The best drum kit for pros

26th Feb 2010 | 12:00

The best drum kit for pros
Best high-end electronic drum kit
Roland TD-20K electronic drum kit (£2985)

This is a collection of the best drum kit - drum sets, electronic kits, snare drums, cymbals and sticks - that wouldn’t look out of place in the hands of today’s top professional drummers.

Collated from Rhythm Magazine’s gruelling review process, buyers’ guides and MusicRadar’s own best-of-the-best drum round ups: 10 best drum kits, 10 best snare drums and the 7 best cymbals your money can buy.

We’ll kick-off with the best high-end electronic drum kit: Roland TD-20K…

MusicRadar’s verdict

"The King of the Mountain – fearsomely expensive but ridiculously capable, every drummer should try a TD-20K at least once in their lives. Wonderfully ergonomic, fabulous to play and with almost infi nite tweakability, it's no surprise that the TD-20K is the pro's choice, from Omar Hakim to DragonForce's Dave Mackintosh." (Via: Buyers' guide: high-end electronic drum kits)


Next: best professional drum kit

The best drum kit for pros
Best professional drum kit
Tama Starclassic drum kit (£1899)

MusicRadar’s verdict:

"Obsessively designed for maximum shell vibration, the Starclassic has wafer thin shells (just 5mm six-ply toms) and the badge is a stencil, not some heavy lump of metal. Even the air holes are maple, not metal. Then there's a stupendous range of shell options encompassing no less than five different depths. Now available in Birch/Bubinga finish." (Via: Buyers' guide: professional drum kits)

"Combining the bubinga with birch makes for an interesting blend of characteristics that brings out the best of each wood. Another solid pro-level kit from a brand firing on all four cylinders." (Via: Tama Starclassic Performer Bubinga/Birch Kit review)

"This is a top notch kit that you would expect to sound great, and it doesn't disappoint. The toms are richly melodic, the snare cranks it out and the kick thunders. The newly streamlined Star-Cast mounts are also a definite improvement." (Via: Tama Starclassic Bubinga Kit review)


Next: best custom-designer drum kit

The best drum kit for pros
Best custom-designer drum kit
DW Collector's Series drum kit (from £2000)

MusicRadar’s verdict:

"DW was the big success story of the American drum industry after the huge downturn of the '70/'80s. The company boasted timbre-matched shells with sumptuous finishes, supreme attention to detail and total awareness of what drummers need: that easy-to-tune, rich maple sound. All these elements combined to see DW's deserved reputation rocket." (Via: Buyers' guide: custom designer drum kits)

"This kit represents a giant step forward in drum manufacture. Over the years DW has become a brand synonymous with innovation and the X Shell technology is a radical piece of drum making. More importantly, it works, delivering results that really justify the hype." (Via: DW Collector's Series X Shell kit review)

"It's a pity the quilted maple was three quarters obscured by black stripes, and the rail tom mount is chunky but fussily inconvenient. The biggest downer, though, is the price - you're talking four grand for a four-piece shell pack. Still, this is a typically fine DW kit and the trump card is the sound, which is undeniably a blast." (Via: DW Rally Stripe Graphics Line Collector's Kit review)


Next: best professional drum hardware

The best drum kit for pros
Best professional drum hardware
DW 9000 Series hardware (£75-£215)

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“The flagship hardware package from DW is a modular system that allows multiple booms and clamps to be mounted in seemingly limitless combinations. Individual stands are suitably hefty and bristle with innovative designs such as the TechLock and Toothless Tilter. The entire range of stands is also available, outrageously, in ostentatious 24-carat gold.”


Next: best high-end and specialist cymbals

The best drum kit for pros
Best high-end and specialist cymbals
Zildjian Constantinople cymbals (£458 - £564)

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“One of Armand Zildjian's final projects, the K Constantinople range has continued to evolve since his passing away in 2002. The individual cymbals that make up the current range of hi-bell and fl at rides and hi-hats are all outstanding (if pricey) instruments that compare favourably with the vintage K cymbals that inspired them.” (Via Buyers’ guide: high-end and specialist cymbals)

“All of the cymbals here work across various dynamic boundaries and though they have clearly been designed with the needs of jazzers in mind, they should appeal to a broad range of drummers. Musical players from pretty much any genre would be advised to take a listen.” (Via Zildjian K Constantinople Cymbals review)


Next: best high-end wood snare drum

The best drum kit for pros
Best high-end wood snare drum
Brady Custom snare drum (Jarrah Ply £670)

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“Brady's enviable reputation is based on the use of Australian desert hardwoods, which are harder than the familiar maple and birch of Western drums. Jarrah is Brady's most popular and versatile choice, with good balance of attack, body, warmth and depth. The 10 plies are, unlike anyone else's, all laid horizontally.” (Via Buyers’ guide: high-priced wood snare drums)

“Those exclusive native Australasian desert timbers are simply too gorgeous to resist. They produce bright, sensitive and focused sounds whichever you choose but we liked the warm Jarrah block and ply drums best. They are all quite magnificent, however.” (Via Brady handmade snares review)


Next: best high-end metal snare drum

The best drum kit for pros
Best high-end metal snare drum
Dunnett Classic Titanium snare (£899)

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“Ronn Dunnett’s award-winning snare drum is a firm favourite with top drummers of all styles. Many pros have a Dunnett snare which they find works wonders on certain studio dates. It’s extremely sensitive, quite dry and doesn’t suffer from uncontrollable high-end overtones, which makes it close-mic friendly.” (Via 5 best metal snare drums under £1200)


Next: best high-end drum sticks

The best drum kit for pros
Best high-end drum sticks
Vic Firth (from £9)

MusicRadar’s verdict:

“Truly professional sticks. Many of Vic's beautifully finished popular wood-tip models are now available with nylon tips rather than just a bulky generic tip shape. Also, tips on the coloured models have been left with a natural finish so they don't mark your drumheads, which is an extremely nice touch.” (Via: Buyers’ guide: high-end drumsticks)



Liked this? Now read: How to build the ultimate drum setup... on a budget

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