In any case, the bass drum provided oodles of low-end punch, and it’s big enough to still sound good even when the head is slack. Out of the box the head was quite detuned, maybe even a little wrinkled, but I played it anyway and really loved the dead low thud the drum emitted. Obviously, the bass drum sounds a bit better and certainly offers better beater rebound when tuned to emit an actual pitch.
The Aquarian Superkick II that came installed on it is a very controlled head. On this drum it sounded a bit too dead even when tuned up. A single-ply Superkick would offer a bit more versatility. Projection won’t be a problem with this kit, and it could be used with minimal or no miking in clubs where the PA is less than ideal.
The 14" x 6.5" nickel-plated stainless steel snare has a 304 series steel shell with an 18-gauge thickness (about 1.2mm). 304 series stainless is the same basic alloy used for food-processing purposes because it’s resistant to corrosion and oxidation. This drum is nickel-plated and should offer a lifetime of appreciative looks and performance. It’s heavy, but it’s a serious pro snare drum, not some lightweight throwaway beginner model. Like the rest of the kit, it has 2.3mm triple-flanged hoops. It also comes with ten nickel-plated brass tube lugs and a nickel-plated side throw-off and butt plate.
A note about tube lugs: They offer a classic upscale look, but because they don’t utilize a separate receiver nut inside a lug casing like a spring-mounted lug, they don’t offer much shock absorption from heavy hitting and may detune a little quicker. If you’re a powerful drummer, I’d recommend picking up some TightScrew non-loosening tension screws for the top head. They have a nylon-filled slot in each screw to prevent vibration-induced detuning.
Unlike some cheap stainless steel drums, this snare didn’t sound terribly bright. Sure, it was sensitive to light playing and very responsive, but if you expect a ton of treble frequencies, this drum may surprise you with its even balance of top, midrange, and bottom. The head selection and depth of the drum certainly adds to the lower pitch as well.
The German 42-strand snare wires kept the ring from the bottom head to a minimum, and the head selection also dampened the ring a bit while controlling the higher frequencies. I would have preferred a narrower set of wires since 42-strand wires rarely offer a completely smooth decay when loosened. Since they are so wide, one edge is always a bit looser than the other, and will tend to rattle.
The snare came fitted with an Aquarian coated Studio X with a reinforcing dot under the head and a Classic Clear snare-side head. While the reinforced Studio X head is a heavy-duty and very durable choice for hard hitters, if you want a more lively sound that’s a bit brighter, simply swapping the batter head to a less dampened model will noticeably change the timbre of the drum. If you need damage-proof heads but want a higher pitched sound, this snare is also offered in a 13" diameter. Most heavy hitters will probably opt for the lower pitched model.
Thrust Custom Drums may be a relative newcomer to the custom drum business, but it brings a high-quality no-nonsense drum kit perfect for hard rockers wanting a powerful and deep sound. The Exile offers all the features you’d expect from a custom kit, but without taking an unfair swipe at your budget.
Shells Bass drum and toms: 100-percent maple drum shells with double 45-degree bearing edges. Snare drum: 304 series 1.2mm stainless steel.
Configuration 13" x 10" rack tom, 16" x 16", and 18" x 16" floor toms, a 24" x 18" bass drum, and a 14" x 6.5" stainless steel snare drum.
Finish (Reviewed), Matte black lacquer on kit; nickel-plated stainless steel finish on snare; dozens of other finishes available.
Features Pearl-style tom isolation mount; nickel-plated die-cast lugs, claws, spurs, and air grommet; professional Aquarian heads; a variety of sizes, shell materials, and finishes available in their other lines.
Prices Kit shell pack without snare: $3,100; kit shell pack with snare: $3,500; stainless steel snare alone: $595.
Thrust Custom Drums