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Yamaha 8000 Kit

Article from One Two Testing, September 1985

a real drum

HERE COMES another quality product from Yamaha that will delight users and depress competitors. The new 8000 Series seems likely to make as much of a stir in the mid-price range as the 9000 Recording Series has in the professional ranks. Drummers watching the Live Aid concert must have been impressed by the number of performers using this distinctive and easily detected brand.

Their visual character is largely created by the piano-like lacquered finish which the company has pioneered and now extended to include the 8000 series — although to a slightly rippled effect, which suggests fewer coats of paint than are lavished on big brother. However, this still means that the drums resonate more efficiently and look as classy as a Steinway.

Not all drummers have been as enamoured of the double-ended nut boxes which could also be found on the 9000 series — the 8000 reflects this divergence of taste with slim, separate lugs for top and bottom heads.

I looked at a YD822F shell set, which is a complex way of saying a 22x16 bass drum, 12x10 and 13x11 power toms, a 16 x 16 floor tom and a 6½ wooden snare. Initial impressions were that Yamaha have upgraded their old 7000 series in all the right departments, with their customary attention to quality and ingenuity.

The inside of the bass drum shell may not be painted a matching colour to its outside (like the 9000) but it's every bit as smooth and seamless. Likewise this drum has key-turned tuning rods for the lugs nearest the ground, which is eminently sensible when you are asked to change tuning after having set the kit up. Lifting a bass drum high enough to allow a T-lug to turn can be a traumatic experience if you favour elaborate configurations of toms and cymbals mounted on top and a heavy-duty pedal fixed to the rim (which, in the case of the 8000 is of the matching lacquered variety). In sound terms both volume and tone are the better for the extra two inches of shell depth. I found the Pinstripe head a little too unrelentingly hard for my taste, particularly with the felt pedal beater provided. Swift application of a clear Remo Weather King instantly produced the more deep, thwacking sound that I favour — so full marks for variability.

The spur design is the same model of strength and simple efficiency first introduced with the 9000 Series, as is the ball and socket tom-holding mechanism. It's a rigid and practical design which is easy to adjust when the kit is set up, and its small hexagonal rod means the minimum perforation of rack tom shells. All the better for the smooth passage of soundwaves, which are enhanced by the inclusion of useable heads; Pinstripe batters and clear Ambassador-types underneath.

As I've said before, good drums excite the senses almost regardless of tuning and it took no more than a swift once over with the key to produce a great sound from all three drums within five minutes of opening their boxes — a powerful, responsive, melodic blend with few harmonic overtones to trouble the ear. I will still make my ritual point about the potential tuning headaches created by a 12 and 13 combination, so it's worth noting that the 8000 has twelve sizes available from 8x8 through to a massive 16x14, as well as three floor tom sizes (14, 16 and 18).

I'd be delighted to be able to say that the 6½ snare breaks from the unwelcome tradition of toneless Japanese models, but to these ears the SD865C (for such it is called) is no exception. It can't be faulted in constructional terms but its tight, chopping sound lacks dimension, has little enough crack at the impact of the stick, not enough weight to the resonant tone and not enough overall excitement.

With the drums comes an HW700E hardware set. This consists of a snare drum stand, a hi-hat pedal, a bass drum pedal and two cymbal stands (one boom).

Both pedals are solidly made but light to the touch. The bass drum pedal rests at a comfortably flat angle with three other positions available. Spring tension is held by two nuts of decent spannerable size, although they are a little small for anyone lacking fingers of iron. It's as simple and robust as the hi-hat stand with its strong balance and tough-looking nylon strap from beater to footplate.

The hi-hat's spring tension can be adjusted with a key, it doesn't creep unduly, has a good clutch, modest memory lock, is well chromed and weighs considerably less than one hundredweight. This is a well worn observation of mine but must remain close to the heart of players who use more than a couple of cymbal stands and move around their own gear.

Consequently I like the snare stand with its novel cradle arrangement (triangular arms left of centre in relation to filter) which means that the grips find rim rather than lugs as you set up with snare throw to your left. Again, no creep and plenty of height adjustment. Ten out of ten from me.

The cymbal stands are equally impressive with the rectractable boom arm a master stroke of design — its rivals will be waiting eagerly for the patent to expire. I don't much care for toothed angle-tilters but this is my only quibble over light but safely balanced stands which I imagine will last the user for years.

If Yamaha extend their range of finishes from black and blue to include their red, green and cherry wood colours the 8000 series is destined to enjoy immense popularity for as long as people want to play and listen to acoustic drums. And if current trends are anything to go by, that will be for quite a while yet.

And lastly the prices. YD822F shell set — £769.00. HW700E hardware set — £244.00. SD865C 6½-in snare £159.00. With discounts this set-up should carry a real price tag of just under £1000.00 (inc VAT).

YAMAHA 8000 kit: £see text

CONTACT: Yamaha Musical Instruments, (Contact Details).

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Publisher: One Two Testing - IPC Magazines Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

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One Two Testing - Sep 1985

Donated by: Colin Potter

Scanned by: Mike Gorman

Gear in this article:

Drums (Acoustic) > Yamaha > 8000 Series

Review by Andy Duncan

Previous article in this issue:

> Kubicki Factor Bass

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