ddrum Paladin

taiko

Senior Member
I have not seen much on the ddrum Paladin line up here, so I thought I would offer a brief review based upon my experience with the Paladin maple bop kit. I picked up the kit from a local drum shop. Nice looking in natural wood finish with nickel finish on the hardware. The price was good (around $700), and I wanted it for a second bop kit. My main gigging kit is a Canopus Neo Vintage and I also have a Gretsch USA Custom Limited edition ribbon mahogany kit. So I expected that the ddrum kit would not live up to my other kits, but I was quite surprised at how low the quality of construction actually was.

First, the finish was quite nice. I didn't detect any blemishes and it was a nice looking kit. However, when I opened up the bass drum, I was in for a surprise. I was changing the resonant head on the bass drum and started to look at the bearing edges--a complete mess. In one spot, the maker had put a huge amount of glue between the plies, causing a big bump in the inside of the shell. As a result, the inside of the shell was not actually round. This was very visible. At another spot on the bass drum the plies were coming apart--probably due to insufficient glue in that area (maybe it was all over where the bump was). There were gouge marks next to a couple of the screws holding on the lugs, where it appeared someone slipped with a screw driver.

In general, I worry much more about the sound of an instrument than I do about looks and finish, but the quality of construction on this kit was extremely poor--very sloppy. At the price, these are not tremendously expensive drums, but they are not cheap either. I've had the Gretsch Catalina club jazz kit, which is a bit cheaper, and the quality is much, much higher than on this ddrum kit. The construction quality simply is not acceptable for what ddrum represents as a pro kit--it's not a pro kit. I returned the kit to the shop where I bought them and will not ever buy anything from ddrum again.
 

porter

Platinum Member
Interesting. The story goes that Crush's founders left DDrum because of quality issues, and this certainly seems to support that... can't say I've tried anything of theirs in person, though.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Hmm... My Reflex kit isnt that poor of build quality. My only issue was that the shells were slightly crushed by the mounting hardware being installed so tightly. I chalk this up to really soft wood (Alder) and too high of torque on the screws for the lugs. Other than that, the bearing edges and shells all looked good. Maybe you got a dud bass drum and Im sure Ddrum would have replaced it, but I completely understand you returning the kit.

I said this in a previous thread but I'll say it again, sub-$1000 drum kits will need some sort of work on them to make them nice. They are built with cost savings in mind and corners have to be cut in so many places to get them in to the stores at such low prices. One should not expect too much from a sub-$1000 kit. Poor bearing edges, finishes, plating on the chrome, broken lugs, bent hoops, etc. are all to be expected in kits priced this cheaply.
 

taiko

Senior Member
I said this in a previous thread but I'll say it again, sub-$1000 drum kits will need some sort of work on them to make them nice. They are built with cost savings in mind and corners have to be cut in so many places to get them in to the stores at such low prices. One should not expect too much from a sub-$1000 kit. Poor bearing edges, finishes, plating on the chrome, broken lugs, bent hoops, etc. are all to be expected in kits priced this cheaply.
I'm not sure I agree with this. I've had several kits that were under $1000 and did not have the kinds of problems this ddrum kit had. The gouges in the shell next to the screws were really surprising. I had a Sonor bop kit that was around $400 and it was fine. The bearing edges were fine, if not perfectly smooth, and it was generally well made. I've also had a couple of Taye kits that were under $1000 and were fine (other than the GoKit I had, which sucked, but that was because the bass drum sounded like a cardboard box). In fact, they were really nice kits and nicely made.
 
Last edited:

taiko

Senior Member
I also had a Stage Custom kit and it was very well made. I had a chance to look over a Premier APK bop kit, which is really cheap, and it was far better than the ddrum kit in terms of quality. Basically, even among cheap kits, I've never seen anything as bad as the bass drum on the ddrum kit.
 

King Tiger

Senior Member
In my eyes, ANY new set, at ANY price, BETTER not have ANY quality issues. Okay, the manufacturers can skimp on the awesome finishes, not as many lugs, lower grade of wood, whatever. But what is there better not be poorly built, and it better be in perfect working order or it'll be returned faster than the drum shop's door can close behind me. I had a set of Yamaha Stage Customs some years back and had NO issues whatsoever. Same thing with a Tama Superstar Custom I had, everything in perfect working order. Both well under $1,000.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I said this in a previous thread but I'll say it again, sub-$1000 drum kits will need some sort of work on them to make them nice. They are built with cost savings in mind and corners have to be cut in so many places to get them in to the stores at such low prices. One should not expect too much from a sub-$1000 kit. Poor bearing edges, finishes, plating on the chrome, broken lugs, bent hoops, etc. are all to be expected in kits priced this cheaply.
I just can't agree with this at all. Over the years I've owned kits from the top of the heap down to mid range kits. I currently play a PDP CX kit. Everything about it is perfect. Chrome is good, zero broken parts over years of gigging, no shell defects at all, no wrap problems. Along with Yamaha Recording Customs, Maple Customs, Ludwig Classics, and Mapex Saturns, I've also owned my current set, Pearl Exports, and Yamaha Stage Customs. NONE of the sub-$1000 kits had anything other than exemplary construction. The only mid-range kit I've owned that I did not like was the Exports, but that had nothing to do with the quality of the kit - it just didn't have the sound I wanted.

I don't know what experiences you've had with sub-$1000 kits, Tommy, but your statement just does not jibe with my observations. Without doubt, there are apparently some brands that just have not been devoted to the quality of their kits in this price range (dDrum????), but that's not the case with most. Not in my experience.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
My experience has been poor bearing edges on my Gretsch Catalina Maple, filler/glue on the edges and poor wrap on my Tama Rockstars, and dented shells at the hardware on my Ddrum. All kits under $1000, all need "fixing" to be "perfect".

You honestly can't say that corners have not been cut on kits below $1000 to make them this price. When compared to a kit that costs 2-3 times that price, there is no argument that you are getting a cheaper, less hand crafted, less QC stringent product.

Giving a tom or bass drum 2 less lugs is not saving $2000 on a kit. Its probably a $10 manufacturing cost difference to add the extra lugs. Using north american maple vs asian maple is not saving $2000. Its more like $30 for an entire kit in manufacturing costs. Using cheap offshore heads is not saving a ton of money (I just re-headed my 7 piece kit top and bottom for $165). A manufacturer could probably put on USA heads for an additional $20-30 in their manufacturing costs.

The big savings is with labor costs, attention to detail (ie: time spend working on each drum), and quality control (number of rejections and rebuilds of parts). When you reduce these 3 things, you can increase production and get more kits out the door faster and cheaper leaving you with a product that is cheaper for the public.
 
Top