Electronic drums were all over the show, and it was interesting to see Alesis take their iO Dock concept and incorporate it into their electronic drums line. The DM Dock Pro Kit relies on your iPad as the sound module that slips conveniently into the DM Dock. The kit itself features five RealHead dual-zone pads (12” snare, 2x 10” toms, 2x 12” toms), a StealthKick 2 kick trigger pedal, rack, and all necessary hardware. It’s definitely a very affordable way to bring electronics to your mostly acoustic drum kit.
When it comes to miking up a stellar kick drum sound for the studio or concert stage, many engineers supplement their primary kick mic with the addition of a Yamaha Sub-kick, which is basically a reverse-wired speaker used as an oversized microphone element to capture lower frequencies as well as ambience that is lost with a mic inside the kick drum.
We were especially excited to see DW’s new Moon Mic, and after speaking with its designer, we already know it’s going to be a must-have for our studio. The Moon Mic addresses a variety of limitations and challenges experienced with other similar products, and we loved that this dynamic mic functions without phantom power, has a phase reverse switch, and it doesn’t require a pad to match levels with other mics in your kit. Expect a review soon.
Evans Level 360 Drumheads take advantage of the latest, modern manufacturing technique to produce heads that sit flush on the bearing edge of your drums before you tighten the hoop around them. The design goal is to provide rapid, stable tuning as well as the ability to tune them across a wider range than typical heads. All new Evans polyester film heads will feature the new Level 360 collar. It's nice to see a change so important that it will be applied to such a large family of heads. Seems like great stuff.
Sometimes you see something so simple that you just go, “Duh…” And so it was when we discovered Sleeved Washers, the cheapest thing you can do for an instant upgrade to any of your drums. Simply, these plastic washers and collars slip over the tension rods to eliminate all metal-on-metal contact, but because of the design that slides into the lug housing (as opposed to simply having a plastic washer), they do a better job providing tuning stability. If you like to tune your heads on the low side, these will make a noticeable improvement for eliminating any rod rattle. Maybe not so new for NAMM, but worth checking out.
We missed this beautiful snare drum at last year’s show, and 2013 is the last chance to get this limited edition reissue. The Ludwig Acrolite was introduced back in 1963 and features a seamless, beaded, brushed-aluminum shell, and it was praised for its penetrating, dry snare drum tone. Also available is a sparkling Black Galaxy finish.
The Paiste 602 line has been very popular with drummers, and the new Formula 602 Modern Essentials seems likely to hit another sweet note with drummers. Designed in collaboration with master drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, drummers in all styles of rock, pop, and fusion will want to check out the sound of this line, which aims to take the sound of the Signature Traditionals line and give it the stick definition and transparency of the 602 line. The NAMM show floor wasn’t the best place to conduct a listening test, so we’ll have to get these into our studio for an in-depth listen.
Re-introducing a classic kit, the new Export Series is a completely different beast than the kit we played thirty years ago. Today’s new Export features the Pearl S.S.T. shell technology, new 830-series hardware and an opti-loc mounting system that features rubber isolators at all connecting points, and some hot finishes. The snare drum features a mahogany/poplar 6-ply shell.
Sabian took to the Internet last year and polled their users as to what cymbals they wanted to see added to the line in 2013. The results led to this year’s new cymbals: AAX X-Plosion Hats, AAX Air Splash, AA Bash Ride, and the AAX Freq Crash. Each of these cymbals has a unique property that makes it just a little bit different than your standard varieties. Definitely check them out if you’re looking for some new variety.
Who doesn’t love a signature snare drum from a real rock master? Finally available is the Gavin Harrison Protean signature snare, and we want it! Available in both 14” x 5.25” and 12” x 5”, the snare features six-ply Birch with a matte black finish. The bottom hoop offers a unique characteristic that enables you to easily swap between using more or less snare wires from the Dual Glide strainer. Included is a set of three different dampening rings (light, medium, heavy) to provide a wide range of overtone dampening adjustments.
Certainly one of the most popular kick pedals of all time, Tama’s Iron Cobra line has received multiple upgrades this year. We like the improved HP600DTW with its changeable cam that switches between the Rolling Glide and Power Glide cams simply by removing and reversing it. They’ve also taken the double chain drive from the HP900 series and upgraded the HP600 pedals, too.