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PDP New Yorker Kit

Small and portable kits have been gaining popularity for some years now and a lot of companies now offer them in one form or another. I also seem to have played quite a few of them now as well, and have reviewed a number in the last year or so.

The New Yorker kit consists of a 10x8 rack tom, 13x12 floor tom, an 18x14 bass drum and a 13x6 snare drum and the review kit was in a Sapphire sparkle wrap. As you’ll see from the video, it’s a vibrant blue colour and quite attractive in the light. Also included with the kit are a tom mount, bass drum riser and True-Pitch tension rods on all the drums.

The shells are made from poplar and I found that while this is a modestly priced kit, the insides of the shells themselves were finished pretty well. I couldn’t find any real rough patches in the shells when I looked and the edges that I tried seemed smooth and straight. It’s not high-end, it’s not meant to be, but certainly for the price point I found no real issues in terms of build quality against expectation and context.

The sizes of the two toms are the most ‘standard’ part of the setup.

Most kits of this nature that I have come across to date utilise the 10 and 13” setup and these work well as they are not too small but are at the same time deep enough to provide a good sound and projection. With better quality heads on them, the sound they produced was quite full and rounded.

At 13x6, the snare drum worked just fine for me and I got a sound out of it I found workable. Is it going to be the most versatile drum you own or something you would take to Abbey Road? Probably not, but it still works in the context of the kit and I think with a head change it would be just fine.

Historically, I’ve always found with this type of kit that it’s the bass drum that can be the weakest element. This can be, first off, because of the head size and then because it either sounds weak or feels like you’re playing a suitcase. I didn’t really find that with this drum.

In this instance, the bass drum feels like a ‘proper’ bass drum. Admittedly, this will be because it is a ‘proper’ bass drum, albeit at the smaller end of the more standard size range. A jazz drum you might say. But, at 18x14”, this particular bass drum would be at the bigger end of the range for the portable kit market. I think this is why the drum worked better for me.

The sound I got from the kick drum was kind of like an 808 (electronic) bass drum, which may not be to everyone’s taste. That’s fine. I used the little muffling device included with the kit (which looked like a giant black Twinkie) but it wasn’t that closely against the head.

But, I think with a small hole in the front head and some more substantial muffling that would get that sound to a more conventional tone.

In terms of playing the drum, I think it was the best small bass drum on a kit like this that I’ve played. Very comfortable, and that made me feel better with the kit overall. In addition, the riser was easy to use and I liked the cut out in the hoop (see the video) to allow the pedal better access to the head.

Even though they are made by Remo (but aren’t USA made) I didn’t like the stock heads, but I’d say that every time, although they do the job.

I did change out the batter heads on the toms to play in the video and I immediately noticed the difference. They weren’t even new heads either. Gone was the thin flimsy sound and it was replaced by something much more full and convincing. This was reassuring.

I’ve owned a small kit like this for over a decade now and I enjoy playing it. However, as with what I said before, the main thing that has let that kit down for me is the kick drum (which is a 16x16). It has just never fully felt right playing it, even when it actually sounds ok. Part of that I think is because it has metal hoops and not wood hoops like this kit.

From my experience with the New Yorker, it seems to me that it ticks all the right boxes for things I would want in a small portable set of drums. It’s lightweight, has good solid hardware and has the potential to sound pretty good.

The bigger bass drum does add a little more bulk in terms of carrying it, but that in itself isn’t really much of an issue and not a deal-breaker.

All in all, I think I would happily own or gig with one.

More at - www.pacificdrums.com/drums/newyorker

David Bateman

April 2016

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