kids under the age of 10 don't like to count.  I'm not sure what it of my students indicated that it reminded of her of being in school learning math. 

With that, I went searching for beginner books specifically aimed at kids of this age group that  had some element of fun included in teaching.  I've learned that kids in this age group need to feel that learning an instrument should be fun at first.  Then later, they can start worrying about their Moeller strokes, their Push/Pull technique, getting their blast beats up to 180 BPM, etc.  ;)

"The Snare Drum Plays the Zoo",  by Brian J. Harris has brought the fun aspect of teaching counting to younger students by incorporating animal words as a method of counting.]

I know some instructors may disagree with this type of teaching because it doesn't "burn in"  the traditional way of counting and may confuse the student.  I haven't experienced this yet and it was actually easier to transition the student into counting as he/she got older and more involved in drumming.  In fact, I've used some of the animal words with my older students (teenagers and adults) when they had problems with certain rhythms.  At first, they felt kind of silly saying them but indicated the words made it easier for them to execute the problem rhythm(s).

Another cool part of this book is that at the end of every lesson (7 exercises - 1 for each of the week), the student can compose his/her own piece using any rhythm, dynamic, repeats, etc. 

The book also comes with a CD and from his website, a DVD is also available.  I highly recommend this book to any instructor who teaches young kids.  It will truly make lessons fun for the student.



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