The Stagg name is ubiquitous, with its broad range of value-orientated products in every conceivable musical instrument product line. You will no doubt have seen Stagg stuff at your local generalist music shop, or even in your specialist drum store. Stagg cymbals are highly-regarded and their drums, such as the Jia series, pack a punch for their price.
However, in drum terms, Stagg is probably best known for its entry-level kits. Designed at their headquarters in Belgium and manufactured in China, Stagg drums offer a fair amount of bang for your buck. Described as 'student level', the new 'TIM' range is aimed at the beginner looking for a good-value, reliable kit to start with. Does it deliver?
The Stagg TIM features six-ply basswood shells arranged in the standard five-piece configuration. The '322BK' designation means that the review kit has a 22"x16" bass drum, 12"x9", 13"x10" rack toms and a 16"x16" floor tom. A 14"x5.5" snare accompanies it.
There is also a 'fusion' set-up, which features a 10"x8", 12"x9", 14"x14" floor and a 20"x18" bass drum, and also what some manufacturers have taken to calling a 'Euro Fusion' set-up, being a 'fusion' set-up but with a 22" bass drum.
The review kit is finished in a black wrap, but this particular configuration and the 'fusion' set-ups are also available in Wine Red and Pearloid White wrap finishes. The TIM622 kits, which top the TIM range and are available in the same multitude of configurations as the 322s, are available in lacquered black and natural finishes.
The toms feature new, triangular single-ended lugs - angular by design, they are reminiscent of a cross between the Yamaha 5000 and Slingerland single-ended lugs. The snare features 16 single-ended lugs, and all the toms and snare have steel triple-flanged hoops. The bass drum features wood hoops, finished in black wrap on the outside to match the rest of the kit.
All of the drums are fitted with Chinese-made Remo 'UT' heads. Inside the drums there is very little evidence that this is an 'entry-level' kit. The seams are tight and, save for one place around the bass drum air hole, there is no evidence of splintering - a far cry from even the mid-level kits a few years ago. The bearing edges have been cut almost flawlessly, with a 45-degree angle and a slight back cut at the outside of the shell.
TIM comes with a full complement of Stagg-branded hardware - a snare stand, bass drum pedal, hi-hat stand and straight cymbal stand mean you're ready to rock when you've got it back from the store!
We bunged the heads on, tightened everything up, and took TIM out to play. As always, the Remo 'UT' heads took a bit of tweaking to get the best out of them. Once the Moongel had been applied, the sound coming out of TIM was pleasantly surprising given its humble origins.
The 'standard' rock-sized toms, larger than many more fashionable kits, spoke with a strident, focussed tone and few unpleasant overtones. The small size differential between the 12" and 13" showed why 10"/12"/14" has become more popular, however, with the 12" having to be tuned a little up, and the 13" a little down, of their preferred sweet spots to get a satisfactory interval between them.
The 16" got low down and dirty quite happily, though the clear single-ply heads meant the initial attack was a little plasticky. The snare was happy to be cranked, and cut through well. With the full front head, TIM's bass drum lacked a little definition and bottom end - whilst the Remo batter was of a Powerstroke 3 type, the resonant was quite thin with no integral damping.
A small pillow pressed into service soon did the honours, but for regular gigging we'd suggest cutting a hole in the reso.
The hardware performed without issue - though it seems faint praise, there's nothing worse than having a bass drum pedal or hi-hat stand not working properly, and the best gigs go without you even noticing they're there. However, given the inevitable compromises, TIM's hardware may not share the same longevity as pricier alternatives.