There are many ways to buy drums, but if you're buying a whole set, your options are often just two: a complete kit or a shell pack.
If it's the former option you take, then you'll get drums, mounting hardware, stands for cymbals, hi-hat, snare drum and sometimes even the cymbals too. The latter could provide as basic a pack as a couple of toms and a bass drum.
This leaves you with the task of selecting essential items such as cymbals, cases and a snare drum. Step forward web-based retailer Gear4Music, which offers all of this, together with, you guessed it, a comprehensive range of drum hardware, too.
This is available as individual stands, clamps, pedals, etc, or in packs. Purchasing in pack form invariably gives better value for money, and that is certainly the case with this review set. The six-piece Compete Drum Hardware Pack comprises stands for snare drum, hi-hat and two cymbals, a drum stool and a bass drum pedal.
Each piece of this Chinese-made hardware appears to be solidly constructed, with a good balance of weight, strength and robustness. A quick glance over the set reveals it has features usually found on more expensive hardware, including the many solid steel components and fittings.
Particularly worthy of note are the tube clamps, which are fitted with separate bolts within the steel housings themselves. These are often the parts that fail on cheaper ranges, but the solid construction of this set will provide longevity - reassuring for any potential purchaser.
Each stand is chrome plated and, where necessary, memory locks are provided to facilitate speedy set-up time and time again. Also, to make this as smooth as possible, there's nylon bushing at each telescoping section. This, with the assistance of the memory locks, will help firmly maintain each tube section in its vertical position. Other features include double-braced legs, tooth-geared angle adjustment and chunky rubber feet.
The hi-hat sports some impressive features for a product of this price, too. Adjustable spring tension, tilt mechanism, hi-hat clutch and felts, steel spiked bolts, stocky single-chain drive and a footplate matching the bass drum pedal are all present and correct.
The kick pedal is a sturdy beast that belies its bargain basement price. It's a single model with cast bearing posts attached to a thick steel base, together with a side access hoop clamp. As well as sporting a dual chain drive, it also has two points of adjustment for the tension spring: for the tension itself, and the lateral positioning.
The four-sided kick beater comes with a mixture of hard plastic and felt and also boasts a memory lock for beater position. The 'toe' of the bass drum pedal clamp is free to tilt, which enables it to accommodate any acoustic drum rim, or indeed electronic bass drum pad.
With each of the legs on the stands unfolded and tubular sections extended, the first notable feature is just how large the legs are and how wide they spread. This is especially noticeable on the boom cymbal stand, which has around 80cm between each of the rubber feet.
Its stability is satisfyingly secure, too. In our test it handles a 22" ride without any fear of it toppling. The long and hefty counter-weight seems to be there as a precautionary measure, but it does give extra reassurance for a host of positioning options.
The snare basket has an impressive range of adjustment. To test its extremes, we try out an 8" tom, followed by a fairly standard sized 14" snare. Both drums appear comfortable and secure. As on the other stands, this also has a memory lock, so the snare is height positioned and locked firmly in place.
Attaching the kick pedal to the bass drum is a smooth and pain-free process thanks to finger-friendly side clamp. The rubber under the base plate appears to do a grand job of keeping the bass drum in position; even on a shiny floor, it remains in situ.
Our pre-performance adjustments to hardware positioning, height and angles, all go without hitch, and when it comes time to perform, the Gear4Music Complete Drum Hardware Pack gives a good account of itself; the stands sit firmly on the stage floor and both pedals operate smoothly and efficiently. A job well done, we'd say.