200 Greatest! Gear Breakthroughs
Invention of Falams Drumhead
Remo was busy in 1981. On marching snare drums, high batter-head tension and giant marching sticks can quickly wear out a traditional Mylar head. Remo came to the rescue with Falams heads that fused Mylar with Kevlar — a highly durable FAbric LAminate (hence, Falams) — that is virtually indestructible.
Ddrum Acoustic Drum Triggers
Ddrum has been around since 1983. For drummers who desired electronic sounds but still wanted the playability and feel of acoustic drums, Ddrum’s introduction of Acoustic Drum Triggers allowed a best-of-both-worlds option. With triggers, an acoustic set can become electronic.
During the 1980s metal scene, drummers had an increasing desire for an alternative to blaring wedge monitors and bad mixes. Companies like Future Sonics and Garwood pioneered in-ear monitor systems that gave musicians better mixes, and in some cases, decreased the decibels to preserve their hearing. Today’s IEM systems often include custom-molded earpieces.
First Internal Miking System
Randall May created an internal mounting system that allowed placement of various brands of microphones inside a drum to isolate that drum’s sound. After he received a patent for the idea in 1986, it caught on. Pearl began promoting the May system in its brochures published in 1992. Other companies have since followed suit, including DW, who for years has offered May miking systems as a standard option.
Invention of Hot Rods
Sticks too loud? Brushes too soft? Pro-Mark’s introduction in 1987 of multidoweled Hot Rods bridged the volume (and feel) gap for drummers. In the process, Hot Rods also allowed drummers to experiment with an entirely new and different sound palette.
Launch of Pro Tools
Pro Tools first appeared in 1991 with a hefty $6,000 price tag for four-track digital recording software. The technology quickly became more affordable and accessible. As a result, nowadays, even non-famous musicians can operate recording studios from their home and make records without record deals. Present day entry-level versions of Pro Tools start at $249 and allow up to 48-track recording.
Items like duct tape, tissue, and felt may work for muffling drums and cymbals, but they don’t look very pretty. The clear blue semi-sticky Moongel damper strips RTOM, introduced in 1992, look much cooler. Moongel also does a phenomenal job of removing pesky unwanted overtones and ringing from snares, toms, and cymbals.