Buyers' guide: portable drum kits

5 best compact setups from £399

Yamaha Hip Gig

The worst part of gigging is setting up, tearing down and carting home your drums. Normal kits take up a lot of room and are heavy. So-called portable kits represent various enterprising ways to reduce the aggro.

They're also ideal for nimble dance beats, unplugged/acoustic sets, jazz and Latin gigs, small stages (and small bedrooms), practice sessions, teaching and so on.

"Many people think an electronic kit is the answer to noise problems, but a compact kit that you can damp down is often no noisier"

Noise problems

Many people think an electronic kit is the answer to noise problems, but a compact kit that you can damp down is often no noisier. (Banging on a pad set can cause as much reverberation as a damped drum kit...).

There are three types of kit here. The virtually shell-less Traps is the most portable, and yet generates as much sound as a full-shelled kit. The Hip Gig and Jungle kits employ 16"x16" floor toms as bass drums, while Premier and Taye go for normal diameter (20" and 18") bass drums with foreshortened shells to maximise stage space.

Speed, boom and punch

So the Hip Gig and Jungle kicks produce higher pitched and harder sounding beats suitable for small group jazz, techno, jungle, drum 'n' bass and the like. The Premier and Taye kicks are pretty much like normal bass drums, but they're faster, less boomy and more punchy.

Taye Go Kit
£749

Another double-headed kit in small sizes for quality sound at lower levels. Shells are birch/basswood in three lacquered finishes. Lightweight hardware is included and the central tom mounting stand means you can position the toms up high on the small (16") kick. The timbale is a nice addition for Latin gigs.

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