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Drum sets for people with a budget
Old 15th February 2013
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Drum sets for people with a budget

So... I've got a couple of friends who play drums, only one of them has an actual drumset. Our local church has a really nice setup they MIGHT let us use if we bring our own cymbals. What would be the best course of action?
Old 15th February 2013
Gear nut

what's the whole point of having the drums? To record?
Old 15th February 2013
Lives for gear

Used Premier XPK kits can be had for $4-500. Tune those up right and they are good for the money.
Old 15th February 2013
Gear maniac
Gandy's Avatar

If you want to record that'd be a pretty good option. Alternately, if you've got recording equipment, you could find a rehearsal space with a nice kit, typically they'd also have a nice sounding room as well, in which you could record.
Old 15th February 2013
You can spend thousands on cymbals.
Old 15th February 2013
Lives for gear
New heads and tuning: whatever drum set meets those requirements is your best bet for recording. The differences in wood/ply, shell depth, thickness, bearing edges, etc. will add up to a *different* sound, but kits nowadays are generally pretty good; tuned adequately, and the new heads are just a given.
Old 15th February 2013
Lives for gear
JohnRick's Avatar
I would look at Gretsch entry series. Former Catalina and now G2. They've all had great reviews.
Old 15th February 2013
Gear interested
Indianadave's Avatar

gretsch or ddrum honestly

Originally Posted by JohnRick View Post
I would look at Gretsch entry series. Former Catalina and now G2. They've all had great reviews.
+1 that. The gretsch bearing edges are smooth and warm- even on the low end sets.

another option is Ddrum. I've got the dominion maple kit and love it.

Cymbals are an issue. you dont want anything worse than sabian b8's if you want to enjoy it. I have paiste alphas and i love them. (18/16 crashes) they're slightly more expensive
Old 15th February 2013
Here for the gear
I would second the Premier suggestion. The company doesn't really sell new drums in the US anymore (lost their distributor, long story). The lack of name recognition suppresses the price of used drums, which is great, because they are superb quality.

If you look in local classified/craigslist, you can usually find a nice XPK/APK kit for $400-500 including all hardware and cymbals. These are nice mid level kits with a great sound (I own an XPK). It certainly will beat whatever you can buy new at that price point.

The real steal currently is their old Signia (maple) or Genista (birch) lines. They were top of the line, pro series drum kits back in the 90's. Many people prefer them to DW. If you search long enough, you can find a set of these for less than $800, which is an absolute steal.

And budget $100 or so for new heads, and make sure you know how to tune a drum kit properly.

PS, telling between the different Premier drum sets is quite difficult as they didn't label any of their lines except the Signia's. You can usually tell based on the style of the lugs.
Old 15th February 2013
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
yes this is for recording
WOW guys, 8 reviews in 4 hours... I love this site
My friend's got a pretty nice set for practicing, but he could use new cymbals, and the church set is really nice, so we could just bring some nice cymbals and record from the board into an interface onto the computer. Where I want to put the home studio is too small for drums (10' x 18' x 8' or so) so I don't think I want to get my own set.
Old 15th February 2013
Gear Head

gravyface makes a good point. most kits (not all) have the potential to sound good with a little work on the bearing edges, good heads that match well with the shells, and proper tuning. I have a "throwaway" kit that I think started out as percussion plus that I paid $50 for. took off the crappy wrap, fixed up the edges, put nice heads on, tuned carefully, and it sounds like a pretty nice drum set. It's worth it to me, at that price point, to do the work. Snares and cymbals make the most difference anyway - go for the best you can get there.
Old 15th February 2013
Lives for gear
pinkheadedbug's Avatar

Yep, I've got a nice Premier XPK kit, got it for $600 Canadian with new hardware and good cymbals. It's a great set-up.
Old 16th February 2013
Lives for gear

Sonar safari I got one and there like 320 dollars and there pretty awesome.
Old 16th February 2013
Lives for gear
Find a beater set of electronic drums to use as triggers with EZdrummer or something like that unless you have a budget for acoustic drums, cymbals, mic stands, mics, and the room to record them in.
Old 23rd February 2013
Gear interested

New Heads

Evans 360 heads (Bob Gatzen).
Level 360 - YouTube

They sit on the drum's bearing edge better. This new design is now on all sizes of Evans heads. When purchasing make sure logo of "Level 360" is on the head (Stores will slowly clearing old stock.) Level 360 heads make it the best it can be even if the drum is a bit out-of round, or if an uneven bearing edge is a problem. Of course those are not ideal conditions but the head design improves the situation making the best of what you have to work with. I try to remember this quote...

"Do the best with what you have been given"
Old 23rd February 2013
Gear maniac
rmandelbaum's Avatar

It depends on your goals, to own a kit or just get your recording. If you have access to a good kit for free, make sure the heads are godd and away you go.

If your looking to own what is your budget, and as stated above pro level cymbals are not cheap.

Most mid level kits thses days are actually very nice, Grestch, pdp, tama, ludwig, etc. they all make all maple kits that can sound great with good heads.
I would stay away from entry level kits, they just take a lot of work to get sounding good and they have no resale value.

Have you thought about renting a pro level kit and cymbals?

Another option is the get someone that is set up with a studio and is a drummer to record tracks for you. I have done this multuple times,

I get an mp3 recorded to a click, I record drum tacks in my studio and send them back for listening. Once we get then drums how they want them I upload the individule tracks for downloading.

If you at all interestd in that PM me
Old 23rd February 2013
Gear interested

You can get a nice Gretsch kit for $500 without cymbals. Honestly even a used Pacific kit will do (as long as the shells are in good condition) if you know how to tune a drum.
Old 24th February 2013
Lives for gear
Just picked up the Breakbeats by Questlove shell pack from Ludwig for four hundo. Love it. Totally portable and surprisingly great sounding.
Old 9th May 2013
Gear interested

I have a 5 piece Premier Signia for sale if you are still looking for a kit
Old 9th May 2013
Gear maniac

Looked into this subject recently for my nephew, who's outgrown his starter rig and needs something better, but not ready for prime time. Best coin combination arguably was a Pearl Birch kit 5-piece kit (Bass, twin toms, floor tom, and snare) and immediately replace the heads. Top hat and crash? Too much coin at this stage, and as someone remarked, cymbals can cost.
Old 9th May 2013
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by rmandelbaum View Post
Most mid level kits thses days are actually very nice, Grestch, pdp, tama, ludwig, etc. they all make all maple kits that can sound great with good heads.
Tell me about it. I get pissed skimming through Craigslist and looking at chain store prices these days. When I was rounding up all my crap (decades ago), "cheap" meant that nasty vertical mahogany grain or with the zola coat or whatever inside the shells, and cheap chrome on the hardware that flaked off after a while.

They've got a lot of nice stuff to pick from these days for peanuts. Can't speak on the current cymbal situation, but at least they've got the drums knocked out.

Take Care
Old 10th May 2013
Gear addict
ZombieMorg's Avatar

To the OP -

In my opinion, I would get the cheapest drum set you can find. Fit it with a new set of good quality (Remo, Evans or Aquarian) heads, tune it properly (get a tuner if needed) and set it up properly. Make sure the stands are up to scratch and then spend as much as you can on a snare and cymbals.

You don't have to go wild on the cymbals - a pair of hats, a ride and a crash of good quality will be much better than having loads of crashes of a lower quality.

I also would stay away from electric kits. You can always tell when a track has electric/sampled drums on and I'd choose the natural sound of a kit with mics over an electric any day (not to mention they're horrible to play on without practice)
Old 12th May 2013
Gear interested

First post on the forum!

First of all - buy your cymbals used. You can usually score a set of Sabian AA/Zildjian A's for the same price of B8's if you go the used route, and honestly, I like the mellow sound of a cymbal that's been broken in. A cheap drum set can be made to sound decent (even great - since tone is subjective really) with the right heads and tuning, where as cheap cymbals will usually sound like just that: cheap.

Now, that's not to say that ALL cheap cymbals sound bad. Dream cymbals (especially the Bliss range) sound relatively similar to old Zildjians, but only sometimes; the cymbals being made in china, have no where near the level of quality control as the big four (that being Sabian, Zidjian, Paiste, and Meinl) so it's really a hit or a miss unless you buy one in person. Really though, I recommend you buy all your cymbals in person.

As for heads and tuning, a good place to start is with a two-ply on top and a single-ply on bottom. If the heads are coated, they'll sound a bit warmer, so keep that in mind (many drummers use a coated top head). Tuning takes some playing around with. If you have a good ear for pitch, then you can do what DW does and find the pitch of the shell (the theory is, that if the drum is tuned to the pitch of the shell it will provide maximum-harmony-clarity-tone-etc. In a nutshell, just tap the drum shell with the side of your fist and listen for the note.), but other than that, tune to what sounds best for each drum. Relatively speaking, the drum will sustain the longest when both heads are at the same pitch. If you want more punch, tune the bottom head a bit higher, and for a more open "jazzy" sound, tune the bottom head a bit lower.
Old 12th May 2013
Gear interested
Sun Ra's Avatar

I've been looking into the Ludwig Questlove breakbeats set.. $399.. easy portability.

Not quite sure how to embed the video. I clicked the youtube thing and put the link.
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