gear

Buyer's Guide

MXL CUBE Microphone

MXL has been a presence on the pro audio scene for a number of years. The company was originally known as a maker of entry-level recording mikes, meaning that if you needed something decent but didn’t have a lot of money, you considered an MXL. About five years ago the company started introducing products that offered significant improvements in fidelity with only moderate price increases. For example, lower cost hook-up wire was replaced with cable from Mogami, one of the world’s leading names in studio-grade wire. People started to take notice.

Buyer's Guide

Pearl Demon Drive Eliminator Pedal

The winter NAMM show is like a second Christmas for adult musicians, eliciting the same gleeful, ravenous response a child feels when first laying eyes upon that much-anticipated tree-load of presents. This year’s NAMM show was no exception, offering a cornucopia of great new products that you’ll be hearing lots more about in the coming months. As usual, a few items generated a particularly strong reaction. One such standout was Pearl’s new Demon Drive Eliminator pedal, which took home the coveted “Best In Show” award. This pedal is designed to compete against any top-of-the-line pedal on the market. So, naturally, I was giddy with the prospect of taking one for a spin.

Buyer's Guide

Sabian: Three New 21” Rides

Jazz icon Art Blakey used to ask for three medium ride cymbals whenever he rented a kit. He knew he’d get three cymbals that varied in tone, even though they were all labeled the same, and he wanted variety in his cymbal voices. Back then, pure chance was good enough for Blakey, but he’d be amazed at the cymbal choices available today. Cymbalsmiths are heeding drummers’ pleas and making pies for every taste.

Buyer's Guide

New Gear 2009: Snare Drums Part II

The DRUM! crew hit the 2009 NAMM trade show with a full complement of photographers, video gear and extra freelance writers designed to help us cover every single new product our readers might see in the coming year. At the end of it all, we had amassed specs and info on more than 450 products. Here's part I of our Snare Drums report. Look for related stories on drum sets, hand drums, cymbals, hardware, accessories, electronics ... well, you get the idea.

Buyer's Guide

New Gear 2009: Snare Drums Part I – A Love Story

The DRUM! crew hit the 2009 NAMM trade show with a full complement of photographers, video gear and extra freelance writers designed to help us cover every single new product our readers might see in the coming year. At the end of it all, we had amassed specs and info on more than 450 products. Here's part I of our Snare Drums report. Look for related stories on drum sets, hand drums, cymbals, hardware, accessories, electronics ... well, you get the idea.

Buyer's Guide

Solid Snare Buyer’s Guide

Long before the advent of the multi-ply shell revolutionized the drum industry in the 1930s, snare shells were constructed from a single piece of wood, made pliable with a heavy dose of steam and bent around a circular mold to cure. The process was difficult, time-consuming, and took an inordinate amount of skill if you wanted the end product to resemble anything like a decent drum.

This was also true of the much-less common technique of hollow-log, or “seamless” shell construction, whose origins went back a little further than steam bending (think dawn of mankind). But the few who did master these techniques produced snare drums of unmatched quality and craftsmanship that have withstood the test of time. So even when the solid shell began to fade in popularity throughout the middle part of the 20th century in favor of the new cheaper, more easily mass-produced multi-ply shells, the old method continued to resonate within the drumming community.

Buyer's Guide

New Gear 2009: Custom Drums

It might seem odd that we segregated custom drum companies from production brands, but we did so for a reason: While major players introduce distinct lines of new drums every year, custom companies revel in their ability to pruduce anything imaginable. And they did - in droves.

Buyer's Guide

New Gear 2009: Sticks

It's a gab bag of opposing forces: Black versus white. Hard versus soft. Wood versus aluminum. Either versus carbon fibre. Rods versus brushes. Are the powers of good battling the powers of evil in the stick market? No, but there sure are a lot of new models to choose from.

Buyer's Guide

New Gear 2009: Electronics

New e-kits from venerated names Roland and Alesis traded jabs with newcomers R.E.T. and 2Box. A cascade of the new microphones spilled forth from Audix, Electro-Voice, Mojave Audio, Tascam, Samson, and Shure. Add to that were new sound libraries, drum boxes, and even a software solution for beginning drummers. Electrifying.

Buyer's Guide

New Gear 2009: Drumheads

Companies retooled bass resonants - some prettier, others easier to mike. Lots of new batters on the horizon for beefy hitters, hand drummers, and vintage fans. Toss in a couple of new options for marching drummers and snare-sides, and there's no lack of new film.