Rigged: Travis Orbin

We’re back with another edition of Rigged! This time, we’re checking out the immensely talented Travis Orbin‘s gear. This dude is a savage. Watch everything.

Photo courtesy of Metalstorm.net

Can you describe the kits you’re using on your main gigs? 

Currently, I perform live only with Darkest Hour. In North America, I utilize a Pearl Vision birch kit with a 20″ kick, 14″ and 16″ floor toms and a 6.5″x14″ Sensitone brass snare. When performing overseas, I’m restricted to whatever the back line company procures for me, but I try to at least acquire the same dimensions with a metal snare.

Travis also includes a full list of regular rotation studio gear on his site (note: site auto-plays music):


Pearl Drums Reference Pure, natural maple finish

8×12 rack tom
16×16 floor tom
16×20 bass drum

In addition, I also utilize:

8×10 rack tom
10×13 rack tom

Snare Drums

7×14 stainless steel, flat black powdercoat on shell with long tube lugs
6.5×14 Pearl Drums Reference brass
4×14 Pearl Drums maple piccolo
8×14 Pearl Drums limited edition maple
8×14 solid ash
6.5×14 Pearl Drums Sensitone Elite brass

Nearly all of my snares feature die cast hoops and Puresound snare wires.

Zildjian Cymbals (Darkest Hour setup):
21″ A Mega Bell Ride
19″ A Custom Crash
14″ A Custom Mastersound Hi-Hats
8″ A Custom Splash
13″ A Custom Mastersound Hi-Hats
18″ A Custom Crash
18″ A Custom China

Extended setup for sessions/projects:

6″ A Custom Splash
11″ FX Oriental “Trash” Splash
‘Stack’: 14″ A Custom EFX / 16″ FX Oriental China “Trash”
16″ A China High
19″ K China
17″ A Custom Crash
18″ K Dark Crash Thin
19″ K Dark Crash Thin
12″ A Special Recording Hi-Hats
Custom hi-hats: 14″ K Constantinople bottom (top) / 14″ K Custom High Definition bottom (bottom)
15″ K Light Hi-Hats
20″ K Custom Flat Top Ride
20″ A Ping Ride
20″ K Heavy Ride
21″ A Custom ReZo Ride
22″ K Constantinople Renaissance Ride

You have a very unique setup. What brought you to this configuration and positioning? 

A new of things occurred to contribute to the overall evolution of what may be known as my ‘signature’ kit. I’ve detailed everything sequentially in this video:

Does your cymbal selection vary between different artists or settings? 


What kind of heads and tuning do you prefer? 

With heavier material, I tend to use clear heads on the tom-toms; Remo Vintage Emperors are my favorites, usually with a Controlled Sound X head on the snare. The kick is almost always a coated Powerstroke 3 with two mini falam slams; I’ll tune it up or down depending on the song. I tune the tom-toms lower for heavier stuff, then for anything else I’ll use Vintage Coated Emperors and tune accordingly. The snare will also follow suit (raising/lowering pitch). Sometimes I dig a Black X on the snare, too. For live performances with DH I use the Emperor X, as I tend to hit much harder and it’s the only head that won’t bear dents after one gig, hah.

What’s your primary stick? Do you use different options? 

Vic Firth SRH2/Hammer. Nope.

Is there a record or track that you feel best represents your sound? 

The Gabriel Construct’s ‘Interior City’ is something I feel very fortunate to have contributed.

What are some of your favorite recorded drum sounds? 

Off the top of my head,

Metal: Anything Pantera (for uniqueness/character), Gojira – The Way of All Flesh (for sheer in-your-face quality)

Rock: Soundgarden – Down on the Upside

Fusion: Dapp Theory – Y’all Just Don’t Know

Jazz: The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out

Funk: Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters

Live: Tower Of Power – Soul Vaccination: Live

Video: Dennis Chambers – Serious Moves

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