Drum Set Reviews
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The Tama Starclassic Maple is part of Tama's high-level Starclassic series. The set is made from 100% Maple and has been designed to be versatile, suiting many different styles.
The set i'm reviewing here has a 22"x20" bass drum, 10"x8", 12"x9", 14"x12" and 16"x14" toms. Plus, a really nice looking 14"x6" Starclassic G-Maple snare drum. The set is most often sold as a shell pack but you can get hardware if you need some.
It seems that Maple sets are still the most popular around right now and Tama claim that the Starclassic Maple is one of the best you can buy. Many top pros like John Blackwell and Bill Bruford have played 'em, so they must be good right? Let's find out....
Well, Maple of course. But not just any old Maple, it's very high quality. The tom shells have been made with 6 plies while the bass drum is a bit thicker at 8 plies. The snare is the thickest of them all with 13 plies at 10mm thick, the reason for that is to get max power out of it.
What's really noticeable is that the tom shells are super thin and light. The toms are just 5mm thick and the bass drum is only 7mm. Why have Tama done this? You see, those thin shells vibrate more than thicker shells would, so you get much more resonance from them.
Pretty cool. But what about the features? Tama give you most of the same gear you'll find on their other Starclassic sets. For example, the Star-Cast tom mounting system to isolate the toms, and some decent zinc die-cast hoops.
Then, there are more detailed things like rubber padded bass drum claws to protect your wooden hoops, air-cushioned floor tom legs to absorb shocks, and some good quality Evans G2 drum heads. Oh yeah, and some cool oval-shaped low-mass lugs too (what a mouthful!).
And if you want some sexy looking finishes, you'll probably be happy with what's on offer for this kit. There are high-gloss and sparkle options like Dark Mocha Burst, Silver Snow Racing Stripe, and Indigo Sparkle Burst. They're all very modern looking and the COLUR HERE!! on this review set works wonders under the stage lights.
Now that i've stopped drooling over it, let's talk about how the Tama Starclassic sounds. Basically, the set is warm, clear, fat, and mega resonant. It's not lacking volume either and packs a mighty punch. But, probably one of my favourite things about the sound is that you can hear the quality Maple tone coming through each drum when you play it.
The toms are really well defined and loud but there is a lovely smooth sustain that fades away after you've hit 'em too. As a whole, they've got a good balance between each other that's rounded and solid. Thumping around on the two floor toms is awsome fun, not that the rack toms aren't fun too of course!
Moving on to the bass drum, the shell is quite thin giving it a really loud and boomy sound. Maybe a little too boomy for me. But changing the drum heads or adding a bit of padding inside the shell makes all the difference and it sounds alot more focused. Still, if you want a big boomin' bass drum you'll be all set to go without too much work. I like it alot and it's an excellent foundation for the rest of the set.
Especially the Starclassic G-Maple snare. Apart from looking great, it sounds it too. It's not very sharp but instead it's chunky, warm, and smooth. I'd say it's almost got a solid, grounded feel to it. It can give a bit of the old high pitched pop if you throw some rim shots at it, and cross-sticks sound sweet and cutting too. It's gotta be up there with some of the best Maple snares i've played. Really!
Thankfully, tuning the Starclassic Maple isn't the ordeal it sometimes can be with other sets. I think that's partly thanks to the good die-cast hoops. Anyway, the bass drum and all the toms sound pretty good tuned high or low, but the bass drum is better at a low-medium tuning. The snare's awsome too and I like it cranked up a little above medium a tuning where it's fat and warm with a bit snap!. It took a bit of fiddling around to get the sound I wanted from the snare, but it was well worth the effort.
If I had to sum up the this kit with a noise, that noise would be Hhwwuuumphah! And in case you aren't totally sure what that means, let me tell you...it means it's good! Very good! The quality of the Maple sound is undeniably great. It's warm, powerful, and very resonant thanks to the thin shells.
With Tama's top-end Starclassic features completing the set, it's no wonder i've been hearing good things about it. It's worth pointing out that you can actually get the shell hardware in colours like Black Nickel or Brushed Chrome too, and you can choose to have shallower or deeper shells depending on your taste.
Any downsides? Hmmmmmm. I always try to point out anything I don't like or think could be better about any set I review. But, it's a struggle here. I love the sound of Maple drums and the Tama Starclassic Maple is among the best Maple sets i've played. I'd like to pay less for it, but then I wouldn't be getting all those quality features would I? No.
What about the price? Well, there are more expensive Maple sets than this. But, I doubt they would sound noticeably better, if much better at all. Thinking about it like that, this set is expensive but it's quite reasonable compared to some other brand's. I very much doubt you'd want a refund anyway. 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: the Starclassic Maple gives a consistent warm tone with plenty of resonance. It's quite versatile and you can even choose shallower or deeper toms depending on your style. If you like the sound of Maple drums and want a really good high-end set, this has to be worth a look. It's great.
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