Pearl World Series drumkit
Nearly halfway through '86 and still the old acoustic drum won't lie down.
The new Pearl World Series kits wouldn't look out of place at Wembley Arena or sound out of place at Sarm West Studios, this despite their budget price tag and obvious semi-pro and first-time-buy appeal.
The most obvious attribute is the piano-style lacquered finish that has adorned the much sought after Yamaha 9000 series kits for some time and which was last year extended to include their cheaper but no less excellent 8000 Tour Series.
If the 5-ply Maple shells aren't perfectly jointed, they are still smoothly sanded and coated with a clear lacquer. Combined with the impressively flat finish of the exterior lacquering and traditional single nut boxes, they produced a bright, clear and resonant tone in the 12, 13 and 16 inch toms that I tested. About eight second's worth in the case of the floor tom. Overall (even allowing for the ambient sound created by the Pearl warehouse) a more lively sound than even the Yamaha 8000, its closest rival in terms of contraction, finish and supplied head configuration.
Since Pearl are obviously after the potential 8000 buyer (among others), they have happily stolen the Yamaha-pioneered, key-turned tuning rods for the pair of lugs closest to the ground (front and back) of the bass drum. Likewise the smart hoops, lacquered to match the shell of the drum. Both were good ideas when Yamaha thought of them, and they still are now.
The telescopic spurs, with a choice of rubber or pointed end and external locking pivot for carriage, are much the same as they were five years ago, and quite right too. They do their job with admirable efficiency. The selection of heads has changed and reflects the popularity of the Pin Stripe as a batter.
All this achieved with a felt beater on a light, comfortable and responsive pedal. It boasts a good, flat footplate angle and cylindrical action from which the strap unwinds as the foot presses down. There's an easily adjustable spring and we give 10 out of 10 as first fodder for the twitching boot.
The 8in steel snare surprised me with its crisp, cutting sound and good overall snare response (indicative of a good action with tension adjustment on both sides). It finally breaks the unwelcome tradition of toneless Jap snare drums.
The 800 series hardware is uniformly superb, with a smooth, chain - driven hi-hat stand, a snare stand which can be set low enough to accommodate the currently fashionable deeper snare drums, and a truly wonderful any-which-way angle adjustment. No creep with either of these items or the equally sturdy and well chromed cymbal stands.
The best economy kit I've seen and hard to fault in terms of playability and value for money. I still think that the limited natural pitch difference between a 12 and 13 tom combination, as well as the potential setting up problems with the deeper shells, are worth thinking about particularly if you sit low. Which brings me, via mention of the superhoops, which keep the toms in tune and add crack to the snare, to a last ritual point. If you are a potential first kit buyer don't be fooled by the fact that none of the new kits in your range ever includes a stool. A duff stool makes the arse numb, the legs ache and the playing even more difficult. A good stool is worth its proverbial weight and guards against the chances of piles in later life. Need I say more?
Review by Andy Duncan
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