Drum Set Reviews
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The Tama Superstar Custom Accel is one of the slightly differing sets in Tama's popular mid-range Superstar series.
The set came with a 22"x18" bass drum, 10"x8", 12"x9" and 16"x14" toms, and a 14"x5.5" snare drum. Tama also supply some of their rather good hardware too.
This set is at the bottom of Tama's Superstar series, but does it it live up to the standards set by the rest of the series? Time to put it through it's paces...
The Superstar Custom has been made from a combination of birch and basswood. The birch has been used on the inner plys to influence the sound, with the basswood used on the outer plys. The toms and snare have been put together with 6-plies at 6mm thick, while the bass drum is thicker at 7-plies and 7mm.
All the shells have tidy looking bearing edges and are generally well made. The good news continues with the shell hardware including die-cast hoops, and Tama's long Sound Bridge Lugs that not only look cool, but actually reduce tension on the shells and helps them project. Also, the Star-cast tom mounting system is a great feature that attaches to the toms at the lugs increasing their resonance.
Unfortunately there aren't many finishes to choose from, but the 3 available do look pretty good. There's Satin Cherry Burst, Grey Pewter, and the Dark Desert Burst that the review set was finished in. It does a good job of making the set catch your eye and you'd probably only expect to get such a quality finish on a more expensive kit.
The Superstar comes with a pack of that lovely Tama hardware which includes a straight cymbal stand, boom cymbal stand, snare stand, hi-hat stand, and a bass drum pedal.
It's all double braced and as solid as any I've used. The hi-hat stand and bass drum pedal both have a nice action and the cymbal stands are a pleasure to use. A decent, reliable pack of hardware in anyones book.
As the Tama Custom Accel is made from birch and basswood, you'd think that the sound might not be as good as a 100% birch set. Well, i'd say it's just slightly different but still really good. The toms have a quality sound with an extra big helping of low end on the floor tom. The two rack toms are just as good but with a better mid and high end pitch that sings out and cuts through with plenty of punch.
The chunky, solid sound continues with the snare drum that gives a biting backbeat and shattering rim shots. There's a lot of sensitivity though too, and ghost notes and rolls are defined and sharp. It's great fun to play and doesn't dissapoint at all.
Just as fun is the bass drum that has buckets of low end and a beefy, fat sound. It isn't as loud as other bass drums i've played but still performs well with mics. It's quite focused too, even without any padding inside, although putting some in doesn't hurt and just increases the attacking quality of the sound.
What about the tuning range? Well, the Custom Accel has a reasonable range of pitches, but I found it was better at slightly higher tunings where the sound was more focused and clear. The smaller fusion sized toms probably have something to do with that. But, the bass drum was good at a lower tuning too.
The Tama Superstar Custom Accel stands up quite well compared to it's more expensive bigger brothers in the Superstar series. Still, I have heard better kits of course.
The birch/basswood shells give a decent sound at this price level, and the snare drum ain't half bad either. The good hardware package and some nice features like the glass fibre bass drum hoops help to make the set a solid choice.
Any downsides? The bass drum could be a little louder, but then the focus of the drum might be lost. The only other thing is the limited choice of finshes, there are only 3 available. They do look great, but they might not be to everyone's taste.
What about the price? The Superstar Custom offers good value for money when you consider the good sound, finshes and hardware that's included. 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: it's not the best sounding drum set in this price range, but it doesn't sound at all bad. It more than makes up for it with the quality of the hardware and finshes and all at a good price too. A great value drum set.
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