Name a material and you can guarantee that DW has at least thought about building a drum from it.
With its flagship Collector’s Series featuring kits crafted from every exotic wood under the sun and specialist snares built from carbon fibre to concrete, steel seems like a no-brainer. Following on from its stand-alone steel snare drums, the Californian custom drum builder has built its version of a very Bonham-esque stainless steel kit.
Our one-up, two-down review kit consists of a 12"x9" rack tom, 14"x12" and 16"x14" floor toms and a 22"x18" bass drum with matching steel hoops. We also have the separately available 14"x61⁄2" snare drum to complete the set-up.
Each shell is constructed from a single sheet of 1.5mm rolled stainless steel, of which the edges are folded over to create 45° bearing edges. The outside of each shell is buffed to a flawless mirror finish while the inside is left with a natural matte surface, which would make a very smart finish in its own right.
From within, it’s possible to see the seam where the two ends of the steel sheet have been welded together. On the outside, however, by an impressive feat of craftsmanship, there is no visible join whatsoever.
Unlike other Collector’s Series kits, due to the more specialist nature of the metal shells, there is some limitation to the sizes that are available. In addition to the sizes of our review kit, it’s possible to order a further range of rack toms (8"x7", 10"x8" and 13"x10"), a massive 18"x16" floor tom and a trio of larger kick drum sizes (23"x18", 24"x16", 26"x14"). The stainless snare drums are also available in 41⁄2" and 51⁄2" models in addition to our 61⁄2". These depths are also available with 13" diameter models.
As standard, the Collector’s Series kit is supplied with DW/Remo Double A two-ply batter heads, triple-flanged True Hoops, single Turret Lugs (dual for the snare) and True-Pitch 50 tension rods. The snare drum sports a MAG throw-off, 3P butt-plate and 20-strand TrueTone wires. Hardware finish options include chrome (as review), nickel, gold, satin chrome and black nickel.
The rack tom is equipped with DW’s proprietary Suspension Tom Mount (STM) system, although the drum is so weighty that it can have a tendency to droop somewhat. To ensure this doesn’t become a problem, we’ve also been supplied with a DW 9000 Heavy Duty snare/tom stand, which provides ample support.
The mirror finish of the stainless steel is absolutely gleaming and just oozes pure, gorgeous style. It’s so nicely presented, in fact, that it seems a shame to get mucky fingerprints all over it.
Whilst setting the kit up we can’t believe the weight of each of these drums. The bass drum in particular can only be described as back-breaking; we tried (and failed) to imagine lugging something that heavy around on the road. A 1.5mm shell thickness doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re shifting a 22"x18" bass drum (or even a 26"x14"), it soon becomes apparent that there’s a decent lump of metal there.
In terms of tone, the kit is as loud and punchy as one might expect. The relatively thin shells and folded bearing edges produce a rapid attack and a pleasing resonance with a warmth in the decay. These are proper ‘tubs’ and they sound right at home whilst laying down beefy Bonham-style grooves. Despite being standard sizes, as the drums are struck they give the impression of being twice the size. Tuned fairly low, the initial slap of the sticks connecting with the tom heads carries a considerable amount of volume with an aggressive edge. We would love to hear how these monstrous drums sound under mics.
With little dampening the bass drum is cavernous but never out of control, providing a gratifying thump under foot. The warm metallic hum of the steel shells is personified by the snare drum, which has a huge open sound. As usual, the MAG throw-off and 3P butt-plate are a huge hit and make quick tonal changes a joy. From a medium setting, it only takes a second to switch it up to a tighter, more crisply responding snare.
Let’s not beat around the bush and discuss the price. At over eight grand, this is an eye-wateringly expensive drum set, and that doesn’t even include the snare drum, which will also set you back a four-figure sum.
However, there’s no denying that this is a beautifully-crafted instrument and you’d be hard pushed to find a stainless steel kit at a much lower price, let alone of a similar build quality. Ultimately, though, this kit is beyond what most would deem a ‘sensible’ price point and as a result, it will likely be reserved for the collectors and the real die-hard fans.