16×22“ Kick (10 lugs) – 8-ply
10×12“ rack tom (6 lugs) – 6-ply
11×13“ rack tom (6 lugs) – 6-ply
16×16“ floor tom (6 lugs) – 6-ply
16×18“ floor tom (8 lugs) – 6-ply
Vic Firth 5A American Hickory (sticks)
Kick (batter side):
Remo Powerstroke 3
Kick (resonance side):
Remo Ambassador Clear
Toms (batter side):
Remo Ambassador Coated
Toms (resonance side):
Remo Diplomat Hazy Reso
A key factor when determining what drums to sample is to always to listen to them in the room. Sometimes, a kit that you in theory may have written off can end up your top pick when put in context of where it’s actually being captured. It’s all about matching the drums’ tonal color with the characteristics of the room, as sampling drummer Norman explains:
“We were missing a kit with birch shells and had several options. I personally have almost zero history of playing Premier drums. In fact, I can’t even recall when I was last sitting at a Premier kit prior to the Superior Drummer 3 sessions. For this fact alone, I was a little hesitant when we rolled this beast in. However, as soon as I played it, we all knew we had found our match. It outdid all the other options we had – by a mile. There was something special about how it reacted to the room at Galaxy.”
Why? Well, it may very well be that the Premier shells generally are a little thinner and overall sizes a tiny bit smaller, something that usually brings out a more resonant and overall ‘ringier’ tone.
“The slightly smaller sizes of shells give the drum heads a little more space to sit on the bearing edges and as a result, the tonal color is pretty different. It’s much more resonant and full-bodied, and in the massive Galaxy hall, the attack, body and weight of the drums all came together in perfect harmony. This was definitely one of the drum tones we were missing up until we sampled this kit. I personally think this is one of the most balanced kits in the Superior Drummer 3 core library collection. It just sounds right, almost ‘pre-mixed’, if you will. I’m beyond happy that we found our perfect birch kit – even more so that it turned out to be a Premier, a classic brand that for some reason was a late bloomer in terms of hitting it big outside the U.S.”
A HUNDRED-YEAR TRADITION.
Premier’s history traces all the way back to the height of the jazz age in the early 1920s. Back then, builder George Smith partnered up with drummer Albert Della Porta and started manufacturing drums from a basement factory on Berwick Street in the Soho area of London. From then through now, Premier has made anything from small jazz kits to over-the-top rock kits, come up with several inventions that have become modern standards, stopped making drums completely in favor of making war supplies for the government during World War II, been sold and bought back. In the company’s heyday, Premier exported its drums to 125 countries and today, Premier is still considered one of the top drum brands on the market. If you want to read more about the illustrious history of Premier, find an interesting article here.
ALL ABOUT THE WOOD.
So, what is all this fuzz about what wood a drum is made of? Does it really make such a huge difference? Well, if you ask Norman, it sure does.
“I’m the textbook definition of a drum nerd, so bear with me… I’m sure to any random fan of a a great drum sound, what wood the shells are made isn’t a determining factor, but to me it doesn’t only affect the overall tone – it’s the feel as well. That mainly plays in when you’re actually behind the drums, but I am also a firm believer that drum tones affect one’s writing too. Since our objective going in to this session was to offer the broadest possible palette of drums, covering all the essential types of wood was crucial. Why throw an ‘all you can eat’ drum buffé party and not offer a full menu, haha?”
After maple, birch is one of the most common types of wood used for drum shells. While maple is considered more an an “all-purpose” material in terms of the tone it produces, birch generally gives more of boosted high frequencies, a reduced midrange and added low-end punch. In addition, birch drums are known to be loud and piercing.
“When sampling this kit, I intentionally used a slightly different stick technique. To try and really pull the sound from the toms and to complement their singing timbre, I hit the drums more aggressively and with a different type of motion. One may think that how the stick hits the drum makes little difference, but you can really pull the tone out of a drum if you use a certain technique along with a reliable stick control. I haven’t yet, but I would love to take these drum tones to the stage. I am certain that this kit would cut through great in a PA. These drums are loud!” says Norman.
Here’s a drums-only demo of the Premier Genista kit.