Drum Set Reviews
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The Yamaha Recording Custom is described as "The most recorded drum set in history". Quite a claim right?!
Well, it's the set that helped put Yamaha on the map as a leading drum manufacturer; and its been played by the likes of Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, and David Garibaldi among others. That says alot!
The Recording Custom is made from 100% Birch and can be bought with all the toms mounted or with one or two floor toms.
I have a shell pack for this review containing a 22" bass drum, with 10", 12", 14", and 16" toms. Ok, let's see if this set lives up to the hype...
The Recording Custom shells are all made from selected quality Birch. It won't come as a surprise that the thickest of the shells is the bass drum made with 7 plies while the toms are made with just 6 plies. The shells have then been put together using Yamaha's Air Seal System that ensures even pressure at the seams.
Now, I looked really hard for any kind of flaw in the shells, but nada, nothing, zip. They've been crafted beautifully and the bearing edges are perfect. Good job Yamaha!
That quality continues over to the features too. Yamaha have used some really nice low-mass lugs on the set that are actually hi-tension, preventing them from rattling.
Next, all the toms use Yamaha's YESS tom mount system, leaving the shells undrilled for better resonance. It's used on alot of Yamaha's higher-end sets and seems to do just as good as job as other brand's similar isolation mounts.
Putting the toms in place is quick and easy too thanks to the 360-degree ball clamp on the tom holders. It's quite a simple design really but it works a treat.
But, if you're quite choosy when it comes to finishes, you might be a little disapointed. There are only a few to choose from including Cherry Red and Black. The review kit came in Cherry Red and was a real stunner to look at. The wood grain shows nicely through the high-gloss laquer, but you might want something a bit more adventurous colour-wise.
Anyway, it's the sound of the Recording Custom that's made it iconic over the years. The Birch shells give a quick attacking sound and a short sustain making it ideal for studio situations. Hence the name (i'm sure you already knew). And the set has an impressive quality tone across every drum, it's a joy to play.
The toms have a clear, true sound with a good initial punch followed by a short but sweet sustain. The 10" and 12" toms are that little bit clearer with fast rolls sounding really well defined. Then, the 14" and 16" toms bring a good helping of low-end and a little darkness into the mix. But, they are still quite well defined too. Very tasty!
Next, the big booming bass drum completes the line up. It's a really good drum and has plenty of depth. Again, there's a punchy wallop! up front when you hit it, but then there's a little resonance to round it out.
With a little tweaking and some dampening, it gives a tight chunky sound that wouldn't go a miss on a good funk or rock tune.
That's one of the great things about the this Yamaha kit. It's quite flexible when it comes to tuning, so you can get a range of sounds.
The bass drum is great at a medium tuning but if you want some deep power, go low and you'll be happy. The toms give some good options as well, but the 14" and 16" toms have a bit more scope.
So, what's the verdict on the on this top kit? Simple...it's a super kit! Not that I doubted it really, afterall, it's been one of Yamaha's most popular high-end drum sets for years now. The sound is attacking, quick, and full of character; and it would suit many styles from rock to jazz to funk and more.
Then, the features are all good standard and do exactly what's needed. The set doesn't have any really fancy touches that other manufacturers sometimes offer, like air-cushioned this or double padded that. But, it doesn't suffer without them one bit.
Any downsides? It's really difficult to find anything bad to say about the Recording kit. It delivers everything I wanted from an all Birch kit, and i'd say it's definately one of the best 100% Birch sets you can buy. A few more coloured finishes to pick from would be nice, but I really liked the Cherry Red so that didn't really bother me.
What about the price? The Yamaha Recording Custom is a top-end set, with a great Birch sound. So, yes it's expensive but no more than similar pro-level Birch sets. 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: as the most recorded drums in history, the Recording Custom represents decades of quality sounding Birch drums. It's attacking, well defined, powerfull, deep, and has a great tone. No doubt one of the very best Birch sets around.
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