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Pearl Rhythm Traveler Drums

Like certain elected government officials voting for every new weapons system ever hatched, I’ve never encountered a drum set I didn’t like. And so it was with Pearl’s Rhythm Traveler, “the perfect kit for both silent practice and compact live performance,” as the company proclaims. While I did have some caveats, there was an unexpected, pleasant surprise as well.

The Taiwanese-made Rhythm Traveler consists of a double-headed 8 x 20-inch bass drum, single-head 10-, 12- and 14-inch toms and a 13-inch wood snare drum, all with 5-inch shell depths. The shells are 6-ply, 7.5 mm mahogany, covered in a jetblack finish. The snare drum is thoughtfully equipped with a coated batter head, the toms and bass with clear heads; the bass drum also sports a black audience-side head with a large white Pearl logo. All the drums, even the bass and snare, have only six tuning lugs per head. Although Pearl’s literature mentions plastic “silent cymbals,” apparently these have been changed in favor of Pearl CX300 series 14-inch hi-hats and a 16-inch crash/ride. These cymbals are the cheapest components of the Rhythm Traveler, although they are perfectly serviceable as practice cymbals when covered with the three included cymbal mufflers: a 14-inch round one that is placed on top of the bottom hi-hat cymbal, and two wedge-shaped units with holes marked 14 inches and 16 inches for placement in the hi-hat clutch or over the cymbal-stand tilter, respectively. With such muffling in effect, the cymbals sounded almost bearable but then again, so would pie plates or old hubcaps.

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