NAMM 2015 - Day 2
NAMM Day 2
Roland''s news was that they have released a new range of drum triggers. Rather than having a snare trigger, tom trigger and a kick trigger, they have a dual zone trigger (the RT-30HR) which will trigger the head and the rim, and a single zone trigger (RT-30H) which will just trigger the head, plus the kick trigger (RT-30K) to go with it. They have redesigned the shape of the trigger to sit better on acoustic drum rims of all shapes and sizes, as the current models sometimes sit awkwardly on some rims and squash the sensor into the drumhead.
The new models have a distinctive look to them with a shiny chrome circle on the back which will make them instantly recognisable from a distance. There have been other tweaks to them as well, with the body been made of glass reinforced plastic rather than the softer plastic of the previous models.
They also come packaged in an attractive new box, which also doubles as a travel case for them.
The bass drum trigger has a second sensor in its body which picks up background noise and is used as noise cancellation to make the triggering even cleaner and more accurate. There will be a software upgrade available for all Roland modules to make sure that the new bass drum trigger will work with them.
Roland will also showing a new set of headphones which has been specially tweaked to work with their V-drum sets. They have had a special EQ curve tweak to make the drums sound as good as possible.
Big Bang Distribution
Big Bang Distribution are a US company who seem to have a larger catalogue than almost any other company I know. Their catalogue has so many products (I estimate around 900 different products) in it, which cover all sorts of useful things, that I could quite happily read it for half an hour, it''s that big.
The big new product from them are the Switch Kick bass drum beater which has replaceable beater heads. For instance, you can replace your standard bass drum beater with a lambs wool beater, or a brush or a rod just by twisting the beater head through 90°and pulling it off the shaft. You simply reverse the process to put on the new one. It''s one of those clever ideas that you wonder why no one thought of it sooner.
The Bass Plate is a special metal plate which attaches to the two lugs at the bottom of your bass drum on the beater side. The plate lifts the drum slightly off the floor and your pedal attaches to it rather than the hoop, which prevents damage to the hoop. It also means it is easier for the beater to hit the centre of the head.
Clever product of the day award goes to the Finghol products. These are different boxes which allow you to make extra sounds while playing a cajon, for instance. One of them, which looks like a block of wood, outputs a bass drum sample when hit – its like a hi tech stomp box. Other ones can play back loops of shakers, hi hat or drum kit and can follow the tempo you play at. They also offer Cajon microphones with either one or two capsules. All the products are really well thought out.
We also had Rhett Hendrix show us his fantastic Hendrix drums. Look at the video for more information. They certainly looked and sounded great.
Celebrating their 35th year in the industry, Aquarian had the usual selection of interesting and useful products.
We have seen the onHead and inHead trigger heads before. These have to be used with a metal box which attaches to the side of your drum called the inBox which powers them and also takes the signal off to whatever module you are triggering. However, they are now able to work with the Alternate Mode DITI Direct which is a very powerful trigger to MIDI interface. The DITI Direct is also able to power the on/inHeads which means you can plug them straight into each other. We didn''t get a chance to play them due to time pressures but by all accounts the dynamic range is even better than before (and it was pretty damn impressive before).
The Superpad is a practice pad which may well look familiar. It is the onHead triggering head (as mentioned above) but without the electronics. It is a dual layer pad which actually fits inside the rim of your acoustic drum and holds itself onto the drumhead very tightly, so tightly it needs a special tab to pull it off. Superpads feel great and also allow the pitch of the drum they are on to be heard clearly but quietly.
Second clever product of the day must go to the Removable Powerdot. This is the same as the usual Aquarian Powerdot as found on their drumheads, but it has a special glue on it which allows it to be removed and replaced on heads many, many times (like a musical Post-It note). This means that if you are doing a loud gig you can put it on the centre of your snare drum for reinforcement, and then if you suddenly need to play brushes you can pull the dot off, stick it onto the side of the shell of your snare drum and play brushes without the dot getting in the way.
Aquarian was also showing the Studio Tab which is like a small section of one of their damping rings, but also with the same glue on one side. This means you can use it like a damping patch (think small blue gel pieces!) but one which sits so low on the head it doesn''t stick to anything else, get in the way or get covered in dust.
Maybe not as many weird and wonderful products as previous years, but the sheer quality of craftsmanship always makes the SJC stand an interesting visit.
Amazingly, Meinl did not have 953 new products like they normally do. We were lucky enough for Norbert to show us the new cymbals. The new Byzance Extra Dry Dual cymbals sounded particularly nice. They have a dual playing area with a hammered bow area for playing ride patterns on and a brilliant finish lathed edge for crashing. The new Byzance Jazz 22 inch Tradition flat ride also looked and sounded fantastic, but look at the video for all of them.
To hear all the new cymbals in a controlled (ie quiet) environment, go to www.youtube.com/MeinlCymbalsOfficialProducts
We were very lucky to have German Baratto from Meinl take us through the new percussion instruments. Ones which sounded particularly good to my ears were the Cajon Snare and the Motion Shaker. Also Meinl are doing a very extensive line of Cajon brushes.
The Gretsch Broadkaster kit is a modern recreation of a 1950s Gretsch kit. The shells are three ply (maple, poplar, maple) with 301 (stick chopper) hoops like the Brooklyn kit. The bass drums are all 14 inches deep, there are four different kit configurations, and four different colours. The kits are available in standard or vintage build which means the ''vintage build'' has a consolette rail mount for the rack tom and vintage style Gretsch spurs, where as the ''standard build'' has modern Gretsch hardware. Everyone who has played these has described them as ''warm'', which makes sense when you think that it has nicely rounded bearing edges and coated Ambassador heads.
The Renown Walnut kit is six ply with shells of 2 ply maple/2 ply walnut/2 ply maple. There are two two configurations and two colours.
The new electronic drum rack from Gibraltar was getting a lot of interest as it is a retrofit for an existing electronic drum rack. It has a very small footprint, and a very logical setup.
Gibraltar is getting into the DJ market by offering three special stands for mounting decks and DJ controllers.
New from LP are the Cajon Hats. These are a pair of 10 inch hi hats which attach on a special bracket to the side of your cajon. They can be tightened or loosened, and played with hands, sticks, brushes or rods.
The LP claw has been around for a long time and is a great way of mounting microphones, percussion and splash cymbals onto an existing kit. Now there is a Mini Gooseneck Claw which is perfect for mounting small microphones around the drum kit.
The Flip Cajon from Toca is very interesting - it looks like a box that on one side it can be played like a pair of bongos, but flip it over and it is a very small cajon. This is likely to be around £50 in the UK.
Kelly Brady bought two kits and many snare drums to the show. To be honest it is probably easier to look at the video then to try and describe them all, but instruments of note were the white jazz kit played at the end of the video, and the 14 x 8" snare drums which sounded fantastic. It's also worth mentioning that Shannon Forrest will be out again with Toto this year using the kit on the stand... and there may be some other news too...
Evans and Promark
On the Evans stand we saw their new 16 inch bass drumheads. These come in either Emad or EQ4 models and there are also matching resonant heads. They are available in either bass drum hoop or tom hoop models depending on what kit you have. We also saw their ''Reso 7'' seven mil coated resonant heads which are designed to produce a shorter note on toms.
Soon or have introduced a new line of drums which look and sound just like the Sonor drums from the 1960''s. The difference is that these have been built using Sonor''s modern manufacturing methods. They look fantastic, and we heard them being played in a blues setting where they just blended beautifully. They have parallel snare mechanisms, vintage hoops and vintage finishes. The easiest way to spot them is they have modern tom blocks. Very nice.
We've seen the guys at Rotodrum before but as we were passing and they seem to consistently have large crowds around them, we thought we'd see what was new.
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