I am always interested in small kits. And I generally think almost all the manufacturers get it wrong. Here are the two things I think are wrong with the way manufacturers approach it:
- Allocating space for a drum diameter isn't a problem, and it is important to not skimp. In my book, for a small kit, 8 and 10 inch toms are essentially useless. Minimum tom diameter should be 12 and 14. It is the Depth that you want to cut for these kits. Same for snare.
- These kits are often shell kits, and if hardware is included, it is often incomplete and not designed for light weight. When coming up with a small, compact, portable kit, weight savings are just as important as space savings.
My ultimate compact kit would be:
- Nestable, shallow, light shells. [Need low profile lugs to nest.] Reasonable diameters.
- If there are two toms, ability to mount Both on the bass drum. No floor tom. [too much space for a tight "stage" area.
- Complete, ultra lightweight hardware solution.
- Some of the hardware mounted to the bass drum. [saves unnecessary stand legs]
- Two bags - one for the shells, one for the hardware
The cocktail jam mini is a re-release. It first came out along with the regular cocktail jam but it was discontinued due to low sales. They are trying again haha.
I've got a ton of experience with the cocktail jam kit, not the mini though. The absolute key to the kit sounding good is using a 16" tom hoop style emad on the bass drum. You don't have that option with the 14" on the mini. The 12" snare is fantastic and the birch shells really make the concert style toms project. Again, the mini maybe not as much due to the smaller sizes.
I've got a like-new cocktail jam with uv1's + emad, all associated hardware, but no bags that you can have for $300 if you are willing to drive to Daytona Beach lol