Guitar Store Headline Animator

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Meinl offers staggering choices for drummers and percussionists and its attention to detail is highly lauded. Brazilian samba instruments are, by their nature, hugely diverse and traditionally have been produced from a great many materials.

Meinl has taken into consideration just how tricky it can be when you play these instruments in a street situation (marching and dancing to the irresistible pulse of the samba) and has a full line on offer constructed almost entirely of extremely lightweight aluminium, but still boasting beautiful tones!


The majority of these instruments are constructed from top grade lightweight aluminium, which makes them extremely easy to play for extended periods.

"Meinl has taken into consideration just how tricky it can be when you play these instruments in a street situation and has a full line on offer constructed almost entirely of extremely lightweight aluminium"

The 22" stand-alone surdo is an impressive beast and comes complete with three chunky floor tom-style, height-adjustable legs. If you're looking for a gigantic sound and perform in a static situation then this is highly recommended. The 20" surdo, on the other hand, is designed to be played hanging from Meinl's adjustable, comfortably padded shoulder/hip belt and is again constructed from aluminium.

The third surdo is an attractive but much shallower 20" diameter hardwood model, and all three come equipped with sets of highly durable synthetic heads. The 10 (non-intrusive) one-piece tension rods have countersunk bolt heads and tune up really easily with the included key.

The 12"x12" repinique is made the same way as the surdos and comes with eight tension rods for exacting tuning of its pair of synthetic heads, and across the entire range Meinl has applied its logo underneath the heads to eliminate messy chipping of the design.

The Brazilian snare drum (or caixa) that we were sent is Meinl's 'Traditional' 12"x6" model and comes with static guitar string snares. This caixa is the deepest model in the catalogue, has the same look as the previous aluminium instruments and will cut through any ensemble nicely.

The three pandeiros all featured differing materials and were quite a revelation - not least Meinl's new lightweight rubberwood 'Shell-tuned' model, which has an ingenious hex screw tuning system at the bottom of the drum, hand-hammered brass jingles and an ergonomic design/feel that you'll not want to put down!

Available in 10" or 12" sizes, it's a much more comfortable option for both novice and expert player alike. The other two pandeiros are a more traditionally designed rubberwood model (10" or 12") topped with a responsive goatskin head and a cool black 10" ABS plastic model with a synthetic head.

We also received a 6" aluminium tambourim, a funky 6"x5 3/4" aluminium qweeka with a super resonant goatskin head and a selection of single, double and even triple aluminium Samba shakers! With small and medium A-Go-Go bells and a piercing Samba whistle rounding out the aluminium collection, Meinl also included its Wooden rocar (jingle stick) with no less than 20 pairs of solid jingles!

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Environmentalism and the music industry don't always make the easiest of bedfellows. The familiar sound of rock stars spouting environmental platitudes while touring the globe in private jets is a classic example of good intentions gone awry.

Away from such obvious ironies, drummers have had few opportunities to publicly display any green credentials. With concerns for the environment growing each year, an instrument that relies heavily on a natural raw material - wood - ought to be a prime candidate for an eco-friendly redesign.

DW's Eco-X Project kit is just that: taking the environmental message and turning it into a marketing opportunity.

"The core of any kit is always the shells and in the case of the Eco-X Project kit, that's doubly true because they're the main reason for its existence"

DW is primarily a custom drum maker, building kits to individual customers' specifications. What's impressive about the Eco-X Project kit - aside from its green credentials - is that it enables the company to enter the world of standard production kits.

It's a clever strategy that brings the DW brand into a new price territory (Eco-X drums are around 30 percent cheaper than Collector's Series equivalents), while making a virtue of its environmental responsibility.

As a fixed range, Eco-X Project drums don't feature anywhere near the number of options found in the Collector's Series, but they are bona fide US-built DW drums.

The core of any kit is always the shells and in the case of the Eco-X Project kit, that's doubly true because they're the main reason for its existence. They're made from equal amounts of birch and bamboo – eight-ply for the toms and 10-ply for the snare and bass drums.

Both woods are, of course, sourced from sustainable supplies. The birch comes from Michigan, while the bamboo is Chinese.

The drums are formed using DW's X Shell technique, whereby the plies are cross-laminated at 90 degrees to one another with the grain at 45 degrees to the vertical, creating the X-shaped layers referred to in the name. DW measures shell thicknesses in imperial rather than metric (this makes sense, because shell diameters and depths are universally quoted in inches).

By our rough conversions, each layer of ply measures approximately 0.7mm, making toms around 5.6mm thick, while the snare and bass drum come in at 7mm. DW is keen to point out that, because wood is a natural material, minute variations do occur, but all of the individual plies are the same thickness.

There are two angles of bearing edge used in the kit. While the toms are cut at a slightly rounded 45 degrees, the snare and bass drum share a wider 60 degree cut, again with a slight round over.


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Drum Rocker delivers the most realistic drumming experience available to any gamer, better than any other system on the market. That's because it was built by real electronic drum engineers from one of the largest manufacturers of professional electronic drums.

This kit is designed to take a real beating, with all the positioning flexibility that professional drummers demand. While the other Rock Band drums controllers lock you down to a pre-molded plastic array of pads, Drum Rocker's professional aluminum metal drum rack lets you position your snare, tom and cymbal pads wherever you want. When you're ready to move from playing Rock Band to playing in a real band, you can swap the game controller module with one made by Alesis.

Quietier, More Realistic & Moveable!!!

Drum Rocker's velocity-sensitive drum pads feature a striking surface that is much quieter than other drum controllers. The best thing is, they feel realistic. The stick rebound off the pads is natural and more consistent than anything else available. The pad housing is made of high-impact plastic, designed to be whacked consistantly night after night. No matter how much you punish them, the Drum Rocker drum pads can take it.

The pads are mounted to the drum rack with a metal L-Arm frame and clamp system, which allows them to be tilted, swiveled, raised and lowered to whatever position you want

If your looking to learn how to play drums, this is a must!

There's nothing like finishing a fill by smashing a crash cymbal. Or crossing over to play your hi-hat with your right hand for a more realistic feel. Drum Rocker lets you do all this and more, with cymbal.

Purchase an additional cymbals!!!

Drum Rocker comes with two cymbals and mounting hardware out of the box, and a third cymbal is available as an optional accessory. You get to decide how you want to use the two cymbals that come with the kit – set them up as a hi-hat/crash, crash/ride or hi-hat/ride combination, then add the third cymbal to round out the kit.

All-metal kick drum pedal. !!!

The pedal is made of metal and it made to take a beating. The spring inside gives the pedal a natural resistant, replicating a real one. It also comes with Velcro and retractable spikes, so you can be sure it will stay in place.

Double Bass!!!

You can purchase an additional pedal that will connect directly into your first.


DDRUM Dios M Drum Kit

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The Swedish company Clavia was in at the forefront of the digital music revolution in 1983 and its ddrum electronic drum gear became a byword for quality. So it was a surprise when the ddrum logo first appeared on acoustic kits in 2005, marketed by Florida's Armadillo Enterprises.

Right from the off the company was on the money style-wise, with strikingly hip kits and cool names - Diablo, Dominator, Dios - which soon established the ddrum brand in drummers' minds. ddrum identified the one-up/two-down configuration as the coolest in younger drummers' eyes and offered outrageous finishes to complete the trick.

The ddrum range has expanded so quickly it's easy to get confused. To clarify, the top line American Custom drums are made in the USA utilising Keller shells. The Dios is also a professional line, but is more modestly priced and made in Taiwan. As well as the M (for maple) kit reviewed here, the Dios is also available in ash, bubinga, walnut, birch/aspen and the Elite Tiger Eye bubinga.


The Dios M shells are hand made and finished from North American maple in the company's Taiwan factory. Toms are 6 ply, bass drums and snares 8 ply.

ddrum claims the diagonal seams and cross-laminated plies make its shells some of the strongest around, although surely this type of construction is normal practice? Whatever, the shells are well finished and circular to within (by my measurements) a 1 to 3mm tolerance, which is, we find, common at this price level. Funnily enough, the bass drum - the largest shell - was closest to round, almost spot on. The shells have 45° bearing edges and a slight round-over to the outside wall.

ddrum finish

Running a finger round there were the usual minor glitches, but more interestingly the small tom had edges which were rounded off more than the other drums, which were all quite sharp. This tom also had a slight nap left on the inside whereas the others were sanded smooth.

We take this as evidence of the hand finishing which ddrum talks about and it suggests that, although quality control is good, it's not quite 100 percent as yet.

The review kit is finished outside in lacquered Red Cherry Sparkle. This is as beautiful a glass-like finish as we've seen. It's a traditional sparkle compared with some of the more garish ddrum finishes, but it's faultlessly executed. And there are five others to choose from (Olive Sparkle, Natural, Pearl White, Trans Black and Yellow/Gold Sparkle Fade).

The M is available in two five-piece shell packs. The review kit is the so-called 'Pocket' configuration, with 20"x20" bass drum, 13"x7" wood snare, 12"x8" rack tom, 14"x13" and 16"x14" floor toms. The alternative 'Player' configuration has 22"x20" kick, 14"x6" snare, 10"x8" and 12"x9" rack toms, plus a single 16"x14" floor tom.

Techtonic DD502(J) electronic drum kit

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The budget end of the electronic drum kit market is a hotbed of activity at the moment. Snapping at the heels of the entry-level Medeli kit comes the Techtonic DD502(J), a similarly-priced affair that has the same budget-conscious bedroom blasters in its sights.

That's not the only thing that the two kits have in common. Both are products of Far Eastern electronics manufacturers, sourced by keen-eyed Western distributors and sold in their domestic territories. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it's worth pointing out - if nothing else it explains why a quick Google throws up results for essentially the same set-up under different brand names in the UK and US.

There is a clear distinction to be drawn between this kind of product and those from the traditional electronic drum brands, though. Whereas offerings from the likes of Roland and Yamaha are created in-house, this kind of sourced product is bought 'off the shelf' by distributors.

"The DD502's simple module presents few challenges in use; simple and intuitive, it still manages to cram in a decent choice of sounds"

There will be some input into branding and perhaps (some way down the line), response to customer feedback in later versions of the product; but for the most part it's a case of distributors finding an existing product that caters as closely to the needs of their target market as possible. So let's see how successfully Soar Valley's Techtonic set-up fares…

There's nothing ground-breaking about the nature of the kit - it's a standard hi-hat, crash, ride, snare, three toms and kick rig - but first impressions are good. Of particular note are the pads used for the drums.

The chassis of each is made of stiff, high-impact plastic, thick enough to feel sturdy while avoiding any cheap 'agricultural' connotation. And the playing surface feels good too. Rebound might be a tad on the limited side, but the internal foam coupled with a squidgy rubber pad is forgiving.

We're not great lovers of triangle pads for cymbals - they always look like afterthoughts, perched awkwardly on spindly arms - but we're perfectly aware that they're really the only affordable option where kits like this are concerned. As it is, the hi-hat, ride and crash pads of the Techtonic kit work well, although a couple of times we noticed a missed note or two when playing fast strikes on the ride.

All the pads are simple, single-trigger affairs. There's no clever head and rim or bow and bell stuff happening here, so while the sensitivity is commendable, it's important to be aware that a truly 'real feel' response is, understandably at this price, beyond the DD502's remit.