Gewa G3 Studio 5 review: What is it?
Although a relative newcomer to the current electronic drum kit market, Gewa is in fact no stranger to the drum world. The near 100-year-old German company not only produces a wide range of its own instruments but also looks after the European distribution of Drum Workshop, Gretsch, Latin Percussion, Gibraltar and more. Needless to say, the folk at Gewa know their way around a drum kit or two.
The G3 Studio 5 is the latest entry to Gewa’s rapidly expanding line of digital drums which also includes its flagship G9 and G9 SE kits, alongside the G5 Studio and G5 Pro kits. The new G3 Studio is the most affordable of the bunch, boasting a brand-new compact module and a smaller pad configuration that borrows from its larger and more expensive siblings.
The 5-piece shell-pack features three dual-zone 10” toms pads, a 12” dual-zone snare and a 10” tower-style kick pad - all of which use Remo double-ply mesh heads. In terms of cymbal setup, the kit includes 14” hi-hats, a 14” crash and 18” ride. Impressively, all cymbals are triple-zone which allows for separate bell, bow and edge triggering - often a feature reserved for just the ride cymbal, even at higher price-points.
The brains behind the G3 Studio kit is the brand-new module - a slightly stripped back and more compact version of the G5 unit (both of which boast the same high-resolution sample library and trigger engine as the flagship G9). Despite noticeably fewer physical controls, the G3 module retains much of the same functionality as the larger G5 such as Bluetooth audio and MIDI, USB audio, importing of user one-shot samples, recording to USB memory or playing audio tracks, multi-fx and more. The direct outputs of the G5 have been lost and there are slightly fewer trigger inputs (although there are still enough for the included pads plus room for two more).
Gewa G3 Studio 5 review: Performance & verdict
Unlike some e-kits where the rack system comes semi-assembled leaving just the main sections to be slotted together, the Gewa rack is supplied in component parts which is rather time consuming to put together. The good news is that once the rack is set up, it’s plenty sturdy and the perfect proportions for the included pads. A welcome feature are the adaptors that allow the cymbal arms to be mounted directly into the vertical rack tubes. For us this puts the crash and ride in the perfect position although some might find that setup options are restricted somewhat due to the short boom arms.
Alesis Strike Pro
The thing that becomes evident with the kit fully assembled is how massive the cymbals are in relation to the other pads. The 18” ride in particular absolutely dwarfs the 10” toms which takes some adjusting to. A slightly larger 12” floor-tom pad to match the snare would be a welcomed addition as we wouldn’t want to lose any diameter from the cymbals. Speaking of which, the cymbal response is fantastic and the ability to trigger 360 degrees on each pad within three separate zones makes for a very expressive playing experience. The large and high-profile bells contribute toward this, particularly on the large ride.
The Remo mesh heads of the snare drum and toms play well while the tension adjustment allows us to dial in the desired feel for each drum. We’re not entirely sold on the quarter-size rubber rims though as they are not quite wide enough to cater for both left and right hand rimshots. It’s also worth noting at this point that the entire kit is surprisingly loud acoustically. Rather than soft rubber, both the rim covers and the cymbal pads are quite rigid and seem more like a solid plastic, creating more volume under stick.
The 40 preset kits on the module showcase its impressive 901 samples which are of a respectable quality for the most part. The initial presets including ‘American Vintage’, ‘Purple Heart’ and ‘Collectors’ are the most versatile offerings which clearly borrow from Gewa’s ties with DW and its other affiliated brands. Moving through the presets we can find specific kits to cater for any musical genre and a handful of fun copy-cat kits with wonderfully slap-stick titles. These include ‘Billy Jeans’, ‘Brick Dwelling’ and ’50 Pennies’. There are no spare user slots set aside but any kit can be overwritten for custom creations.
Finding the key parameters in the module is quick and easy thanks to the corresponding buttons such as ‘Instrument’, ‘Trigger set’, ‘USB/Song’, ‘Record’ etc although there are additional menu pages within each of these sections which can be tricky to navigate at first.
Dialling in the ambience levels allows for no-fuss customisation of kits, although we found some to sound a little artificial - unusual considering it uses the actual room mics from the sampling sessions. When combined with the four bank multi-fx though, there are tons of options for getting the sound dialled in.
Gewa G3 Studio 5 review: Hands-on demos
Gewa Digital Drums
Gewa G3 Studio 5 review: Specification
- Module: Gewa G3
- Kits: 40
- Sounds: 901
- Features: Built-in FX engine, USB audio, Bluetooth audio and MIDI
- Configuration: Snare, 10-inch (dual zone); toms, 10-inch (dual zone); cymbals, 14” hats, 14” crash and 18”ride (triple zone - bell, bow and edge); kick, 10” tower-style; four-post stand
- Contact: Gewa Drums