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Old 06-23-2018, 01:32 AM
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VitalTransformation VitalTransformation is offline
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Default Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Hi DrummerWorld!!

As you will all know (well, not really) I recently bought a "home" kit; the incredibly space-saving Tama Silverstar Vintage kit (limited edition, and now generally unavailable, it seems). This cute litte kit allowed me (much thanks to my musician wife) to set up in our bedroom. But as the kit is still loud like drums be, I could only play on the rare day off, when the people in the neighborhood were all at work...

So I needed a quieter solution and after searching, I settled on the RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80 pack combination!

Cymbals
- Feel-wise, I think these pies work a ton for practice. They feel much more like real cymbals compared to "proper" cymbals fitted with rubber cymbal mutes.
- Sonically, they obviously aren't "rich" or "creamy" or "dark" or "whatever". But they generally don't offend me.
- The 16" crash is the worst of the bunch, with the stick attack nearly overpowering the sound of the actual cymbal. I suppose we're nearing the boundries of physics on this, since two drumsticks smacked together make a pretty loud noise, so it's only so soft you can go, playing with wooden sticks. Still, I wonder if the taper had been sharper towards the edge, the crash would be more responsive. But that would probably make for a pretty fragile cymbal, what with all the holes. I dunno...
- The 18" ride is fine for practice purposes. Feels good and makes a consistent, if bright, "ride" sound. The bell has a sharp contour but, a very small sweet spot if you want a bell sound totally separated from the rest of the cymbal. Still, very usable!
- The hihats are IMO actually very cool sounding. Sort of a dry, bright, industrial sound. I could see myself recording these hats for special FX!

RTOM pads
- These are awesome (aside from the BIG con, noted later) with tunable tension of the mesh pads (yes, the mesh tension greatly affects the resulting drum sound, not just the feel). I'm actually overjoyed with the sonics of the snare and toms!
- The kick sounds good but softer than I'd like, compared to the rest of the kit. I'll experiment some more with bass drum tunings and mesh tension...
- The BIG con is that I'm terribly unhappy with the bass pedal extender plate that RTOM supplies with the kick drum pad! I've tried four pedals with it and only one will work satisfactorily. The "hoop" plate is too thin (causing failure of some pedals to grab it) and it extends too far from the rim of the Black hole pad so that some pedals "bottom out" (footboard clicking against the clamp nut) because of sub-optimal beater angle. I'm currently in touch with RTOM regarding this issue, and hopefully it will be resolved
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Last edited by VitalTransformation; 06-25-2018 at 02:05 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2018, 07:11 PM
sixstringer7 sixstringer7 is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

I have the same practice setup as the OP, and mostly agree with his evaluation of the different components. I also was not happy with the bass drum mesh head. I like to switch back and forth between the low volume and full volume setup, and I felt that removing the pedal, installing the mesh head and metal plate, and reinstalling the pedal, then having to repeat the process in reverse to uninstall the mesh head, was more trouble than it was worth. So, I substituted one of these for the Black Hole mesh head on the bass drum:
https://www.amazon.com/SoundOff-Evan...9zL&ref=plSrch
It pops on and off easily, and significantly reduces the volume of the bass drum.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:12 AM
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Tommy_D Tommy_D is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

I don't have the RTOMs, just Remo silent strokes, so I can't speak to those, but I really like the L80's for what they are. Yeah, the 16" seems to be the weakest of the bunch, but the 18" is great. The hats are good. I also have a 14" crash, a 20" ride and 10" splash.

It's just really nice to have a quiet practice kit.
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:53 PM
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VitalTransformation VitalTransformation is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixstringer7 View Post
So, I substituted one of these for the Black Hole mesh head on the bass drum:
https://www.amazon.com/SoundOff-Evan...9zL&ref=plSrch
It pops on and off easily, and significantly reduces the volume of the bass drum.
Hm, yeah that would have been a cheaper and easier option for sure. How about tone?

RTOM says they'll send me a prototype of their new extender plate, so I'll see how that works out!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy_D View Post
It's just really nice to have a quiet practice kit.
Yes, it's amazing what not having to worry about annoying other people does for your creativity!
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Old 06-26-2018, 06:49 PM
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eric_B eric_B is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Nice review, thanks for posting.

Recently I have been experimenting with silencing my acoustic drum kit as well.
I bought Evans Sound Off pads years ago, including the kick drum pad.
I got a Remo Silence head, the RTOM and Aquarian Superpad as well.

I liked the Remo mesh head the least. Mesh heads are fine for triggering or for my Roland E-kit but, to me, not for a less loud acoustic kit.

The RTOM and the Superpad are nice. The volume level is comparable and they both sound like acoustic drums played very softly but the feel is different: mesh vs rubber (or whatever they used). It is a matter of preference, although the RTOM has the advantage being tuneable which changes the feel and also the sound (a bit).

The Sound Off pads sound very dead and low and have very little rebound. A cheap option to silence your kit but you sacrifice sound and feeling.

About the kick drum: I used the Sound Off one for a while but had trouble keeping it in place without tightening it so hard I was afraid to damage my hoops and didn't care too much about the sound. I also had the foam crack around the area where the pedal hits it. It could be because mine is around 5 years old. Maybe also the construction of a matter bar with foam.
The one advantage of the Sound Off kick drum pad is that it fits multiple sizes kick drums.

So I contemplated about the RTOM kick pad but ordered the bat shaped Super Pad and think it is very nice. I didn't like the extra pedal attachment of the RTOM. Installing the Super Pad is very easy: you just push it in and fix it with 4 flexible clips, done. Removing is just the reverse. It sounds and feels nice as wel.

I'm using the Thomann's Millennium brand silent cymbals, they are pretty OK although good regular cymbals sound (much) better. But the feel and sound is much better than my Roland E-kit rubber cymbals or the Sound Off cymbal mutes and they are fine for practice.
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Old 06-26-2018, 08:25 PM
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eric_B eric_B is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Oh, and to add: in the current active thread about hydraulic heads it was mentioned those are also good for quiet playing.
Well, I have to disagree as I just compared an Evans black hydraulic tom head with my regular clear Emperor one and also with the RTOM and Super Pad.
Maybe the hydraulic appears to be more silent when your ears are used to more regular drum heads but I would put them at 90% volume or so and the RTOM and the Sound Off at 25% and the Super Pad at 20%.
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Last edited by eric_B; 06-26-2018 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 06-27-2018, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Thanks for the weigh-in Eric_B!

If the RTOM bass head still won't work for me, I'll be sure to consider the Superpad. But I'd really like to get my moneys worth, since the RTOM is expensive, and besides, I really like the tone and feel of the thing!

I saw some video of the Thomann silent cymbals and thought they sounded quite nice. But they were close enough in price that I chose the L80's, safer resale and whatnot.
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Old 06-27-2018, 03:59 PM
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sXeDanimalsXe sXeDanimalsXe is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Good info here. I have the sound offs for the toms, cut up yoga mat for the cymbals and I had the sound off bass drum mute, but the metal rod snapped in half.
I am thinking the Super Pad is going to be the best bet for me.
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:06 PM
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VitalTransformation VitalTransformation is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Quote:
Originally Posted by sXeDanimalsXe View Post
Good info here. I have the sound offs for the toms, cut up yoga mat for the cymbals and I had the sound off bass drum mute, but the metal rod snapped in half.
I am thinking the Super Pad is going to be the best bet for me.
I can really recommend perforated "silent" cymbals over rubber (yoga mat) mutes. Much more inspirational to play!
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:27 PM
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sXeDanimalsXe sXeDanimalsXe is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Quote:
Originally Posted by VitalTransformation View Post
I can really recommend perforated "silent" cymbals over rubber (yoga mat) mutes. Much more inspirational to play!
I am thinking about getting some. But that is a lot of money. I don't get to play much so the cost is hard to justify.
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Quote:
Originally Posted by VitalTransformation View Post
Thanks for the weigh-in Eric_B!

If the RTOM bass head still won't work for me, I'll be sure to consider the Superpad. But I'd really like to get my moneys worth, since the RTOM is expensive, and besides, I really like the tone and feel of the thing!

I saw some video of the Thomann silent cymbals and thought they sounded quite nice. But they were close enough in price that I chose the L80's, safer resale and whatnot.
I hope you get the RTOM bass head to work as you want. Being European as well, the RTOM and Super Pads are pretty expensive over here. Just compare how much they cost in the US...

I guess the resale value of the L80s will be better than the Millennium ones. That being said, I don't think resale value will be ever very good compared to nice regular cymbals. I have to admit, the finish on the Millennium cymbals is a bit rough on the edges, I think the L80s are better in that regard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sXeDanimalsXe View Post
Good info here. I have the sound offs for the toms, cut up yoga mat for the cymbals and I had the sound off bass drum mute, but the metal rod snapped in half.
I am thinking the Super Pad is going to be the best bet for me.
I still have a Sound Off on a rack and floor tom and they work fine for their money. They just sound more dead and low than a Super Pad or RTOM.
As you experienced, I wasn't too happy with the construction of the Sound Off bass drum mute either. I like the Super Pad much better, you might give it a try if it is worth your money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sXeDanimalsXe View Post
I am thinking about getting some. But that is a lot of money. I don't get to play much so the cost is hard to justify.
I can't judge if it is worth it to you but those perforated cymbals are both silent and feel very much like acoustic cymbals and sound better than other cymbal muting solutions a well. Try them out if you can, I think they are a great part of a silent acoustic drum kit setup.
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  #12  
Old 07-04-2018, 07:38 PM
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VitalTransformation VitalTransformation is offline
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Default Re: Quiet Setup Review: RTOM Black Hole/Zildjian L80

Update:

I just today received the prototype kick pedal extender from RTOM. It's a much better engineered piece of kit that allows the mechanism of my pedals to sit significantly closer to the head for better action and no "bottoming out". It also features a much thicker "hoop" plate for the pedal clamp to grab onto.

Much better feeling silent kick action now! Hopefully RTOM will start supplying these new extenders with their bass drum pads soon!
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