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The Zildjian A Custom range was introduced to offer a contemporary alternative to the company’s longstanding Avedis series of cymbals, which have been a keen favourite amongst percussionists since their introduction. Zildjian did not introduce the A custom series to offer a departure from their signature sound; it is more an additional option which allows musicians to fine tune their sound.


The A Custom series offers musicians a range of choices in varied diameters to further hone their signature sound. The Fast Crash and EFX have experienced much commercial success, becoming popular lines. Other options include the Crash, Medium Crash and Projection Crash.


This choice allows drummers to mix and match their sound, creating a bespoke drum kit which is truly unique. As in true Zildjian style, the cymbals are made adhering to their traditional formula of 80 per cent copper and 20 percent tin, with the occasional glimmer of silver.


So if the formula used in manufacture is very similar to the Avedis range, what is it that makes the sound different? Well this is not so easy to determine, because of course Zildjian keep their exact methods of production very close to their chests, and so they should. It is the way these materials are mixed however, rather than a change in the ratio of materials used, which creates the higher pitched sound.


In terms of aesthetics, the Zildjian A Custom 14” Crash cymbals have a brilliant finish and have been buffed, to quote the official Zildjian catalogue, “to a warm golden hue”. The cymbals’ lathing consists of neat bands, which start at the centre of the cymbal and work outwards towards the edge. Under stage lights, or even just the lights in your garage, the lathing bands create a shimmering effect which is magnified when the cymbals are struck.


What about the sound I hear you cry. The 14” is of course a very fast talking cymbal, although it is still able to produce a significant volume of sound which belies its small size. Compared to other crashes you may have had the pleasure to strike in the past, there is no denying the Zildjian A Custom 14” is relatively high pitched, but despite that, the sound is full, strong and by no means brittle. 


For a beautiful looking crash cymbal which enables you to create a sound very much of your own, the Zildjian A Custom 14” Crash is fast enough and loud enough to do your talking for you. For the very best prices, take a look at the Zildjian A Custom 14” Crash here at Instrumania.

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Launched back in 2009, the Meridian series supercedes two previous Mapex ranges, the Pro M and M Birch. This has lead Mapex to offer the Meridian series as a selection of all-maple and all-birch drum kits.

 

To show that the new Meridian range of kits is more than just re-badging old drums, Mapex have added a load of new features.

 

Though neither kits are especially expensive, there is a sizeable difference between the cheaper to manufacture birch and the maple model, which recently won the MIPA award for Best Acoustic Drum Kit. 

The Mapex Meridian Birch Drum Kit has a slightly different feeling and response to the maple version, but is no less playable offering users plenty of attack and a remarkably bright tone.

 

The Birch Mapex Meridian drum kit gives players light-weight appointments compared to bulkier alternatives. From lugs to their tom mounting system, Mapex has looked at everything on this drum kit to ensure that the Meridian models are lighter, easier to set up, and better to gig with than other acoustic drum sets in the market.

 

The drum shells feature Mapex’s I.T.S. Mounting System in another weight saving process. By mounting to the lug casings, Mepex have kept the mount compact to enhance overall drum response allowing for minimal drum shell contact. The mounting also allows you to swap the drumheads while the tom is still attached to it's holder allowing a much easier setup while touring.

 

To keep the price down the heads on the Mapex Remo Asia’s see-through UT heads which are generally felt to be OK but not as resilient as the made-in-USA versions, but if you promise to look after the Unicorn heads they will last a pretty long time regardless of playing style.

Despite examples of cost cutting, the Mapex is remarkably well built. An example of this is the 700 bass pedal, which truely is a no-nonsense rugged unit with a normal sized duo footboard with a toe stop, twin spurs, and a three surfaced beater. Quite simply...it gets the job done. 

 

If you are in the market for a mid-ranged acoustic drum kit, that sounds great, offers a bright tone and is rugged enough to be able to travel with, you have to check out the Mapex Meridian Birch model, a great set for the intermediate player.

 

 

Joey Kramer, one of the most famous drummers of all time, has been drumming with Aerosmith for over 40 years. His reward? His very own signature Ludwig Joey Kramer Model snare.

 

A limited production, the Joey Kramer snare is very similar to the Corey Miller signature model and Ludwig's other new snare, The Brick. With nylon washers under the tension rods, it features almost exactly the same conventional throw-off. The main difference between the models, to me anyway, is that each Joey Kramer drum is hand-signed by Joey himself on an internal paper slip.

 

The black nickel over 1.5mm gauge brass shell looks impressive with impeccably engraved Asian style dragons lacing the sides. The dragons are encased by 5mm die-cast hoops and 10 black nickel-plated brass tube lugs.

 

Despite their similarities the  Joey Kramer's brass shell drum is much heavier than Corey Miller's steel counterpart, and plays with a deep, dark fundamental. One potential stick-splitting danger is the die-cast hoops, but if you are careful, they are worth having as they really enfold sound really well, making the Joey Kramer snare loud but less unruly than the steel Corey Miller. It has a fat and warm tone making it sound exceptionally refined, and is capable of a wide tuning and dynamic range.

 

Now before you rush out and buy this fantastic snare, I’m afraid there is a bit of a drawback. Firstly, I was a little disappointed that Ludwig didn’t put their name anywhere on the Joey Kramer signature. It’s not a big deal but it would of been the icing on the cake to have a superior brand listed on a superior product.

 

The second and more financially damaging drawback is the price. At the time of writing, Ludwig are shipping these bad boys out at about £700. That’s a full £250 more than the Corey Miller model. Although it is probably worth every penny, this is definitely one for hardcore drummers, leaving the amateurs in their dust...unless of course, they can find it cheap on Instrumania.

The D2 acoustic drum kit is a pretty nice drum kit all told.  If you’re a beginner like me then you’re probably not going to need anything else for quite a while.  The drum shells themselves look to be really well made and are really sturdy.  I made the mistake of buying a cheap drum kit a while ago and was quite unimpressed with the quality.  In fact, it’s in bits in my loft right now!  The colour on the shells is really just a plastic laminate that is glued onto the shells, but it does look awesome and anyway, it’s  the sound that counts!

 

The tom heads on this kit are a little on the thin side, but it doesn’t really matter.  The kick heads are better and so are the snares.  The cymbal stands are pretty perfect; not too heavy and each part is double-braced unlike other cheaper drum kits.  The only thing I would say about the cymbals is that they are a little thick and this can spoil the sound a little making it more metallic than it needs to be.  But saying that once you get into a good rhythm it doesn’t really notice.  I just needed to tell myself this was a beginner kit and bought to teach me techniques rather than appreciate really good sound.  Later when I’m good I’ll think about buying a more expensive kit.

 

The chair is okay, but might need a cushion after a while as it got a little uncomfortable.  It’s fine for shorter periods of practice though.  You also get 6 pairs of sticks and a stick bag which I wasn’t expecting so that was pretty cool.

 

Assembling the kit was pretty easy too and it was pretty obvious where everything needed to fit.  The Ddrum website also features a video on how to construct the kit.  I don’t think you can get a better drum kit of the price even if you were to buy a used kit.  The quality of the hardware and the drums themselves is good and whilst the cymbals might be a bit weak you’re simply not going to find a set of cymbals for this price.

 

Overall really really happy with this kit and I know it’s going to give me lots of great practicing time over the years. 

 

We’ve all been guilty of dreaming of becoming the next Cozy Powell, Lars Ulrich or Neil Peart, a true sensation in the drumming world, but there is that one little thing holding you back, the cost.


Who wants to invest thousands on a drum kit when they are not even sure if drumming is right for them? I’m as guilty as the next for taking up a hobby requiring a substantial investment only to lose interest after a few weeks.


Thankfully, Alesis, the world’s fastest-growing drum company, has the answer to your predicament, a cheap electronic drum kit. The Alesis DM6 electronic drum kit package deal is the perfect solution to many of the problems budding drummers face. This is the perfect digital kit for those who want to give drumming a go or for the intermediate learner player looking for a low cost set to practice with.


The Alesis DM6 digital drum kit offers all the benefits of the more expensive digital kits, and with dual zone pads equipped as standard, the capability of each piece is expanded while saving money and room compared to a full sized acoustic drum kit.
Despite the low cost of the DM6 over one hundred preset drum, percussion and cymbal sounds, this cheap electronic drum kit broadens the genre of music you can experiment with. One really nice feature of the budget digital drum kit is that the set also allows users to program up to fifteen different drum sets giving budding drummers the chance to play with a range of kits within the Alesis DM6. Combine this with the DM6’s MIDI output that allows you to download and upload sounds from your computer as well as the set being fully compatible with drum module software, the possibilities are endless.


The Alesis DM6 allows potential drummers to improve their skill level without outgrowing their drum kit, and saving you more money in the long run. The cheap electronic drum kit also comes with a full set of cables and mounting hardware, as well as a tough kick drum and hi-hat pedals. The natural, realistic feel of the drum heads and cymbal surfaces reduce vibration and provide a realistic feedback for the user.


Weighing in at only thirty seven pounds, this lightweight drum kit is built sturdy enough to endure countless hours of play. The aluminium rack is pretty sturdy eating up anything you can dish out and is even compatible with other manufactures pieces so you can shop around for pieces should you ever need to.


So go ahead explore your musical talent and express your creativity with the Alesis DM6 electronic drum kit, a great cheap electronic drum kit for any aspiring musician.

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