Back in the mid-20th Century the words 'jet set' conjured connotations of a glamorous, globe-trotting existence enjoyed by the very wealthy socialites who thought nothing of hopping continents in search of the best party.
It's likely that at a large number of those parties there were musicians playing music in the background to help with the sophisticated ambience.
In London, New York or LA the drummer would likely have had to lug his gear around in a taxi, and a consequence of this was the rise of the smaller bass drum as players realised a 26" traps bass drum wasn't going to fit easily into the back of a cab.
Since then, there has been a steady stream of so-called 'portable' kits designed for the jobbing drummer with a view to getting the best compromise between sound and portability. Dixon's Jet Set range is the latest entrant into this market, and for review we've got the higher-end Jet Set Plus (JSP).
The JSP kit comes in three fetching sparkle finishes – red, orange and the blue we have on test.
Unboxing the JSP, it seems like in transit from Dixon the JSP passed via a hot steam bath – it's perfectly proportioned but seems like a 2/3-scale child's kit.
It features 8" and 10" shallow-depth rack toms, and 12" snare and floor tom, and a 16"x12" bass drum. The bass drum is drilled for the toms and includes a nifty integrated riser to allow a normal pedal to be used. The bass drum uses 'normal' 16" heads with wooden rims and has long spurs to lift it off the ground.
The kit comes with hi-hat, snare and cymbal stands, and also includes a set of brass cymbals and silencers/practice pads, as well as a pair of sticks, so straight out of the box you can get playing.
The JSP offers a multitude of options to the working drummer. Firstly, it can be configured as a 'standard' two-up, one-down kit, with the 8" and 10" toms mounted on the bass drum, and the 12" floor tom on legs and the 12" snare on the included stand.
Secondly, using the extra-long triple tom-holder, you can use the cleverly-positioned tom bracket on the back of the snare to mount the snare and two toms on the bass drum, and extend it to standing height, allowing you to use the JSP as a 'cocktail'-style standing kit.
"The kick in particular surprised, having a strong fundamental note and decent carry for a small, single-headed drum."
Finally, flip everything (bar the snare) over and what were the resonant heads reveals mesh heads for silent practice or triggering.
We set it up conventionally first, and provided one was accurate with sticking on the small toms, the JSP was very convincing. The mesh heads don't provide the resonance of full heads, so the sound was dominated by the initial attack and decayed very quickly, but in a low-volume environment of the sort this kit is likely to find use in, that's no bad thing.
The kick in particular surprised, having a strong fundamental note and decent carry for a small, single-headed drum. Using something like a Powerstroke 3, Falam patch and felt beater would go most of the way to a very acceptable live kick drum sound for most gigs.
Reconfiguring the JSP to a standing set-up was easy – mount your choice of two toms and the snare on the bass drum (we tried 8" and 10", and 10" and 12" – both work), raise the tom holder and cymbal stand and you're ready for 'cocktail' duties. While the hi-hat didn't go high enough or offer an alternative closed hi-hat mounting, that's easy enough to cure with an x-hat.