Happy New Year! Among my resolutions for 2015 is a plan to give you guys more stuff. Thankfully, I’m on track to do just that.
Sorry the Gifts Under $200 series didn’t pan out. It’s been a busy season. But, I’m back and I’ve got a LOT of stuff to give away in the coming weeks. Speaking of, if you’re only here for the free stuff, scroll down to the bottom of the page for more details about how you can enter to win this excellent PDP Concept series hardware [CONTEST CLOSED] (I won’t be mad, but you should really read the review; this stuff is great).
PDP by DW Concept Series Hardware
As I’ve mentioned on this site before, I really love hardware. I know it’s super nerdy, but there’s something about the transparency of drum set hardware design that I find very elegant and intriguing. Tiny little tweaks can make a significant difference in the way a stand performs, and more importantly, holds up over time. It’s very visible engineering and I like that. Maybe I’m alone on dork island here, but I really enjoy exploring the nuances of new hardware.
So I was very excited when the Good people (hopefully someone gets that) at Drum Workshop asked me to review a few selections from the (semi) new PDP Concept hardware series. Per the company’s literature, the line aims to offer professional, reliable components at a price suitable for young and working drummers. That’s a pretty standard platform, and one that seems to be the pitch behind, like, 85% of the gear that’s hit the market in recent years, but it means something different when coming from the brains at DW.
Drum Workshop has a history of rolling out very interesting innovations through the subsidiary PDP brand rather than saving them for top-tier DW products (for example, the beautifully designed BOA pedal was a PDP exclusive). I’ve not spoken with company reps about that strategy, so I don’t want to speculate about their motivation, but it’s an approach that’s always made me keep my eye PDP’s offerings. Perhaps that’s the point.
With that in mind, I wasn’t at all surprised to see that the Concept series hardware launched with a very, very cool design element at its core: modular mounts. What’s that mean? Let’s break it down.
By “modular mounts,” I mean that all of the cymbal tilters and add-on accessory mounts can be moved around on or entirely removed from the boom (see photo below), and multiple tilter units can even be mounted on the same boom arm. It’s a remarkably simple design, and it’s kind of baffling that it hasn’t been done before (disclaimer: to my knowledge). The series of modular add-ons includes a selection of fairly standard cymbal tilters and mounts, as well as microphone clips, accessory percussion mounts, and closed hat mounts. Lots of options here.
Perhaps just as exciting is the fact that the Concept accessory array features 1/2” standard mounts, but all clamps can be quickly adjusted to fit 10.5mm boom arms by simply flipping the drum key bolt-adjustable brakes (see photo). That makes all of the accessories are compatible with just about every modern hardware series on the market today. Very cool stuff.
Additionally, the mounts feature toothless QuickGrip tilters for infinite adjustability. The two halves of each toothless tilter are buffered by a semi-soft rubber gasket which didn’t budge at all under some pretty severe torque. They were so secure that I didn’t worry even once about them slipping during the review period. The torque is adjusted with a very large wingnut bolt, which is something I really enjoyed when fumbling around to make changes in the dark.
Each mount is also designed with a flat face on one end, making it easy to stack multiple units next to one another. They’re all held in place with those key bolt-adjustable brakes mentioned above, which is a sensible feature given the need for a compact design. But I’ll admit that I find having to reach for a key every time I want to move a piece of hardware a little tiresome. To reiterate though, I think it was a necessary choice.
DW sent over four pieces from the Concept series for this review (and again, giveaway), and that gave me a chance to put some pretty cool set-ups together with just one stand. Check it:
Alright, let’s take a closer look at each piece.
PDP Concept Boom Cymbal Stand
This is a heavy duty piece of equipment. Wide double-braced legs with large, solid rubber feet keep the Concept Boom Stand thoroughly anchored under heavy play. I’m not normally gaga for super hefty stands, but the extra weight here is especially effective if you choose to add a couple of those Concept accessory mounts up top. As pictured above, I hung two rides and a mini-china on the same stand with zero wobble.
The three-stage unit uses thick nylon bushings at each pipe joint to limit metal-on-metal contact. This is a fairly standard feature on most modern stands, but these chunky fittings will likely hold their shape much longer than some of the wafer thin gaskets I’ve seen on other models. That may seem like another one of those super nerdy things to point out, but healthy spacers keep the action smooth through years of set-ups and tear-downs. I don’t mean to be crass, but that shit is important.
One thing I thing that stood out to me about the Concept Boom Stand was the use of what looks like brass receiving nuts for the wingnut bolts at each pipe joint (see photo below). I’m not totally sure these are brass, but they look like it. I read up on the differences between stainless steel and brass threaded inserts, and it seems like there isn’t too much difference in strength between the two. However, in the event that brass is a bit less durable in this instance, I’d recommend being very careful to not over-tighten the wingnut bolts at those joints (again, this is all speculation – I’ll clarify through DW as soon as possible).
As I mentioned before, the boom receiver up top uses an incrementally adjustable tilter with a wingnut toggle. There are cutouts on one side to receive the included memory lock and ensure a clean fit. The 16 1/2” x 1/2” boom arm is durable and textured for a more secure grip. And, of course, the unit is capped with one of the modular cymbal mounts discussed above.
PDP Concept Long Cymbal Boom Arm
MSRP – $45.99
This is simply an isolated version of the boom arm included with the Concept Boom Stand. One thing I’ll point out here is that the felts on all of the cymbal mounts in this series are nice and firm which I really like. The lack of give and softness makes it easier to really dial in the exact tension you want applied to the cymbal. Very nice touch on this budget-friendly series. (Note: PDP also offers a shorter version of the Boom Arm.)
PDP Concept Adjustable Quick Grip Cymbal Holder
The Adjustable Quick Grip Cymbal Holder replaces the regular cymbal mount with a 3 3/8” x 1/2” mini-arm for increased positioning flexibility. The reduced-size arm includes a drum key bolt-tightened memory lock and an otherwise normal cymbal mount on one end. On its own, it’s a versatile little bit that makes positioning that extra splash very easy.
However, that extra 1/2″ (or convertible to 10.5mm) receiving slot can accept another full-sized boom arm (like the one covered in this review – gasp!) as well. That adds huge positioning range, making it possible to comfortably float two ride cymbals (as pictured above) on the same stand. That rules.
PDP Concept Mic Holder for Rack
The last piece I received for review was the Concept Mic Holder which functions exactly like the Adjustable Quick Grip Cymbal Holder, but has a mic clip up top rather than a cymbal mount. It can easily fit onto a standard boom arm, or more appropriately, a tom-mount L-arm for easy rack tom micing. The company also sells a matching unit with a longer boom arm for mounting on floor tom legs. Very savvy.
This was so useful. I used it several times while recording, and I’m mad I have to give it to one of you guys. Well, I’m happy, but I’ll be very sad to see it go.
I have a love-hate relationship with heavy duty hardware. On one hand, extra strength means extra security. On the other hand rests a bill from my chiropractor because I’ve been carrying chunky hardware all over town. This PDP Concept series hardware is heavy stuff, but those brilliant little modular mounts make it possible to replace a couple cymbal stands with much lighter boom mounts in the gig bag. That’s great.
Otherwise, this is an exceedingly well designed collection of hardware and accessories. The Concept series is billed as tour-grade stuff, and after a couple of months with these samples, I think that’s absolutely true. Plus, the fact that all these cool, innovative features are available at this price point is downright bonkers.
Enter to Win – Giveaway Closes January 29, 2015!
Alright, you did all that scrolling, so here you go: Complete the entry form below once. The info will be automatically submitted to me via email. I’ll select a winner at random on January 30, 2015 and then notify the winner by email (make sure to check your spam folders or add firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe sender list). After the winner is selected, I’ll ship the stuff their way once they’ve provided me with the correct address and a gracious thank you.
Entries must be submitted by 11:59:59 PM EST on January 29, 2015. Giveaway open to residents of the continental United States only (lower 48 – sorry, I just can’t afford to ship this stuff much further than that).