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Drum Center of Portsmouth Blog

  • The 3 BEST Drum Heads for 2019 Reviewed

    Prior to the 1950s, drumheads were created using calfskin heads. While the sound produced was cool with a nice depth, the installation proved a challenge. Every head had to be formed into a round disc and then soaked to loosen up. From there, it would be stretched across the shell and connected to the hoop and tuned up. These heads would contract and expand based on the weather. Post-1950s saw the creation of plastic drumheads formed from Mylar polyester or even Kevlar aramid fiber. These advancements formed opportunities for new textures and sounds.

    The drumheads are important aspects of the drum kit. A solid drumhead can transform the drum kit sound to something truly amazing. Drumheads come in a variety of options, including clear or coated, double-ply or single, or even thin or thick. Understanding your options is the first step in choosing a great drumhead to really pull the kit together.

    If you are an experienced drummer, replacing the drumheads can bring the sound back to life or offer new options. For novice drummers, your best bet is to start with a quality set. That way, you can train your ears to the right tones. At the Drum Center of Portsmouth, we know a bit about building great kits and can help determine the best drumhead for your needs.


    A Quick Overview

    We are here to connect you to the top 3 drumheads in our inventory and on the market. In 2019, there are plenty of options, so we took careful consideration in building this list. For a quick glance, look at the Evans Calftone for a Retro look, the Remo Emperor Colortone for a bold statement, or the Aquarian Modern Vintage for versatility.  

    There’s also a handy buyer’ guide to help answer some questions when it comes to choosing a drumhead. Ready to learn more and make a choice? Let’s roll!


    Best Drum Head for a Retro Style: Evans Calftone

    For a more traditional kit with a warm, responsive drumhead, go for the Evans Calftone. The drumhead has a great retro aesthetic in both sound and appearance. It is equipped with a synthetic fiber coat for a little bit extra focus in the sound product. The drumhead is a single-ply head and has the sound and look of calfskin even with a synthetic fiber layer. The combination creates more boost for the low to mid frequencies.


    • Calftone drumhead finish
    • Available in sizes 8” to 18”
    • Level 360 Tech
    • 7mil film base

    Get the Evans Calftone Here


    Pros Cons
    Retro look Works best for low or medium live playing  
    Aesthetic mimics calfskin Sound not as bright as it would be with a clear drumhead
    Synthetic fiber coat Works better with drumstick as brushes do not pop out clearly
    Single ply head
    Affordable price range
    Rich, warm tones


    Available Online?

    We offer the full range of the Evans Calftone sizes both online and in store. Browse the collection or stop in and see it for yourself!


    Why We Love it

    Overall, a retro drum kit is a solid choice for any drummer. We love the calfskin aesthetic that provides this vintage look and warm tones. One of the great benefits of this drumhead is the range between mid and low frequencies. The sound is both warm and bright, great qualities for drumheads. It is thin enough that the Evans Calftone will respond well to light touches.


    Best Drum Head for Making a Statement: Remo Emperor Colortone

    The Remo Emperor Colortone is great for many reasons. One of the top reasons is the popping colors options that include vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange, blue, green, and even smoke. This makes for a visual aesthetic that is bright and captivating. The vibrant shades make a for a great statement on any kit, perfect for the stage.

    The tom batter heads are formed with Skyndeep Imaging Technology. The visual is accompanied by great durability, attack, and projection. This is created with two-ply and 7 mil film and a smoothly coated top layer.


    • 2-ply
    • 7-mil clear film
    • Available in sizes 8-18 (tom batter)
    • Available in sizes 18-26 (bass batter)
    • Comes in 6 colors (Yellow, Orange, Green, Red, Smoke, and Blue)

    Get the Remo Emperor Colortone Here


    Pros Cons
    Powerful projection Not great for high volume situations
    Great durability Does not respond as well to brushes
    Can handle heavy hitting
    Affordable price range


    Available Online?

    This drumhead is available as both bass batter head and tom batter heads. At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we offer the full line of products in both types with a range of sizes. These can be found in-store and online.


    Why We Love It

    The colors available from this line are wonderful, and we love the statement they make. The Remo Emperor Colortone produces a sustainable and warm attack. We prefer this for studio recording or medium volumes of live playing. The great part here is that the aesthetic is matched by a quality product that comes out through this durable and versatile drumhead.


    Best Drum Head for Versatility: Aquarian Modern Vintage

    Similar to the Evans Calftone, the Aquarian Modern Vintage creates a warm sound with a calfskin look and feel. It is also a vintage look but has a couple more options. This drumhead is available as either a thin or medium option. Each one has a benefit, depending on what you are looking to create. The medium weight is available with a 10-mil coating, and the thin weight comes with a 7-mil coating.


    • Single-ply
    • Available with either 10-mil or 7-mil coating
    • Range of sizes, including 10” to 26”

    Get the Aquarian Modern Vintage Here


    Pros Cons
    Responds well to either drumsticks or brushes Not suited for high-volume playing
    Produces warm tones Slightly more expensive than other options
    Sustains well The thin head is slightly less durable than the medium


    Available Online?

    Excited to check this out? You can do that either online or in person. Check out the medium or thin drumheads that are stocked in a range of sizes by Drum Center of Portsmouth.


    Why We Love It

    We like options, which is why we love the Aquarian Modern Vintage drumhead. With this drumhead, you get to choose between a medium or thin option and control the sound you create. This single ply drumhead has a warm, open sound with both options sustaining well. The medium version is slightly more durable than the thin, so keep that in mind when outfitting your set. Overall, both options provide an open and responsive drumhead.


    Quick Look: Summarizing the Drum Head Options


    Drum Head Ply Size Range Coating Thickness
    Remo Emperor Colortone Two-ply 8” to 18” or
    18” to 26”
    7 mil
    Evans Calftone One-ply 8” to 18” 7 mil
    Aquarian Modern Vintage One-ply 10” to 26” 7 mil or 10 mil


    Buyer's Guide for Drum Heads

    There’s more to buying a drumhead than reading a few reviews. These are just three options, and there are quite a few factors and specs to consider before committing to a drumhead. Whether you are building a new kit or replacing old worn out drumheads, we want to help you find what works for you. To do this, we built a Buyer’s Guide specifically for drumheads. We’ll start by discussing important factors to consider and then answer some common questions.


    Standout Brands

    In the world of drums, some brands stand out above the rest. For other parts of the drum kit, like the best cymbals, there are a number of manufacturers producing high-quality products. For drumheads, high-quality drumhead producers are a bit more limited. If you are lucky, you can find a solid local manufacturer. In most cases, the highest standards are reached by well-known manufacturers. Two of the best brands made this list: Evans and Remo.



    The tone a drumhead produces largely depends on the thickness of the head itself. The thickness can be determined through the number of plies, which increases thickness. Increased thickness is a benefit because it offers better durability. Thicker drumheads also mean different tones.

    Here is an outline of the main differences between thin and thick heads:

    Thin Heads:  

    • Quieter
    • Less durable
    • More sensitive
    • Less attack


    Thick Heads:

    • Louder
    • More durable
    • Less sensitive
    • More attack



    A variety of textured finishes will offer a variety of sonic characteristics, each distinct from one another. Drumhead finishes include coated, clear, fiber-skin /calfskin, or ebony/black.

    Here is a breakdown of each finish and the sound it produces:

    Coated drumheads come with thick texturing for a dark, warm, and dampened sound.

    • Dark
    • Warm
    • Dry tone
    • White appearance
    • Short sustain


    Clear drumheads produce a bright tone with a long sustain. They have a bright, transparent, and smooth appearance.

    • Long sustain
    • Transparent appearance
    • “Wet” tone
    • Fast attack


    Fiberskyn/Calfskin drumheads mimic the classic animal skin composition. It has a similar response to actual calfskin but is warmer and has less overtone.

    • Dark
    • Warm
    • Dry tone
    • Natural skin appearance


    Ebony/black produces tonal quality similar to the clear heads but is black in design.

    • Long sustain
    • Bright
    • Black appearance
    • Fast attack



    Dampening production is a result of controlling natural overtones. Drumheads normally come with certain features intended to dampen the drum without the need for additional dampening measures like gel or tape.

    The type of drum will require different levels of dampening. For example, a bass drum will need to dampen high-end overtones while also enhancing low-end frequencies.



    Most of the focus is on the batter side of the drum, or the side you hit. However, the side you don’t hit is the resonant side. This is equally important in the overall drum tone. This is where you hear the term “wet” or “dry” resonance.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    If you have made it this far, there are probably a few lingering questions. With all this information, we know it is still important to answer a few straightforward questions. Perhaps you have already through these, or perhaps you need the extra push to ask a few more questions before purchasing a drumhead.


    What to consider when buying a drumhead?

    Considerations before buying a drumhead include everything outlined in the Buyer’s Guide and a few more things as well. For one thing, what type of music are you trying to create? Light rock, jazz, and acoustic noises will require the increased resonance found in the one-ply head. A heavy hitter will find their needs met with a double-ply head and thicker coating. Heavy hitters are typically looking to produce R&B, rock, or funk music.  


    How do I know I'm ready to buy drumhead?

    If you are reading this guide, you might be ready to buy a drumhead. Buying a drumhead might also mean you are looking to replace an old one. If your drumhead is worn out and not producing the same sound you need, you might need to look into replacing it. If you are trying to create a new sound, you might have to switch between a thin or thick drumhead to try and find that new sound. If you aren’t sure if you are ready, talk to the experts at the Drum Center of Portsmouth.


    How much should I expect to spend?

    The answer here is based on the size of the drumhead you need as well as how many. For the most part, it has a large range, going anywhere between $14 to over $100. Right now, Drum Center of Portsmouth has some great deals running on drumheads, so you might be able to snag a high-quality drumhead at a great price.


    Bottom Line

    Drumheads have been an integral part of the ideal drum kit since the inception of the drum. Finding the right one means asking the right questions and thinking critically about what you are trying to produce. With the right amount of durability, this investment will create a great sustainable sound for a great music set.

  • The 6 Best Drum Thrones for 2019 Reviewed

    A comfortable and practical throne is vital to a drum player’s sound output and creative ability. In the words of Billy Brennan, a good throne “is the foundation of any player’s groove.”

    Here are some benefits of a good throne and the proper sitting form:

    • By sitting correctly, you can actually play more complex patterns than you would with poor posture.
    • By sitting well, your weight is evenly distributed. Having an even distribution of weight will improve your timing. If your timing is spot on, your tempo will improve as well.
    • You will develop a better sound if you aren’t focused on your posture. Once you train your body to keep good posture, you won’t have to think about it anymore and you can focus on playing.
    • Cheaper seats tend to squeak the longer you use them. Investing in a higher quality throne will minimize these squeaks and get you focused on playing.

    Aside from basic considerations like durability and comfort, there are a few other key features you should consider during your search for the best throne.

    All thrones should have a height adjustability feature. If the one you are considering doesn’t, it isn’t a good option for you or anyone. Your seat should also have a large surface area. Without it, you’ll struggle to stay in a secure position without tipping over.

    Thrones should be made out of a material that is both soft and firm, and they should be foldable so you can travel with them.

    These are a few of the primary things you want to shop for. Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we know quite a bit about what makes a good drum throne. That’s why we’re bringing you the ultimate buyer’s guide of our top 6 drum thrones for 2019. We’ve categorized our review by priority, so you can find the throne that suits your unique needs.


    Best Overall Drum Throne - Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider with Cloth Top Seat

    Of all our top picks, this is our favorite because we believe every feature was carefully contemplated. Unlike other products, this ergonomic throne features a hybrid seat. The combination round/saddle-style seat delivers optimum comfort and support.

    You won’t get tired of playing on this throne and you’ll notice that you stay comfortable for longer without developing body fatigue. Drumming is all about passion, and lots of drummers show that passion through expressive moments. With this throne, you have the freedom to do that without sacrificing balance.

    Get the Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider with Cloth Top Seat Here


    Gibraltar Hydraulic Moto Throne -Best Throne for Comfort

    This moto-style throne is the ideal option for those who want comfort above all else. What we love about this piece by Gibraltar is the oversized, plush seat. It provides maximum support so you can play with ease without experiencing any pain from extended sitting.

    This throne also folds down easily for convenience while traveling. The oversized feet make it ultra-stable so you can play as expressively as you want without the risk of tipping over.

    Get the Gibraltar Hydraulic Moto Throne Here


    Product Specifications

      • 17-inch Cordura Moto style seat
      • 19.5”-26” adjustability
      • Hydraulic tube height adjustment
      • Double-braced throne tripod
      • Oversized feet


    Pros Cons
    Comfort Seat swivels (Some people like this feature, but others find it annoying)
    Stability Sometimes the seat raises by itself
    Folds down for traveling


    Why We Love It: This best-selling throne is a solid option for any drummer who lives and breathes drums. As a drummer, you want to feel the music in your core and be as emotive as possible. Without a drum throne like this one to keep you centered, you’ll find yourself stifling your creativity.

    Where to Buy? The Gibraltar Hydraulic Moto Throne is available for purchase on our website. Click here to buy or to request more information.


    Tama 1st Chair Round Rider XL Drum Throne With Red Seat - Best Throne for Stability

    Balance is fundamental to drumming. Without it, your center of gravity will be skewed, which obstructs your ability to play well. This versatile throne features a rounded cushion and exceptionally thick seat that gives you more sitting area, so you can rest your weight on the throne rather than your feet.

    Aside from how it can help you play better, the beautiful crimson-colored cushion makes it a pleasure to look at and use. While functionality should be the driving factor behind any throne purchase, this product also delivers on design quality.

    Get the Tama 1st Chair Round Rider XL Drum Throne With Red Seat Here


    Product Specifications

    • XL cushion
    • Red seat
    • 20 1/4" - 26 3/8" adjustability


    Pros Cons
    Comfortable Less adjustability
    Balanced Fewer product features
    More sitting space


    Why We Love It: This throne brings both stability and comfort to the table, allowing you to focus on your craft without worrying about whether or not your throne is affecting your balance.


    Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider -Beast Throne for Maneuverability

    This impressive throne can help you reach mastery in your craft. What makes this product so unique is its combination round/saddle-style seat. A round seat promises fluid motion, and a saddle-style seat promises support.

    No matter how hard you rock, this throne will be your best friend. The front cut-out lets you maintain full control of your thighs so you can use your body as expressively as you please.

    This model is as sturdy as they come. All of the pieces are made of expert-grade materials that eradicate the chances of loosening bolts.

    Get the Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider Drum Throne Here


    Product Specifications

    • Two-piece locking hinge collar system for reduced wobbling
    • 1st chair’s height adjustment
    • Glide-Tite Grip Joint for extra secure base attachment
    • Extra-large rubber feet
    • Foot Life plastic leg attachment


    Pros Cons
    Super durable
    Expensive option
    No wobbling


    Why We Love It: There’s a reason this throne is a crowd-favorite. The throne’s ergonomic design makes it a prime choice for drummers who like to move while playing.


    Ludwig Atlas Classic Saddle Throne -Best Throne for Support

    Available in a blue/olive colorway, this saddle-style throne is incredible for drummers who want something simple that still has a cool factor. The thick, high-density foam makes this throne our top pick for support because of how it helps eradicate back and leg fatigue.

    This throne is an especially good pick for drummers who anticipate long performances. Extended periods of sitting can hurt your posture, leaving you with a full-body ache that makes it difficult to play your drums properly.

    This throne prevents those issues from ever arising in the first place. Once you develop back pain, it can take a while to curb those symptoms. Investing in a throne like this one from the get-go will ensure you never have to face those issues. If you’re looking for a classic look and powerful performance, this one’s for you.

    Get the Ludwig Atlas Classic Saddle Throne Here


    Product Specifications

    • Embroidered block logo
    • Blue/olive colored vinyl
    • High-density foam
    • Height adjustability
    • Locking spindle


    Pros Cons
    Unique design
    Colorful design (May only pair well with certain drum sets)
    Minimizes stress on legs and back
    Less expensive than other picks


    Why We Love It: If you’re most concerned about how your body feels during and after a performance, this throne will serve you well. The saddle-style cushion is firm enough to provide adequate support and soft enough to keep you comfortable while playing.


    Canopus Hybrid Drum Throne II - Best Throne for the Heat

    While it may not be the most important factor for you to consider, how a throne operates in intense heat is important. The most compelling thing about this throne is the unique material it is made from.

    The seat is made from an ultra-breathable material called Sisal Hemp, and the cover is made from a firm material called urethane. This hybrid throne will keep you cool in the summer while still providing good support.

    Get the Canopus Hybrid Drum Throne II Here!


    Product Specifications

    • Seat materials: Sisal Hemp, rayon, and urethane
    • Seat clamp and steel plate mounted on the base
    • Steel center post with aluminum legs
    • Adjustable Height
    • Rubber feet


    Pros Cons
    Breathable material is ideal for hot temperatures
    Seat is thin
    The seat is both soft and firm
    Rubber feet prevent the throne from sliding


    Why We Love It: We recommend this throne because of how versatile it is. It provides both the support of a heavyweight throne and the comfort of a lightweight throne.


    Best Throne for Adjustability -(DW Hardware: Heavy Duty Throne, Air Lift, Round Top)

    Arguably our most luxurious pick, this throne has a pneumatic lift system that lets you make fast and smooth adjustments to the seat’s height. Its quad-leg folding base provides added protection from wobbling, and the thick cushion keeps you ache-free for as long as you are using it.

    Another unique feature of this particular throne is the option to purchase and attach a backrest. You can use this backrest for extra comfort while playing. A backrest will also help you maintain good posture and minimize your risk of toppling over.

    Get the Heavy Duty Throne Here!


    Product Specifications

    • Pneumatic lift system
    • Folding base with 4 legs
    • 14” round seat


    Pros Cons
    Easy to adjust
    Another expensive option
    Prevents shaking


    Why We Love It: This throne is a reliable option that won’t disappoint when it comes to adjustability.


    Why is a throne so important?

    Thrones are important because, without a comfortable place to sit and the ability to freely move your feet, your ability to play will be challenged. Thrones provide a balance that is fundamental to drumming.

    What should be my top priorities when shopping for a throne?

    There are so many different thrones on the market, some of which offer unique features that standard thrones do not. However, all thrones should offer comfort and durability. This is a part of your drum kit that you will use a lot, so you want something that wears well.

    Do I need a drum throne?

    Absolutely. Even if it’s a less expensive option, a drum throne is essential. Without the added support that it provides, you may suffer from back pain while playing. This will not only affect the way you play, but it may diminish your motivation to play.

    How do I know I’m ready to buy a throne?

    You’ll know you’re ready to invest in a high-quality throne when you notice yourself experiencing pain or fatigue from your current seat. If the seat you use with your drum set is not meant for that purpose, it may be hindering you from achieving your full drumming potential.

    How much should I expect to spend?

    You can find a good throne at any price point, but if you want something of exceptional quality, you can expect to spend a bit more.

    To some, a throne seems like an unnecessary investment. After all, how important is a seat? It’s quite important actually. A quality throne is what separates a skilled drummer and an uncoordinated drummer. We recommend setting aside anywhere from $100-300.

    What should I avoid?

    Some people have a preference between a manual or automatic adjustment. However, it may be difficult to find your perfect height with a manual adjustment. Manual drum thrones are controlled by a metal pin placed into holes that are spaced around two inches apart. With these types of thrones, there’s a chance that your perfect height exists somewhere between those pre-decided heights.  

    How do I assemble my throne?

    Directions for assembly may vary between thrones, but the instructions are generally the same. Thrones usually arrive in 3 separate pieces: the base, seat, and shaft. Begin by spreading the base’s legs and locking them in place. Then, insert the shaft into the base. Finally, place the seat on top of the shaft and screw it in place.

    What is there to consider when buying a throne?

    Height adjustability

    No two drummers are alike. All drummers have a preferred sitting position that depends on their height and where they like to be positioned in relation to the drums. Height adjustability is one of the most important features of a drum throne because it allows you to customize the throne in whatever way you desire.

    To find your perfect height, place your feet where you usually do on your drum set’s two main peddles. Then, raise your knees as high as you can without stepping off the pedals. This is generally the height for which you want to adjust your drum throne, give or take a few inches.

    Seat shape

    Some different seat shapes include round, cycle, saddle, split, and square. Again, you must test these different seat types and decide on one that works best for you. Spend a significant amount of time testing different types of thrones and see how comfortable you are.

    Are you experiencing back pain? Do your thighs tingle or fall asleep after sitting on the throne for too long? Does the throne make you feel sore and stiff? These are all factors to consider.

    Seat rotation

    Some seats will rotate when you move while others stay completely still. Again, this is a matter of personal preference. Some people don’t mind moving freely. Others like to control their own movements. Always check the product description for mention of a swiveling seat.


    While a soft throne is important because it keeps you comfortable, you want to avoid buying something that is too soft that won’t provide any support. Find a happy middle and choose something that is partly firm. That way, you have added support while still being comfortable.

    Base type (number of legs)

    You have several options when it comes to the number of legs at the base of your throne. More legs mean more stability. It is possible to wobble and even fall on a throne, so choose one that has a few or more legs to minimize your risk of falling.

    Manual or automatic adjustment

    If you choose a manual throne, you will have to adjust the height yourself. Some people like this because it gives them more control. The other option is a pneumatic throne that adjusts itself when you sit on it.


    If you’re playing in a band that performs at venues, you’re going to need to move your drum throne around frequently. Because of this, you want something light that can be folded into a compact form. If you’re only going to be playing in one location, you can get away with a heavier throne that doesn’t have a transport functionality.


    This is another feature that is up to personal preference. If you’re an expressive drummer who likes to move their body quite a bit, a backrest will actually make it harder for you to do so. If you plan on staying fairly still, a backrest can be an effective way to maintain the proper posture.


    Thrones either have a threaded shaft with grooves or a smooth shaft that is just a solid piece of metal. Smooth shafts can lead to sliding problems that you don’t want. Threaded shafts provide more stability. This isn’t to say that you should completely avoid a smooth shaft. What matters is the overall quality of the throne.

    Your weight

    This is important because you want a drum throne that can support your weight. Check each product’s specifications and weight capacity before you decide on one.


    Bottom Line

    Choosing the right drum throne can be daunting, especially if you plan to spend quite a bit of money. Thrones are more than simple chairs, and the one you pick should serve a number of purposes. You must not only consider price, but also comfort, sturdiness, functionality, portability, and much more.

    We’ve shown you several options at varying price points. All of these offer some unique features that may or may not appeal to you depending on what your main concerns are. In order to make the best choice possible, we recommend deciding on your priorities before you begin shopping.

    The throne must be uniquely yours. At the end of the day, the most important thing you should want is comfort and balance. Without these two things, you put yourself at risk of injury. If you associate playing with pain or fatigue, you will be less motivated to use your drums. No one wants to feel like their passion is hurting them.

    The most common type of injury is lower back pain. This can occur from sitting too low. To check if you are sitting too low, see if your knee goes above your thigh. If so, you need to adjust your seat’s height to ensure your knee rests below your thigh. You can also hurt your hip flexor muscles if you are sitting too high.

    Ultimately, you should study the way you play drums before deciding on a throne. This will give you a clear understanding of what is most comfortable to you depending on your body shape and height.

    Aside from that, everyone maneuvers their bodies in different ways. You shouldn’t have to conform to one way of sitting or moving if it’s not the way that feels right for you. Your drum throne should work with you, not against you.

    You also want to look for signs of fatigue and find the root of those problems. It varies between people, but we mentioned a few common mistakes that may be causing those issues. Understanding what that pain stems from will aid in your search for a drum throne that can prevent those problems.

    We hope our guide helps you understand how essential a good drum throne is and how much of a difference it can make in how well you play. There are so many options for you to explore so we urge you to begin your search using our carefully crafted guide.

    Whatever model you choose, we’re sure you’ll be impressed by the quality and design. Your perfect drum throne is out there, so what are you waiting for? To browse our selection of drum thrones and other drum-related equipment, click here.

  • Rogers Dyna-Sonic Wood Shell Snare Drum Reissue Review

    The Rebirth of a Legend

    The Rogers name carries a lot of weight in terms of USA drum history.  The quality and innovation of Rogers drums back in the 60’s is legendary, and those drums remain highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.  One of the more well known innovations is the Dyna-Sonic snare drum, and its proprietary floating snare wire rail system.

    Wood and metal Dyna-sonic snare drums were introduced around 1961, and were produced until 1980.  The metal snare drums sold much better than their wooden counterparts and for this reason the wooden Dyna-sonics of this era are much more scarce.

    The Reissue

    The Rogers Drum Company was recently given new life when it was acquired by Big Bang Distribution.  Rogers enthusiasts were happy to hear that Rogers would begin producing faithful replacement parts for their vintage drums.  Shortly after, they announced the reissue of one of their most sought after collector’s snares - the wooden Dyna-Sonic.

    We weren’t particularly excited upon the news of the Dyna-Sonic’s reissue.  Wooden Dyna-Sonics were so rare, that we didn’t have much experience with them.  Once we got our hands on them, we quickly changed our tune.

    The Hardware

    The most hype around the Dyna-Sonic is the proprietary floating rail system.  The concept behind this system is to evenly distribute snare wire tension across the bottom head, preventing that annoying choked sound.  While the functionality of the rail system seems daunting at first, once you spend some time with it you can understand its value. The snare response on the Dyna-Sonic is absolutely incredible, and is much more than just a gimmick.  The 14x5 models were exceptionally sensitive making them a ton of fun to play.

    Dyna-Sonics come with 2 distinct lug options - the Bread and Butter or the Beavertail.  What’s remarkable about these lugs (and all of the other hardware components) is that they are EXACT reproductions of the originals from the 60’s.  This is great news for vintage collectors and people just getting on board with Rogers drums alike.

    Another completely useful and functional throwback on the Dyna-Sonic is the internal muffler system.  Why aren’t more drum companies employing these? The easy to use muffler gives you the perfect amount of dampening with a simple turn of the knob, eliminating the need for moongels or other inconvenient options.  Other faithful hardware components include the Rogers script logo, oval badge and Clock face strainer. The hoops are triple flanged 1.6 mm.

    The Shell

    The shell quality is nothing short of amazing.  We’re not sure what we were expecting, but the flawless finish and attention to detail took us by surprise. As it turns out, the Maple/Poplar combination shells are edged and assembled by another legendary drum name - Bill Detamore of Pork Pie fame.  Needless to say, the edges are flawless, and the stained interior really add a touch of aesthetic flair.

    The Verdict

    The Dyna-Sonic snare drum exceeded our somewhat modest expectations in nearly every way.  Every component on these snare drums is top-notch quality.  The snare system, once mastered, lives up to the hype.  The convenience of the internal muffler is exceptional, and the quality of the faithfully reproduced lugs and strainer make the Dyna-Sonic Reissue a realistic option for vintage enthusiasts and modern drummers alike.    

    We carry a ton of the new Rogers Dyna-Sonic Snare drums in many different finish options.  Feel free to give us a call regarding Rogers Drums and we'll be happy to answer any inquiries you may have!

  • Ludwig / Noble Cooley Solid Ply Snare Drum - DCP 10th Anniversary Exclusive

    This Ludwig Limited Edition Solid Ply Tulipwood Snare Drum is a very special instrument. This is a result of over one year of development and research. This amazing drum is only available at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    The Ludwig Solid Ply Snare Drum Concept

    Ludwig is the undisputed king of snare drums.  The Ludwig snare drum legacy typically is with their seamless metal snare drums, like the Supraphonic or Black Beauty snares.  Their wood snare drums don't get as much attention despite being very good snare drums.  The void in the Ludwig line is the studio staple; a steam bent, solid ply snare drum that has that growl and body, like the old Slingerland Radio King Snare Drums.

    The Noble & Cooley Solution

    When it comes to steam bending snare drums, Noble & Cooley has likely bent more shells than any other current manufacturer.  As America's oldest drum company, their wood working expertise has yielded some of the most classic snare drum sounds ever laid down on tape.

    When the topic came up for a Ludwig snare drum powered by Noble and Cooley, we decided to try all of their snare drum shells and sent them to Ludwig, who cut the bearing edges and beds, and ultimately concluded that the magic shell was Tulipwood.  When Noble & Cooley was producing drums for the Civil War (!), the shells were made of Tulipwood.

    The Specs

    These gorgeous 14x6.5 solid-ply Tulipwood shells are finished in a Ringo-inspired Golden Slumbers lacquer finish that brings out the subtle grain pattern of the wood.  The hardware features rugged diecast hoops, low mass tube lugs, and a spectacular P88AC throwoff.

    Tremendous care went into every element of this exclusive snare drum, and we believe the result is nothing short of spectacular.

    The Heirloom Snare Drum

    That's exactly what this is, a slice of American drum manufacturing in present day, captured in time.  If we look back at the classic Ludwig Snare drums, especially commemorative ones, it's easy to see that they become highly sought after collector's items.  If you consider the fact that this is a co-op with America's oldest drum company, Noble and Cooley, well, it's safe to say that this is not only an outstanding sounding snare drum, but a great investment piece.  Take care of this drum, and it will take care of you.

  • WFLIII Drums Review

    WFLIII Drums: The Sound of Generations

    Built on a 100-year tradition of modern drum making, WFLIII Drums have become the new standard in vintage tone. Like his father and grandfather before him, Bill Ludwig III is devoted to providing the drum community with only the highest quality and best sounding drums you can buy. WFLIII Drums have been designed from the ground up with traditional concepts and an ear for today's music. Built with the finest materials and constructed for dynamic sound qualities at home on stage and in the studio, WFLIII drums are bringing quality and pride back for drummers to enjoy.

    A New Generation of That Classic Sound

    WFLIII Generations drum sets feature 3-ply maple/poplar/maple shells that are modeled after the original Ludwig and Ludwig shell design of the past. WFLIII shells are manufactured by Keller using a proprietary WFLIII formula with thinner plies than any other Keller offering. The shells are reinforced using a solid-ply maple ring for added strength.

    These thin shells produce a lovely, super low end thump that is definitely reminiscent of the old-time drum sound so many vintage drum collectors covet.  The Classic Maple Snare Drum we tested shares the same shell formula and has a dry, crispy attack with prominent low end. The shell projects nicely, and the snares are responsive with a light touch.

    We also tried out a beefy 14x6.5 WFLIII Signature Aluminum Snare Drum featuring a 3mm (1/8") beadless aluminum shell.  The name Ludwig is synonymous with Aluminum snare drums, and the WFLIII Signature is like an old-school Ludwig Aluminum on steroids.  With it's thick shell, 45 degree bearing edges and Trick Throw off, this snare is all-modern sound. Tons of projection and articulation makes this snare drum ideal for live or studio situations. Surprisingly, the combination of this modern tone with the vintage vibe of the WFLIII Generations Drum Set make a lovely combination!

    The Verdict

    Many manufacturers are attempting to recreate the vintage sound of thin shelled drums - to varying degrees of success. Without a doubt, the WFLIII shell recipe delivers a 100% vintage tone that collector's crave. Why roll the dice on a sketchy vintage kit from Craiglist when you can have the same tone in a brand new, fully warranted kit from WFLIII?  To us, it's a no-brainer.

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is your home for everything WFLIII.  When you are ready to build your brand new vintage kit, give us a call. We look forward to walking you through the process of achieving your ideal sound!

  • The Best Birch Drum Sets

    Birch - The Overlooked Drum Set Material

    When most people think of a premium drum set, they often think of 100% North American Maple.  Maple (or some combination of Maple and another wood) has been the go-to choice for drummers for decades.  Birch is often overlooked and considered a second rate drum sound.  We're here to help dispel this myth as we present what we think are the 4 best birch drum sets!

    British Drum Company Legend Series Drum Set

    Our first candidate for best birch drum set is a relative newcomer to the market.  The British Drum Company Legend Series is constructed from 10 ply 100% Scandinavian Birch. The plies are cross laminated and cold-press molded, forming a shell only 6mm thick. These super-strong, thin shells promote lower fundamental tones with immediate attack and deep controlled sustain.  The 2-ply reinforcement rings match the exterior veneer, which is a classy touch.

    Legend Series toms come equipped with a fairly minimal mounting system that attach directly to the shell via two holes.  The mounts do a good job at allowing the drums to resonate freely.

    These drums are at the top of our list for their unique tone, construction approach and gorgeous aesthetics.

    Yamaha Recording Custom

    The newest generation of Yamaha Recording Customs are the best yet.  Their shells are now made from North American Birch as opposed to Japanese Birch giving them more attack and cut than before.  Yamaha also increased the weight of the lug which reduces undesirable noise from the shell without using a mute. This promotes sustain for the core sound, producing a crisp, articulate tone.   Add to this some of the best tom mounts in the business (YESS) and you get the attack and musicality of the previous generation RC's, but the warmth AND bite we've become accustomed to with modern drums.

    The new Recording Custom snare drums are extremely impressive.  Right out of the box, the 14x5.5 snare delivered the best sound from a birch snare we have played in recent memory.  Tons of high end pop PLUS beefy body.

    Recording Custom birch drums are made for...recording.  They aren't designed to be as aggressive sounding as some of the other kits on our list.  RC's are at home in the mix among other instruments, and there is no higher build quality standard than Yamaha.

    Canopus Yaiba II

    Canopus Yaiba II birch drums are Canopus' attempt to create a more affordable option for drummers, while maintaining their high standard of quality.  Yaiba II birch drums are still made in Japan, but take a few shortcuts in order to get production costs down.

    They use a cast "Sword" lug design, instead of their signature solid brass lug.  Yaiba drums are also available in limited sizes and finishes.  Other than that, they are 100% Canopus level quality with a sound that is big and boomy.

    The toms are fat and punchy with excellent sustain.  The kick drum filled the room while simultaneously punching us in the chest.  The 14x6.5 snare was also particularly fat sounding, making this kit ideal for any rock application you can think of.

    Sonor SQ1

    The German-made SQ1 line from Sonor combines thin, slightly undersized birch shells and razor sharp bearing edges with new Sound Sustainer isolation brackets on all toms and floor toms. The result is a punchy, direct, focused tone, with a warmness and sustain not typically found in a birch shell. Add to that a host of range-topping SQ2 features, and you have a genuine, exclusive sounding Sonor birch kit at a price that is anything but exclusive!

    The SQ1 line is made in Germany to incredibly tight tolerances, which gives the shells a broad tuning range and tremendous versatility. Trust us, these drums will blow away audiences and studio engineers alike.

    Get Your Birch On

    Hopefully, our video helps you decide whether or not Birch is right for you.  If it is, you can find an incredible selection of Birch drums from beginner to professional level at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  Give us a call and let us help you decide which kit is best for your unique style and situation!



  • 6 Best Cymbals of 2019 Reviewed

    With so many different brands and styles of cymbals, even the most skilled drummer can struggle to choose the right ones for their drum set. There are cymbal manufacturers of all sorts, from modern companies like Meinl, who are employing old world tactics and integrating them with laser like efficiency,  to older companies like Zildjian that have been around for over 400 years, and doing the same exact thing.

    Approximately half of the cymbals on the market are made by the big four companies: Zildjian, Paiste, Meinl, and Sabian. The other half comes from smaller companies.

    To help drummers make the right choice, our team at the Drum Center of Portsmouth is on hand. Our expert percussionists can guide anyone, from the newest drummers to professionals who already have the technical know-how and just need the inside scoop when making a new cymbal purchase.

    After the stunning popularity of our guide to Narrowing Down Your Drum Kit Buying Decision, we decided it was time to offer a “crash” course on cymbals. Without further ado, here’s our guide to the top six lines of cymbals and a guide to choosing the best line for your drum set and playing style.

    6 Best Cymbal Line Reviews for 2019

    1. Paiste Masters Cymbals – Best Cymbals Overall for Drumming Masters

    The Paiste Masters series is one of the most versatile lines on the market. The cymbals are all extremely lively. They enable broad accents that are great in moderately loud settings. The development of this range took over three years. They offer a complete range of jazz and acoustic sounds with minimal instrumentation.

    The Paiste Masters line includes the 20”, 22” and 24” thin rides and the 14”, 15”, and 16” thin hi-hats. Together, these provide multifunctionality and all-around capability. The extra thin cymbal varieties are exceptionally lightweight. While they are ideally meant for use as a crash, they also work great as a ride in low volume settings.

    Like all the Masters’ thin models, it is neither a ride nor a crash but instead a hybrid of both. The Masters series boasts exquisite craftsmanship and superior sound for all musical genres. Both the thin and extra thin models possess thin weights and low curvatures. This gives them a unique responsiveness that is both tranquil and balanced.

    The entire Masters line is very dynamic and capable of volumes that are more than sufficient given the breadth of sizes available.

    Get the Paiste Masters Cymbal Here


    • Unmatched versatility of sounds, styles, and types
    • Available individually or in premade sets
    • Ideal for professional drummers who understand the finer details of cymbals


    • Large selection of rides, hi-hats, and crashes but not other types of cymbals


    Why We Love It: With so many varieties of sounds, this line gives drummers the freedom to explore the entire spectrum of drumming styles.

    Most of the cymbals in the Masters line are usually available online, making them the first choice to look at when thinking about buying new cymbals. Contact Drum Center of Portsmouth for any questions or to purchase the Paiste Masters Cymbals today.

    2. Zildjian Kerope Cymbals – Best Cymbals for an Old School Sound

    This line takes its name from Kerope Zildjian, who presided over Zildjian during one of their most famous periods. The Kerope line has a sound that evokes the era of rock and roll music of the 1950s-1960s. They are handcrafted and feature a distinctively modern sound that is dark and complex.

    This line features four rides of 20” and 22” in two different weights apiece and two 20” medium rides of different weights. There are also hi-hats of 14” and 15” in two separate weights. The cymbals have a traditional finish that produces a dark, low pitched sound that sustains its sound for a long time.

    This Kerope line is a favorite among jazz and club drummers. That being said, other drummers can appreciate the different sounds they produce as well. Although not as jazzy as the K series or as heavy as the A series, the Kerope range are somewhere in the middle. In short, they promise a great overall old school rock ’n roll sound.

    Get the Zildjian Kerope Cymbal Here


    • Zildjian boasts 400 years of experience
    • Gritty rock ’n roll sound
    • Elegant and traditional appearance will help upgrade the appearance of your set


    • Somewhat expensive for beginning drummers
    • Only hi-hats and ride cymbals available – no matching crash cymbal yet


    Why We Love It: With over 400 years of experience making cymbals, Zildjian always delivers an excellent product with amazing sounds.

    This entire line is available to purchase online. The only issue is that they can be difficult to keep in stock because of their popularity. These are great cymbals for drummers who want the best in quality and sound.

    If you are looking to upgrade your sound, contact Drum Center of Portsmouth today. We can direct you to all the kits we have for sale or provide more information on our Zildjian Kerope options.

    3. Sabian Artisan Cymbals – Best Cymbals for Multiple Crash Sounds

    Sabian’s Artisan line has been newly remastered. The result is a deeper, warmer tone that is complex musically. These cymbals have a raw bell design and high-density hand hammering. This revamp makes for a superior instrument. This line is specially designed to excel in low volume settings where the complex sound truly shines.

    There are six varieties of ride cymbals available in 20” and 22”. These come in three different weights ranging from light, medium, and elite. There is also a 19’ prototype ride/crash cymbal. The range of hi-hats come in 14”, 15” and 16”, available in a light, brilliant, and elite finish. In addition, there is the 14” prototype hi-hat, which has a medium pitched jazzy sound.

    The crashes come in 16”, 17”, 18”, 19” and 20” in either a brilliant or regular finish. Plus, there are two prototype crashes in 15” and 16”. These were handpicked from the Sabian factory by our team at DCP.

    Get the Sabian Artisan Cymbal Here


    • Multiple choices of crashes, rides and hi-hats
    • Amazing variety of sounds
    • All cymbals come with Sabian’s standard two-year warranty.


    • Some of the crash cymbals are fairly expensive
    • Not ideal for high volume settings—best used in the studio or for practice


    Why We Love It: Sabian has always stood by their workmanship. No matter how hard you play, Sabian’s cymbals are built to withstand a pounding. If they don’t, the company will replace any products of theirs under the two-year warranty.

    The Artisan line is available online. All pieces in the Artisan line come with Sabian’s two-year warranty. The wide selection of crash sounds that the Artisan line produces proves why Sabian is synonymous with masterpiece. They really are works of art. If you are looking for a new drum set or for any of Sabian’s excellent cymbal lines, contact DCP to see what new options are available.

    4. UFIP Experience Cymbals – Best Cymbals for Drummers on a Budget

    UFiP created the Experience line based on the immense popularity of the Experience Series Blast Crashes. Made by hand in Italy, they have a very aggressive and trashy sound. They’re perfect for playing in louder settings. The large hammer marks and unlathed surface of the cymbals produce a much darker, dry and warm sound. This makes them great for experimental music and jazz.

    There is a decent amount of variations for each type of cymbal that UFIP makes. This is great for producing sounds that will work for most musical styles. The range of cymbals includes two 22” rides, 3 hi-hat varieties in 15”, 16” and a rotocast 16” demo version. They also produce 16”, 17”, 19” and 20” blast crash cymbals. The extra dry blast crash cymbals come in 16”, 18”, 19” and 20” versions.

    There are also 17” and 19” demo deal extra dry blast crashes that are rotocast. Lastly, they produce a 10” splash that can be played with sticks, mallets and even your hands.

    Get the UFIP Experience Cymbal Here


    • Prices great for drummers of all skill levels
    • Demo deal cymbals provide the latest advances in cymbal making
    • All pieces are handcrafted for the purest sounds


    • Unlike many cymbals made in the Turkish style, these are made in Italy
    • All the cymbals are completely made by hand, so they may not last as long as machine manufactured types.


    Why We Love It: The cymbals listed as demo deals are simply too good of a deal to pass up. If you are a drummer on a budget, UFIP is the way to go.

    The rotocasting process makes for a truly unique and dynamic sound. It is surprising to have such high-quality sounds at such a great price. All their cymbals are available online. These are unlike any of the cymbals their competitors make. For more information about all UFIP cymbals, contact Drum Center of Portsmouth today.

    5. Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary Cymbals – Best High-End Cymbals

    The Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary cymbals are true works of art. Every one of these Turkish gems has been individually handcrafted by a cymbalsmith, making no two cymbals alike. The different variations in hammer marks, color, lathing and labels all enhance the sound. Their natural beauty and unique quality make these truly one-of-a-kind.

    The hi-hats come in two different weights for the 14” and 15” models. The 16” has three weights. They produce a crisp yet dark and chunky sound when closed and a warm shimmer when slightly open. They are very quick, light and consistent to play. The Agop line is perfect for the studio where you need a perfect sounding hat with a great response.

    Their ride cymbals are also beasts to play. They offer a warm, articulate sound with a complex booming crash when you decide to let loose on them. They produce 20” and 24” versions in two separate weights. In addition, there is a 22” model that comes in 3 different weights. With a bell that produces a bright musical sound, these cymbals are in their element when used for jazz. However, they will also excel when used as a crash for rock settings.

    The Istanbul Agop crash cymbals are exceptionally versatile. They come in two 18” versions and three 19” ones. With their crashes giving you the option of thin or medium thin sizes, they produce a trashy but controlled wash with moderate decays. These crashes produce a great sound that is perfect for all musical styles.

    Get the Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary Cymbal Here


    • Every cymbal is unique; handcrafting ensures you will only sound like yourself
    • Great for playing live and in the studio
    • Preferred choice among serious professionals.


    • On the pricier side—maybe not the best choice for beginners.
    • Limited options; drummers wanting more variety may prefer other brands


    Why We Love It: These Istanbul AGoP are head and shoulders above other brands in terms of quality, sound and looks. We can’t sing their praises enough.

    Although available online, Istanbul produces this line in limited qualities. That means you will want to act fast unless you don’t mind a pre-owned set. Their handcrafted uniqueness means you can be assured of having your own personal sound that won’t be easy to copy. Each cymbal is signed by the cymbalsmith, so you will know who to thank for these works of art.

    If you are looking for the highest quality, get in touch with a member of the DCP team to learn more about the Istanbul Agop line.

    6. Paiste Signature Dark Energy Cymbals – Best Modern Style

    Many experts feel that the Paiste Signature Dark Energy line is the template for all modern cymbals. They all offer full, rich sounds with a dark menacing edge to them. Their only hi-hat option is a 15’ top cymbal, but what a sound it makes. Balanced and responsive, fast and articulate, it gives an excellent feel with superb playability.

    Their ride cymbals come in 20”, 21” and 22” models. Each has a dark, multi-layered sound that emphasizes control, projection and comfort. They are extremely versatile, making them great for all modern blended musical applications. Their crash cymbals are 18” and 19” with a dark body and brilliant high tones. They offer a wide range of complex and pleasing musical sounds with an immediate, sensitive response. Their crashes mix soft, silky qualities with energy and projection. They sound great on stands or suspended, making them quite versatile.

    There are also two splashes in the Paiste Signature Dark Energy line that are 8” and 10”. They both provide a full, wet sound that is brittle and trashy. With their very responsive, soft feel, they have a splash character that is short and explosive. They are perfect for dynamic accents across most musical styles.

    All their cymbals are Mk I models with the exception of the 20” ride, which is a Mk II. The difference is that the Mk I has a tendency to be a bit darker, drier and quieter. The Mk II is a bit livelier and brighter.

    Get the Paiste Signature Dark Energy Cymbal Here


    • This line is the wave of the future; it promises a modern sound that will sound great for years to come.
    • Moderate pricing—great value for the investment
    • Suitable for drummers of all skill levels


    • Only the top hi-hat is available; you may struggle to find a bottom cymbal that measures up
    • Only one type of each size cymbal—limited options for different sounds


    Why We Love It: Paiste’s Signature Dark Energy line really is the sound of the future. Playing these feels like being part of a secret club.

    With their versatile and modern sound, you will love playing these cymbals. The only issue may be whether to wait until there are more Mk II versions available. That way, you can have a wider range to pick from. If you are looking to replace your current kit or would like to know more about Paiste’s Signature Dark Energy, contact Drum Center of Portsmouth today.

    Cymbal Buyers Guide

    Professional drummers typically know what they want before buying new cymbals. However, newer drummers aren’t always sure about how to make the right investment. There are a few things to consider before buying a new set.

    How Do I Know I’m Ready to Buy New Cymbals?

    Typically, you buy new cymbals for two reasons. The first is that the ones you currently own may have developed cracks or chips. Or, perhaps they simply don’t sound good anymore due to heavy use and/or warping. When this occurs, it is fairly self-evident that you need new cymbals.

    The second reason is because you have gotten more proficient on the drums. At this point, you might feel that you need to start using better equipment or that you need to upgrade your sound. This is a matter of personal opinion. If you are taking lessons, your instructor should be able to give you an honest assessment of whether you are ready for a new set.

    What to Consider When Buying Cymbals

    There are several factors to weigh when buying new cymbals. You need to consider the style of music and the type of set you are comfortable playing. At the very least, you will probably need:

    • A new hi-hat
    • New ride
    • New crash

    If you play a wide variety of musical styles, you may want to add an extra crash cymbal, a splash or a china hat.

    Other factors to consider include:

    • The Material: You will need to consider the material because it affects the sound. Brass is the least expensive but sounds the worst usually. B8 bronze is a step up and B20 bronze is the highest quality.
    • Hand-Crafted vs Machine-Made: After the material, you will want to decide whether you want a machine manufactured or a hand-crafted set. Ones made by machines offer uniformity of sound between two cymbals of the same size. Hand-crafted ones tend to be much more unique in sound.
    • Individual vs Cymbal Packs: Finally, you will have to choose between buying a pack or individual cymbals. Packs are great because the manufacturer will know what sounds complement others. With packs, you get great sounds while saving money. Buying them individually provided you more versatility of sound. However, this method will generally be much more expensive.
    • Hardware: You also don’t want to overlook hardware. You might want to replace your hi-hat stand or stands with better quality models.

    Unless you really know your cymbals, a good rule of thumb is to stick with one of the bigger brands like Zildjian, Sabian, Meinl or Paiste. They are all excellent, and it is unlikely you will ever get a bad sounding cymbal from these brands.

    What Should I Expect to Spend on Cymbals?

    You must remember that you get what you pay for, and it is no different with cymbals. If you have a budget, then you may want to either go with a used set or purchase a pack. A decent pack of Zildjian A cymbals will get you a hi-hat, a crash, a ride, and a bonus crash. You could save a few hundred dollars with this option.

    If you decide to mix and match, you will likely end up spending more in the long run. You’ll need to purchase a hi-hat, crash and ride cymbal and that isn’t including the stands. If you want a quality set and can afford it, it may be better to go with a slightly more expensive option than you initially planned on buying. The pricier models generally last longer.

    If you have a budget you can’t break, then you should buy the best available cymbals for the money you have. Another option is to upgrade one cymbal at a time. That way, you can get better equipment albeit over an extended period.

    Bottom Line

    Investing in a new set of cymbals can be a difficult and expensive decision. Your best bet is to go to your local drum shop. Here at the Drum Center of Portsmouth, you can test out the different cymbals available. Our team members will help you to determine the ones you like playing the most that have that sound you desire.

    Regardless of the brand you choose, purchasing a new set of cymbals will not only enhance your sound. It also will give you a burst of enthusiasm and creativity. For more details on any of the top 6 cymbal lines reviewed here, contact our team at DCP today!

  • 10 Best Snare Drums for 2019 Reviewed

    The snare is the centerpiece of creating a complete drum kit. After all, what is a percussion set without a snare drum? Many of the greatest songs rely heavily on the snare drum, and it has actually been around for over 600 years. It started as a tabor in the medieval ages as just a wood tube with an animal skin covering on one end. Over time, it evolved into the snare drum you know today.

    Here at DCP, we know a little thing or two about drum sets. That's why we've set out to create the ultimate buyer's guide of our top 10 snare drum sets. We start off by reviewing 10 snare drums and then breaking down the factors to consider when looking to buy.

    The type of snare you end up buying depends on your needs. As you look at this list, consider your budget, what sound you want to create, your build preference, and other factors. This guide is built through the experience of our DCP staff, research, reviews, and more to create a comprehensive review and guide.

    A Quick Overview

    Our choices for the top 10 snare drums for 2019 bring you the best of the best in a wide range of categories. For the beginners, the Pearl Modern Utility is an excellent entry level kit. For the pros, the Hendrix Archetype is unbeatable. Besides playing level though, we’ve reviewed snares across a range of brands to find you the best choices for different sounds, craftsmanship and more.

    With this general overview in mind, let’s dive into the full review of the 10 best snares from DCP for 2019.

    1. Best for Entry Level Kits: Pearl Modern Utility Steel Snare Drum

    First on the list is a no-frills snare drum with a sleek steel design. The Pearl Modern Utility in steel creates a great sound that operates well as an added or primary snare. It works well with entry-level sets or as a way to upgrade performance. The affordable price really helps make this drum useful for utilitarian purposes.

    Get the Pearl Modern Utility Steel Snare Drum Here


    • Well built, sturdy design
    • Affordable price
    • Durable build


    • Better suited for entry level kit use
    • Doesn’t produce the same deep sounds as wood

    Product Specs

    • Blasted satin texture coating
    • CL Arch Lugs
    • SR700 Snare Strainer
    • 1 mm beaded steel shell
    • Untamed and open throaty tone
    • 14” x 6.5” steel model
    • 6 mm hoops
    • CL65 Hoops


    Why We Love It: The Pearl Modern Utility definitely works well for entry-level drum kits, especially in terms of price. If you are just starting to explore drumming, consider this one as you kick off that new set.

    The Pearl Modern Utility is available online through the Drum Center of Portland. We offer free shipping, so check out this great quality snare drum.

    2. Best for Long Time Drummers: Hendrix Archetype Stave Bubinga Snare Drum 14 x 6.5 Gloss

    The Hendrix Archetype Stave Bubinga has been in circulation for around 20 years. Even if you aren’t familiar with it, you have definitely heard it in many songs from well-known bands and musicians over the past two decades. The Stave creates a tone, focus, attack, and clarity of sound many drummers look to create. It is definitely a great addition to any kit.

    Get the Hendrix Archetype Stave Bubinga Snare Drum Here


    • High-quality
    • Durable finish
    • 3 position swing lever for 3 different snare sounds
    • Lightweight


    • High price
    • No internal muffler

    Product Specs

    • Available in mirror gloss or satin finish
    • Features S-Hoops
    • HD Solid Aluminum Distance Adjustable Chrome Lugs
    • Dual Adjustable Wires
    • Tight Screw Tension Rods


    Why We Love It: The Hendrix Archetype Stave delivers a classic sound heard in many of the great rock ’n roll songs of the past two decades. Built to last and with only high-quality materials, the Stave has been the preferred choice of many professional drummers.

    This well-known product is available online through DCP. It produces such a great sound and is definitely worth checking out. It is a bit pricy, so we recommend it for people who have been around drum kits for a while and are willing to make the commitment. Any drum is a commitment of sorts, but durable ones like the Hendrix Archetype Stave Bubinga are worth that investment.

    3. Best for Snappy Sounds: Tama Starphonic Aluminum Snare Drum 6x14 

    The Tama Starphonic Aluminum produces a snappy and upbeat sound through the Line Drive Snare Strainer as well as the Super Sensitive Hi-Carbon snare wires. When struck, the wires reverberate against the bottom of the drumhead to create various sounds. The snare uses a Freedom Lug, linear-drive strainer, and a detachable butt plate. All around, this creates an extremely drummer-friendly option. It lets you focus on the music without the hardware getting in the way. You can even change out the head without having to loosen the tension rod. All of these factors create snappy sounds. It is perfect for experienced drummers looking to up their snare game.

    Get the Tama Starphonic Aluminum Snare Drum Here


    • Strong brand reputation
    • Durable design and high quality
    • Lightweight


    • Not new user friendly
    • Could be pricey for some people

    Product Specs

    • 5 mm bearing edge
    • 2 mm beaded shell
    • 6” x 14”
    • Matte Natural Cordia


    Why We Love It: Overall, the Tama Starphonic brings a strong sound with a sleek design. The Matte Natural Cordia is key in that design. You’ll be able to see why this comes from “the strongest name in drums” and why it is in such high demand.

    Our verdict? It looks great and sounds great. Check it out online or come into DCP to test it out for yourself.

    4. Best for Mid-Range Sound: A&F Maple Club Snare 14 x 5 10 Lug Charcoal Grey

    The A&F Maple Club comes from a small boutique drum company out of Austin, Texas. The design has a reverse baseball bat bearing edge. It is also created with a patented raw brass hardware finish. The aesthetic is very clean, round, natural, and woody. The company itself is well-known for its high-quality products.

    Get the A&F Maple Club 10 Lug Snare Drum Here


    • Strong brand reputation
    • Durable design and high quality
    • Creates a low, mid-range tone


    • Not carried in every location
    • Could be pricey for some budgets

    Product Specs

    • 14” x 5”
    • 10 lugs
    • Maple build
    • Baseball bearing edge design

    Why We Love It: The A&F Maple Club produces a great mid-range sound, which is why we highly recommend it for that purpose. The woody base is wonderful for creating this distinct sound.

    This boutique snare is new to DCP but has already made such a hit. We’re excited to carry this product, and we want you to come in and hear it for yourself! The boutique company doesn’t carry products in every music store, so it is a privilege to have the A&F Maple Club on our shelves.

    5. Best Hand-Crafted Snare from the UK: British Drum Company Merlin Snare Drum 14 x 6.5

    This hand-crafted snare from the United Kingdom is highly rated and has even been given an award from the Music Industry Association. The British Drum Company promises the Merlin is one that can do it all. It is comprised of alternating horizontal and vertical veneers and is a combination of two hardwoods. The maple creates warmth while the birch creates brightness. The ability to create both warm and bright sounds is part of what makes this option such a strong choice.

    Get the British Drum Company Merlin Snare Drum Here


    • Dual wood shell
    • Created from sonically superior materials
    • 5-star review in Rhythm magazine
    • High-quality design
    • Brand reputation
    • Versatile sound


    • High price point

    Product Specs

    • 14” x 6.5”
    • 20 ply maple/birch with tulip veneer shell
    • Maple pinstripes over natural tulip finish
    • Brass wires
    • Palladium fittings


    Why We Love It: The recognition alone for the Merlin is a great reason to come check it out. The 5-star review from Rhythm magazine, the award from Music Industry Association, and overall dynamic design create a great snare drum. The shell is created with a black tulip veneer finish with a double pinstripe maple. Use the Merlin to create a crisp and funky sound that you can’t find anywhere else.

    Curious to see just what the British Drum Company Merlin can do? Check it out at the DCP today or online!

    6. Best for Classic Design: Noble and Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum 14 x 6

    The Noble and Cooley Alloy is an industry classic with a cast aluminum shell. It creates a dense and focused sound using lower tunings in a wood shell. It is very versatile between the studio or the stage, making it a must-have for the professional drummer’s arsenal.

    If you constantly move between the stage and the recording studio, consider the Noble and Cooley Alloy Classic. It has a traditional design you won’t find with other snares.

    Get the Noble and Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum Here


    • Aluminum shell
    • Versatile sound
    • Consistent and durable


    • High price point
    • Better for professional use, not entry level drummers

    Product Specs

    • 14” x 6”
    • Aluminum shell design
    • 45-degree bearing edges
    • Die-cast hoops


    Why We Love It: This drum is not created from rolled sheet metal, which makes it different from other metal drums. The result is a much denser and thicker sound. At the same time, looser tunings give a sound similar to a wood shell.

    It really is versatile! It is great to see how this drum can move between loud bands and the light sensitivity of a jazz set. It is highly sought-after for recording and performing drummers.

    To hear this sought-after sound for yourself, come into DCP today or

    7. Best for Deep Sounds: Ludwig Supraphonic Raw Brass Snare Drum 14” x 6.5”

    The Supraphonic Raw Brass from Ludwig is in high demand and for good reason. The classic product is known as the “Black Beauty” and has graced the shelves of many studios around the world.

    The Ludwig Supraphonic Raw Brass lives up to that iconic status. It has a brass shell that makes it durable and able to produce a variety of sounds. The overall design is engineered to produce deeper snare sounds than any other on the market today.

    Get the Ludwig Supraphonic Raw Brass Snare Drum Here


    • P88 Throwoff
    • Versatile sound
    • Consistent and durable
    • Reputable company


    • Mid-price range
    • Brass can show wear and tear sooner

    Product Specs

    • 14” x 6.5”
    • Seamless brass shell
    • 9 mm triple flanged hoops
    • 10 imperial lugs


    Why We Love It: As the winner of the Metal Snare Drum at the 2018 Drummies! Gear Awards, this snare has earned its legendary status. The sound and quality are great, and it is a better choice for deeper sounds.

    Curious to hear it in action? Order online or see it at DCP in person today!

    8. Best in Class for an Ageless Look: Schagerl Antares Snare Drum 14 x 8 Brass, Custom Dark

    The name here is a cool story on its own, on top of the great sound. It is named for the brightest start in the Scorpius constellation, Antares. It is also named for the Greek God, Ares. Both origins are bold, just like this snare drum. The heavy brass tube lugs are part of making this bold design. The Antares is akin to Grecian armor, battle worn and laden with subtle ageless elegance.

    Get the Schagerl Antares Bras Snare Drum Here


    • Bold design
    • Great for conventional playing
    • Reputable company
    • Works with orchestral playing


    • High price
    • Slightly larger than standard snares can be inconvenient


    Product Specs

    • 14” x 8”
    • 7 mm Yellow Brass Tube Lugs
    • 3 mm triple-flanged
    • Raw finished brass
    • Modified TrickDrums multistep strainer


    Why We Love It: It has a unique shape as it is undersized on top and bottom, creating a tympani effect. This results in great resonance. It has a finished brass covered in lacquer for a beautiful look. This is great in comparison with unfinished brass options that tend to show wear and tear as well as spots sooner.

    Come into DCP today to see the Schagerl Antares in person or view the product in our online store.

    9. Best Choice on a Budget: Canopus ‘The Maple’ Snare Drum 14 x 6.5 Natural Oil w/ Cast Hoops

    If you’ve been keeping up with DCP, you’ll know that we’ve showcased Canopus before as a staff favorite for several reasons. The 8-ply shell design creates maximum projection and will really do it all. It has a great balance between tunability and openness through the brass plated single point lugs. It hits the overtones very well. It has really great snare wires as well.

    Get the Canopus ‘The Maple’ Snare Drum Here


    • Great price point
    • Great for experienced drummers
    • Highly resonant


    • Not great for new drummers

    Product Specs

    • 14” x 6.5”
    • 8 ply shell design
    • Die-cast hoops
    • Maple design
    • Vintage snare wire


    Why We Love It: This drum lives up to its name of “The Maple” due to the natural brilliance and the good sound projection. It creates a controlled, high-pitched overtone while the vintage snare wires also give a sensitive feel. The shell construction has been crafted for the best sound production that has a precise bearing edge.

    This popular drum is available online and in store. Talk to the staff at DCP today to see why this is a staff favorite. Once you hear the great sound from Canopus’s “The Maple,” you will understand what makes this a popular choice for drummers of all musical styles. Plus, the price is great for a professional sound at an affordable rate.

    10. Best Stainless Steel Choice: Dunnett Classic Stainless Steel Snare Drum 14 x 6.5

    The Dunnett Classic redefined metal snares over 25 years ago. It revolutionized the industry by proving a stainless-steel shell can be just as rich and warm as a wooden one. It transfers energy very well. The Dunnett Classic is handmade with care and high-quality materials. It creates a timeless tone through the 2.3 double-flanged hoops.

    Get the Dunnett Classic Stainless Steel Snare Drum Here


    • Great for experienced drummers
    • Highly resonant
    • Versatile sound for a stainless-steel drum


    • Unfinished nature will show spots and marks
    • Aging shows on the shell

    Product Specs

    • 14” x 6.5”
    • Stainless steel
    • Boutique, high-end drum
    • R4 Strainer
    • GW triple flanged hoops
    • Polished finish
    • Tube lugs


    Why We Love It: The versatile sound between snappy metal snare and warm wood makes the Dunnett Classic Stainless Steel a standout. It does show aging, but it will still last a while. It is handmade with high-quality materials. Your drum kit would look great with this vintage design.

    The retro design is a great aesthetic for any set, so check it out online or in the store to see what we mean.


    How They Stack Up: Top 10 Snares Comparisons

    Snare Drum

    Material Design


    Price Range

    Pearl Modern Utility Steel Snare Drum Steel snare 14” x 6.5” $180 – $315
    Hendrix Archetype Stave Bubinga Snare Drum Wood 14” x 6.5” $800 - $1400
    Tama Starphonic Aluminum Snare Drum Aluminum 6” x 14” $500 - $800
    A&F Maple Club Snare Maple 14” x 5” $1000+
    British Drum Company Merlin Snare Drum Maple and birch 14” x 6.5” $700 – $1100
    Noble and Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum Cast aluminum 14” x 6” $810 - $1350
    Ludwig Supraphonic Raw Brass Snare Drum Brass 14” x 6.5” $700 - $1000+
    Schagerl Antares Snare Drum Brass 14” x 8” $1800+
    Canopus ‘The Maple’ Snare Drum Maple 14” x 6.5” $587 - $840
    Dunnett Classic Stainless-Steel Snare Drum Stainless steel 14” x 6.5” $795+


    Buyer’s Guide to Everything About Snare Drums

    No matter what you are looking for in a snare drum, the process of choosing the right one can be tough. There are just so many options! As a drummer, you also recognize how important the snare drum is in terms of the drum kit and performance. It is the heart of the percussion when creating the perfect beat behind great songs. Producing quality music stems from the drum, which in turn stems from the work of the snare drum.

    So, what do you need to think about when choosing a snare drum? The answer? Use your ears, think about what sound you are trying to create, and follow this guide.

    Depending on the snare, you could be looking at a hefty investment, so it is essential to know you are making the right choice.  If in doubt, reach out to the experts at Drum Center of Portsmouth to learn about snares and how to pick the right one for your style, ability, and overall sound.


    What to Consider When Buying a Snare Drum

    So, with all the lingo here, what exactly do you need to consider when buying a snare drum? From size to build, there’s a lot more to snare drums than meets the eye. Since it is a central piece of the drum kit, you’ll want to know the details before making a commitment.



    Snares are made of different shell sizes, which will determine what the sound ends up being. Shell sizes are made for specific genres.

    For example, the “rock” snare will be around 14” in diameter and have a 5” or 6” depth. Rock snares will be made of steel or maple and have metal hoops.

    Marching snares have higher tension on the head, producing a snappier sound and will be made of light aluminum.

    Piccolo snares are either wood or steel and created with thin depth for a super snappy and dry sound.

    Orchestral snares will be made of wood with medium depth and have calfskin head for generous muffling.



    As mentioned above, snares are made of a variety of materials. Snares can be made of wood, metal, aluminum, bronze, brass, hammered, and not hammered. Each material is pivotal in creating certain sounds.

    Wood snares create better bass. Steel, brass, and bronze create high-end responses. A hammered snare has a dark tone and non-hammered snares create bright tones.

    As mentioned in the reviews, some materials are designed to be more versatile with the sounds they create. This isn’t true for every snare, so definitely test it out first.


    Unmuffled or Muffled

    When it comes to controlling tone, moon gels are essential. Controlling the tone through moon gel allows for flexibility on your end. To create a subtle sound with the snare, you can use moon gels to muffle the sound. You can also use drum rings, drum gum, business cards, or electrical tape. With an unmuffled sound, you create a raw sound.



    When looking at snare drums, consider what your budget is going to be. The worst feeling is finding the perfect snare drum and then realizing it is hopelessly out of your budget range.

    If you enter with a clear idea of what you are willing to spend, you will be able to narrow your choices to what you can afford. The budget can be crafted based on your drumming experience, desired sound, and other factors.


    How Do I Know I’m Ready to Buy a Snare Drum?

    Buying a snare drum is making an investment in the overall drum kit you are building. Still questioning whether you are ready to buy one? The experts at Drum Center of Portsmouth can help in answering this question.

    You’ll know you are ready after you do the appropriate research, weigh your options, and go in store to test out products. How are you doing so far? Let DCP help answer this question and stop in today.


    What Parts Make a Snare Drum?

    As mentioned earlier, the snare drum has been around for over 600 years. It started as the tabor and later evolved into what we know and use today. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the snare drum had a lot of innovations. This is where the developments really began to match what we use today. The snare is essential to musical arrangements, which is why it has successfully evolved over 600 years.

    Those parts tend to be consistent across snare designs and consist of parts like the shell, tension rods, lugs, snare wires, and snare strainer:

    • The Shell: One of the main parts of the snare is the shell, which is created from wood, bronze, aluminum, or steel. It also uses rims/hoops to create overtones and limit the drum ring. Typically, the rims/hoops material matches the shell material, but that is a personal preference. Some designs, including the ones on this list, mix shell materials and types to create unique sounds.
    • Tension Rods and Lugs: Snares also use tension rods and lugs. This design influences the sound of the drum and seeks to control how much metal is in direct contact with the shell.
    • The Strainer: The snare strainer holds the snare to provide a way to adjust the wire tension.
    • The Snare Wires: Snare wires are fragile strands that help give the snare its characteristic sound. The wires interact with the snare to create a bright sound. The wires are the defining feature of a snare drum and help to create the crisp sound. Coiled wire is stretched across the drumhead on the bottom so that when struck, it will vibrate crisply against the bottom drumhead.


    How Much Should I Expect to Spend?

    It is hard to predict exactly what to spend on the snare. It depends on what level you are at, what you are looking for, and what sound you are trying to create. It typically ranges between $500 – 1000 with some pricier snares going over $1000. They are designed to be durable, so expect this investment to last.


    Bottom Line

    The bottom line here is that there are snare drums for every sound, genre, skill level, and need. Figuring out what is right for you means deciding what direction your drumming is headed. What genre are you going for? What sound are you creating? How committed are you to drumming? How can the right snare drum make that all come true?

    If you aren’t positive on how to answer these questions, you can rely on the team at Drum Center of Portsmouth. We carry these products online and in the store, so you can check out our products and figure out the best snare for you. Check it out today!

  • 4 Best Electronic Drum Sets for 2019 Reviewed

    Looking to invest in an electronic drum set? With so many options available on the market, we know how overwhelming it can be to choose to the right one.

    Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we know a thing or two about drum sets. That's why we've set out to create the ultimate buyer's guide for our top 4 drum sets.

    For each set, we break down some of the product specifications, provide a pros and cons list, and describe why we love and recommend the set. In addition to reviewing some of our best drum sets, we also tell you everything you need to know about buying an electric drum set in our buyer’s guide.

    Reviews at a Glance


    Who It’s Great For

    Why We Love It


    Available Online?

    Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set

    The Beginner Drummer

    - Affordable

    - Improves drumming skills



    Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set

    The Drummer on a Budget

    - Low cost for high quality

    - Effectively mimics acoustic sets



    ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5

    The Home Recording Artist

    - Produces great recordings



    Roland TD-50KVX-S V-Drums Set

    The Tech Lover

    - Many fancy tech features included



    Every drummer is different, so we’ve considered your different wants and needs when creating our guide. If you’re a new drummer, the Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set is the way to go. Drummers on a small budget will appreciate the Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set. Drummers looking for a drum for recording purposes will love the ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5, and tech lovers will go crazy for the Roland TD-50KVX-S V-Drums Set.

    Read on to learn more about the best drum kits on the market and how to go about choosing the one that’s right for you.


    1. The Best Electric Drum Set for Beginners: Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set

    Everyone has to start playing somewhere, so why not go with one of the best electric drum sets for beginners? The Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set is perfect for those who are new to drumming or still looking to refine their skills.

    The parts were designed to make it easy for beginners to improve their playing. The VH-10 Hi-Hat is thin enough to allow for controlled footwork, and the PDX-12 Snare Drum Pad is appropriately sized. The KD-10 Drum Pad minimizes noise through its soft rubber coating.

    Product Features

    Aside from being quiet, the Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set is ideal for at-home practice because of its many built-in features. This drum set comes with everything you need to improve your skills and become the best drummer you can be. Some of these cool features include:

    • Coach mode. This feature is like having your own personalized trainer for drumming. It’ll encourage you to practice every day and complete your warm-ups properly. Additionally, coach mode will monitor your techniques, track your progress, and motivate you to get better.
    • Bluetooth connectivity. You can connect headphones/monitors and your smartphone via Bluetooth to the drum’s system. This way, you can easily watch and listen to a video lesson while being able to hear yourself play.
    • Built-in recording system. Simply hit the record button, play, and hear what you just played. Listening to what you actually played is a great way to improve your skills rather than relying on what you THINK you played.

    Where to Buy

    The Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set comes in at $1,699.99. Considering its great sound and many cool features, this drum set is reasonably priced for those new to the drumming world. It’s available for online purchase, so be sure to consider getting one if you’re a beginner looking for a reliable drum set.

    Get the Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set Here

    Pros & Cons

    To summarize, here’s a pros and cons list for the Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact Drum Set:


    • Amazing sound for a great price
    • Built in a way that accommodates beginners
    • Features allow beginners to improve skills
    • Great for practicing at home
    • Built to last


    • Not ideal for gigging/use outside of your home
    • Pedal and Hi-Hat stand are not included
    • Felt beaters might quickly wear down the mesh kick drum pad


    2. The Best Electric Drum Set for a Small Budget: Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set

    Who says that you have to break the bank for a quality electric drum set? The Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set is a great purchase for drummers on a budget.

    For starters, the sound quality is fantastic. The DTX700 module works with the DTX-PADs to deliver expressive, realistic beats. The set’s DTX-PADs effectively mimic the experience of playing regular acoustic drums. Additionally, they are constructed in a way that allows for quiet practice sessions at home.

    Product Features

    • Hi-Hat and cymbals. The complete Hi-Hat system comes with a pad set onto an included stand. It can play both open and closed sounds and is even capable of authentic foot splashes. The Hi-Hat’s 2-zone design further adds realism to playing because of its edge and bow sections.
    • Three-zoned cymbal pads. The three-zone cymbal pads are of a professional grade. The bow, cup, and edge zones are capable of expressing different sounds and have good stick feel. The cymbals’ natural swaying motion and “mute” and “choke functions” also allow them to sound very similar to that of a traditional cymbal.
    • Sound effects. The system comes with almost 1,400 sounds spanning instruments, percussion, and other sound effects. It also includes many sounds from Yamaha’s renowned MOTIF XF synthesizer. The sounds are of high quality, and there’s even room for your own. One of our favorite parts about this drum set is its use of the free DTX700 Touch app. With the app, you can easily customize your set to make it sound exactly how you want it to!
    • Built-in sequencer. With the Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set’s built-in sequencer, you can easily start and stop band sequences. So along with being a great at-home practice set, this sequencing feature also makes it practical for gigging if needed.


    Where to Buy

    The Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set is available online for just $1,999.99. This is a great price as far as electric drum sets go, especially considering all the features it has. Less expensive electric sets tend to be geared towards beginners, but this is a great kit even for more advanced drummers. Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we definitely recommend this set for any drummer on a budget.

    Get the Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set Here

    Pros & Cons

    In short, some major pros and cons of the Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Set are listed below:


    • Great quality for an affordable price
    • Components give the set a very natural feel
    • Effectively mimics an acoustic drum
    • Ideal for both at-home use and gigging purposes


    • Kick pedal is not included
    • Relatively low memory space (64 MB)


    3. The Best Electric Drum Set for the Home Recording Artist: ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5

    If you’re looking to take your at-home recording more seriously, the ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5 is the way to go.

    Product Features

    aDrums uses only the best materials that allow their sets to look great while lasting as long as they should. Some of the best features of this particular set are:

    • Attractive wooden appearance. This set, like their other ones, comes with an authentic birch wood shell with a solid black lacquer finish. The set’s attractive visuals and relatively compact size make it the perfect addition to any home studio.
    • No-contact sensor. The cymbals and Hi-Hat included feature a timeless design that eliminates incidental frills so that your playing can be as accurate as possible. In particular, the Hi-Hat’s non-contact sensor (which works effectively even when the pedal is closed and opened rapidly) also allows for a playing experience similar to that of an acoustic set.
    • Easy recording features. When it comes to recording, you’ll not only be able to play accurately but also get the best sound possible. The USB port supports computer and MIDI connectivity, allowing you to easily record your beats. The module inputs and outputs allow for a reliable connection, and the SD card reader allows you to upload and store high-quality sounds. There’s even a mini aux input for audio and MP3 playback.


    Where to Buy

    Online, the ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5 is priced at $3,499.00. This might be a bit pricey for drummers who just need a practice set, but if you want to start recording high-quality tracks, definitely consider getting the ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5.

    Get the ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5 Here

    Pros & Cons

    We’ve compiled a list of the main pros and cons for the ATV aDrums artist Standard Set aD5:


    • Great for recording music at home
    • Plenty of storage (32 GB)
    • Sleek and compact design
    • Components tailored to an authentic acoustic drumming experience


    • Slightly on the pricier side
    • L/R only outputs (no separate channels)


    4. The Best Electric Drum Set for Tech Lovers: Roland TD-50KVX-S V-Drums Set

    Like with our first recommended drum set, this last recommendation also comes from Roland. The company is recognized for its quality electric drums, and the Roland TD-50KVX-S V-Drums Set is no exception.

    Product Features:

    This set takes electric drumming to a whole new level. It is packed full of a variety of neat features that any tech lover will go crazy for, such as:

    • TD-50 Drum Sound Module. Thanks to this, the sound is as realistic as it can get. The high-resolution elements result in vivid, bold performances.
    • Prismatic Sound Modeling. The sound is also very dynamic because of the use of Roland’s original “Prismatic Sound Modeling.” The V-Drums advanced trigger-sensing technology is cleverly integrated for a kit that faithfully responds to how the drummer actually plays. In short, this set’s tech will allow you to play with realistic clarity, resonance, and dynamic expressiveness.
    • Personal practice assistance. This might seem like a feature found on a beginner drum set, but even the professionals can benefit from a reliable practice system. The innovative system allows you to easily practice and develop your internal clock.


    Where to Buy

    The Roland TD-50KVX-S V-Drums Set is available for purchase online for $7,999.99. It’s one of the more expensive electric available but know that you are getting so many cool tech features with it. Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we can certainly appreciate a technologically advanced electric drum set and know you will, too.

    Get the Roland TD-50KVX-S V-Drums Set Here

    Pros & Cons

    The big pros and cons of the Roland TD-50KVX-S V-Drums Set are as follows:


    • Amazing tech features that allow for realistic playing and sound
    • Awesome recording abilities


    • One of the more expensive electric drum sets on the market
    • Slightly cumbersome

    Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider When Buying an Electric Drum Set

    Our reviews give you a good overview of each recommended drum set and who they are best suited for. Each drummer, however, is unique in their needs and skill level. Keep in mind the following factors when making your decision:


    As seen with the less expensive Roland TD-17KVX-S V-Compact and Yamaha DTX720K Electronic Drum Sets, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a quality drum set.

    However, you should take into account your budget and playing experience. If you have been playing for a while and feel that it’s time to upgrade, it might be worth getting a more expensive and higher quality electric drum set.


    The material your electric drum set is made of can make a huge difference. Rubber on the drum pads, for instance, can allow for a quieter practice session. Different materials, however, might be more ideal for a more realistic feel. Be sure to do your research to determine what material will best fit the sound you’re going for.

    Also, make sure that whatever set you end up going with is made with high-quality material. You’ll want one that not only sounds and plays great but will also last you a while. Be sure to consider any warranties that might come with the product you choose.


    It is amazing how many great features are built into today’s electric drum sets. Many sets have some of the same features, but make sure the one you go with has features you will actually use. If you’re a beginner, go with one where the features help you improve your playing. If you’re a more advanced drummer, you might want a set with great recording abilities for production purposes.

    Your Needs

    Are you looking for something to practice with at home? Do you need a new set to gig with? Electric drum sets can be a big investment, so look for one that will accommodate you


    How do electric drum sets work?

    Without knowing how an electric drum set works, owning one might seem intimidating. Their mechanisms, however, are actually quite simple.

    Sensors are located underneath the rubber or mesh pad, and when the pad is hit, the sensor sends a voltage value to the “brain” (sound module). The sound module then converts that value to trigger a certain sound based on the set up of the sound module. The module is also able to make sounds louder or quieter based on the velocity of the strike.

    Some pads come with two or even three sensors under the pad. This allows a single pad to produce multiple sounds, again depending on the set up of the sound module.

    What’s the transition from an acoustic drum set to an electric drum set like?

    Depending on their skill level and personal preferences, drummers might find the transition from traditional acoustic sets to electric ones difficult. Elements such as pad sensitivity, latency, and distant sound all affect the playing experience.

    Many electric sets do a great job at mimicking the feel of acoustic ones, so be sure to keep that in mind when searching for the right set.

    How do I know I'm ready to buy an electronic drum set?

    Beginners can take advantage of electric sets as many of them come with programs that facilitate learning. If you are a more advanced drummer, an electric set might benefit you in terms of live gigging or recording.

    If you have access to a friend’s or one at a music store, it might be worth testing out an electric drum set. This way, you’ll know exactly how it feels different from an acoustic one and if it’s something you feel ready to start playing on your own.

    How much should I expect to spend on an electric drum set?

    As previously stated, this is going to depend on the kind you get. Typically, electric drum sets can be anywhere from $500-$10,000.

    Bottom Line

    In short, these are our recommendations here at Drum Center of Portsmouth for the beginner drummer, drummer on a budget, the home recording artist, and the tech lover. Take into account our expert reviews along with the other mentioned considerations to choose the one that is right for you!

  • Canopus RFM vs. Sonor Prolite - Reinforced Maple Shell Showdown

    Anyone who knows us at Drum Center of Portsmouth knows that we love Sonor drums. The vintage maple shell design of their SQ2 and Prolite series are at the top of our list when it comes to unparalleled sound.
    What you may not know is that we are also huge Canopus Drum fans. When a customer comes into the store and asks for a snare drum recommendation from us, regardless of brand, they usually walk out with a Canopus. Also relatively unknown is the amazing sound of their RFM drum line.
    As a service to you, we decided to pit these two high-end reinforced maple shelled kits up against one another in a head to head showdown!

    Round 1 - The Stats

    Both of our kits are 5-piece configurations with similar diameters - 10, 12, 14, 16, 22. The Prolite is 10x8, 12x9, 14x14, 16x16 and 22x17.5. The Canopus RFM is a little less traditional in their depths - 10x7, 12x8, 14x13, 16x15 and 22x15.
    Advantage - n/a

    Round 2 - The Shells

    Each manufacturer creates their thin, reinforced maple shells in house from scratch. Both are flawless. The Sonor shells interiors have a subtle finish to them bringing out some gorgeous wood grain figuring. While this makes no audible difference, the attention to detail gives the Prolites an ever so slight advantage.

    Round 3 - The Hardware

    This category is a tough one. The Prolite hardware is more engineered, more practical, and better looking. The Tune-Safe lugs have 2 points of entry into the shell, and do a better job of preserving tuning.
    The Canopus lugs are a single-point solid brass lug. These simple, elegant lugs promote resonance by creating fewer holes in the shell. Brass is also inherently resonant, which may or may not increase shell vibration. Canopus tuning rods sport proprietary Bolt Tight leather washers that aid in keeping the drums in tune.
    Sonor gets the nod in this category, but only by a hair.

    Round 4 - The Heads

    This may seem trivial to some, but probably makes the biggest difference in the overall sound. Canopus RFM drum sets ship with Remo USA Coated Ambassadors on the top AND bottom. Prolites have clear Ambassador heads on the top and bottom.
    While both heads are of premium quality, the Coated Ambassadors are our drum head of choice on 90% of drum sets. They just have a smoother tone with a slightly better range. The Prolite heads sound great, just a little more direct and punchy.
    Advantage - Canopus

    Round 5 - The Finish

    The Canopus RFM kit is finished in a unique, classy looking Navel Orange Oil. It looks amazing. The Prolite drum set is a high-gloss, Chocolate Walnut Burl.
    Advantage - Sonor

    Round 6 - The Sound

    We tuned each kit high and low. The Canopus kit seemed to handle the higher tunings a little better, but this can definitely be attributed to the Coated Ambassador heads. These heads also seemed to bring out more rich, woody tone.
    The Prolites brought more thump and defined articulation, most likely due to the clear heads and slightly deeper sizes. They seemed to choke up a bit when we asked them to go higher, but this also could be blamed on the clear heads.
    Advantage - Canopus, with an *asterisk


    Both of these kits are professional level, high-end examples of handmade quality and craftsmanship. Each have a slightly different voice and vibe to them. All things being completely equal, the winner is not clear. The Canopus RFM will a pleasant surprise to most people, as they are still relatively unknown here in the US. If they can keep up with the sound of Sonor, they deserve to be near the top of your list when shopping for a high end maple drum set.
    We stock and sell more high-end Canopus and Sonor drums than anyone. If you have any questions about these two brands, feel free to give us a shout. We’d love to help you out!

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