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Tama Silverstar Drums Reviewed!

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There’s a new low-mass lug on the Silverstar line and it’s a simple, nice-looking, stamped-steel model that doesn’t look cheap yet still has similar contours to Tama’s die-cast lugs found on its more expensive lines. The new Star-Mount System is now chrome instead of black, and features a clever new swiveling eye bolt so you can reposition the wing screw to stay our of your way. Very nice!

The bass drum claws are the same nice die-cast units found on Tama’s high-end kits with thick rubber liners that do a great job of protecting your hoops. The lugs also have rubber spacers to avoid metal-against-wood contact and this also minimizes those annoying and impossible-to-locate rattling sounds that often haunt you in the studio.

The hoops on the Silverstar drums differ from those on the Superstars. Instead of die-cast hoops, these are triple-flanged and 1.6mm thick, which is rather thin. I don’t mind thinner hoops on toms so much, but I wish Tama offered a 2.3mm hoop on the batter side of the snare for louder rim-clicks.

These drums all tuned up easily, and each rod turned with the same amount of resistance indicating the machining of the rods and receivers was better than many inexpensive drums.

Sound

The drums came with Tama’s Powercraft II heads, which are single-ply, 10mil heads. The snare and bass drum batter heads were coated with a creamy color that I liked. The toms and bass drum batter were all clear. I prefer coated heads across jazz kits. Not just aesthetically, but because I sometimes take advantage of the surface when playing brushes on toms as well. The bass drum heads had an internal muffling ring that dampened the overtones.

After tuning, both kits sounded very good. When you eventually upgrade to more professional heads they’ll sound even better.

The rock kit had a deep, though slightly boomy bass drum sound that might benefit from a bit more muffling, though I liked the sound. The toms all had clear pitches with perfect sustain. I also liked the 4" leap down to the 16" floor tom. I’d prefer a 2-ply head on the rock kit’s toms for durability and would upgrade down the road.

The snare was crisp like birch snares tend to be. Since the hoops are just 1.6mm thick I found better rim-clicks when striking over a screw since the hoop is more rigid there. At the first rock gig I used the kit at I got compliments on the finish, and the drums sounded good and held their tuning through the night. Unfortunately, the coating on the snare wore off in the center of the head by the end of the gig, but that’s where a head upgrade makes the difference.

The 4-piece jazz kit was also very nice. I like the higher bass drum position and liked the sound of the bass and toms when tuned high for jazz. When tuned lower, I thought the bass drum would work in a rock context, so I brought it out to a low-volume rock-trio gig where the club wanted us to play quietly for the first part of the night. The drums looked and sounded great and kept us out of trouble with the bosses. By the end of the night, I was playing full out and the bass drum still sounded pretty fat. The kit received compliments from the guys in that band, too.

Verdict

This new Silverstar line is a success and offers an incredible amount of value at this price point. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they cost $500 more. The finishes are perfect, the hardware is superb (minus some issues with the Quick-set Cymbal Mates), and the sound is professional. What are you waiting for?

Details

Features Sliding Tom Holder; new Star-cast tom mount; new low-mass lug design; Quick-set tilters; Omni-ball tom tilters; swiveling eye-bolt tom mounts; beautiful finishes; jazz kit includes BL500 Bass Drum Lift.
Configurations 4-piece 18" BD Jazz Kit: 18" x 14" bass drum, 12" x 8" tom, 14" x 14" floor tom, and a 14" x 5" matching wood snare drum; 5-piece Rock Kit: 22" x 18" bass drum, 10" x 8" and 12" x 9" toms, 16" x 14" floor tom, and a 14" x 5" matching wood snare drum.
Wrap Vintage Burgundy Sparkle (reviewed), Sky Blue Sparkle, Chameleon Sparkle.
Finishes Lacquer: Transparent Blue Burst (reviewed), Transparent Red Burst, Dark Mocha Fade, Satin Cherry Burst (matte finish), Custom Titanium Fade.
Shells 100 percent birch drum shells with 7-ply 7mm bass drum shells and 6-ply 6mm tom and snare shells.
Hardware Roadpro HW Kit: HC72WN, HC73BWN, HP300, HS70WN, HH75WN.
List Price
VK52 5-piece Rock Kit:
shell pack $974.99;
with hardware$1,299.99;
VL48J 4-piece Jazz Kit:
shell pack$1,023.74;
with hardware$1,348.74.
Contact
Tama Drums
tama.com
215-638-8670

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