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Winter NAMM 2015 Special Report: Drums


Electronics! This year’s NAMM Show featured a lot of development in the electronic drum space. New companies introduced fantastic new solutions for the modern pro drummer, while established companies introduced new capabilities (mobile device integration) that make it easier for newer drummers to get into eDrums. Alese also updated their classic eDrum module, so read on!

The big industry shakeup news was that Gretsch Drums has left the Fender/KMC product family and has been acquired by Drum Workshop. We’re super excited about this, and are optimistic that DW will be able to return this classic drum line to its former glory.


Alesis had a few exciting things to reveal: The DM10 X Mesh Kit now tops their drum kit product line, and the name pretty much says it all: mesh heads! With a street price of only $1,700 for a six-piece kit with DM10 brain, electronic hi-hat, three electronic cymbals (including a three-zone ride), and a four-post rack—or only $1,200 for slightly downgraded hardware, this is a pretty significant challenger to other pro kits that sell for two to three times the price.

And for those of you looking to get your hands on a new, low-cost drum brain, the classic DM-5 is history thanks to the new Sample Rack brain/module. We almost missed this one, but it’s definitely worth a look. Only $200 gets you a 1U rack module with ten drum kits comprised of sounds from over 200 percussion sounds, eight dual-zone trigger inputs plus kick and hi-hat inputs, and SD/SDHC card storage for loading WAV samples. The Samplepad Pro has nearly identical specs but is housed in a familiar controller package with six drum trigger pads on top.

Craviotto Drums

It’s always a treat to check out the gorgeous, single-ply, hand-crafted drums from Craviotto—which sound every bit as fantastic as they look. But we were just as excited this year to check out the recently released Solitaire Series snare drums—a line of snare drums featuring hand-rolled aluminum shells, classic Craviotto tone, and priced just under $800. Gorgeous!

Impression Cymbals

It was exciting to see a new line of cymbals introduced to the US market. Hand-made in Turkey using traditional B20 bronze alloys, these cymbals feature extraordinary workmanship and finishes. In fact, they are completely hand hammered, hand lathed, and each cymbal is marked with its exact weight and the signature of its creator! If they sound as good in our studios as they did trying to cut through the din of the NAMM Show’s Hall D, these could very quickly become hot items for the drum professionals among us. We love having a variety of good cymbals to choose from, and these seem poised to impress. Our first review samples are due to arrive in the studio shortly.


NFUZD made a major debut at Winter NAMM of their Nspire Series electronic drums. These very nice heads/pads integrate with your existing acoustic drum kit, bringing full electronics to the kit you already own. With heads in a variety of standard drum sizes, you simply place the rubber-backed heads on top of your snare and toms, and a channel groove on the bottom locks it securely in place without any modifications to your kit. A kick drum trigger gets installed in-line between your kick pedal/beater and the kick drum head. Then, just plug in a few cables to the brain, add laptop computer, and get ready for some oustanding sounding drums.

The drum brain is sound-less: you connect it via USB to your laptop, which runs a customized version of BFD Eco, extremely popular software for playing/manipulating drum sounds/samples, all with beautiful sounding, 24-bit, uncompressed audio. Included are over 55GB worth of drum, cymbal, and percussion samples, and you can upgrade (at a discount) to the full BFD3 package, too.

The heads felt great and responded nicely, and the snare head featured three zones standard strokes, rim shots, and cross-stick technique. Multi-zoned ride and crash cymbal trigger pads mount right onto your standard cymbal stands, so all it takes is a couple of minutes to transform your kit from acoustic to electronic, perfect for playing and recording anywhere that full drum volume isn’t a good option.

In case you’re wondering just who this NFUZD company is, they are part of KHS America, parent company to such notable percussion companies as Mapex Drums.


More electronics! This time, Roland has updated its acoustic drum triggers. The RT-10K (kick), RT-10S (snare), and RT-10T (toms) are smaller than the previous generation (for easier placement), and with improved sensitivity.



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