11 best drum products of NAMM 2011
NAMM 2011: With the show now over, we’ve had a chance to reflect on the deluge of new gear we’ve seen. And drum-wise, it’s been a stellar year…
New advances in technology - digital modelling cymbals, percussion FX pedals and ever-improving edrums - shone brightly. As did the simplest of innovations - swing-nut-loaded hardware, adjustable snare throw offs and new drum shell components.
But like we said, there were an awful lot of new releases. So, following the 10 best music tech products, we’ve put together the 11 best drum products of NAMM 2011, just in case you missed anything. First up: drum technology at it’s best, Zildjian Gen16 Acoustic Electric cymbals...
Zildjian Gen16 AE Acoustic Electric Cymbal
Zildjian has made a lot of noise about its new arm of ‘intelligent percussion’, Gen16. But while the first announcement, digital samples of the company’s reference master Vault cymbals, didn’t quite live up to the hype, the Gen16 AE Cymbal was easily one of the most innovative drum products at the show.
Essentially, it’s a modelling cymbal. Although Zildjian is keen to point out that it’s much more than just a sample trigger pad. It looks and plays like a real cymbal, but the numerous holes punched into the metal limit its natural volume, allowing the dual microphone underneath to handle the sound.
Mapex Black Panther drum kits
It was only this time last year that Mapex overhauled its entire Black Panther snare line with 14 new models, garnering a place in MusicRadar's best drum gear of 2010 in the process. So 2011’s announcement that Mapex had built an entire kit around its successful Black Panther brand was met with giddy appreciation.
Natal drum kits
Less than a year after Marshall Amps surprised the industry with its acquisition of percussion giant Natal, the collaboration chose NAMM 2011 to unveil its first line of drum kits proper.
Available in four wood options (ash, birch, maple or bubinga ) they certainly look the part. And if the first fruits of Marshall’s Natal power drive - Classic Series Congas and Bongas - are anything to go by, we’re expecting a reliable, expressive future for the kits.
Plus the snares all come with a very usable three-position adjustable snare throw – check out our video demo to see them in action.
Yamaha Club Custom Drum Kits
Three years in the making, the Club Custom line of drums feature 100 percent Kapur shells and boast a dramatic 'swirl' painted finish. We were treated to a show floor demonstration from Kenny Chesney’s long-time drummer Sean Paddock - check out the video to hear how great they sound.
Oh, and Yamaha assures us that, even if you’re not a seasoned pro like Sean, they’ll still sound just as good.
Sonor Ascent and Force Series Kits
Sonor took to Anaheim three new additions to its popular Force Series: Essential Force for advanced players; Select Force for semi-pros; and Smart Force for beginners. The drum giants also unveiled an entirely new line of kits, the Ascent Series, which marks a return to beech wood shell construction – a “trademark of Sonor throughout the decades.”
“Equipped with the latest features and technology, the Ascent Series is the perfect symbiosis between the Sonor Select Force and S Classix Series of drum sets. Any player, any style will appreciate the timeless quality and tremendous sound.”
Roland TD-9KX2 and TD-4X2 electronic drum kits
Aaahhh, Roland V-Drums. The best electronic drum kits on the market? Very probably. This year Roland bought with it two new entry-level additions, the TD-4K2 and the TD-4KX2; and two new intermediate kits, the TD-9K2 and the TD-9KX2.
The latter two include an updated TD-9 sound module with 40 new kits, MP3 playback functionality and 50 internal play-along tracks. There’s a very good chance these sets will end up in our guides to the best beginner and best pro electronic drum kits on the planet - watch this space!
Meinl FX Pedal
Easily the cymbal and percussion giant's most exciting release of the show, the Meinl FX Pedal features 10 sounds in a smart-looking oak and steel foot-controlled box. It looks incredibly simple and has the potential to really boost a drummer's or a percussionist's live set.
Available sounds include a Cyber Kick, Double Tambourine, Dry Cowbell and a Hand Clap.
Mapex Raptor direct drive bass drum pedal
Mapex claims that the Raptor “has the accuracy of a direct drive while maintaining the classic feel of a chain drive,” and borrows many features from its popular Falcon pedal including “a beater with interchangeable weights, smaller footprint, and floating spring assembly.”
Now we’re not ones to believe everything we read in a press release, but if the Falcon is anything to go by - described by Rhythm as an ‘accessible, more intuitive version of Pearl’s famed Demon Drive – we’re expecting great things from its little brother, the Raptor.
Gibraltar Turning Point hardware
Like the announcement of TC Electronic's PolyTune at 2010's NAMM show, it's often the simplest of ideas that can have the biggest impact. Now we're not saying Gibraltar should win a Best In Show this year, but the company's new Turning Point drum hardware is a pretty neat idea.
In a nutshell, Turning Point hardware does away with the need for fiddly wing nuts by introducing a spring-loaded, tilting mechanism called a swing nut. The stands are also made from aluminium, so they're much lighter than other double-braced hardware on the market.
Korg Wavedrum Oriental
We’ve made no secret of the fact that we love Korg’s Wavedrum. Rhythm awarded it a rare five-star review, and it somehow managed to creep into MusicRadar drum gear of the year for two years running. So a new limited edition version, even if it is only designed for ‘Middle Eastern music’, was always going to grab our attention.
“The Wavedrum Oriental boasts a massive infusion of popular, unique and accurate percussion sounds, all playable from the Wavedrum's dynamic rim and real drum head surface. Featuring more programs than the original Wavedrum, it offers new, specialised algorithms and samples designed for the percussionist seeking the very highest quality Middle Eastern percussion sounds.”
Paiste Formula 602 Cymbals
NAMM 2011 witnessed a bunch of new cymbals and new lines from most of the biggest names in the industry. Sabian’s AAX Omni crash/ride hybrid, Meinl’s Classic Custom Series and Zildjian’s Ultra Hammered Z3 additions all caught our attention, but our favourite cymbal release goes to Paiste’s reintroduction of the Formula 602 Series.
“Back in 1959 Paiste launched a series that was destined to become one of the world's most revered in the history of cymbal making - Formula 602. Its fine, pure and always controlled musical tone was adopted by well-known drummers and percussionists including none other than Joe Morello, Art Blakey, Paul Motian, Ndugu Chancler, Jon Hiseman, Charlie Watts and a host more.”
“Formula 602s were especially coveted as the ultimate cymbal in jazz, the burgeoning beat and rock music of the times, avant-garde and acoustic genres of music for more than three decades.”
Liked this? Now read: The best drum gear of 2010
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