Here' is a video of Bun E. Carlos playing one - a good representation of how it sounds.
I can say with certainty that they are the best sounding drums I've ever owned (a caveat that this is my entry into the foray of vintage/round-over bearing edge shell builds). But they came along at the perfect time, because I was looking at vintage kits, and everything I saw that was in decent shape was around $1000 and had 12/14s and 20 inch bass drum. And the mounting hardware always left a lot to be desired, of course.
So, the Club Date "Fab 3"...the best logical solution - and a tremendously affordable one withe a beatiful wrap finish.
I replaced all of the heads except the resos. The toms had the cheapo versions of an Evans G1 (I think?) I replaced them right away with Remo Coated Ambassadors. The batter on the kick was a clear cheapo Evans/Ludwig with the kind of "second layer" dampening ring on the inside collar - the front was a similar coated version. I've never been a fan of that kind of head - I don't like the dampening methods of a head to rest on the bearing edge because I can never seem to get a decent tuning out of them. I replaced both sides with Remo Coated Ambassadors.
The toms are fantastic and tuned up wonderfully/with ease. I LOVE the 13/16 combo. It's my first 13" rack tom, and I love the extra inch both in terms of sound and positionality. It decreases my reach just slightly more than the 12s I've used in the past, and the versatility of tuning is so much greater - it can either provide a thunderous low tuning or a more overtone-y high jazz style tuning. The 16 is equally impressive - great range. Not a ton of bass frequency/low mids, as is my general experience with 16s (as opposed to a 14, which seem to be almost problematic in their lo-frequency resonance). A great sounding drum. And the legs are nice and long so it can be raised to a decent height. A friend has a Ludwig 16" floor from the sixties in blue oyster that he loaned me so I'd have 2 floors, but I was disappointed to learn that the legs of the vintage drum were quite a bit shorter and I can't get it high enough to match my new one. It also doesn't sound nearly as good, but it's pretty beat.
The bass drum is my first 22 x 14. I've been wanting shallower bass drum for years, so this fit the bill. Unfortunately, it was the most disappointing aspect of the kit in stock form. I made some mods, and now I love it.
The hoops on the bass drum are JUNK. When I tried to tune it, I could not get the head to seat properly, there were dead spots and "flappiness" in one spot, ringing in another. No matter what I did, I could not get them consistent. I experienced exactly the same type of problem with a Gretsch Catalina Club Mod that I got some years ago - the hoops would not seat evenly on the bearing edge of the shell no matter how hard I tried - it's almost like the pull out of round. I believe this to be a combination of them being too flexible and not being properly seated/sized. Extremely disappointing. However, I took the maple hoops I have on another drum, put them on the Ludwig, problem solved. I do find the bass drum with the roundover edge build a bit more difficult to tune because the pitch seems to be more "diffuse" and tricky to dial in evenly from lug point to point and seems to be exacerbated the larger the diameter of the drum, but I just kind of ballpark it and it seems to work out ok.
The bannana mount on the bass drum is terrible. The tom would slouch when I played, no matter how hard I tried to crank it down (the knurling was shallow and the metal cheap - it started to grind off right away). The other part is that it is not easily removable - you basically have to disassemble the unit to take it off, preventing you from easily putting it in a case. Likewise, the legs need to be completely removed - they do not fold tightly against the drum enough to put it in a case.
The single center-mount bowtie lugs are a mixed bag. On one hand, there is less attachment to the shell, which is probably good from a resonance standpoint. On the other hand, the tension rods are very long and exposed. My suspicion is that these are going to get bashed/bent over time, particularly on the bass drum which will have the tripod of cymbal stands being positioned next to it.
Overall, an awesome kit which requires a few mods, and still an improvement on the original.
Interestingly enough, they made a limited run of snare drums with a 4-ply re-ring design, in both 5 and 6.5 depths, but I could not find the re-ring build in Blue Oyster - only 6 ply cherry/gum/cherry like the toms. I did find a Marine Pearl re-ring build for $179. I was very excited about the re-ring build at such an affordable price.
However, when I got the drum, the re-ring had a long gash in it where the re-ring met the 4 ply and they had filled it in with wood putty! It appeared not to be as much of a structural issue as a cosmetic one. I was very disappointed, but the seller was excellent to give me a $60 discount on the drum.
I tuned it up, put some Puresound wires on it, and it sounds fantastic. Nice and fat and somewhat dark with a good pop. The throw is garbage, as most economy drums are. I have had a hard time getting a consistent tuning out of the snare side diplomat head - it's weird - it depends on where I strike the head - the pitch is even near the lug, but struck about 3 inches in, it's lower and it is very inconsistent around the different areas of the head. I've never had a tuning behave like that and I'm not sure what to attribute it to. I checked the edges for any rocking and there was none, but I have not attempted to shine a light through it.