NAMM 2015 - Day 4
NAMM Day 4
The last day of the show is when we traditionally run around and get video footage of all the other companies who have caught our eye over the previous three days. We had one pre-organised appointment with Canopus, but apart from that it was ''every man for himself, and let's get some interesting footage''.
So here's some of the other companies who we saw…
Canopus had a selection of new snares for us to see. The range of their snares is very extensive now - we saw rolled black Brass (think classic black USA brass shell), a wide variety of wooden shells, Phenolic shells, cast brass shells, and lots of other things. They really do have a very interesting catalogue.
Canopus were also showing their new Harvey Mason signature equipment. Harvey has a 10 x 6" and 14 x 10” customer snares. As you would expect, the 10 inch sounded very high and poppy and the 14 x 10” (which Harvey had personally tuned) sounded amazingly low and fat, and you could actually feel it in your stomach a few metres away when hit hard.
Also on the stand were Harveys Murat Diril cymbals. They are nicknamed the Chameleons and are not what I was expecting – the ride was heavier, and the crash lighter, but Harvey is a man who knows his studios, so I know they will sound great in situ.
We were lucky enough for Harvey to talk to us about his drums and cymbals. He's an exceptionally nice guy, and couldn't do enough to help. Total dude.
You've probably seen Aerodrums in the press, but we thought we'd actually sit down and try it out this year. It's a weird concept but it seems to work very well. Watch the video footage of me playing it.
I've got to say, it took very little time to adjust to playing an invisible and non-existent drum kit. Unfortunately we couldn't turn their speakers up any more as they had already had a warning for being too loud. Very clever, and surprisingly fun.
If you don't know, you use special drumsticks with reflective ends, and you also attach reflectors to your shoes. You sit in front of a camera with a light, and a computer analyses where you 'hit' and triggers a drum or cymbal sound, depending on where on your 'virtual' kit you are playing.
Its surprisingly smooth and rather addictive, and is apparently rather reasonable.
We've heard a lot about Q drums, so it was nice to actually go and see what the fuss was all about. It's also nice to say that they managed to fully satisfy any preconceptions I had. It's nice to see a company doing something slightly different, and doing it so well.
One of their USP's is to make metal shelled drums with wooden reinforcing rings. They rivet the metal shells together and insert the re-rings. This makes them strong but light and very resonant. They also are amazingly good at finishing the metal so its not like you buy a flat metal kit (unless of course that's is what you want). You can see some of their finishes in the video.
They build out of numerous sheet metals so it you want a copper bass drum and brass toms, that's not an issue.
Please have a look at the video. You might have heard of something very similar to these that are made in Europe. Well, these are similar in price and sound but don't have the restrictive purchasing policy or limitations the others have.
If you haven't come across these before, they are like steel pans, but they are double sided and are tuned to different scales, and sound magical in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.
Terry Platt from Crush was kind enough to show us what he had on the stand. While they (like many other companies this year) were light on new products, there is always plenty to see on the Crush stand.
In our quest to support UK companies, we dropped in on Liberty to see how they were doing. They were just sorting out some new endorsees when we got there, so things appear to be going well. The fluorescent yellow kit looked amazing.
Sleishman (apparently it “Sh-leeze-man” rather than Sh-lies-man”) had a selection of kits, snares, and of course one of their bass drum pedals. It''s amazing that they aren''t more well known, especially as they were about the first company to do a fully floating shell. Great sounding drums.
We''ve seen these drums so many times in the past, so it was nice to actually stop and have a close look. They are beautifully made and have a metal centre section with wood at the top and the bottom. For more details about the construction have a look at the video.
Istanbul Mehmet were showing the Tony Williams cymbals. They had been given exclusive access by Tony''s wife to the cymbals that he recorded many famous Miles Davis tracks with. They measured and tested and measured again every single aspect of the cymbals so they could re-create the ''Tony Williams cymbal sound''.
I didn''t have any classic Miles Davis on my phone when I want to play them, but I''ve got to say the cymbals sound rather amazing. We can only take their word on how accurately they sound compared to the originals, and they certainly do not look the same as the originals, but the sound they have is totally classic.
Angel drums are made in Hungary. They are one of the few companies who make everything apart from the drumheads. From shells to rims to mounts and even throw-off, Angel do the lot. Their throw is a work of art, and it''s pretty much bombproof. There are only 11 parts to it, and it just works. There are a variety of shells available and everything on the stand was very classy.
Big news from Tama is obviously the fact that it was announced that Peter Erskine had joined them just as the show opened. His yellow Star kit was in pride of place on the stand, and it looks fittingly beautiful. Tama were also showing the Walnut Star kit with walnut shells and finished in a black walnut finish(!).
We also looked beautiful at the Star hardware. Half of me says it is massively over-engineered, but the other half of me says it''s all beautifully aesthetic and highly functional. I can''t remember the last time I was so split over a hardware line.
We wouldn''t normally feature a software company like Spitfire Audio in our write-up, but something they''ve done really sparked our interest, and also we have been asked about it through the forum and through personal texts. They have a new program called ''The Grange''. This is a sample package which was recorded by Chad Smith, Roger Taylor, and Andy Gangadeen at a private house called Headley Grange where some of the seminal Led Zeppelin recordings were made.
They sampled these drummers and their kits, while accurately recreating the sound that Led Zep achieved 40 years ago. Watch the video, and pay particular attention to the audio at the end. It is absolutely stunning, uncannily accurate and sounds just like Bonham. If you want to sound like John Bonham and you have an electronic kit then you really, really need this software package.
The Natal Arcadia series was new on the stand. They share the same lugs as the discontinued Spirit serious and have a different shell make up and different sizes. The kits on the stand looked great, and the prices are going to raise some eyebrows, as they are significantly cheaper than the professional lines.
To finish things off, we went and saw Dream Cymbals and their Ignition pack with the added new 18".
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