Accoustic Drum

My first drum was a Tama Imperial Star in Midnight Blue that I managed to buy second hand from a friend. However it came with a crapy set of cymbals which I quickly replaced / expanded with a set of Paiste 101’s. And of course a double kick pedal!

From there on the set got multiple changes. A first set of drum mics, mixer for the mics, additional cymbals, a Pearl rack, … Everything to make life easier and better sounding :-p The mics and mixer however were to prevent ear damage as drums tend to go very loud and I have low ceilings. But if you play with ear plugs you can no longer hear your hi-hat or ride… So a little piece of advice: invest in good mics as soon as possible! Even if it’s with an old and beaten drum kit or mixer.

Then I came across a very old and odd drum set with blank wood. So I sold my Tama and got this one instead (yes, the kick is Tama, the toms weren’t). Racked it, stacked it and wrapped it. I’ve actually created my own skin for this drum! New heads both on batter and reso side and I was set.

Oh wait… Nope… New cymbals, new mics and my first good snare: the Pearl Slipknot (Joey Jordisson) signature snare drum.

The thing sounded quite okay, but due to the huge shells playing it was not optimal. However I had no intention of selling it, as I had put quite some money in it. But then I fell in love…

In the local drum shop they had this gorgeous DW collectors series for sale. Furthermore it was with a not so common wood and a not so common print. My goal was always to have a DW Collectors drum as to me they are the Porsche among drums! So guess what happened…

Yeah, the DW somehow managed up in my home together with a new goal: one day I’ll expand this kit with an additional kick and toms in the same print and complete my ultimate dream kit.

As these things tend to go the kit got bigger and improved. I’ve added a Roland SPD-SX, triggers, a Roland TM-2, Pearl butt kicker, … All was good, all was fine.

And then that same drum shop had another DW Collectors that managed to strike my fancy… Can you believe it!? Again with quite an unique print…

A heafty process begin of contemplating pro’s and cons. Would they match visually? Would they match sonically? Expanding my current kit versus buying this kit to extend mine… President Trump and other law policies started to have impact on internation prices and trades, so prices would go up even more. Furthermore buying a whole set is cheaper than buying the seperate components. And if I ever need to sell it – due to money problems or whatsoever – two kits are more likely to sell than one large one, because for that money they’ll buy their own dream kit. So I had a small tendency towards this dream kit.

Furthermore I already had a band name in mind for a long time: Duality. You can already see this from the Runish D sign on my custom print from my second drum set. This because I like duality. Like the male versus female singing in Nightwish, or the operatic voice versus the heavy metal sound in that same band. or the fact that my first DW was black and white (duality again). And well… This new set completes the Duality picture again, as now my kit is as dual as it could be :p

Specs

White Glass – Black Contrails
Pure Cherry – Black Nickel hardware

10″ x 8″ Rack tom
12″ x 9″ Rack tom
16″ x 14″ Floor tom
22″ x 18″ Kick
14″ x 5.5″ Snare (main)

Please find my exact tuning settings below.

Grey Crystal
Pure Maple – Black Nickel hardware

10″ x 8″ Rack tom
12″ x 9″ Rack tom
16″ x 14″ Floor Tom
22″ x 18″ Kick
14″ x 5.5″ Snare (aux)

Please find my exact tuning settings below.

Drum heads

All toms (rack and floor): Remo Pinstripe Ebony batter – originalDW Remo batter heads (with the white ring) resonant.
Snares: Remo Emporor X Black Suède batter – original resonant.
Kicks: Evans EMAD Heavyweight batter – original resonant with Kickport

Cymbals

Paiste PST8 10″ Rock splash
Paiste PST8 12″ Cajun hi-hats
Paiste PST8 14″ Rock hi-hats
Paiste PST8 16″ Rock crash
Paiste 2002 16″ Crash
Paiste PST8 17″ Rock crash
Paiste PST8 18″ Rock crash
Paiste Alpha 18″ China
Paiste PST8 20″ Rock ride
Paiste PSTX 16″ Swiss Thin Crash
Paiste PSTX 14″ Swiss Flanger Stack

Meinl tambourine

Pedals

DW Machined Direct Drive double pedal (right kick)
DW Machined Direct Drive single pedal (left kick)
DW Machined Direct Drive hi-hat pedal

Mics

All toms (rack + floor): Sennheiser E904
Snares: Audix i5 both on top and bottom
Overheads: Röde M5 (2 overheads, 1 for left hi-hat and tambourine, 1 for right hi-hat and ride)

In-ears: Shure SE535

Triggers

Roland BT-1 (bar trigger – special effects)
Roland RT-10K (kicks)
Roland RT-10S (main snare)
Roland KT-10 (additional digital kick pedal)

Roland SPD-SX
Roland TM-2

Pearl Throne Thumper (not really a trigger, but didn’t know where else to put it)

Sticks

Vic Firth 5AN.

For some reason I just prefer sticks with nylon tips. It prevents the tip itself from cracking open, so you don’t puncture your heads. And if your drum has been collecting dust for some while you can easily clean the tips without painting black dust all over your cymbals.

And for me these are the perfect weight for both my accoustic and my digital drumset. They allow me to play hard and fast if I want to, or with more dynamics. All without stressing my muscles.

Additional snares

  • DW Design Series Smoke Acryl (14″ x 8″) with stock heads
  • Mapex Black Panther Warbird (12″ x 5,5″) with stock heads (Chris Adler signature)
  • Pearl JJ1365 Slipknot (13″ x 6,5″) with Remo Tattoo Dragon Skyn (Joey Jordison signature)
  • Tama Starphonic PCP147 Copper (14″ x 7″) with stock heads

About the rack

There is one and only one reason that my rack isn’t a DW rack: round tubes. It may sound silly, but I couldn’t be bothered with tom or cymbal clamps creeping down. Or having to tighten those screws untill you break them. Or even worse: they loosen when you don’t want them to and when you need to, they don’t budge. So a nice square rack for me!

About sound

Some people like long sounding toms – with lots of resonance. But I don’t. I like short strokes – so that even when you hear the drum without PA it almost sounds like on an album. Furthermore I don’t really like clear heads as batter heads, so that’s why I went with the Ebony Pinstripes. They give me a really nice condensed sound with a sweet dynamic and they match may kit perfectly color wise.

To dampen this even further I use SlapKlatz – black ones so they don’t stand out too much compared to my heads. As you might have noticed I keep the top plastic attached to them. Why? Because it really annoys me when all the splinters from the sticks get stuck in these. It’s just messy and anything but aesthetical pleasing.

As you can see by looking at my specs all my heads are Remo, except the batter heads on kick drums. I heard them for the first time in my local drum shop and I just fell in love with the sound. Remo’s Powerstroke 3 isn’t comparable according to me, unfortunately. Furthermore: the dampening ring allows me to sound match my kick drums easier. Both actually have a different size in them now.

On my main snare I also use a Big Fat Snare Drum. Again a little thing that helps me get the sound I want. Short, fat, not too bright and without overtones.

In my kicks I have added Kickports. There are a lot of opinions out there about good or not, but I can only speak for myself and why I use them. To me it’s common sense that when you play quick (for example double kick pedal on single kick drum) you push air out quicker than it can recuperate via the little ventilation holes. So basically you would have the first hit loud and the next ones a bit more silent and different. So the first part for me is to allow my kicks to breathe properly and thus have each hit sound as close to the previous one as possible. The second reason is that I do like the sound more with the ports added than without. Again: I like condensed sounds.

Another little tweak I want to talk to you about are cymbal washers.

About tuning

It took me quite a while to find my exact sound and preferences, so I noted everything down to give me a headstart each time I change heads or whatsoever 😉

The tools I use for the measurement are a Tama Tension watch (to keep the tension as even as possible) and a Tune Bot by Overtone Labs.

10″ Toms

Cherry Maple
Shell note: B B
Top tension rods: 65 65
Top middle tension: 65 65
Bottom tension rods: 80 75
Bottom middle tension: 80 75
General frequency: 125 Hz 150 Hz

12″ Toms

Cherry Maple
Shell note: E Eb
Top tension rods: 62 60
Top middle tension: 60 60
Bottom tension rods: 65 55
Bottom middle tension: 65 55
General frequency: 110 Hz 100 Hz

16″ Floor toms

Cherry Maple
Shell note: C# F
Top tension rods: 64 60
Top middle tension: 62 65
Bottom tension rods: 70 65
Bottom middle tension: 70 65
General frequency: 80 Hz 70 Hz

Snares

Cherry Maple
Shell note: C
Top tension rods: 85
Top middle tension: 83
Bottom tension rods: 80
Bottom middle tension:
General frequency: 165 Hz 185 Hz

Kicks

Cherry Maple
Shell note:
Top tension rods:
Top middle tension:
Bottom tension rods:
Bottom middle tension:
General frequency: 60 Hz 60 Hz

About triggers

Again a topic with thousands of people and millions of opinions. So without saying this or that I’ll simply give you the reason why I use them.

On the kicks I use them for 2 reasons. The first is comparable to using a moon mic on your kick to get that extra low-end. But the advantage of a trigger is that I can get multiple articulations if I want to – according to what fits the song best. So my pure trigger sound is really to be used in a blend .

The other reason is that if you use 2 kick drums tuning them or making them sound the same is near impossible. Even if you use the same wood 😉 Whereas if your sound is blended with the sound of your trigger, the difference gets smaller (or so it appears) as both then share a common ground.

As for the Pearl Throne Thumber: as I always play with in-ears rather than having huge speakers or subs it’s sometimes hard to ‘feel’ the music. And bass sounds are always tricky – no matter how expensive your in-ears. So a butt kicker or Throne Thumper gets the feel of the subs back, but without being audible.

You can compare and get all the sounds down below. Pure mics, triggers only, my mix, my in-ear mix, …

Sound samples

  • Kick (pure)
  • Kick trigger
  • Kick mix
  • Snare (pure)
  • Snare trigger
  • Snare mix
  • Snare crossstick trigger
  • Full drums
  • Full drums (in-ear mix)

Gallery