Drum Set Reviews
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The Pearl Rhythm Traveler offers a small, portable drum set that's aimed at anyone who wants a kit they can move around easily.
It folds down and can be put on the back seat of a car or carried without any difficulty. This is probably the best feature of the set.
It can also be used as a practice set too if you want to play quietly. Just put on the mesh heads provided and your good to go.
The kit I'm reviewing here includes a 20"x8" Bass drum, 10"x5", 12"x5", and 14"x5" toms, and a 13"x5" snare drum. It comes with some hardware and cymbals included which I've given the once over as well. Let's get started...
Looking at the shells, they seem well made, smooth and are nice and lightweight. The toms have a single batter head, while the snare and bass drums have batter and resonant heads. One of the main attractions is the fact that you can easily stack all the shells inside of each other. Totally portable and easy to store.
The tom mounts are fairly good and have memorary locks too which is a nice touch. The rack toms can be positioned reasonably well, and the floor tom mount (attached to the cymbal stand) seems sturdy and easy to use.
Pearl also give you some mesh heads with the kit which are really good for practing. The rebound and feel isn't to far away from a real drum head, and should allow you to practice at any time of the day or night without anyoning anyone. The cymbal silencers are just what you'd expect too, and they do a decent job of dampening the sound.
The hardware with the Pearl Traveler includes a cymbal stand, hi hat stand, snare drum stand, and bass drum pedal. They are all pretty soild and will be able to take just about as much punishment as some heavier hardware, but they are much lighter. The bass drum pedal is ok for the price, but I wouldn't want to use it all the time. It's not as fluid as I'd like it to be.
Your choice of finish for the kit is pretty limited unfortunately. It's either jet black or pure white or...well, that's it actually. The jet black set I used wasn't too bad looking. The Rhythm Traveler is so compact anyway that I don't think the finish is really as important compared to a full size kit. It's the sound that really matters here.
For such a small kit you can't expect this to sound truly awsome...and it doesn't. But it does sound pretty good!
The heads provided leave a little to be desired, but putting on some decent Remo heads instead soon improved the sound and got the best from the kit.
The rack toms give a reasoanble punchy sound and are better than I thought they'd be. The floor tom manages to give more 'oomph' than I was expecting too. In fact all the toms do a pretty good job and deliver a reasonable amount of attack and projection.
The 20"x8" bass drum looks like it isn't going to give you any bang for your buck, but again I was suprised at how good the sound was for such a small drum. After a little padding and tweaking, I was reasonably happy with the sound. A decent 'thud'!
As for the snare drum, it gives a nice 'crack' once it's tuned up. The 13" diameter contributes to it being a tighter, focused sound, but it still projects well. There are better snare drums out there of course, but for the price and size...it sounds ok.
The overall volume of the Pearl kit isn't especially loud. If your practicing on you're own, you likely don't need a really loud kit. And if you're playing live you can always mic the set up to get a bigger sound. However, playing with a band in a small to medium room, and with no mics, it's still loud enough to be well heard.
On to the cymbals. The 16" crash/ride and 13" hi-hats have a sound that is similar to a hitting a tin roof with a baseball bat (not that I go around doing that of course!).
If you actually want to make some nice sounds you should seriously consider changing these straight away. They are ok for practicing with though, as long as you don't mind hearing them!
What about the tuning range? Well, the shell sizes mean that you can't get a really low sound, and higher tunings are a bit thin sounding.
But, there is a middle ground where the drums sit comfortably. It's a small set, so you can only expect to get a certain range of sounds from it.
As far as portable sets go, I would say the Traveler is good. Not excellent, but good. That's possibly because I'm so used to playing a full size kit. Considering that the purpose of this kit is to be compact, easy to transport, while still giving as good a sound as possible...it does meet those needs very well.
Any downsides? Things that I didn't like about the set were the poor quality cymbals, and the heads. But, I guess you can't really expect these to be particularly good, they're bascially just complimentary extras. They can be easily replaced in any case. The bass drum pedal is ok for the price, but I'd probably change it after a while for something more refined.
So, Is It worth the price? The Pearl Rhythm Traveler Isn't the lowest priced portable set around, but It's among the best. I'd say that it's definately worth trying to pick one up at a good price. Where's the cheapest place to buy it? Here's the cheapest site i've found. They usually have the lowest price and sometimes free delivery too, so I recommend checking them out for the best deal!
The final word: if you want a compact portable or practice set, or even a set to learn on, this Pearl set is worth a look. It's small but for the price, it stands tall.