New Kit on Order

SpinaDude

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OK...it looks like I'm about to join the TAMA family. A few months ago Tama launched their Walnut/Birch Starclassic kits. I remembered the same wood blend (although in a different configuration) was used by Mapex for a limited edition Saturn several years ago. I loved their sound, but wasn't in the market for a new kit that many years ago. So when this line was announced I was very excited and loved what I had heard from them from different review videos. But I never found a finish I was in love with. You may remember, I was asking people to post pics if they saw the drums in person. My hope was to get a better idea of what they looked like.

Well, now the finish doesn't matter. Today I finally got to hear them. And damn, was I disappointed. My friend (soon to be my brother-in-law) Steve and I both thought they were dead and dull sounding. Unfortunately they sounded cheap. So I was real disappointed.

In the meantime, up on the wall and minding it's own business, was a Starclassic Bubinga kit. 4 piece shellpack in a gorgeous jungle quilted bubinga burst.
401212

I only had time (they were about to close) to try out the 10 inch tom, but I was bowled over by the sound: full, rich, robust, dark yet sweet with a touch of high end...I mean I was really blown away. It was a very pure sound. That was the sound I had expected from the walnut/birch.

The big shock was that I've heard Tama Bubinga kits on plenty of videos before, but was never thrilled with them. I always thought they sounded a little choked. Not so in person. These had plenty of sustain.

Knowing these are discontinued, and this exotic finish is also limited, I bit the bullet and put down a deposit. I'm going back tomorrow or next weekend to play the rest of it and make sure it sounds the way I want. I'm pretty sure it will! LOL Now I need to research a rack system.
 
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Mcjnic

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Wow!!!
Congratulations!
What a beautiful kit. I’ve never owned a Bubinga kit. Heck, I don’t recall ever playing one. Very glad for you. Good luck on the full on test.
 

SpinaDude

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Is the bass drum big enough?
Not sure if you're busting my chops or not. LOL it's 18x22. Bass drum size (unless it's a monster) and sound has never been that much of an issue for me. With the right head, muffling and tuning, I've generally been able to get the sound I want from a bass drum.
 

Drum Gear Review

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I just finished checking out a W/B kit for Drum, and I really enjoyed it. The rack toms did feel a little tight like you suggested, but as soon as I changed the heads, the kit really came to life. The stock 2-ply clear Evans over Tama single-ply resos gave a great quick and punchy sound, but a single-ply coated over an Aquarian single-ply clear opened things up a lot.

What was the head combo on the bubinga kit?
 

SpinaDude

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Evans G2 over G1 on the Bubinga.

I tweaked the tuning on the B/W, but no matter what it just sounded...I can't find the right word, but the woody equivalent of tinny. Just a thin, dingy little sound. No pop whatsoever. Not quite an Imperialstar...but no real body to it. I had the same disappointment when I tried the Saturn V.
 

Bandit

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Well you know I am disappointed, but congratulations on your kit. :)
 

JDA

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Not sure if you're busting my chops or not. LOL it's 18x22. Bass drum size (unless it's a monster) and sound has never been that much of an issue for me. With the right head, muffling and tuning, I've generally been able to get the sound I want from a bass drum.
See, that's interesting. I was looking at the set from the perspective of - having to carry it- from job to job..
.....
 
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polycrescendo

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Gorgeous kit. Congrats!

For a rack, if you get those two stands with the kit, I would just order the curved Gibraltar rack bar and a few tom clamps and memory locks. You actually don't need convetional rack legs if you have a couple of worthy cymbal stands. It works for me.
 

xsabers

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Evans G2 over G1 on the Bubinga.

I tweaked the tuning on the B/W, but no matter what it just sounded...I can't find the right word, but the woody equivalent of tinny. Just a thin, dingy little sound. No pop whatsoever. Not quite an Imperialstar...but no real body to it. I had the same disappointment when I tried the Saturn V.
This, I don't get. In my experience, Saturns have always had a warm, round tone. I've played live under mics, live with no mics, in the studio several times, and the sound is consistently good, regardless of the head combos.
 

Bandit

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This, I don't get. In my experience, Saturns have always had a warm, round tone. I've played live under mics, live with no mics, in the studio several times, and the sound is consistently good, regardless of the head combos.
Yes. Pretty much the opposite of what everyone else says about Saturns.
 

Mcjnic

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Yeah ... I was going to ask about that and thought better of it. I've never heard a Saturn tom or bass than didn't have an intensely beautiful sound. Maybe head choice? I don't know. Could of been the weird acoustics of the store. Who knows.
 

Bandit

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If you really want a big warm tone from a Saturn, put a coated single ply on one.
 

SpinaDude

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Hi guys. I want to address everything here. Please forgive me if I miss something.

I'll hit the Saturns first, since there are so many comments about that. I want to say first, this is only my experience with them. When I tried them out, 2 toms and a floor tom, I tries them out pretty much side by side with a DW Collector's Series maple and an SJC maple.

I played on the DW for a couple of minutes,and it was OK, nothing great, especially not for $4200 for a 4 piece shell pack. They looked beautiful, and were very clearly high quality, but they weren't anything to spin your head around.

I had the same issue with the Saturns. No one was more disappointed in this than me. I was dying to mess with this kit. I re-tuned them (just a bit) and they were still a little weak. I played them for Steve (friend and future brother-in-law) who was in the market for a kit and had fallen in love with Saturn he'd seen and heard online. He was unimpressed also. I was really bummed because I thought for sure that would be my next kit. Xsabers and Bandit know me from Official Drummer, they know I was a major Mapex cheerleader. The heads were coated emperors over clear ambassadors. Finally it was the SJC maple kit in a wrap. It sounded good (especially the kick)...and then I took a key to it. (I'm an extremely mediocre musician, but I tune drums very well.) It was no contest. Beautiful, warmth plenty of low end throttle and it really filled the room -- a cavernous room with 20 foot ceilings. Filled the room to the point that someone wandered over from the guitar room and said, "Damn, that's a great sounding kit." Steve had it in cases and packed into his car less than an hour later.

The same thing happened with the Tama kits. No matter how much I fiddled with the tuning on B/W...I was just not satisfied. Then when I heard the Starclassic Bubinga...It was like going to the driving range, and you're struggling to connect with the ball. You're getting these little "plinks" when the club and ball meet for a 35 yard whiff, while three stalls away you hear a shotgun every time Joe Pro cracks one out more than 250 yards. It really was that much of a difference. Again, I was more surprised than anyone, because I'd never been blown away by a Bubinga kit online. Too choked and controlled for my tastes.

You have to remember something else too...I'm not a pro, nor do I expect I'll ever be a gigging drummer (Which also answers to my lack of concern over bass drum size. My only concern would be it affecting tom placement if the diameter is too high.). Maybe something will come up, for cheesy bar gigs or something like that, but I doubt it. So I am not listening to a drum knowing the tone is there, sweet and rich, and will be perfect for a studio. I'm laying into it with a sharp attack and want to feel punched in the chest by a very specific crack, sustain and timbre. I want it to sound like that in my living room, every time. These are nebulous descriptions and completely subjective. But I know what I want when I hear it. And that was absolutely that Starclassic Bubinga tom. I hope, and firmly expect, the rest of the kit to live up to that. I'll find out this weekend.

Please understand, I don't want to slam anyone's likes or dislikes here. I respect your opinions. I'm simply relating my experiences, disappointments and discoveries. In this case, so far, all my expectations have been subverted.
 

SpinaDude

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Yes. Pretty much the opposite of what everyone else says about Saturns.
I absolutely believe you guys, and know that to be true from so much of what I've read. I also know you really love them, Glenn, since you own so many gorgeous Saturn kits. I had really hoped to join that family.
 

SpinaDude

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Gorgeous kit. Congrats!

For a rack, if you get those two stands with the kit, I would just order the curved Gibraltar rack bar and a few tom clamps and memory locks. You actually don't need convetional rack legs if you have a couple of worthy cymbal stands. It works for me.
I'm also ordering two extra toms,so it will be a 7 piece. I MAY also get the Starphonic copper snare. I almost fell over when I heard it. WHAT A SNARE!!!

I plan on selling my old set and hardware. Just keeping Falcon pedal, cymbals, Sledgehammer snare and stool. I'm currently considering a three sided Gibraltar rack, as well as some other rack options. I don't think I'll go stealth...I think I want a straight up snare stand.
 

D. B. Cooper

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I get it, man. Tamas sounds so good. I always think about getting a set...
Maybe some day...
 


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