Peace Drums Paragon Maple Kit

With an attention-grabbing finish and all maple shells, Peace's Paragon kit is an arresting sight and sound

For more than 30 years, Peace has supplied drums and components to other companies (and is still doing so). The skills and knowledge acquired over the years have enabled Peace to slot into a crowded marketplace. The company also has the wealth of resources – every single component found on this or any other Peace kit is made in-house at Peace’s factory in Taiwan.

Peace offering

The Paragon range of kits is marketed above Peace’s established DNA series by virtue of its ability to be customised to individual drummer’s requirements. Any diameter of drum from 6" to 26" is available, in any of the many finishes that Peace produces. Turnaround of custom orders is a remarkable eight weeks.

The choice of kits is as follows: our review kit which is made up of an undrilled 22"x18" bass drum, 14"x61/2" snare, 13"x9" rack tom and a 16”x15” floor tom; a fusion-type shell pack of the same kick and snare partnered with 12"x8", 14"x11" and 16"x13" toms; and an out and out rocker’s kit comprising a 24"x18" bass drum, 14"x61/2" snare, a 12"x7" rack tom along with 16"x16" and 18"x16" floor toms.

The five-piece kits come in at only £50 more than the four-piecer, which is amazing when you consider that all the shell packs come equipped with the same set of hardware. The shell pack colours are Atomic Iceburn Sparkle (a tobacco/ champagne burst), Atomic Tangerine and our Atomic Fireball Sparkle. If Peace had a motto it would probably be along the lines of ‘You’ve got to be seen to be heard’ and the Atomic Red Sparkle is stunning and unashamedly eye-catching.

The lacquer is expertly finished and buried within it are thousands of metal flakes that catch the light and make the finish sparkle. By its very nature, this sort of finish is thicker and heavier than, say a clear gloss, and will influence the sound of the shell and the drum itself.

Shell it like it is

The shells are made from Canadian rock maple and stand at nine plies deep. Peace uses the term ‘micro-plies’ to describe the construction of the shells as each layer of ply is significantly thinner than convention would dictate. Certainly the overall thickness of the shell – around 7.5mm – is more akin to that of a typical six-ply sandwich. Peace claims that this thinner ply method encourages vibrations and therefore imparts an increased resonance to the shells.

"The bass drum's spurs are not the most substantial that we’ve encountered. While they are perfectly adequate, a big, heavy drum such as this deserves a meatier pair of legs and, more importantly, a pair that aren’t so easy to turn onto the shell when packing up".

The bearing edges are angled to a smooth edge rather than sharp point and are consistently cut. Inside the shells are sanded to a similarly soft touch. Peace’s own design of lugs (the Deus Two-Way Micro Tube Lugs) puncture the shells at even intervals. They are basically pairs of low-mass lugs linked by a shaped length of tubing. Their neat design ensures minimal contact with the shell, enforced by the inclusion of rubber washers at the point of entry.

Both the bass drum and the snare drum sport a fine-tuneable ten lugs. The RIMS-style mount on the rack tom engages with the lugs that it is attached to, actually pulling them away from the tensioning rods. Peace says this results in less stress to crucial tuning points, with the added bonus of making it possible to change a head while the tom is mounted.

The snare drum sports a pair of die-cast hoops, while pressed steel varieties are present on the toms and matching wooden hoops complete the bass drum.

A small area of pitting was visible on the chrome of one of the floor tom hoops. The rest of the chrome on the kit seemed fine, so hopefully it was an aberration that somehow slipped through quality control. Another minor criticism of the floor tom was in the length of the legs supplied. As the drum is 15" deep, slightly longer legs are needed to compensate for the missing inch.

Peace head

The drums are fitted with a full complement of Remo batter heads. The ebony front head of the bass drum contains three miking ports. After going to all the trouble of making an undrilled kick, peppering the head this way seems a little excessive. One port would be fine.

Sticking with the bass drum, the spurs are not the most substantial that we’ve encountered. While they are perfectly adequate, a big, heavy drum such as this deserves a meatier pair of legs and, more importantly, a pair that aren’t so easy to turn onto the shell when packing up. The hardware pack is generous and suitably heavy duty. The two boom stands and snare stand are double-braced and function without complaint. The bass drum and hi-hat stand pedals bristle with features and adjustments and feel solid enough to withstand a lifetime’s stomping.

In use, the maple characteristics of the drums unsurprisingly dominate. The bass drum pushes out huge slices of dark warmth – very loudly. The snare cracks with authority across the bass drum, its dimensions making for a positive sounding drum, and the implicit maple warmth of the toms is further enhanced by their Remo Pinstripe heads, making for well-rounded and ripe tones. They also discourage overtones, keeping things clean and distinct.

The bearing edges are angled to a smooth edge rather than sharp point and are consistently cut. Inside the shells are sanded to a similarly soft touch. Peace’s own design of lugs (the Deus Two-Way Micro Tube Lugs) puncture the shells at even intervals. They are basically pairs of low-mass lugs linked by a shaped length of tubing. Their neat design ensures minimal contact with the shell, enforced by the inclusion of rubber.

MusicRadar Rating

3 / 5 stars
Pros

It looks and sounds great, it’s reasonably priced.

Cons

A few small details could be improved.

Verdict

There is much about this Peace kit that impresses. The sparkle lacquer looks fabulous and the sizes of the drums are spot on, and real effort has gone into creating a suitably powerful snare to complete the kit. The configuration of the kit, with only one rack tom works well - it's good to find a shell pack that suits the style of music intended. While a few details could be bettered, the kit delivers where it matters with considerable glee.

Drum Shell Material

Canadian Rock Maple

Floor Tom Lugs

10

Floor Tom Shell Ply

9

Snare Lugs

10

Snare Shell Ply

9

Snare Size

14 x 6.5

Tom Shell Ply

9

Tom Size

13 x 9

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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