This was an exciting year for drum gear. Just as digital technology was omnipresent in the guitar arena, electronic drums were the big splash for drummers.
Certainly one of the best products introduced at the Winter NAMM show had to be the Pearl Drums ePro Live drums, which combine actual wood shells and metallic cymbals with heads that feel more like true drum pads than anything we’ve ever played on before. The drum shells are actually sized like their real acoustic siblings, so you can finally play on a kit where everything is sized like an acoustic kit.
Sonically, the brain sounded fantastic, with full-bodied acoustic drum and cymbal sounds. Finally, rock and metal drummers have an electronic kit they won’t be embarrassed to play! 3199 map
Roland was showing off their new flagship V-Pro TD-20SX kit, which is also quite stunning looking and suitable for use by drummers in all styles, though it was definitely eclipsed by the Pearl offering. But Roland had another exciting product launch for percussionists: a new Octapad!
The Octapad SPD-30 features the familiar interface with eight rectangular pads but has been updated with great new sounds taken from the V-Drums series. External dual-trigger pads and a hi-hat controller can be connected to build a mini-kit if desired.
Roland wasn’t the only company releasing updates of their classic e-gear. Korg introduced a new Wavedrum! This unique electronic percussion controller features a single drum head containing numerous sensors capable of enabling hand-played percussion. You can even apply real-time pitch manipulation by pressing on the pad head with one finger while striking the pad with your other hand, just like on a real acoustic instrument. Very cool.
Yamaha had plenty of electronic drums to show off. And while their flagship electronic kit doesn’t have the same degree of acoustic comfort as its primary competitors, they released an electronic percussion pad that provides a great alternative for players checking out the new Roland Octapad.
Yamaha’s DTX-MULTI 12 features six electronic pads, with the second row offset height-wise for a better separation from the front row of pads. It features a sound engine lifted from the Motif synthesizers and DTXTREME III kit and has a hi-hat trigger input.
We love signature snare drums and we love expensive snare drums... they're just so exclusive! The new Brian Frasier-Moore signature snare is all that and more, wrapped in a quilted bubinga shell and listing for slightly over $1,000. We need to hit this thing and see if it's worth the price of admission.
We're also very curious to check out the new Starphonic line of snares. Tama developed a brand new hoop, lugs, and strainer for this line. Available in maple, bubiinga, brass, and aluminum, Tama claims these snares have a fresh new sound. We'll be testing them soon and will let you know!
Paiste added some pizzazz to the Alpha line, introducing a brilliant hand-polished finish, as well as expanding the line with a few more cymbals including a monsterous 24” version of the Rock Ride.
Check out the other cool gear we saw at NAMM:
Recording & Live Sound