Remo Designer Djembes review

Powerful, durable and colourful percussion

  • £89
Festival (left) and Designer Series Djembes have a reassuring chunky quality

MusicRadar Verdict

The Festival is perfect for younger players to learn on, and both djembes offer great value for money.


  • +

    As 'lighter' options go, these drums lack nothing in terms of warmth, tone and projection.


  • -

    Nothing of note.

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Remo has long pioneered the production of synthetic shells right across their catalogue, and it's this 'Advanced Acousticon' that everything from percussion, snares and even full drum kits are made from. This man-made material is tough, sounds great and can quite proudly stand alongside traditional wooden rivals with its head held high!


Remo's Designer Series djembes are solidly constructed from Acousticon, and this does lend the drums a reassuring chunky quality. These 14" diameter djembes stand 25" high and feature Remo's key-tuning system, which is a breeze to use when trying to find your sound on the instrument.

"The eight tuning rods are easy to tune with a standard drum key and the highly understated look of the über-minimal black lugs complements the funky finishes well"

Available in seven extremely eye-catching covered finishes, the Series also boasts matching designs on their Skyndeep synthetic drumheads which gives them a unified vibe that will certainly get you noticed. The review model sports Remo's 'Shadow Flame' fi nish, which has a slightly Gothic feel that extends to an inspired 3D head finish that's also conservative enough to appeal to most players out there.

The eight tuning rods are easy to tune with a standard drum key and the highly understated look of the über-minimal black lugs complements the funky finishes well.

Remo's Designer Festival Djembes are scaled-down, non-tunable versions but still boast some of their big brother's features like Skyndeep heads and matching patterns on those heads. They're available in three sizes, and reviewed here is their small model, standing 14" tall and with an 8" diameter head.

These guys are failsafe as you don't have to tune them but they are clear, powerful and highly durable in performance situations. We couldn't believe how well these pre-tuned drums responded and suspect that they could keep their tuning well if looked after.

Hands on

Both djembes are not nearly as sensitive to changes in humidity as their wood and skin cousins and would even survive playing in light drizzle as long as they were thoroughly dried off afterwards. The key-tuned Designer was probably the single most enjoyable djembe we've ever played and possessed more than a decent bass tone, fully satisfying mids and Timbale-esque highs!

The totally funky feel of this drum gives you both the sensitivity and the added power of a much larger beast. The Festival was impressive for such a small drum and for many this might be all you need, as it sounds spot on for an instrument of this size. It can easily carry over an ensemble and with the included strap you could wail all day and hardly break a sweat.