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Decent studio kit w/ snare, HW and cymbals for $2500?
Old 19th June 2019
  #1
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Decent studio kit w/ snare, HW and cymbals for $2500?

It would be nice to have a decent in-house kit so session players don't have to lug gear if they don't want to. It's mostly for songwriter-type production. These aren't exactly Nashville cats, either... just solid regional/local drummers.

Can I do it for $2500? If so how would you break it down between kit, snare, cymbals, hw? Suggestions on brands, configurations are welcome.

Gracias!


----
and if this is too tight a budget, at what price point could I get there?

Last edited by CrankyChris; 20th June 2019 at 02:26 AM..
Old 20th June 2019
  #2
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Used you can get a decent kit for that no question
Old 20th June 2019
  #3
$2500 is likely really tight if you want something that drummers will prefer to use over their own kit. In my opinion that likely means high end DW, Yamaha, etc.

I would suggest that you don't invest in cymbals - you will quickly blow your budget. Drummers are especially picky about cymbals and will tend to want to use their own.

I actually was just considering selling a great studio kit - I have a Yamaha Recording Custom 20th Anniversary Steve Gadd edition set (22 kick, 10, 12, 14, 15 toms, 14X6.5 snare) in translucent black stain finish, in very good condition. IMHO it sounds fantastic and everyone who uses it raves about it. I'm just not recording drums as much anymore and so would consider letting it go for a fair price.

If you are interested, PM me and we could probably work something out.
Old 20th June 2019
  #4
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Following this with interest. I spent a lot on one cymbal, everything else is scrounged bits and pieces. It works for me but no real drummer is going to leave their kit at home because of it.
Old 20th June 2019
  #5
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Cymbals are very personal and easy to lug around. You’ll need the cymbal stands though. Most drummers I know including myself have several snares and several sets of hi hats. Maybe even multiple rides. As suggested I put the bulk of your money into the kit and IF you have money left over some 13” and 14” high hats. New Beats are pretty universally accepted as a good recording hi hat. I’ve been shopping for a set of 13’s and they can be had used for around $100. Do your homework. The sets from the 80’s are the better sets and you can pick them out by their insignia. There’s a website that goes into all that. I guess I should buy the next set I see since I’m posting this.
Old 20th June 2019
  #6
Gear Head
 

for singer/songwriter type stuff i would go for a vintage ludwig type of thing. The price is right (like $1200ish for 12,16,22) and it's definitely something i would want to play on if a studio I was in had one. You can even buy them one drum at a time and save a few $. I would go with a Ludwig acrolite for the snare ($200 for a 70's one) I would make sure the heads are in order too. Remo coated ambasador on the bottom and coated emporer on top. For kick heads a coated Remo Powerstroke 3 fro batter and coated ambassador on the reso. small towel against each head on the inside would get it sounding great.

I would buy some 70's Zildjian A's. again the price is right, the sound is great for songwriter stuff and I would be really happy to play on them if a studio had them. 14" hats, 16" or 18" crash, and a 20" or 22" ride.

Buy whatever cymbal stands you need lightly used. Gibralter stuff is sturdy and generally not too pricy. A decent bass drum pedal might be pricy but it's necessary. I like the DW single chain 5000's but its a very personal thing for drummers. A throne... love ROc-N-Soc but they are expensive so gibralter will do.

So Im thinking you're $1400 in drums, $150 for heads, $500 in cymbals and $600 in hardware. So $2650 which admittedly is a conservative number and higher than you want but I think it's doable if you're patient and can stretch you budget a bit.

Also some people are saying not to worry about cymbals but i think nothing sinks a recording faster than a bad sounding cymbal.
Old 20th June 2019
  #7
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
$2500 is likely really tight if you want something that drummers will prefer to use over their own kit. In my opinion that likely means high end DW, Yamaha, etc.

I would suggest that you don't invest in cymbals - you will quickly blow your budget. Drummers are especially picky about cymbals and will tend to want to use their own.

I actually was just considering selling a great studio kit - I have a Yamaha Recording Custom 20th Anniversary Steve Gadd edition set (22 kick, 10, 12, 14, 15 toms, 14X6.5 snare) in translucent black stain finish, in very good condition. IMHO it sounds fantastic and everyone who uses it raves about it. I'm just not recording drums as much anymore and so would consider letting it go for a fair price.

If you are interested, PM me and we could probably work something out.
I’m actually intending (still - been a while in the planning) to get cymbals but no kit! Reason being I’m no drum tech, so I’d have to make plans to keep it maintained, and IME I can sample replace to fix crappy toms and even the snare, but trashy cymbals ruin everything. And sometimes even good live cymbals don’t sound great in the studio, or a drummer only has one cymbal they bash repeatedly.
Old 20th June 2019
  #8
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrovertigo View Post
... a vintage ludwig type of thing. The price is right (like $1200ish for 12,16,22) and it's definitely something i would want to play on if a studio I was in had one....
Great point! That's a great approach!

A vintage kit offers a true alternative (vibe & tone) to a modern one . And there's always drum replacement...

Excellent!
Old 20th June 2019
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Poopypants's Avatar
 

I've been a pro drummer for decades and I've never spent anything near $2500 on a kit. Chances are, I'd rather play one of my vintage kits or even one of my junk kits over someone's brand new $2500 kit. I have drums from the 1920's to the near present. Most are 50's to 70's. There's damn near 70 of them. Some are full kits; some are strays.

The suggestion that you get a vintage Ludwig is an excellent suggestion. For your studio, you need not have all the drums match (I don't even bother with that on stage...) If you get a vintage 60's or 70's kit that was cobbled from spare drums or the finishes are different, great. Get it cheap and move on. There are differences between brands, but get the first good one you find. Might be Ludwig. Might be Rogers. Or Gretsch, Slingerland, Camco, and on. You want to make sure that the drums are in round, the bearing edges are straight, and the hoops are true. You might need some help from a drummer friend.

Cymbals are tough. You can do your research to find out what cymbals are considered to be good... but don't trust everything you read on the internet. You kind of have to know what you like. Just being a Zildjian does not make a cymbal good. Being a K Zildjian does not make a cymbal good. That just makes it expensive. It might be great. It might not. If you can't tell, then trust a drummer friend to pick out some cymbals for you. Definitely stay away from cymbal packs. Best is to buy used. For recording, thinner cymbals generally record best. That means you only let certain people play them. Take your time and acquire some nice cymbals as they cross your path.

Maybe if you went to a fancy vintage drum shop, you could pay $2500 or more for four piece and a pair of cymbals and some hats, but just picking around your neighborhood should get you there for half that.

Snare drum bargain: Ludwig Acrolite. Used for $150 or less. Will hold its own against anything.

Sizes... depends on what you're doing, but 22, 13, 16 can do anything. 20, 12, 14 is excellent, but the slightly larger sizes will have more beef. Don't fear a 24 if you're looking for a big kick sound.
Old 20th June 2019
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
... trashy cymbals ruin everything. And sometimes even good live cymbals don’t sound great in the studio, or a drummer only has one cymbal they bash repeatedly.
Amen. Just got home from recording live hard bop -- a quintet with Roy McCurdy on drums. Maybe the nicest assemblage of cymbals I've ever heard. What a privilege. :-)
Old 20th June 2019
  #11
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
It would be nice to have a decent in-house kit so session players don't have to lug gear if they don't want to
A studio kit doesn't necessarily have to look nice, so used is the often the way to go. A guy near me has a house kit where each piece is from a different set, different brand, even. A completely "ad hoc" drum set. Looks like hell, but it records great.

If you go used, I think the $2500 budget is eminently do-able, even adding in a few nice cymbals.

Most of the drummers that come with their Band, bring their own kits no matter what you have there. Often these kits are weird and there would be problems even trying to match the setup, never mind match the sound with a House Kit.

Most of the drummers I see that come in as hired guns tend to leave their drums "in the car" and haul them in only if they think the house kit won't work for them. Often, they are fine with our kick and toms, but are almost always bringing in their own snares and cymbals. I think pedals are also a very personal choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrovertigo
Also some people are saying not to worry about cymbals but i think nothing sinks a recording faster than a bad sounding cymbal.
I think the rationale is that nearly everyone uses their own cymbals anyway. We have Zildjians all around, but still, the last time someone used our house kit exactly 'as is' including the cymbals was me, playing accompaniment on a student audition for a jazz program.

I guess you want to have something decent for hats and ride, just in case someone shows up with literally nothing. Or some folksinger decides he knows kung fu. But you don't want to spend big for something that will mostly gather dust.
Old 21st June 2019
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I’m actually intending (still - been a while in the planning) to get cymbals but no kit! Reason being I’m no drum tech, so I’d have to make plans to keep it maintained, and IME I can sample replace to fix crappy toms and even the snare, but trashy cymbals ruin everything. And sometimes even good live cymbals don’t sound great in the studio, or a drummer only has one cymbal they bash repeatedly.

I agree completely, however, I have over $10,000 worth of cymbals (Zildjian K, K custom dark, A, Sabian Aax, Vault, HHX, paragon, Paiste Signature, Bosphorous, Turkish) and don't consider that anywhere close to covering everything sonically. And despite having what I think is a great collection optimized for recording, sadly drummers still typically want to use their own stuff unless there is one of those increasingly rare producers on-scene to over-rule them. Occasionally I win this debate after convincing them to do an A/B recorded demo, but that's a PITA....we drummers can be stubborn folk....

Whereas most drool over the Recording Custom signature kit I mentioned earlier. I'd say it had about a 75% acceptance rate, typically paired with a black beauty. But not many kits have the sort of reputation/status to do that... perhaps also DW, vintage Ludwig in some cases. Maintenance and tuning is not hard - a billion decent youtube how to videos. Despite this I am surprised by how many drummers can't tune well and are shocked when they hear a nicely tuned high-end pro kit.

Perspectives clearly differ on this sort of thing and there really is no right answer when it comes to this IMO.... just sharing what has been the case in my own experience.

Last edited by bambamboom; 21st June 2019 at 12:59 AM..
Old 21st June 2019
  #13
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standup's Avatar
I got a $300 Gretsch Catalina kit for my little basement studio. Not realizing the cymbals were going to cost twice that. But it’s there, agop high hats, 70s Zildjian medium ride, agop and sabian aax crashes. All used. It sounds good, people play it, but drummers bring their snare and cymbals when we’re doing anything slightly “serious”.
Old 21st June 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
I agree completely, however, I have over $10,000 worth of cymbals (Zildjian K, K custom dark, A, Sabian Aax, Vault, HHX, paragon, Paiste Signature, Bosphorous, Turkish) and don't consider that anywhere close to covering everything sonically. And despite having what I think is a great collection optimized for recording, sadly drummers still typically want to use their own stuff unless there is one of those increasingly rare producers on-scene to over-rule them. Occasionally I win this debate after convincing them to do an A/B recorded demo, but that's a PITA....we drummers can be stubborn folk....

Whereas most drool over the Recording Custom signature kit I mentioned earlier. I'd say it had about a 75% acceptance rate, typically paired with a black beauty. But not many kits have the sort of reputation/status to do that... perhaps also DW, vintage Ludwig in some cases. Maintenance and tuning is not hard - a billion decent youtube how to videos. Despite this I am surprised by how many drummers can't tune well and are shocked when they hear a nicely tuned high-end pro kit.

Perspectives clearly differ on this sort of thing and there really is no right answer when it comes to this IMO.... just sharing what has been the case in my own experience.
Sure. I just want a lifesaver - something generic, that’ll work most of the time. The u87 of cymbal sets.

If you only ever record experienced session guys or pros in touring bands, you might not need that - but I also do a fair amount of young bands with crap gear, so I have an ampeg with 2 different heads, a selection of versatile and classic amps, and a well set up start with low noise single coils to get me out of trouble!
Old 24th June 2019
  #15
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Gulliver's Avatar
 

Longtime drummer/engineer. I wouldn't splurge on a high end kit. I'd try to assemble some options, like a couple used maple kick drums that YOU like, maybe a 20" and a 24". A decent all around snare like a used Ludwig Acrolite ($125). Maybe a pair of good hats, and a ride cymbal. That way you'll have options when somebody brings in something clangy for you to record. There was some good advice about a vintage Ludwig kit fitting your needs, I second that. For me, I'd rather have some kick and snare/cymbal options to fit the mood of the song if you don't have drummers bringing the whole arsenal. Don't buy anything based on looks. Any 70's Ludwig/Slingerland/Gretsch, a higher end 80's Pearl/Tama/Yamaha would get it done. It's all in the tuning key and the drummer's touch anyways
Old 30th June 2019
  #16
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Suspects's Avatar
 

I might be in the minority around here, but I'm not a fan of the Acrolite snare. I'm sorry, but it sounds like you are whacking an aluminum saucepan. It's cheap for a reason. Definitely an acquired taste; listen before you buy. Here's a list of potential used snares to be on the lookout for, most are discontinued (except the Ludwigs). I can't speak to the cost of these drums on the used market, but I can speak to the quality of these drums as we currently own/have owned all of the snares mentioned:

Metal (6-1/2" X 14')
1. Ludwig Black Beauty - a studio standard, probably not the used bargain it
used to be
2. Ludwig Supraphonic (LM402) - it was good enough for John Bonham
3. Pearl Signature Series "Steve Ferrone" brass - good
4. Gretsch Signature Series "Steve Ferrone" brass - better, with distinctive gold
plated hardware (Gretsch recently has changed the shell to steel I believe)
5. Gretsch Gold Series "Bell Brass" with 3.0 mm shell - if you want cut, this is
the drum for you. They originally listed for nearly $1K, so they may not be
cheap

Wood (6-1/2" X 14")
1. Gretsch Gold Series Oak (Stave Construction) - a nice drum, but not my
favorite of the stave series
2. Gretsch Gold Series "Weathered Maple" or "Barn Maple" (Stave Construction)
a heavyweight and really beefy when tuned down; great for rock
3. Gretsch Gold Series Cherry (Stave Construction) - my personal favorite, with
a really sweet top end crack

The Gretsch stave series all listed for $699, and were available in the catalogs for $350-$450 new. I'm not sure how available they are are now, but the quality of the stave construction makes them well worth checking out...


Dave/Suspect Studios
Old 2nd July 2019
  #17
A used yamaha recording custom would be a great start for studio drums There is a 6pc grey one on reverb for about 1600 shipped which would leave you 900 for snare, cymbals and stands. Some others for a bit more are also on there. You can always find these drumsets for around 1500 -2000 if you shop patiently. $500-1000 leftover will get you into some snares, stands and brass.
Same thing here - buy used. I would look for used full sets to buy then keep the stands, snare, and brass out of that and sell the kick and toms as a shell pack. I also see lots of kits on craiglist where people have over spent on a hobby and decided to give it up. Pretty good deals on some of these. $2500 should get you a nice setup by piecing it together or by buying a full used setup.
Old 11th July 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
BCAUTS's Avatar
 

Find a vintage 60s or 70s Ludwig / Gretsch / WFL / Camco kit on craigslist. You won't need anything else.

You can find Acrolites all day for $100 - $150. Those can do it all. That or a supraphonic.

DW makes a great pack of the Ultralight hardware. Comes with a bag, 2 cymbals stands, snare stand, hi hat stand. Very affordable. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-pack-with-bag

Cymbals I would recommend Istanbul Agops, they can get pricey but are very musical and sound wonderful under microphones.
Old 12th July 2019
  #19
Gear Head
 

Drums: As far as drums, buy a used classic kit in good condition and you should be able to get your money back if it's not your thing. Especially if you deal locally. Which kit, of course, depends on your preferences. I wound up buying Recording Customs but also check out the Absolutes if you can. Yamahas may not be your sound. I recommend listening to and playing a lot of kits. There are a ton of nice drums suitable for songwriter-type stuff. Gretsch, Ludwig, Pearl, etc. So many choices, really. I recommend (ultimately) owning a few snares. Black Beauty is a classic, but have other materials such as woods and aluminum and sizes on hand. Changing the snare and cymbals can really change the sound of the kit.

Hardware: Hardware affects the sound of the cymbal/drum it's holding. Cheap or light hardware can also rock and squeak. Bleh. Light is nice if you are gigging and want less in tow but not my preference in the studio. Like drums/shells, look around locally used and get it for 50% off. If that fails, then just grab a pack to start out with and replace as needed. The markup on hardware is pretty high. Wait for the better hardware to go on sale at a deeper discount. Then supplement as needed.

Cymbals: Cymbals and Snares are the core things to swap out when recording. You may only "need" one 10" tom but you may find you "need" 6 snares and 20 cymbals for good coverage. I recently saw a sale for K and K Custom Dark packs for $6xx new. That is a really good starting point. I really think it's ok to start there. I's a good value and the cymbals consistently sound good. You can spend the next 5 years cherry picking the best cymbals and snares for your preferences.

So what does that get you? About $1500 for shells (Used RC or Absolute 5 pc) plus $400 for a set of good hardware+pedal used and local. And if you can get a pack like the Ks for under $700, do it. It's a starting point. Totally usable for recording but maybe not ultimately the best tools or most complete toolset for your needs. Just like if somebody asked "What mics do I need in my locker ($2500 budget)?" So I figure a few months down the road you may be interest in augmenting with a specific snare or cymbals. $2500 is, to me, a bit of a stretch. But your needs and tastes may be different from mine. If you only need 3 drums and 4 cymbals you can get in that budget much more easily.

My current kit in its default state: Mid-80s Recording Custom drums (12,14,16,18,22), Ludwig Hammered Bronze snares (6.5" and 5" depths), and Zildjian K (family - Kerope, K, Custom Dark, etc) cymbals, Yamaha (toms) and DW 9000 (everything else) hardware.
Old 12th July 2019
  #20
Gear Nut
 

I really think getting a "vintage" kit isn't the best idea. Drums have evolved greatly in recent decades. A newer, mid-line kit with nice wood (maple or birch) and much, much better hardware is now available for reasonable prices, especially on the used market. For $2500 I'd look around for die cast hoops on the toms and snare with floating/isolation mounts for the toms. Maybe a 3pc or 4pc shell kit for around $1500 which leaves $1000 for the rest including perhaps a nice snare drum also with die cast hoops.

Just engaged in some serious nostalgia for the past ten minutes. You may consider looking around for a used higher end Tama Starclassic. I really like birch toms and maple kick/snare, just like the purple one I bought new in 1995, and sold to John Doe in Spring 1996 as his first real drum kit. Hits the checkmarks: isolation mounts and die cast hoops on the toms. Modern. Killer sound. High quality drums. Too bad John got the snare stolen after he bought it from me, presumably when he was at University studying drums.

Tama has always been at the forefront of drum innovation, fwiw.
Old 12th July 2019
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by slutter View Post
I'd look around for die cast hoops on the toms and snare with floating/isolation mounts for the toms. Maybe a 3pc or 4pc shell kit for around $1500 which leaves $1000 for the rest including perhaps a nice snare drum also with die cast hoops.

Tama has always been at the forefront of drum innovation, fwiw.
Interesting perspective. What styles of music do you typically produce?

I do agree that Tama is a great company, however I find die cast hoops, especially on toms, focus the sound a little too much for certain styles. It's great if you want tight and punchy, but lately what you refer to as "modern" sound has been sort of the opposite of what the projects I have been doing are calling for, it's been more about warm, fat, round, with some overtones.

YMMV, of course.

One kit can't really cover all of that ground, which is why I have a few kits (and a whole bunch of different snare drums) each with their own unique voice.
Old 12th July 2019
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
Interesting perspective. What styles of music do you typically produce?
My last label project was circus music, imparted with inferior versions of Neil Peart inspired licks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
I find die cast hoops, especially on toms, focus the sound a little too much for certain styles. It's great if you want tight and punchy
Good point. I'd look at a mid range new Gretsch. Great sounding drums that will check the "warm" / "fat" / "round" / "overtones" checkboxes.
Old 14th September 2019
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Gretsch Catalina maple drum kit $900, Zildjian A cymbal pack $600, DW 5000 Hardware pack $500, Ludwig supraphonic snare drum $500 = $2,500.
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