GEAR EXPO 2023: We’re not even halfway through the year yet, and already there’s plenty of new drum gear to get excited about. From new snare drums designed to work for any genre; cutting-edge electronic drum pad innovations; brand new acoustic drum sets with classic aesthetics; continued development of accessible electronic drum sets and accessories that seek to make our practice time more enjoyable, these are 12 of the hottest pieces of drum gear for 2023 so far.
Sonor Kompressor snare drums
There’s a lot to love about Sonor’s new Kompressor Series snare drums. With three shell materials (Steel, Aluminium and Brass) and a range of size options (14”x5.75” and 14”x6.5” across the range, with 13”x7” Brass and 14”x8” Aluminium options too).
Each drum uses Sonor’s patented Optimum Shell Measurement (OSM) to give a slightly undersized diameter. This allows the drum head to be seated in maximum contact with the bearing edge, vibrating more freely.
They’re fitted with 2.3mm triple-flanged Power Hoops, TuneSafe lugs and standard Sonor throw-offs, and prices start at under £300!
Evans Hybrid Sensory Percussion
Evans and Sunhouse have joined forces to not only update Sunhouse's mind-melting Sensory Percussion hybrid drum technology, but bring it to a wider audience too.
If you’re unfamiliar, the trigger-style sensors mount to your drum. From here they connect to an interface which communicates with a software editor, and that’s where the real fun begins. From one sensor, you can split your drum into 10 individual playing zones, each with its own sound, allowing us to trigger one-shots, loops and phrases. Up to seven sensors can connect to the interface at once, giving a total of 70 zones from a full set up.
At the time of launch, Evans Hybrid Sensory Percussion is only available in the US, but we’re assured that it’ll be making its way internationally in the months ahead.
DW Drums DWe
DW’s DWe electronic-equipped acoustic shells are yet to launch officially, but after DW announced that it had been acquired by Roland, it lifted the lid on a preview of the kit late in 2022, instantly becoming one of the most anticipated drum kits (of any kind) for 2023.
With wireless triggering (that’s right, no cable snakes) built into DW drum shells, an all-new sound library featuring multi-mic’d drum samples, and development involving the man who democratised digital guitar tone with Line 6 (ask your guitarist), we can’t wait to get our hands on one.
Gewa G3 Club 5 SE
You might have noticed: electronic drums are increasingly resembling our acoustic drums. One of the latest to join the party is GEWA, with its G3 Club 5 SE kit. Featuring an 18”x14” bass drum, 10”x5” and 12”x5” rack toms, a 14”x5” floor tom and 14”x5” snare drum, the G3 Club 5 SE puts GEWA’s entry-level electronic drums into an acoustic-style configuration.
The drum shells are accompanied by two 14” crash cymbal pads, an 18” ride cymbal, and 14”, two-piece hi-hats.
The pads are centred around GEWA’s G3 module, equipped with over 900 sounds recorded at Berlin’s Funkhaus Studios, and arranged into 40 kit presets.
Ludwig Continental/Continental Club
Offered as an outside-of-the-US exclusive, Ludwig’s Continental and Continental Club delve into the brand’s heritage and boil-down some mouth-watering features. Starting with the Continental, we’re offered 7-PLY, 7.2mm hybrid maple shells with undrilled bass drums (a rail mount and Vibraband suspension mount for the rack tom are optional).
It’s available in three configurations with either 22”x16”, 24”x14” or 26”x14” bass drums, both including matching 14”x6.5” wood snares. The 22” kick is accompanied by a 12”x8” rack tom, and a square-sized 16”x16” floor tom while the larger bass drum configurations swap the rack tom for a 13”x9”.
It comes in three timeless finishes: Natural Maple, Silver Sparkle and Green Sparkle, starting at £1,295.
The Continental is joined by the Continental Club, which Ludwig describes as a “love letter to the 1970s”, taking inspiration from the Club Date series. Here, the drums are hybrid cherry shells, initially offered in one configuration: 20”x14”, 12”x8” and 14”x14” and matching 14”x5.5 snare drum. The Continental Club includes a vintage-style mounting rail and Vibraband mount on the rack tom as well as gull wing bass drum spurs. It comes in a choice of Blue Sparkle or White Marine Pearl finishes, priced at £1,199.
Millenium The Rookie
Roland isn’t the only brand looking at saving you cash as well as space, as Millenium’s The Rookie electronic drum set brings in a compact kit for not much over £150. We get 7” mesh head pads for the snare and three toms, foot pedals for the bass drum and hi-hat controller, and three 8” cymbal/hi-hat pads, all mounted to a lightweight frame.
Designed for children aged from three-years-old, it can be positioned from 57cm to 80cm-high and includes a module featuring 68 sounds, 12 kits, play-along songs and USB MIDI for connecting to a computer.
Roland TD-02 electronic drum sets
Roland’s TD-02 series kits come in two configurations, adding flexibility to its entry-level range for 2023. Both are based around the TD-02 module, with 16 kit presets drawing inspiration from Roland’s higher-end V-Drums kits, Coach Modes for improving timing and accuracy and a USB audio/MIDI interface for connecting to a computer for use with apps such a Melodix (free lessons included).
Both kits use a hi-hat controller pedal and beater-less KT-1 bass drum pedal, reducing the ambient noise created from your feet. The differences between the two setups comes from the pads and mounting rack/frame. The TD-02K is equipped with Roland’s PD-4 rubber pads throughout, and comes with a trio of CY-5 cymbal pads. The pads are mounted to a three-post frame, offering the option to position the pads at a lower height (ideal for children/smaller players).
Meanwhile, the TD-02KV replaces the snare drum pad with a mesh head-equipped PDX-8 snare pad. Here, you can adjust the tension of the playing surface as well as play authentic acoustic techniques such as rimshots and cross-sticks.
The TD-02KV is also mounted to a wider, four-post stand, allowing you to spread the kit out further. Prices start at $399 for the TD-02K and $599 for the TD-02KV.
PDP Concept/Concept Select snare drums
PDP has come a long way since launching two decades ago. No longer the ‘DW you can afford’, PDP is a brand in its own right, and its Concept/Concept Select Series snare drums reinforce this with some gorgeous boutique flavour.
With five new models added for 2023, we get a choice of two 14”x8” models in either Aluminium or Bell Bronze in the Concept Select range. Both feature 3mm, seamless shells with PDP’s dual-turret lugs, DW MAG throw-offs and laser-etched Art Deco insignias. The Bell Bronze model is fitted with triple flanged hoops, while the Aluminium snare comes with walnut hoops and low-profile claw hooks.
But PDP hasn’t stopped there, because it’s also added three 14”x5” snares to its standard Concept line too. Once again, there’s a choice of alloys, including Brass, Copper and Aluminium. This time the shells are 1mm-thin with double beads and each drum features a brushed finish.
Hardware-wise, they all include True-Pitch tuning rods, DW MAG throw-offs, 20-strand snare wires and triple-flanged hoops.
“The launch of these new PDP snare drums offers an even wider choice of sounds to drummers around the world,” says PDP Brand Manager, Rob Dean. “These boutique-style snares sound amazing and look great. The 8 x 14” Bell Bronze snare is a monster with a thick, dense sound, and massive punchy attack, while the 5 x 14” copper snare delivers a warmer and darker tonality.”
British Drum Company Raven snare drum
If there’s a snare drum trend emerging for 2023, it’s one of value and an eye on the slightly more affordable end of pro-level gear. British Drum Company is participating with its Raven model: a Scandinavian birch-shelled, 14”x6” snare featuring a none-more-black ash outer veneer.
It’s a 10-ply, 6mm shell with 45-degree bearing edges which promises “cutting highs and balanced low-and-mids” for a versatile snare designed for any musical application.
Elsewhere, the Raven features BDC Palladium lugs, triple-flanged hoops and brass snare wires. It’s available now for £299.
Yamaha YH-WL500 musician headphones
They use ultra-high-speed wireless technology to minimise latency to under 4ms, which Yamaha says is indistinguishable from the performance of a cabled connection.
They come with a transmitter which plugs into the headphone socket of your electronic kit and the cans run off a rechargeable battery.
As well as this, the headphones can simultaneously connect to a device via Bluetooth, allowing you to stream music while also hearing the sound of your kit.
Roland SPD-SX Pro
Sample pads are an increasingly common addition to acoustic drum kits these days, and Roland’s SPD-SX has been the king of the market for a decade. However, Roland recently dethroned its flagship pad to offer a whole host of new features with the SPD-SX Pro.
With a large 4.3” colour screen, customisable LED strips surrounding each pad and a brand new editor, we’d probably be content if the news ended there. But it doesn’t, under the hood there’s 32GB of memory, a step sequencer allowing you to play musical phrases from a single pad, an expanded multi-FX engine and more.
Connectivity is improved too, with balanced outputs and hi-hat pedal control. We can’t see this becoming outgrown any time soon.
ddrum DDTi Trigger Interface
If you’ve ever needed to expand the number of trigger inputs on your electronic kit, or add more playing surfaces for triggering software drum packages such as Superior Drummer etc. then ddrum’s DDTi could be your solution.
The soundless ddrum Trigger Interface includes 10 TRS trigger inputs (which work with single or dual-zone trigger/pads) and converts the signals into MIDI. As well as claiming an easy-to-use interface with control of parameters such as velocity curve, gain, threshold and more, there’s multiple hi-hat control options too.
To the back, alongside the trigger inputs, it’s equipped with a hi-hat pedal and footswitch inputs, plus there’s traditional 5-pin MIDI out as well as MIDI over USB for hooking up to a computer. At $179, you can throw away those splitter cables!