Friday, 4 April 2014

Product review: Dixon Drums

Hey, well seeing as I am having the motherload of hits I should keep adding things to this blog! Ok so today comes from my experience with Dixon drums. Many may know them as cheap hardware makers etc, but they have been now making drums for some time. My first experience was the black widow series of drums that I saw at the london drum show back in 2011, but I never tried them.... I dont know why. They just didn't jump out at me. Now forward to 2013 when I walk into bell percussion in london to trade in a DW snare and with some extra cash looking for a new snare. Now I already have a nice range myself. A pearl masterworks, free floating, traps a400, albermore custom etc, but I wanted something special. One such snare that was shown to me was a Dixon Classics Cherry. It was apparently (after some messaging) a one off prototype in response to being asked to make an affordable cherry snare drum. So after playing most snares in the store (and it coming to a tie between this and a luddy), i was just so overwhelmed by the snare that I bought it. So I took it home. Fast forward to this year and I finally get to play on a set, a dixon fuse at omega music. Here is what I thought from the snare and drum experience (I will not review the snare on the kit, as it will just seem confusing reviewing the cherry classic and the kit one):

Build
The snare is a BEAUTIFUL natural cherry with transparent lacquer with 20 low mass lugs. The inside shows a darker and just as stunning natural cherry. The snare is just beautiful. The lacquer perfectly showcasing the dark natural wood and all its grain. The hoops are triple flanged and the strainer is a basic but eloquent one. It came with proper evans heads, not cheap UT heads, the real deal, which was a nice bonus. It came with dixons own 20 strand wires which from what I could tell (and still today) are a rather nice affair.

The kit was simply stunning. Matte silver hardware and beautiful satin finishes. This whole thing oozed class. I was shocked to find it was just a "performance grade" kit aimed at beginners or a step up kit. From any angle it looks professional. The only sign that it was a lower end kit was the 12 lug bass drum on the jazz kit and the 16 lug kick on the 22. However this is really nitpicking. The kit was amazing to me. The tom mount was a professional affair with ball and socket tomholders and the tom suspension was similar to that on my ludwig. The legs and floor tom feet were the same gibraltar style versions seen on many kit, and seem to do the job nicely enough. The heads were an own branded kind, and although I think I would change them out quite quickly, they were good enough to showcase the sound of this kit.

Hands-on.
Well the snare... To say I am obsessed is an understatement. I did the usual three tuning ranges that I learnt off drum center portsmouth videos, and with the help of a trusty drumdial quickly had it tuned in. At low tunings it held a lovely sloppy sound, perfect for blues and some rock. The overtones was controlled and pleasant. Tuning it up to mid way gave a lovely all rounding sound with plenty of crack, with many of the overtones staying. I found this great for most genres, especially rock. Then I tuned it up high which gave it utterly piercing rim shots, and an amazing sensitivity. I at one point after hitting it and letting the sound die away, placed my drum key on it to get a drink and it bounced right off! Then finally I tuned it into my personal tone, an almost slack resonant and not-quite cranked batter. Immediately after hitting it I just sat there. I remember just being shocked at how amazing it sounded. Full of woody tone, It was that perfect woody thonk sound. It was sensitive, and it screamed "hit me". It had amazing warm overtones, perfect woody crack and shocking sensitivity. To say I am obsessed is an understatement.

The kit... wow. Firstly the 22". The misleading thing about this is the sites picture states 20 lug kick. Sadly this is not the case, it sticks with 16. But upon playing I no longer cared. Both kits projected a heavenly woody tone, that at no matter what tuning always sounded consistent and with a sound deeper than expected. The overtones again were controlled and pleasant and no matter what tuning I played it in it performed perfectly. I then decided to try them in my own tuning, and whilst the 22" sounded good, it was the 18" that sounded GREAT. Everything tuned high they responded perfectly both to my brushes and sticks. I just sat there and mouthed "this is it.... this is the perfect sound". Honestly I fell in love with it. I wish that I had gotten to try a 20" bass drum as they are my ideal size, but from what I tried, I loved.

Verdict:
The snare stole my heart. I am utterly obsessed with it. It sits proudly as my main snare with a remo active snare gate on it and I cant think of a better snare. The kit? Well lets just say if they gave me just the bare basic 12 lug jazz kit, no hardware and the basic heads and said: you can have this if you continue to review and demo on site and in stores/drum shows, I would have it in a heartbeat and never need another kit again. However that is just a dream, so sadly with no money I had to part the kit that stole my heart. But I THOROUGHLY recommend these kits to anyone reading. To the (now thousands :D) of readers, hope you enjoyed the review :)
Oli

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