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Drum Center Portsmouth News Hub

Events, Cool Products and Videos from Drum Center of Portsmouth

  • Yamaha Drums Review: Drum Sets with Video!

    A Comprehensive Review of Yamaha Drum Sets

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is the #1 Yamaha Drums Dealer in the USA, and we carry the Stage Custom BirchTour Custom MapleLive Custom,  Recording Custom, Absolute Hybrid, and PHX Drum Sets. These are six unique drum sets that vary in shell composition, sound and price point.  Which Yamaha drum kit is right for you?  What’s the difference in sound between a Stage Custom and a Recording Custom?  We set up all six kits for a side-by-side comparison to help answer any questions you may have.

    “But what about the Rydeen Series?” you ask?  We didn’t forget about  the entry-level offering from Yamaha drums.  While Rydeen drums are a decent beginner’s kit, we decided to focus on the mid-level to professional-level Yamaha kits for the purposes of this comparison.

    The Parameters

    Yamaha drums offer a wide variety of configurations and component drums for each of the series we tested.  To keep things consistent, we opted with standard sizes of a 22x17, 10x7, 12x8, 16x15 from each kit.  Our lone constant was the snare drum, and she’s a real beauty –

    Yamaha Recording Custom Stainless-Steel Snare Drum 14x5.5

    For all the toms, we swapped out the stock heads for Remo USA Coated Ambassadors on the top, and Clear Ambassadors on the bottom.  Bass drums were equipped with Remo Clear Power Stroke 3 Batter heads and a ported Smooth Power Stroke 3 on the resonant side.

    For the video of the recording, we used the following microphone setup:

    Kick drum – Audix D6 microphone through the 4” port and a Shure KSM 32 about 6” in front of the resonant head.

    Snare drum – Earthworks SR20LS, which is a great all-around microphone.

    Toms – Earthworks DM20

    Floor Tom – Audix D4

    Overhead – Dual Earthworks SR25

    Yamaha Drums Stage Custom Birch Shell Pack

    Yamaha Drums Tour Custom Maple at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    We had considered leaving the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch series out of our comparison because of its relatively low price point.  OK…it’s a seriously low price point.  We are currently selling 5-piece configurations for under $650.  Once we got these 100% birch shells set up, we were glad we included them.

    This was the only kit that did not come stock with USA Remo heads, which is completely forgivable considering how budget friendly the Stage Customs are.  Once we swapped out the stock heads, the shells tuned up quickly and produced a surprisingly powerful and smooth punch, something we expect from Yamaha drums.  The toms cut with a focused tone, while the floor tom generated some serious boom.  The 22-inch kick drum was solid in both attack and low-end delivery.

    This kit punched way above its price-point in every possible way.  The shell, finish, hardware and edges were all flawless and exceeded our expectations.  Don’t just take our word for it, check out the video and audio for yourself from our demo.

    Yamaha Drums Tour Custom Maple Set

    Yamaha Drums Tour Custom Maple at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    The Yamaha drums Tour Custom Maple line is another value-minded offering that delivers in sound and build quality.  Like the Stage Custom, it features the Absolute lug design and YESS mounts for the toms.  Tour Custom Maples boast a North American and Asian Maple shell, and USA Remo Clear Ambassadors right out of the box.

    The sound is exactly what you want to hear from an all-maple kit, with plenty of mid-range projection and warmth.  This is the type of kit that screams versatility and will work in any situation you ask it to.  At $1299 for a 4-piece configuration, this latest addition to the Yamaha lineup is as good as many higher-priced competitor’s 100% maple shell offerings.  How do they keep the price so low?  Finish options for the Tour Custom are somewhat limited, and there aren’t a ton of component add-ons.

    Yamaha Drums Live Custom Oak Set

    Yamaha Drums Live Custom at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    The Live Customs were perhaps the most interesting drums we tested for the comparison.  These replaced Yamaha’s Oak Custom Series drums which were known for their sharp, loud projection.  Our experience with the Oak Custom line was that customers were often attracted to them for their volume, but eventually grew weary of their somewhat one-dimensional nature.  The Live Customs share the dynamic punch of their predecessors, but deliver it with a smoother, more refined tone.

    We were immediately impressed by the tom response.  These drums project highs, mids and lows in spades with a well-controlled sustain.  While they are a no-brainer for your live gigs, they also sound exceptional under the mics.  We LOVE these kits in smaller sizes.  Live Customs would absolutely kill when tuned up high for a Jazz gig.  The quality of Live Custom finishes is amazing, especially the “Emerald Shadow Sunburst” tested in our video.

    Yamaha Drums Absolute Hybrid Maple Set

    Yamaha Drums Absolute Hybrid Drum Set at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    When moving on to the Absolute Hybrid Maple model, the attention to detail gets kicked up a notch.  This series boasts higher quality everything.  Practical quick release lugs, high quality, low mass Aluminum die cast hoops, and a gorgeous hybrid shell design make the Absolute Hybrids an absolute joy to play.

    In a word, the sound of these drums is “aggressive.”  We refer to them as “Angry Yamahas” around the shop.  The Absolute Hybrid series features a slightly thicker maple shell with an inner core of ultra-dense Wenge that produces a sharply resonant tone.  These drums are incredibly dynamic and open up immediately from the lightest touch.  The toms sing, and the floor tom and kick drums produce a guttural, low end thump.

    Yamaha Drums Recording Custom Set

    Yamaha Drums Recording Custom Drum Set at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    Yamaha claims their Recording Custom Series Drums are the most recorded drums in history.  While we haven’t seen any empirical data to support this claim, we are inclined to believe them.  Recording Custom drums are the industry standard for studio drummers because of their clean, crisp tone.

    There have been a few iterations of the RC series over the years.  A common gripe we’ve heard about the previous iterations was that they tended to be a little thinner sounding, especially with the bass drum.  Where this was ideal in a mic’d setup, some would say they were slightly lacking in a live acoustic environment.  These latest RCs we tested seem to address those complaints with stellar tone in all frequencies, and a massive sounding kick drum.  Yes, they are now made in China, but these Recording Customs are the best sounding to our ears and the QC is as good as it’s ever been.  We think you’ll agree when you hear the audio!

    Yamaha Drums PHX Set

    Yamaha Drums PHX Drum Set at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    The PHX series has been surrounded by hype since Yamaha drums released the flagship line of ultra-high-end drums in 2009.  Yamaha decided to take the “Ferrari” approach when developing these drums - where cost was no issue.  Their only concern was to create the ultimate high-end professional drum set.

    At the heart of the PHX is its luxuriously thick 11-ply Kapur-Maple-Jatoba hybrid shell.  These exotic woods are progressively harder from the center ply to the outer plies.  We were taken aback upon inspection of the interiors of these drums.  The craftsmanship and attention to detail is of the finest quality.  Put simply – more thought has gone into the R&D of the PHX than any other, and it shows.

    But how do they sound?  To get these magnificent looking toms to where they wanted to be, we definitely had to spend more time with the tuning than the other kits tested.  This is due to the unique approach Yamaha drums took with the PHX bearing edges.  All drums have a 30° bearing edge, but each "family" of drums uses a different profile. Bass drums have a sharper edge cut toward the outer plies. This gives the bass drums attack and shortens the decay. Floor toms have a slightly rounded edge to give them a balance of attack and sustain. Toms have an even more rounded profile for warmth and sustain.  These rounded edges required a different relationship between the top and bottom heads, in that they preferred to be tuned closer together.  Once we figured that out, the results were pure bliss.  Check out the tone for yourself in the video!

    Closing Thoughts

    If you’re shopping for your particular sound, Yamaha drums is going to have you covered at whatever price you can afford.  Whether you want to spend $700 or $7,000 on your next kit, we can say with confidence that Yamaha will provide a quality-made instrument.  Every kit that we tested was flawless in finish and construction.  Shells were round, bearing edges were perfect, and hardware was rock solid.  The tone we got out of the $650 Stage Custom was comparable (or exceeded) that of many more expensive kits we’ve tested in the past.  We highly recommend giving Yamaha a shot.

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we specialize in helping you achieve YOUR perfect drum sound, whether it's Yamaha Drums or others. Give us a call at (603) 319-8109 to speak with a professional about that sound you hear in your head.  We are legit sound freaks and look forward to helping you navigate your way to the drums of your dreams.  We carry a huge selection of Yamaha Drum Sets and Snare Drums in stock.  If Yamaha isn’t your thing, we can help with many other fine manufacturers as well.

    Keep your eyes peeled to our YouTube Page for more exciting and slightly eccentric drum-related content!






  • Snare Drums are Precious Metal at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    Snare Drums are Precious Metal at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    With the blazing hot temperatures of summer, we thought we could help you cool down with some gorgeous metal snare drums.  We have some incredible and rare pieces that you can check out.  Go to the product pates to check out the videos!
    And don't forget - we can do financing as well!

    Ludwig Brass Beauty Snare Drum

    Ludwig Brass Beauty Snare Drum

    Ludwig Supraphonic "Brass Beauty" Snare Drum 14x6.5 - DCP Exclusive!

    Here's a rare model for you! The Ludwig Supraphonic has been a staple among session and gigging drummers for decades. The seamless brass shell yields a rich sound with musical overtones and sings at any tuning. While the polished brass finish is a timeless classic, Ludwig has agreed to make a limited run of this amazing drum with brass trim, available only at the Drum Center of Portsmouth! The tube lugs, die cast hoops, P86 strainer, and P33 butt are all brass plated, making this amazing drum look even better! Don't hesitate to get your hands on this phenomenal drum!


    Buy Now

    Van Kleef "7" Snare Drum Van Kleef "7" Snare Drum

    VK Drums 7 Snare Drum 14x6.5

    • 14" x 6.5" Titanium, Magnesium, Brass, Copper & Aluminium shell.
    • Surgical steel tubes with Copper, Stainless, Titanium, Aluminium & Brass Lugs
    • Stainless steel hoops
    • Stainless Steel VK 007 throw with integrated, titanium VKey
    • Mild steel tension rods
    • Laser cut VK air hole logo
    • Puresound wires
    • Set up with Remo heads
    • Made by hand in Sheffield, England


    View More Details

    Van Kleef Ageless Silver Snare Drum Van Kleef Ageless Silver Snare Drum

    VK Drums Ageless Silver Snare Drum 14x4.5 w/ Hardcase

    The Ageless Collection, 14 x 4.5 Silver snare has the sound and feel like no other drum. This drum is made from 1.5mm thick 925 Solid Sterling Silver, for snare tone like no other.

    The Van Kleef Ageless Collection drum has a unique sound that, combined with the resonant qualities of the brushed finish silver shell range from dry, crisp tones at low tuning, to subtle, articulate tones at higher tuning. The construction of this drum is another reason it sounds so good.

    • 925 Sterling Silver for that unique VK silver sound.
    • Straight Sheffield stainless steel hoops.
    • Solid Sheffield stainless steel single point tube lugs, turned on a lathe, then drilled, tapped and polished by hand.
    • Stainless steel lugs are brush finished on the sides and mirror polished on the front faces.
    • VK-007 Sheffield stainless steel strainer and butt, with the "Ageless Collection" design on the front of the strainer and mini logo on butt plate.
    • Sheffield stainless steel "VKey", silent ratchet drum key is designed to live inside the VK-007 strainer.
    • Foam lined custom designed Hardcase in silver colour.
    • White gloves.
    • Puresound wires.
    • Setup with Remo Ambassador heads.
    • Made by hand in Sheffield, England.
    • Patents Pending
    Buy Now

    Dunnett Classic 2N Engraved Snare Drum by John Aldridge Dunnett Classic 2N Engraved Snare Drum by John Aldridge

    Dunnett Classic 2N Antique Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 Engraved w/ Brass Trim

    Dunnett Classic Drums are among the best snare drums in the industry and surely Canada's best export aside from Tim Horton's. DCP stocks a variety of Dunnett snare drums, including stainless steel, titanium, monoply wood models, and an ever-evolving selection of prototypes and one-offs. We specialize in many of these rarities and collectible items.

    Please note: Due to their raw, unfinished nature, Dunnett metal shells can and will show various spots and marks that may or may not be represented in images/videos. This is considered to be a normal part of the shell's aging and patina process.

    •     Hand Engraved by John Aldridge!
    •     R4L Strainer
    •     Hypervent
    •     42-Strand Wires
    •     Ahead Bag Included
    More Details Here

    Noble And Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum 14x6 Noble And Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum 14x6

    Noble And Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum 14x6

    The Industry Classic! This 6x14 Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum has a unique cast aluminum shell that delivers a focused, dense sound. It cracks very well at high tunings, but can emulate a wood shell at lower tunings. It's tremendous versatility in the recording studio or on the stage makes it a MUST HAVE for the working drummer's arsenal.

    Buy Now

    Schagerl Antares Brass Snare Drum Schagerl Antares Brass Snare Drum

    Schagerl Antares Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 w/ Black Hardware

    ANTARES is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius and is the fifth brightest observable star in the night sky. Named for its equal footing to the Greek God Ares, it is easy to see why we chose "Antares" as the name for the line of brass snare drums. Each drum makes a bold statement with heavy yellow brass tube lugs and a raw finished 0.7mm brass shell.

    Adorned with 2.3mm yellow brass or black nickel over steel hoops, the Antares evokes images of battle-worn Grecian armor while retaining a subtle elegance.

    The multi-step Trick Drums strainer allows for precise tension adjustments making the Antares suitable for conventional kit playing as well as orchestral work. The shell itself is dramatically undersized at the top and the bottom to create a tympani effect with remarkable resonance. The raw finished brass will retain its gorgeous looks due a lacquer covering. No two Schagerl Drums raw finish drums are alike.

    • Shell: 0.7mm Yellow Brass
    • Strainer: Modified Trick Drums Multi-step
    • Hardware Material: Ten Schagerl single contact point heavy brass tube lugs
    • Hoops: 2.3mm triple-flanged
    Buy Now

    Tama Star Hand Hammered Copper Snare Drum Tama Star Hand Hammered Copper Snare Drum

    Tama Star Reserve Hand Hammered Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5
    The STAR Drums series' first metal snare features a hand hammered copper shell. In addition to a mid-low end with tons of volume, the hand hammered shell creates a deeply harmonic overtone. A slightly smaller diameter hammer is used on the edge of the shell compared with the hammer that is used on the center, causing the shell to take a barrel shape.This unique shape provides a fat sound and rich resonance. To complement the shell, we used our original 2.3mm brass Customized Flanged Hoop. The edge of this hoop is slightly shaved down compared to our standard flanged hoop, producing a sharper and brighter attack. The combination of these two different characteristics - warm, rich resonance with sharp, bright attack - offers a totally new and original sound, unlike any other metal drums.

    • MSL90S Lug
    • Customized Brass Mighty Hoop (8 Hole)
    • REMO Coated Ambassador / Hazy Bottom Snare Side
    Buy Now

    Trick Scorched Copper Snare Drum Trick Scorched Copper Snare Drum

    Trick Precious Metals 3mm Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5 Scorched

    The Trick copper drum is warm and powerful, built to exacting tone and aesthetic standards. Coupled with Trick's single-point lugs, GS007 throw, and German wires, this drum sings! Perfect for any musical situation.

    Buy Now

    A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum

    A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5

    This 6.5x14 A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum is innovative, gorgeous, and completely handcrafted from scratch in Austin Texas. They cut, roll, weld, and sand their own brass shells, then treat them with a patented oxidizing formula to jump start the patina process. The edge is a 45 degree cut with a 3.5" bed, and there are 8 in-house machined raw brass lugs. This deceptively heavy drum is hyper-sensitive, with a fundamentally bright and crispy tone with projection and articulation that is second to none. Find out why we are so excited to be carrying the A&F drum line at the Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    Buy Now
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    Drum Center of Portsmouth YouTube Channel


  • A Closer look at the George H. Way Drum Company


    George Way Drum Company – What’s Old is New

    George H. Way Drum Set

    There is a special kind of mojo that is associated with that drum sound of the 50’s and 60’s.  The recipe of thin, resonant shells with fewer plies and reinforcement rings yield an unmistakable thud that is prominent in so many recordings from that era.  This sound that is sought after by so many modern-day drummers has created a higher demand in the Neo-Vintage drum market.  While many manufacturers have carved a niche in this market, few have done it with the authenticity and attention to detail as George Way Drum Company.

    The relaunch of George Way Drum Company is a passion project of Ronn Dunnett, one of the finer drum craftsmen in our industry.  These classically styled instruments pay homage to another brilliant innovator in drum history – George Harrison Way.

    George Way is a legendary figure in American drum manufacturing who worked with Leedy, Slingerland, and Leedy & Ludwig before starting his own drum company in the mid 1950's.  Among a huge list of notable accomplishments is the Turret-style lug that DW Drums has adopted and made famous.  George had a long and varied career in drums and left an indelible mark on the industry before his passing in 1969.

    Over 60 years later Ronn Dunnett acquired trademarks for the brand and began making vintage-styled instruments with modern updates in honor of George Way.  We’ve carried Dunnett Classic Drums from day one at the Drum Center of Portsmouth, and we were very excited to get our hands on the George Way line upon their release.  Way Drums have been around for over a decade now and have established themselves firmly in the neo-vintage marketplace.

    If you aren’t familiar with George Way drums, you should get acquainted.  While they faithfully recreate a vintage sound, the rich tone of these thin shells can be applied to most modern-day genres of music.

    George Way Drum Sets

    George Way Drum Sets are a little bit different in that they don’t have many custom options.  Ronn produces his kits in finite batches, so they are all essentially “limited releases”.  Sometimes, component add-ons are available, but the drums are primarily traditional depths – 14” deep kick drums, 12” toms are 8 inches deep, etc.  Once these kits are gone, they’re gone.  So get them while you can!

    Studio” Series drum sets feature classic 4-ply Maple shells with 4-ply Poplar reinforcement rings that sing with warm clarity in a wide range of tunings.  The “Tradition Series” kits vary in wood types.  Over the years, we have seen Cherry, Birch, and Mahogany, typically in a classic 4-ply shell with 4-ply reinforcement hoops configuration.  Currently, we have a handful of classy kits in Walnut with a handsome matte Cordia finish.  Tradition Walnut Series drums have a slightly dark, warm, round thud that fill the room with a thick, classic tone.  Once you get behind one of these limited kits, you may very well stop chasing that vintage sound in your head!

    Way Drums feature Dunnett’s “Reso-Tone” heads by Remo, reminiscent of older Ludwig heads that vintage buffs will truly appreciate.  Unlike the old Ludwig heads, however, the Reso-Tone heads have stronger collars and better QC.  And that’s kind of the deal with George Way drums, in general.  You get a faithful homage to vintage design with a seamless integration of modern improvements.  The toms sport the classic George Way Streamline lugs, along with unique hi-profile triple flanged hoops, which we find particularly noteworthy.  All hardware is finished in a high quality, “AAA” chrome finish.

    George Way Snare Drums

    Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we specialize in high-end snare drums.  If there is one thing we are certain of, it’s that Ronn knows how to make a great sounding snare drum.  We’ve seen a TON of Dunnett snares come and go through the years, and they are consistently outstanding.  George Way snare drums are no exception.   The metal snare drum line covers all the bases.  The ultra thin-shelled aluminum “Aero” is delightfully dry and crispy.  The “Indy” bronze projects bold, warm tone.  The “Elkhart” features a medium, polished copper shell with rich darkness, and “The Hollywood” rocks an extra heavy Chrome over Brass Shell that could easily be your main go-to for any gig.

    George Way wood snare drums are equally varied in their composition.  The backbone of the wood snare line is the “Studio”, featuring a 4-ply Maple / Poplar shell with 4-ply reinforcement rings.  The Studio model is available in many different finish types and is a house favorite here at DCP.  “Tradition” models feature similar 4 and 4 layup shells of Walnut, Acacia (he “Carter McLean” Signature model), Mahogany and more.  They even have solid-ply shells covered with the “Advanced” series snare drums.  Way snare drums feature Way Classic lugs, those awesome flanged hoops we mentioned earlier, and several different throw-off options.

    The Verdict

    Before you drop a ton of money on some sketchy Craigslist ad vintage drums, you owe it to yourself to give George Way drums a test drive.  Considering the quality of the build and the components of these instruments, they are VERY reasonably priced.  With so many options within the Way lineup, you are likely to find that vintage vibe that satisfies your ears.

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we specialize in helping you achieve YOUR perfect drum sound. Give us a call at (603) 319-8109 to speak with a professional about that sound you hear in your head.  We are legit sound freaks and look forward to helping you navigate your way to the drums of your dreams.  We carry a huge selection of George Way Drum Company Drum Sets and Snare Drums in stock.  If George Way isn’t your thing, we can help with many other fine manufacturers as well.

    Keep your eyes peeled to our YouTube Page for more exciting and slightly eccentric drum-related content!





  • DW Collectors Series Drum Set Shootout!

    Does The Type Of Wood Used Actually Affect The Sound Of A DW Collectors Series Drum Set?

    DW (Drum Workshop) offers a lot of options when it comes to drum shells.  This is great, in that there's an endless amount of options in the DW Collectors series.  For someone who's looking to get a drum set, however, it can seem a little daunting – especially when it comes to selecting a wood type.  Maple, Birch, Cherry, Oak, Spruce, Mahogany…which choice is right for you?  Does the type of wood you choose even have an effect on what it will sound like?  If you browse your favorite drum forum, you’ll find many differing opinions on this particular subject.

    Here at the Drum Center of Portsmouth, we were fortunate enough to be able to conduct a pretty cool experiment to determine what (if any) impact wood type has on a drum’s overall sound.  We took three identically (and exceptionally) finished Collectors Series kits with three completely different shell compositions.  DW “Pure Cherry”, DW “Cherry/Mahogany”, and DW “Pure Purpleheart.”  It’s these moments where we truly love our job.  Seriously…who else gets to do this kind of stuff?

    Before we get into detail, here's an overview of what happened:

    1. Sizes and Finish. A list of what we were working with.
    2. Drum Head Selection. Remo's specially made heads designed for DW Collectors series drum kits.
    3. Tune Bot. The great tuning equalizer.
    4. Microphones Used. A list of what was used to obtain the sound.
    5. Detailed Impressions. C'mon, tell us how you really feel.
    6. The Verdict. The jury concludes after some intense deliberation.

    Dw Collectors Series Drum Set Dw Collectors Series Drum Set

    The Drum Sizes and Finish

    The exotic shells are finished in what DW calls, “Exotic Tangerine Burst over Candy Stripe Padouk” with nickel hardware.  We were absolutely blown away by the quality of the finish.  These are really gorgeous drums – something we’ve all come to expect from DW.  Once we composed ourselves, we were able to focus on the task at hand – the sound.

    The three kits we tested are shell packs that share the exact same sizes: a 22x18 bass drum, 10x8 and 12x9 mounted rack toms, a 14x12 floor tom, a 16x14 floor tom, and a 14x6.5 matching snare with triple flanged True Hoops and True Tone Snare Wires.  It’s worth mentioning that the attention to detail and consistency of production techniques make these three kits nearly indistinguishable from a distance.  DW does an amazing job when it comes to their aesthetics and tightness of tolerance.  You probably already knew this.

    Something else about these kits – no reinforcement rings.  These are different than your traditional DW Collector’s Series Maple shells in that they are a little thicker, as well.

    Drum Heads on DW Collectors Series Drum Sets

    For the tom heads we used DW’s Smooth AA that are made by Remo USA and came standard on 2 of the 3 kits.  These AA heads are manufactured solely for DW, and are not a normal offering from Remo.  We decided to leave the stock, industry standard Remo single-ply resonant heads on the toms.  Additionally, we used DW’s stock snare drum heads – a Coated AA batter and Standard Snare Side resonant.  We replaced the bass drum heads to a Smooth White Power Stroke 3 on the batter side, and an Ebony Power Stroke 3 on the resonant side.  This was merely out of personal preference.  If you haven’t tried out Remo PS3’s, we highly recommend it.  We added a 4” port for a more convenient kick drum mic setup.

    Tune Bot Gig A Drummers Best friend

    The Tune Bot put to the Test!

    Regarding the tuning of the drums, we wanted to keep it as scientific and objective as possible, so we used the TuneBot Gig version.  This gave us complete control and consistency from kit to kit.  With these controls in place, any noticeable difference in sound between the different kits could only be attributed to their shell composition.  On a side note, we highly recommend the TuneBot for ease and consistency of tuning your drums.  This made the process MUCH more efficient for our purposes.  In case you’re curious of the EXACT TuneBot settings for this experiment (we know you’re out there), you can find them in our In-Depth Video Review here.

    Miking the Drum Set


    For the video of the recording, we used the following microphone setup:

    Kick drum – Audix D6 microphone through the 4” port and a Shure KSM 32 about 6” in front of the resonant head.

    Snare drum – Earthworks SR20LS, which is a great all-around microphone.

    Toms – Earthworks DM20

    Overhead – Single Earthworks SR25


    For the purposes of this experiment, we wanted to make sure that the mixing of the audio was quick and clean.  We used no EQ’ing on the individual channels.  We only applied a high-pass filter on the toms to get rid of some of the low-end rumble.  Then we adjusted the L/R balance…and BOOM.  Done.

    Which Drum Workshop Kit is the best?


    Kit #1 –Cherry/Mahogany

    DW Collectors Series Cherry Mahogany Drum Set DW Collectors Series Cherry Mahogany Drum Set

    These gorgeous shells consist of a Cherry-ply base, sandwiched between an inner and outer ply of Mahogany.  We know cherry to be very bright wood, with a lot of attack and really pronounce mids, whereas Mahogany is going to give you some extra low end with lots of boom.  This DW Cherry/Mahogany kit gave us both of those properties in spades.  This was especially apparent with the 12-inch tom.  Playing that particular drum was like dribbling a 90-pound basketball…just a big, fat booming sound!  The snare drum fit right in with the kit.  We can't say that there was anything about it that that made it different from the kit, which is good. It seemed to blend well.


    Overall, this was a big sounding kit with substantial complexity to the tone.  We feel this is a kit well suited for the “big note” type drummer…you know, the “Pat Boone Debbie Boone” type fills that have that real big sound.


    Kit #2 - Purpleheart


    Next up…Pure Purpleheart.  This was our first experience with a 100% Purpleheart-shelled kit.  We were aware that the wood was very dense, so we expected them to be somewhat vibrant.


    The first thought that comes to you when sitting behind this kit is, “Wow, these drums are ALIVE!”  All the drums projected.  Substantially.  This was a significantly different experience than driving the Cherry Mahogany kit.  The Purpleheart shells have a sharper note, which we found very appealing.  They deliver that fundamentally low note, along with clean stick articulation.


    Before offering Pure Purpleheart as an entire kit, DW offered it as a base for snare drums, and now we can see why. The Purpleheart snare drum checked all the boxes we look for in a snare and was hands-down the winner of the day.  Sharp, loud articulate punch with plenty of sensitivity.  The bass drum also had a nice blend of low end thump and attack that stood out.


    Kit #3 -  Pure Cherry


    Last up was the 100% Pure Cherry DW Collectors series kit.  We were especially excited to play this kit, as we’ve had other DW Cherry kits in the shop in the past that did not disappoint.  Cherry makes a great shell material for drums, although it’s not all that commonly used.  In our experience, Cherry is not far off from that of birch in tonal characteristics – big attack with pronounced mids and lows.  This particular kit, however, had a smoother, more balanced vibe to it – which really impressed us!  It was like the difference between a 12-year and 18-year old scotch; both are delicious, but one is a little smoother in finish.  That was this Pure Cherry kit.

    The Verdict

    So, does the type of wood used in a drum shell influence what the drum will sound like?  After conducting a relatively controlled experiment on 3 extremely high-end drum sets, our answer is a resounding, “yes!”

    The degree to which the sound will differ, of course, varies on many factors.  Choice of heads, your ability to properly tune a drum, bearing edge quality, the thickness of the shell, environment, etc.  All of these factors being equal, we feel like you will have a different experience based on the shell material you choose.

    And which DW Collectors kit sounded the best?  If you ask 3 different people at the Drum Center of Portsmouth, you’ll probably get 3 different answers.  If you’re looking for deep, boomy thud, you may favor the Cherry/Mahogany shells.  Want to project loud, sharp articulation?  Maybe Purpleheart is the way to go.  If you are looking for total tonal balance, the Pure Cherry is an excellent option.

    Each one of these ultra-high-end kits exceeded expectation and opened the eyes of a few people here who never really considered DW to be “their sound”.  Be sure to check out our video to hear the results for yourself and let us know what you think!

    Looking For Your Own DW Collectors Series Kit?


    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we specialize in helping you achieve YOUR perfect drum sound. Give us a call at (603) 319-8109 to speak with a professional about that sound you hear in your head.  We are legit sound freaks and look forward to helping you navigate your way to the DW kit of your dreams.  We carry a huge selection of DW Drums and Hardware in stock.  If DW isn’t your thing, we can help with many other fine manufacturers as well.

    Keep your eyes peeled to our YouTube Page for more exciting and slightly eccentric drum-related content!

  • Shane is in the new Drumhead Magazine!

    Drumhead Magazine has published a very special issue entitled "Ensnared, A Tribute to Snare Drums".  This is an incredibly in depth issue with over 40 of the top drummers around the globe discussing the tools of their trade, what they've used them on, and other tales surrounding them.

    Shane has had the luxury of playing more snare drums than the average drummer, and he  was asked to supply an editorial on snare drums.  This is about as in depth as he has gotten in print discussing snare drums, there may be a thing or two that you'll learn about him and the drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth.

    This is a limited release, so get your copy now!

    We have them available here!


  • Drum Center of Portsmouth 9th Anniversary Celebration!

    Our Biggest Sale of the Year - Free Food - Giveaways - Celebrity Guests and More!

    Those who have been before know: This is probably the greatest day of the year when it comes to the drum store experience.   We have THOUSANDS of dollars of free giveaways, food, our biggest sale of the year, and we will have some group lessons too!

     Saturday, June 9th from 10-5
    Drum Center of Portsmouth
    144 Lafayette Road
    North Hampton NH


  • Meet Simon Phillips!

    Simon Phillips and Protocol are coming to Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is thrilled to give you a chance to say hello to one of the greatest drummers of all time!



    Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker, Modern Drummer Hall of Fame ) will be here at DCP on Wednesday, May 30th signing autographs.
    This event is FREE to the public, and it happens from 5:30-7. Simon's band Protocol will be playing 3S Artspace the following night (which you really attend, tix are available here)



  • Remembering Roy Burns

    (November 30, 1935-May 2, 2018)

    A note from Shane:

    Roy Burns was one of the first guys that was truly nice to me when I was brand new in this business. He loved to pick up the phone and talk about the latest breakthrough he'd had with Aquarian Drumheads.   And he always had them.  He never stopped trying to better his craft or himself.  Over the years, the phone calls never slowed down. I'm not that special, Roy was like this with everyone. He worked his tail off and truly valued relationships. He understood how powerful they are, and because of it, he was able to carve out a niche in a nearly impenetrable Drum Head market. This all happened when he was supposed to retire! After being the very first drum clinician, and making a living as a professional drummer, he found himself starting Aquarian in 1980 and never looked back.
    Our industry is full of extraordinary people. Roy was at the top of this list. I am so grateful to have had a relationship with him. I learned a lot. Thank you Roy.

  • So Mellow. So Good.

    2194 grams of pure bliss! This Paiste Masters 'Blue Bird' Mellow ride is a joy to play. The stick sound is crisp and articulate, but it's far from "pingy". The wash is always there but never in the way. The medium pitch is pleasant and balanced, without any stray overtones.

    I'll be honest: if you're playing metal, this isn't the cymbal for you ... but if you're playing basically anything else, this will fit right in!



  •  Drum Center of Portsmouth Masterclass with Simon Phillips!

    Simon Phillips

    We have a very special opportunity: Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker, Modern Drummer Hall of Fame ) will be here at DCP on Wednesday, May 30th.  He will be hosting a small masterclass that we're limiting to 25 people only.  Simon will have his full set up and attendees will be able to get a rare opportunity to learn from one of the greats!

    The Masterclass is from 3pm-5pm on Wednesday, May 30th, here at Drum Center of Portsmouth.

    There will be a meet and greet from 5:30-7 that is free to the public.

    You can reserve your seat by clicking the link here.


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