Bob Henrit comes out of his shell to review this minimalist masterpiece
It was our esteemed Editor who first put me onto RIMS Headset. He spotted them whilst hanging out in New Orleans and bade me to find out more about them; whatever it cost! I managed to get further 'fax and info' about them in New York, New York, and finally I had them in my very own hotel room. Now read on.
All right, hands up anyone who loves playing the drums, but hates having to lug all those heavy, awkward cases around. Is there anybody out there with drum case induced damage to their Cortina's upholstery? Who doesn't mind blistered hands but could live without the hernia? Well, your prayers are possibly answered in the form of RIMS Headset.
You may not be familiar with the RIMS system, but it was invented by an American drummer called Gary Gauger several years ago. It's a method which suspends mounted and floor standing toms without their supports actually touching, or indeed having any physical contact with the shell itself. What happens is that a semi-circular ring of steel fits to several of the tension screws via rubber grommets. A plate protrudes from the ring (parallel to the shell), and one attaches one's tom holder receiver block or tom tom leg here. Thus, you have a much more resonant drum because nothing, save the nut-boxes, interferes with the shell.
(If you hold an ordinary tom by its rim and play it you'll notice how the sound will change if you rest your hand on the shell. It becomes more muffled and less distinct.) Gary Gauger maintains that the drum will resonate from 40 to 70 percent more with an increased fundamental and less overtones.
So, this is the RIMS principle and heart of the Headset. The other components are a set of Remo's Pre-Tuned heads and a unique supporting system. This gives us an extremely lightweight four drum set with three toms and a bass drum. All these drums hinge in on themselves and make a very sturdy package which fits into what can best be described as a thin bass drum case. Enough fittings are supplied to support all those drum heads and a couple of cymbal-stands fixed to a common framework. I tinkered with PTS heads before when I've reviewed Remo's Pre-Tuned sets: they are heated when being processed and this stretches the plastic taut within the rim and gives it a note without needing to be stretched over a drum shell. Remo uses different degrees of heat and so is effectively able to tune the heads. I suppose you could say that Headset uses a medium pitched head. Now, in their naked state (without shells), they tend to be rather lacking in volume. However, the RIMS system, which simply clips to the rim of the head via a rubber (Elastomer) fitting, actually amplifies the sound. Certainly it was loud enough for your pub-type gig or wedding; and of course you could very easily mike it up. Purecussion, who make the set, claim to have achieved remarkable things with just a pair of mikes — one on the bass and the other overhead.
I played a four drum set which consisted of three toms and a bass which measured 10", 12", 14" and 18". Should you wish you can have a three drum set without the smaller head.
The support system itself stems from four, double bent tubular legs which hold the bass head steady in a vertical position. One of RIMS' flat steel semicircular hoops is fitted between the clamps of the legs and a sort of Pearl-type tom holder is attached via a plate fixed to the top of it. A Pearl-type tubular ratchet arm locates into this receiver and is locked with a drum key operated screw. Three of these particular arms are utilised to support the toms. They're thinner than usual, but perfectly adequate to support the insignificant weight of the Remo PTS heads. As it happens, the whole bang shoot only weighs about 30 pounds. The arms have an adjustable, wing-bolt locked, cast ratchet and are fitted with lightweight, but highly serviceable memory clamps which lock with a drum key. All these tubes, including the supports, are kept together, and joined by unique plastic clamps. They're very strong and shaped like open figures of eight with a large washer and plastic 'hand screw' to tighten the opening.
So, the 'O' parts of the eight retain legs and tubes and double ratchet, telescopic cymbal stands. As you'd expect, it takes a bit of getting used to tearing down and setting up but they provide you with very explicit, photographic instructions to keep you from tearing your hair out. Once you've mastered the 'quart into pint pot trick', though, it's simple. The company send along a piece of what looks like self adhesive cork (but is obviously something more hi-tech) to stick to the bottom of your footpedal. It's meant to stop it from slipping as you play. The pedal fits to the bass drum in the normal way because PTS bass heads have a built in, extra-deep hoop. You're meant to put a pair of cymbals on the unit to add a bit more weight therefore stabilising the set a little more.
RIMS have an interesting alternative to the Gaffa tape damping system; they provide a bunch of muffling circles about an inch in diameter. They seem to be made from that same nonslip cork (?) substance and are designed to ad here to the underside of the head. They work well, but you need to experiment a little with placement for a degree of damp.
In conclusion I'll say that here you have a portable, lightweight no-nonsense drum set which will be perfect for most applications.
It may not at first appeal to your Heavy Rock drummer for the stage, but he could use it for rehearsals or at home to practice on, or even as a standby just in case he fancies a blow in his local bar. (There are upmarket guys I know who carry two sets around on tour, one for stage the other for the dressing room. Headset would definitely work in that situation.)
The other place it would come into its own for him is in the recording studio; ideal for a 'house' set. The set will, in reality, be of major interest to what the Americans call a 'Jobbing' drummer. This is the guy who plays all sorts of music at all sorts of venues; anything from jingles to weddings and barmitzvahs! Jazz drummers too would find the set to their liking.
To be honest I can't think of a musical situation where 'Headset' wouldn't work. My only criticism is, where do you put your sticks?
For more information contact Purecussion, (Contact Details). As yet there is no official UK distributor.
Review by Bob Henrit
Previous article in this issue:
Next article in this issue:
mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.
If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!