A few years ago, in Wembley Drum Centre, we spotted a most unusual drum set with an unfamiliar name. Turned out it was made in Brazil by a company called Odery, using spectacularly grained native woods such as imbuia and araucaria.
For our ﬁrst Odery review, however, we have the budget Fluence line, made in China like everyone else's. No matter, the drums still look special, and they come with a complete hardware package.
"Looks-wise, the kit could easily be a top pro outfit. The two-tone lacquered sparkle is superb."
There are two Fluence series: the Jazz, with maple and basswood shells, and the Fusion (which we're reviewing), which has maple and birch shells. WDC supply three different six-shell Fusion packs with full hardware and stands.
Our featured kit has 10"x8" and 12"x9" mounted toms, 14"x13" and 16"x15" ﬂoor toms, 22"x18" bass drum and 14"x6" snare. The exact shell lay-up is two outer plies of American maple, three middle plies of birch and three inner plies of Chinese maple – eight plies, 7mm thick. Bearing edges are cut at a standard 45°, sharp and accurate.
The inner, horizontally-laid ply of Chinese maple has a pleasant grain and warm, creamy appearance. The shells are accurately round to within a couple of millimetres, which is good.
Looks-wise, the kit could easily be a top pro outﬁt. The two-tone lacquered sparkle is superb and both snare and bass drums have 20 lugs. The bass drum claws are die-cast with thick rubber underlays, while the small generic cast lugs also have rubber gaskets.
The 12" and 13" toms are mounted centrally on the bass drum via a sturdy three-way bracket. It has ball and socket, knurled 'L' arms assisted by memory locks at each stage. Each 'L' arm slots into a tom isolation mount which is a thick steel 'Y' shaped plate attached to paired lugs. It's not free-ﬂoating but is screwed into the shell at the base of the 'Y' via a hexagonal grommet, which also serves as an air vent.
Turning to the hardware, the bass pedal has a full baseplate with thick rubber grippers underneath, and is clamped to the bass drum hoop via an easy-to-reach lateral thumbscrew. The drive is a double chain, while the beater has a dual felt or plastic head. There's a ﬁve-point calibration for adjusting the beater angle, and the cast footplate itself is solid with good grip.
The hi-hat has a single chain-pull but looks equally sturdy. Tension is adjusted via a large plastic knob and the top cymbal is loosely held between two plastic hemispheres. The tilter has a neat, minimum-contact design, too.
With the maple construction we were expecting a relatively warm sound with strong mids. We tried the bass drum ﬁrst, however, and found the tone a touch hard and cold, although powerful and resonant.
The drum comes ﬁtted with an un-named Powerstroke-3 style batter and a single-ply front head with port. Changing the batter for an Evans Emad and putting a small towel inside against the bottom of the batter improved matters, warming the tone and drawing out the bottom end. The drum probably just needed a bit of playing in.
We had no such problems with the snare, though. We took it on a gig and found it pleasingly adaptable. It has a woody, chunky tone with decent sensitivity towards the edges and it didn't choke when things got heavy. The throw-off tension knob is small and stiff and the snares needed careful adjustment, with the snare beds being slightly deeper than usual.
The supplied tom heads are clear twin-ply batters with perimeter damping. The resonant heads felt extremely thin when we took them off, more like a resonant snare head, so they will easily pit and need changing fairly soon. But the combination of twin-ply top heads with extremely thin resonants makes the mounted toms sing and the ﬂoor toms really rumble while remaining edgy and punchy.
As for the hardware, the bass pedal is smooth and fast, the hi-hat positive and adaptable. All the stands have high quality double-braced legs of super-thick steel with silkily-polished chrome. There are large contoured memory locks at all section stages. We did ﬁnd some wing nuts and section housings a little stiff, but expect that they'll soon loosen up.
We also almost cut ourselves on a sharp edge underneath the snare cradle, but we're nitpicking now. The quality, cool appearance and sheer strength of the hardware is fantastic at this price - you get six high-spec drums with lacquered glitter over an American maple veneer, plus a hardware pack that wouldn't be out of place with a £1,000-plus set.
We don't know how Odery can afford all this at such a low price- perhaps it's something to do with the relatively low value of Brazilian currency? Whatever the international economics, this is certainly one the best value kits ever.