Does anyone know much about the Premier Cabria series?

GiantArmadillo

Junior Member
I found some Cabrias in my area. Here they are:
1
2
3
4

The floor tom on the first one is slightly different from the rest, I believe: it has a different badge, which says 'Premier Cabria APK' as opposed to the rest. So can anyone tell me about these drums, and which might be the best buy for a beginner?
 
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Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I had a "Made in England" Cabria for about a month and a half and I can't say I was too impressed with the shell quality on those kits. The kits you have posted are not made in England, but instead are made in China or Taiwan. I don't know what sort of construction standards Premier gave to the factory who was building these drums, but if the English made kits are any indication, it wasn't very good. The shells I had varied in thickness from ~3mm to 6mm depending on the cross lamination overlap. The edges were fine, but the shell was not a properly built cylinder. The wood was completely unknown. Some sort of really soft tulipwood (aka. poplar) on the interiors and an unknown Eucaluptus for the outside of the shell. They were very easy to flex and the snare drum had a dent in it from it falling over at some point. Yes, the wood depressed/deformed at the edge and didn't crack. It dented and couldn't be fixed.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
Tommy, the Cabria I owned was the same era as the one I recommended. It was by no means poplar. It had alternating plies of maple and ash, and was very well constructed. I have no idea what's in the one pictured in the OP's #2 link, but with a lacquer-over-yellow-stain finish and 10 lugs on the kick, I'd be stunned if it wasn't an XPK of the same era, with a maple outer ply and an ash inner. If so, that's a high-quality instrument. Mine was.

Cabria had a wiiiiiiiiiiiide range of specs. But I wouldn't be surprised if someone rebadged your example, because that's not at all in line with my experience with MiE Premier kits of any line. Unless it was made in the same factory as the Reliant Robin, circa 1974. :p
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Tommy, the Cabria I owned was the same era as the one I recommended. It was by no means poplar. It had alternating plies of maple and ash, and was very well constructed. I have no idea what's in the one pictured in the OP's #2 link, but with a lacquer-over-yellow-stain finish and 10 lugs on the kick, I'd be stunned if it wasn't an XPK of the same era, with a maple outer ply and an ash inner. If so, that's a high-quality instrument. Mine was.

Cabria had a wiiiiiiiiiiiide range of specs. But I wouldn't be surprised if someone rebadged your example, because that's not at all in line with my experience with MiE Premier kits of any line. Unless it was made in the same factory as the Reliant Robin, circa 1974. :p

No, they were real deal Cabrias. Everything about them aligned with Premier's promotional material (color, shell material, lugs/hardware). They were just garbage. Since these were only built for a couple years in England in the late 90's maybe they were just a rush job because they weren't profitable. That's probably why they moved production to China/Taiwan.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
No, they were real deal Cabrias. Everything about them aligned with Premier's promotional material (color, shell material, lugs/hardware). They were just garbage. Since these were only built for a couple years in England in the late 90's maybe they were just a rush job because they weren't profitable. That's probably why they moved production to China/Taiwan.

Huh. You must be right. I've never personally beheld MiE Cabrias, so I have no experience with them. Shame, though; I've never beheld shoddy MiE Premier drums. Kind of tarnishes the old reputation.
 

Hazim

New Member
No, they were real deal Cabrias. Everything about them aligned with Premier's promotional material (color, shell material, lugs/hardware). They were just garbage. Since these were only built for a couple years in England in the late 90's maybe they were just a rush job because they weren't profitable. That's probably why they moved production to China/Taiwan.
Huh. You must be right. I've never personally beheld MiE Cabrias, so I have no experience with them. Shame, though; I've never beheld shoddy MiE Premier drums. Kind of tarnishes the old reputation.
I say you are both very wrong in many ways. Let me try to explain why.

I got my own Premier Cabria MiE bought in 1998. They were checked aprox. 2 yrs ago (so after 20 years) by my friend (from www.hallvad.cz), an excelent drum maker and "service man" and he was in contrary to Tommy_D rather amazed by the quality of the shells. Not just the edge cut precision was perfect. It all was. And trust me, he saw tons of shells in his life.

As per the wood, it is actually Eucalyptus/Merranti (pretty much the same as mahagon, tiny bit softer).

They were quality drums for a very reasonable price and I have not faced any HW issue up to now. Wish I could say that for the rest of the manufacturers.
Yes they were produced only for 2 years in England because ALL Premier production moved to Taiwan. Which by the way had actually quite limited impact on the quality compared to Sonor moving to China to name one. Yes, cost savings were obviously one of the strong motivations, no doubt. But was rather due to a list of reasons including issues like inability to find a metal manufacturer in England due to new emission laws (several factories were closed...) etc.
After that they totally reworked the line to Cabria PK (Basswood), APK (Maple/Ash) and XPK (Maple) so these are completely different drums to those made in England.

I have seen couple others MiE Cabria thru my life and I am very surprised with Tommy_D's experience as I have got completely opposite one.

For me they were (and mine still are) really good quality drums and HW for great price. Wood selection is quite exotic which makes them bit special and if you love soft, warm and bit darker tone, these are just perfect. Plus being produced so shortly make them a rarity item, which is however none of my interest.

Premier is one of the most underrated drum maker of all times, if not the most one. Just because Ringo liked that foil (!!!) on those Ludwigs...
 

GruntersDad

Honorary Lifetime CEO
Staff member
I bet he made his mind up already seeing as how this was 4 years ago.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
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I say you are both very wrong in many ways. Let me try to explain why.

I got my own Premier Cabria MiE bought in 1998. They were checked aprox. 2 yrs ago (so after 20 years) by my friend (from www.hallvad.cz), an excelent drum maker and "service man" and he was in contrary to Tommy_D rather amazed by the quality of the shells. Not just the edge cut precision was perfect. It all was. And trust me, he saw tons of shells in his life.

As per the wood, it is actually Eucalyptus/Merranti (pretty much the same as mahagon, tiny bit softer).

They were quality drums for a very reasonable price and I have not faced any HW issue up to now. Wish I could say that for the rest of the manufacturers.
Yes they were produced only for 2 years in England because ALL Premier production moved to Taiwan. Which by the way had actually quite limited impact on the quality compared to Sonor moving to China to name one. Yes, cost savings were obviously one of the strong motivations, no doubt. But was rather due to a list of reasons including issues like inability to find a metal manufacturer in England due to new emission laws (several factories were closed...) etc.
After that they totally reworked the line to Cabria PK (Basswood), APK (Maple/Ash) and XPK (Maple) so these are completely different drums to those made in England.

I have seen couple others MiE Cabria thru my life and I am very surprised with Tommy_D's experience as I have got completely opposite one.

For me they were (and mine still are) really good quality drums and HW for great price. Wood selection is quite exotic which makes them bit special and if you love soft, warm and bit darker tone, these are just perfect. Plus being produced so shortly make them a rarity item, which is however none of my interest.

Premier is one of the most underrated drum maker of all times, if not the most one. Just because Ringo liked that foil (!!!) on those Ludwigs...
Lots of confusion about Premier drums and timbers, but I can state that APK drums were never maple/ash and XPK drums were never maple. Maple is an expensive drum wood, which is why only top-line drums use this timber. premier used various cheaper timbers when making their budget lines - Eucalyptus, merranti, etc. XPK drums were generally Birch/Eucalyptus/Birch with see through lacquer finishes, APK had wraps. Cabria Lacquer series in 1999 started to use Eucalyptus/Tulipwood shells, moving away from the earlier Merranti mix. Cabria Exclusive had Basswood/ Eucalyptus/Tulipwood, while Vitria had maple/Eucalyptus/maple shells. Very few of these kits ever made or sold. All very confusing. Also drums were never made in China, only Taiwan. The original APK drums with black interiors probably hid a lot of unusual timbers from view - Premier experimenting with timbers and costings.
 
Tommy, the Cabria I owned was the same era as the one I recommended. It was by no means poplar. It had alternating plies of maple and ash, and was very well constructed. I have no idea what's in the one pictured in the OP's #2 link, but with a lacquer-over-yellow-stain finish and 10 lugs on the kick, I'd be stunned if it wasn't an XPK of the same era, with a maple outer ply and an ash inner. If so, that's a high-quality instrument. Mine was.

Cabria had a wiiiiiiiiiiiide range of specs. But I wouldn't be surprised if someone rebadged your example, because that's not at all in line with my experience with MiE Premier kits of any line. Unless it was made in the same factory as the Reliant Robin, circa 1974. :p
A bit late to the party, but Premier Cabria were never made from Maple or Ash...see my post elsewhere on this thread. Cabria was a budget line, using budget timbers.
 

Drum Mer

Platinum Member
Lots of confusion about Premier drums and timbers, but I can state that APK drums were never maple/ash and XPK drums were never maple. Maple is an expensive drum wood, which is why only top-line drums use this timber. premier used various cheaper timbers when making their budget lines - Eucalyptus, merranti, etc. XPK drums were generally Birch/Eucalyptus/Birch with see through lacquer finishes, APK had wraps. Cabria Lacquer series in 1999 started to use Eucalyptus/Tulipwood shells, moving away from the earlier Merranti mix. Cabria Exclusive had Basswood/ Eucalyptus/Tulipwood, while Vitria had maple/Eucalyptus/maple shells. Very few of these kits ever made or sold. All very confusing. Also drums were never made in China, only Taiwan. The original APK drums with black interiors probably hid a lot of unusual timbers from view - Premier experimenting with timbers and costings.
Maple is not an expensive wood perse and can be found on mid level drums too, especially when being mixed with other woods and if not sourced from North America.
 
Maple is not an expensive wood perse and can be found on mid level drums too, especially when being mixed with other woods and if not sourced from North America.
That's a bit like the mahoganies that are used in cheap drums - Gretsch for example- as McCoy might have said, 'it's maple Captain, but not as we know it' Rosewood is the same with guitars. Species might be similar, but the maple used on high end drums is expensive, hence their retail price. Premier Signia were maple, and you can bet your bottom dollar the same maple was not used in the Vitria Series. There are no cheap maple drums, only drums made with cheap maple.
 
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