If you want something done right, you do it yourself. The old adage appropriately sums up the motivation behind the establishment of Crush Drums And Percussion. Citing different goals and a different vision as reason for leaving their positions at Ddrum, the five cofounders of Crush set out to start a new company that placed a high priority on innovation and customer satisfaction.
After making a big splash at the 2011 Winter NAMM convention, where it was awarded Best In Show among “Companies To Watch,” it seems the young Florida-based company has had no problem realizing that vision in a very short time.
But Crush’s early success is not the result of quality control and innovation alone. In addition to a full year of R&D, the heads of Crush invested countless hours into the creation of a community that focused on accessibility and outreach even before their formal debut at NAMM. Combining the experience and market savvy of a major manufacturer with the attention to detail and complexion of a boutique builder, the company has quickly earned the affection of players and professionals around the world.
So, how do the results of Crush’s impressive initiative stack up? Let’s find out.
It took two full hours to set up the 5-piece Sublime Maple kit Crush sent me — not because the process was in any way difficult, but because I kept stopping to explore all the surprising design elements around the drums. Every component of the Crush kit featured some quiet note of visual flare or practical innovation that repeatedly took my attention away from the task at hand.
The Dark Green Sparkle lacquer finish was flawless, and while not exactly “stunning” to my eye, it quickly won my favor with an understated appeal that feels both modern and timeless. The real appeal was in the details. Among the many exciting accessories on the Sublime Maple kit were some of the most interesting isolation mounts I’d ever seen. Crush designed the Sublime kits with small, low-mass shell hardware in an effort to increase shell resonance and to help the finish really pop. But upon further inspection of the mounts, I noticed the very sleek sculptural accents integrated into the frame that kept them from looking utilitarian. They blended right into the clean lines of the set, and just looked great.
One final element that offered additional insight into Crush’s vision was the snare drum throw-off. Surprisingly large next to the rest of the kit’s diminutive hardware, the mechanism’s bulky, stacked chevron design had me a little puzzled. When I asked Crush rep Mike Swenson about it, he said that was one of the company’s many low-key nods to the U.S. Armed Forces. He went on to tell me about the C4 series of snare drums, from which a portion of all profits will go to the National Veterans Foundation.
It’s hard to ignore an organization that places so much importance on giving back to the greater community while also putting such a premium on product quality. But even the best intentions won’t keep a company afloat if its drums don’t sound good.
Fortunately, the Crush Sublime Maple drum set sounded spectacular. Clean, clear, and fat, with tone for days, these drums were a joy to play from the moment I sat down. At no point during my time with the Sublime kit did I even think about muffling — wide-open, these were punchy, present drums that sounded just as comfortable in a funky organ jam as they did in a brutally loud metal rehearsal.
The 7-ply maple shells felt just a hair thicker than those I’ve seen from other manufacturers, and the triple-sanded, double-45 degree bearing edges were almost eerily smooth. I can only imagine it was that combination of features that made the Crush kit easier to tune than just about anything I’ve ever played. The 14" x 6" snare was crisp, cracking and focused; the 20"-deep bass drum played like a ship’s cannon; and the 10", 12", 16" toms each spoke with beautiful voices that sounded great on their own, and even better together. Table-top tight or low and loose, the Sublime Maples were a treat for the ears at every tuning.
My only real issue with the Sublime Maple series is the thus-far limited number of available sizes. I’d very much like to see a few more tom sizes, and more than anything else, shallower bass drums. The guys at Crush said they’re in the works, but I feel like this kit could be even better with an 18" or even 16" deep kick that would allow for more dynamic playability.