Drum kit of the year
For the second year running, we’re crowning a Mapex Black Panther kit of drum kit of the year. Last year it was the Velvetone that impressed us, and this year the excellent Retrosonic repeated the trick.
This time around we were seduced by the kit’s blend of thoroughly modern components and features and gorgeous retro looks. The perfect combination in our books!
That’s not to say that there wasn’t stiff competition in the top drum kit category though. Pearl’s top end Reference Pure Series kit deserves and honourable mention for it’s highly focused, studio-ready sound. We found the company’s Masters Premium Legend kit to be exquisite sounding and immensely aesthetically pleasing too. Meanwhile Natal’s Walnut kit cemented the brand’s reputation for sheer quality and great value.
Full review: Mapex Black Panther Collection Retrosonic drum kit
Also in the running
Budget drum kit of the year (under £1000)
In the sub-£1000 price range, this PDP kit impressed us immensely by incorporating heaps of quality borrowed from PDP’s higher-end parent brand Drum Workshop. The result is a kit that features build quality and components that punch well above its price point - and it plays brilliantly too. All-in-all, exceptional value.
Honourable mention in this category goes to Gretsch’s new G-Series kit; another budget option that offered great value and quality components.
Full review: PDP Concept Series Kits Birch CB5
Also in the running:
Electronic drum kit of the year
It certainly isn’t cheap, but Roland’s top of the line e-kit features genuinely breathtaking response thanks to its SuperNATURAL Behaviour Modelling technology. It also packs a sound-set that we found both hugely convincing and inspiring to play with.
We were also impressed by Yamaha’s DTX540K - an impressive mid-priced kit.
Full review: Roland TD-30KV
Also in the running:
Budget electronic drum kit of the year (under £1000)
It may not be completely flawless, but there are plenty of great features that impress us on this well-priced e-kit. In particular, the combination of Alesis’ Dynamic Articulation technology and quality samples gives the DM10 X a genuine air of realism.
Full review: Alesis DM10 X Kit
Cymbals of the year
Paiste’s PST8s might be a budget range aimed at intermediate players, but you wouldn’t know that to look at them. The build quality of these cymbals is superb, and they sound gorgeous. Fantastic value cymbals that are hard not to love.
Full review: Paiste PST8 Cymbals
Snare of the year
Our favourite snares of 2012 come from Manchester-based father and son operation EcHo. These handmade metal snares - EcHo produce copper, aluminium, carbon steel and brass varieties - impressed us on all fronts; top marks for build-quality, looks, sound and playability. Real craftsmanship and quality.
Full review: EcHo Custom Snare drums
Acoustic percussion of the year
For the second year in a row a De Gregorio cajon scoops the title of our top acoustic percussion instrument. This ingenious ‘fold out’ cajon particularly impressed us this year, matching an ingenious design - developed in conjunction with J Leiva Percussion - with beautiful, expressive sound and quality well above its price point.
Full review: De Gregorio Siroco Cajon
BUY: De Gregorio Siroco Cajon currently available from:
Electronic percussion of the year
With a bank of fantastic supplied sounds, great built-in effects and 2GB of sampling memory Roland’s SPD-SX has pretty much everything you’d want from a percussion sampler. On top of that it’s very well designed, easy to use and - most importantly - a lot of fun.
Full review: Roland SPD-SX Sample Pad
Drum heads of the year
Remo’s update to its Ambassador X range are powerful, immensely playable and very durable. In our tests they handled everything from powerful backbeats to delicate ghost notes and subtle snare rolls beautifully. What’s not to like?