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Tama Cocktail Jam/Hybrid Kit

Hybrid seems to be a bit of a ‘cool’ word right now and seems to be applied to a lot of things. That said, hybrid drum kits have been around as long as there have been electronic drums, but they just don’t seem to have been called hybrid until more recently.
 
Something else that has been around for ages is the cocktail kit concept. The basic premise of the more traditional cocktail kit is a large floor/bass combination drum with a snare and a smaller tom mounted off the side. The kit in question takes this concept and changes it up slightly.
 
The review kit consisted of:
 
Drums - 
•   6"x16" bass drum
•   5.5"x14" floor tom
•   5"x10" tom tom
•   5"x12" snare drum
 
Drum pedal
Closed hi-hat attachment
Cymbal attachment
Multiclamp for the module
Multiclamp for mounting
 
Hardware bags
 
Tama says the Cocktail-jam kit is ‘original, in both appearance and sound. Ideal for hip-hop, jazz, intimate acoustic settings, or tight rehearsal rooms. Completely compact, this kit can easily be set up and played using a throne in much less space than a typical drum set.’
 
I think this is a fair reflection.
 
This version of the kit was designed in collaboration with Roland as it also comes with two drum triggers (for kick and snare) and the Roland TM-2 module. What this gives is the opportunity to combine the natural sounds of the acoustic kit with more colourful sounds from the TD-2 brain.
The TD-2 module itself is small and compact and can be mounted off a multiclamp anywhere on the kit. As well as the internal sounds it offers, you can put together your own user kits and also load your own sounds as well. 
 
If you’ve not seen the module, it’s fairly basic and easy to use, and provides two stereo trigger inputs which take the two triggers. However, the trigger inputs can be split into four mono inputs if required but you''d have to provide the extra triggers and splitter cables if you wanted to do that and trigger the toms (and of course assuming you didn''t miss the rim shot triggering on the snare).
 
As I said in the video, I wasn’t quite expecting the sound and performance from this kit given the way it is put together. Not that this is a bad thing at all, but a cocktail kit – historically for me – was something that you only played standing up. You can do that with this kit, although I admit I didn’t actually try it.
 
The kit is very easy to put together and break down and it can be done in just a few minutes. The whole kit, excluding seat and cymbals, fits into the two supplied heavy duty bags with no fuss.
 
I did change the tom heads prior to doing the review because the supplied heads sounded horrible. 
 
That’s not to say that they weren’t both useable, but I spent a long time trying to get a decent sound out the 14” drum and just couldn’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any new fresh heads to hand but the ones I did have, albeit slightly used, still provided a more pleasant sound than the stock heads did to my ear. I found the sounds from the other drums to be quite useable with the stock heads on.
 
I wouldn’t say this is the loudest portable kit I’ve played, but it’s certainly not quiet. The only real limitation I can think of in terms of a live gig would be the volume of the bass drum as the sound is projected upwards into the floor tom rather than out.
 
However, that said, if you’re using this kit live you’ll probably either be not so worried about volume as it’ll be a smaller type of gig, or you have the option of triggering the kick drum sound to give it some extra power. So not really that much of a big deal.
 
In terms of design, although it may set up and look a little [I use the word both loosely and lightheartedly] ‘odd’ compared to a regular kit, it took me no time to get used to playing.  
Overall, apart from the heads – which I will say is a common thing with kits of a certain price point and so not at all limited to this kit – I got on just fine with this kit.
 
In terms of value, if you want something which is indeed highly portable, looks a bit different, and offers both acoustic and electronic possibilities, then check this kit out.
 
The Cocktail-jam Hybird kit is available in a variety of colours.
 
More details over at – 
 
http://www.tamadrum.co.jp/na/news/product_news/2014/cjam/index.html#.VaQnfWC4neQ
 
http://www.tamadrum.co.jp/na/news/product_news/2014/Cocktail-JAM_HybridKit/index.html
 
David Bateman
July 2015

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