Mini/micro/pocket kits; whatcha got? What do you like?

Dumpy

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Since the concert toms fell through, I have decided the pocket kit could be where I go. Technically, I have a kit that would kit in a cymbal case, but I think those drums would do better as add-on effect drums. My choices are as follows: Sonor AQX, Sonor AW2, Pearl Midtown, Ludwig Questlove, Pdp New Yorker, Tama; what is the consensus?

The Pearl is out because 2/3 reviews mention the wrap bubbling, unless someone can tell me something redeeming about them over the bubbled wrap. I have read mixed reviews about non-German Sonor. Tama seems to always have a winner no matter what price point, and PDP is DW junior.

But not knowing bunches about the mini kit segment, this is where I ask your likes, dislikes, and flat out values and rip offs.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Sonor Safari kit is killer. I picked one up for $200 used at GC (less than 1/2 of new) and it looked new. 8x10/12x14/16x16/5x14. It is a blue/black sparkle that is nice. Great all around kit.

 

bassanddrum84

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Pdp they sound great the quality is great and they just look good
 

gra7

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I own the Tama Club-Jam Mini kit and they are surprisingly funky and punchy - however recently I tried the first version of the PDP New Yorker Jazz Drum Kit (the one with the 18"x12" kick drum, 10" rack and 13" floor) and just wow - it would work in a rock setting in a small venue with the right heads and tuning. If I didn't have the Club-Jam, I would get that kit without question.
 

Soulfinger

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Pearl Midtown here - never heard about wrap problems, and mine is perfect in every way. Great kit, very versatile, sounds good in high and low tunings. Would buy again!

That said, I mostly play a bikini kit these days - snare and a Pearl Export 13x11 tom that I converted to a bass drum. And I just scored a 12x5 Gretsch Catalina Club snare and a Pearl Compact Traveler bass drum - 50 bucks for both. Love these!
 

dingaling

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There’s a post about some mini kit builds with older drums under the vintage section.

I just picked up some mint vintage Ludwig toms, 12x8, 14x10, 16x10 that I’m going to build into a mini kit with 16” bass. All in this build should be under $1,000.

Check out tinytubsdrumco on Instagram, that builder puts together small kits with 14” and 16” bass drums made from vintage toms and snares.
 

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cribbon

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I have tried and/or owned several versions of the jungle/micro/bop kit variations.

First was the Sonor Safari ($305 new w/o snare), same as JazzDrumGuy mentioned above. No complaints at all except the two-story tom holder was a bit overkill. Sold it for Xmas money.

Next was a Pearl Rhythm Traveler bass drum (8x20), which I paired with a DW 12 piccolo tom & Pearl 13 flat timbale; I still have and use it for tight, quiet venues.

Followed that with a Tama Metro Jam (16k/10,13f). Had a bit of trouble getting the 16 kick where I wanted it (I prefer a thud to a boing) but sold it later for - you guessed it - Xmas money. I need to budget better.

Found another Metro Jam (barely used) locally a couple of years later and grabbed it right away. My fix for the 16 kick was to use a Remo Muff'l on the batter head along with a two-ply on the front. This sounds great and since 2018 I've been using it successfully both for quiet jazz gigs and - with a mic on the kick -- on classic rock gigs. The band was skeptical when I first brought it on the gig ("why did you bring a toy drum set?"), but at the end of the night, they were converts ("that thing really kicks ass"). This is a killer dirt bike of a drum set and remains in heavy rotation.

Near the end of 2019, I found a pristine Tama Silverstar bop kit (18k/12/14f w/ snare) on Reverb. It was the same color as my Metro Jam and after some experimentation, I settled on using the 18 kick (which sounds ridiculously MASSIVE with a clear Aquarian Force 1 batter head) with the smaller toms (10 & 13f) from the Metro Jam.

Also picked up one of those Tama Imperialstar lightweight bop kits they were blowing out a few years ago - ok for playing at home and for light jams, but not really ballsy enough for serious gigs. Sold it.

Recently tried a Gretsch Catalina Club (18k/12/14f w/ 5x14 snare - beautiful bronze sparkle), but no matter what I did, I couldn't get the rack tom not to choke, so I returned it to the store. It was an impulse buy and I really wanted to like it, but it just wouldn't cut the mustard.

As you can see, I've come to favor smaller drums (although 16 is as small as I go for bass drums) in my sunset years (my "big" kit is 20k/10-12-14f); if I need more oomph, I let the mic's help with the heavy lifting. Simple and easy is my mantra now.
 

CAMDRUMS

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I would recommend the Tama Superstar Classic Neo Mod kit. I have owned both the 20-12-14 and 22-12-16 configurations and really liked both of them. The bass drums are only 10” deep so don’t take up much stage space but with the standard diameters, you get some good low end. I have found these bass drums to offer a wider tuning range than all the kits with the 16” and smaller bass drums. You might also want to check out the Inde Waifare (sp ?) kits and Twin Cities Drum Collective Travel Dates kits. Similar sizes, but a little more expensive.
 

funkypoodle

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Saving my pennies for this .
View attachment 489370
I was blown away by the video of these. By far the lightest, biggest sounding drums available IMO. And you just know that thought was put into every little detail.

For now I<ve got this "work in progress" kit. I recently acquired a 18x10 B/O bass drum shell project that will match this kit. The 16x12 will be relocated back to floor tom #2, so 12x8, 14x12, 16x12 & 18x10, a 1 up, 2 down Macro-bop kit.
IMG_3282.jpg
 
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sixplymaple

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I have been thinking about getting one of the Sonor AQ2 bop kits for some time now, but them being made in China has stopped me from pulling the trigger. I’d rather spend 3x the price on a kit not made in a communist country...
 

pwc1141

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I have been thinking about getting one of the Sonor AQ2 bop kits for some time now, but them being made in China has stopped me from pulling the trigger. I’d rather spend 3x the price on a kit not made in a communist country...
It is likely Taiwan rather than mainland China .........
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I have a DW Low Pro kit that I use for rehearsals , jams and the occasional outdoor gig . The bass needs to be mixed for sure . The Toms sound ok . The SNOM is terrible and I sold it immediately .

I just commissioned Gary Posey of Summit drums to make me a travel kit . It will be steambent curly maple .
20 x 10 bass ; 12 x 6 rack and 14 x 7 hanging floor Tom . This was inspired by the N&C Star series kits . I may add a 10 x 5 and 16 x 8 to it next year . The drums will have Stellar Wood Hoops , Slingerland Repro Beavertail lugs and INDe mounts for the Toms and INDe bass drum spurs .
 

davidh

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I have had a Catalina - sounded ok but very nasty wood like white cheese
a Yamaha Stage Custom Bebop - thin and tinny but great shells and construction
a Pearl Midtown - horrible clanking timbale-esque
a Breakbeats - fab in every way
now just a vintage set for home use as I am not gigging and maybe will not again ...
but if I was it would be another Breakbeats.. or an AQ2 or an AQX or a Tama Neo Mod or a Yamaha hip or...
 

swarfrat

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I'm on the lookout for something to become an 8-10" x 24-26". That and a snare, hats, crash, and ride will be my "microkit". Actually my Paiste special 20" ride could do double duty as a crash ride. It's basically a thin crash with a bell.
 


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