NAMM Show 2019 Special Report


Fresh off the success of the WIHO Award-winning Strike Pro Drum Kit (reviewed here), Alesis is back with a fantastic option for acoustic drummers who simply need to expand their kits with new electronic sounds: the Strike MultiPad. Alesis has made electronic multi-pads for years, but this new model really takes things to the next level as the brand continues to introduce products serving the professional drummer.

The Strike MultiPad has built-in sampling, audio looping, and comes pre-loaded with over 8,000 samples to get you started... and the Strike family drum sounds are great! Throw this into your kit and add a kick drum trigger and you’ll be ready to tackle just about anything asked of you (other than perhaps playing a guitar solo).

Drum Workshop

Behold the stunning glory of… almond! DW’s Collector’s Series Pure Almond Kit is a thing of beauty without question. This is the first kit we’ve heard of to feature this unusual wood choice, and according to DW, the sound is in the ballpark of oak and purpleheart. Only fifty kits are slated for manufacture. Get one and you will certainly be the envy of your drummer friends.

Istanbul Mehmet

New this year is the Legend Dry line of cymbals (not pictured). They feature the same profile and weight of familiar Legend cymbals, but according to Istanbul, thanks to a shallow lathing and hammered bell, they produce a more complex and drier sound than the standard Legend line. Look for a 15” hi-hat, 18” crash, 20” crash ride, and 22” ride.


Meinl has released a new premium line of cymbals, the Byzance Foundry Reserve, which is now their top line of cymbals. They are crafted from B20 alloy and deliver rich and complex darker tones. They are one of a kind, hand hammered, with extra hammering that creates craters across the surface of the cymbal. The combination of this extra hammering creates a dry stick attack coupled with rich undertones. In addition, the cymbals come individually packaged in a box that includes a set of sticks and gloves to delicately handle the cymbal. Each also comes with a certificate of authenticity.


Paiste has released new models in their Signature set and these babies sound fantastic. The Signature series has been available now for almost 30 years and is made of a proprietary bronze alloy. Even in the big drum hall at NAMM the musicality of these cymbals shinned. Overall they are a medium bright but with a full, rich and wide range. The ride cymbals had a sweet balance of clear sticking with a nice full wash. The hi-hats were the sound in my head. I couldn’t stop playing them and the crash cymbals were crisp with just the right decay.


The highlight of Pearl’s 2019 NAMM presence must be their demonstration of the e/MERGE MDL1 module. Mergeable into complete electronic sets ( the EM53T e/Traditional Components or the EM53HB e/Hybrid Components which boasts slightly upgraded add-on components), the module boasts 36 onboard effects, 128 polyphonic voices, 44.1Hz/16-Bit WAV recording capabilities, 8 direct outs, and everything else in-between to fill in the gaps. Marketed as the module for the ultimate drum enthusiast, the built-in 700 HD Voice Sound Library demonstrates Pearl’s commitment towards both modern and classic drum players.


Remo has released two different bass drum products to externally EQ and dampen your drum set without the addition of pillows or anything else you may throw inside your drumset. The Bass Drum Muffler Ring attaches over the batter head and then has up to four foam inserts that insert under the external ring. The flexibility in the number and position of the inserts allows you to find just the right amount of dampening in just the right spot. The ring is made of a hard plastic that once installed will not have any contact with the head and therefore not cause any weird buzzing noises. The inserts are made of a non-slip foam with tabs for easy removal and repositioning. It is available for bass drums 18”-24”

The Adjustable Bass Drum Dampener is a product developed with drummer extraordinaire Steve Weckl. The dampener attaches to the bass drum hoop (the head does not need to be removed) and can be placed anywhere around the hoop on either the batter or resonant side, and more than one on each side can be used. Also, the positioning of the dampening foam can be adjusted from the near middle to the edge of the head.


Addressing the needs of the practice space, Sabian unveiled their newest line of cymbals with an emphasis on lack of emphasis—in other words, quieter cymbals! Sabian’s Quiet Tone Practice Cymbals boast a stain and dent-resistant finish, yet are extremely thin and quiet, all the while responsive and uniquely versatile for applications. Currently, there are four different box sets available. The new Frequency Reduced (FRX) Cymbals Series includes 14” Hats, 16”-17”-18” Crashes, and 20”-21” Rides that expertly navigate between tonality and volume with a richly dark sonic profile ideal for smaller spaces, or wherever traditional cymbals are just too damn loud.


There’s more than just a flashy finish to the latest Tama Starclassic drums. New this year is the Starclassic Walnut/Birch kit. Tama’s latest pairing of these classic woods claims to offer the clear attack and higher frequency projection of birch combined with the low/mid frequency warmth of walnut. The drums feature four plies of birch plus two inner plys of American Black walnut (and a fifth ply of birch on the kick drum). Hardware features Tama’s Quick-Lock brackets on their Star-Cast Mounting System, zinc di-cast hoops, and the drums ship with Evans Genera G2 two-play clear batter heads and single-ply bottom heads, while the kick drum has an EQ4 batter head.

Vic Firth

Vic Firth recently released the Freestyle series drumsticks. Currently offered in 7A, 85A, 5A, 55A, and 5B widths ranging from 0.54” to 0.6”, they are all 17 inches long and provide drummers the versatility to shorten and lengthen their reach to accommodate different styles. Although the sticks are longer, they have longer tapers and are well balanced. They weigh-in at just under 2 ounces which makes them very comfortable.


Yamaha’s new Live Custom Hybrid Oak kit is on our short list of great desires. A complex sounding name befitting a complex sounding drum. This gorgeous newcomer to the line features handcrafted oak shells with a phenolic hybrid center ply intended to enhance the attack and tonal characteristics of the oak. The drums feature a wide tuning range, bass enhancement weights for increased low-end response from the bass drum, and that insane finish was inspired by a traditional Japanese uzukuri process that shows off the stunning visual properties of oak wood.


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