I promised a review of the little known RMV kit I bought last year, so here it is. I apologise for the length, but I write motorcycle reviews, so the habit is hard to break. First, some general background…
RMV drums are entirely made in their factory in Brazil. They make everything, from the heads, shells and hoops, through to lugs, stands, and pedals and they do their own finishes too. RMV calls this “Sonic Optimization”, and it’s aimed at producing the best match of components to guarantee the best sound possible. Well, enough of the publicity blurb, let’s get down to me and mine.
My kit is a Concept Series which should have cost around €1000 ($1500, I believe), but the Italian importer had it on offer for just over half price. That was me handing over 575 pieces of the coloured folding stuff then, and I walked out with a beautiful tobacco finish Concept Series with three rack toms and a suspended floor tom.
The snare is an 8-lug 14 x 5˝, bass drum is a 16-lug 22x18, suspended rack toms measure 8x7, 10x8 and 12x9, and the suspended floor tom is 14x13. The matte tobacco wood finish and the black hardware make it one of the nicest kits I’ve seen too.
The drum shells are made of a wood called bapeva, which is Brazilian maple. Apparently it’s harder and denser than North American maple, and the blurb from RMV says that the sonic characteristics possessed in different degrees by maple and birch - depth, warmth, clarity, and projection - can all be achieved using bapeva... all I know is that the drums sound bloody amazing.
The shells are relatively thin – I measured them between 4 and 5 mm with my trusty tape, and the assembled drums themselves are quite light compared to my Gretch or Premier tubs.
All the drums are slightly undersized with respect to the heads and the hoops – I was like, “Wup! What’s all this about?” but then my little mind made the connection. This way, only the head touches the bearing edge and the shell isn’t damped by the hoop – it responds more freely to the head vibrations. Bloody smart these Latinos!! Oh, and the bearing edges are some of the most precisely cut I’ve ever seen.
Standard hardware includes two boom cymbal stands, a snare drum stand, a hi-hat stand, the tom mounts, and a chain-drive bass drum pedal, all with their own li’l carrying bags Awwww! Ain’t that sweet?
The stands are really easy to adjust (even when you’re too lazy to get up off your throne) and very light. They’re anodized black alloy tubes with composite material tube locks. Even though they’re light, they're still solid and sturdy because the legs are double braced with big rubber feet, and the ratchet cymbal tilters have fine teeth that offer precise adjustment. They extend high enough for most human drummers too. The top nuts are big and chunky and hold the cymbals on securely. When it comes to the painful part of the gig, the boom arm disappears into the final down tube for easy transport.
The snare stand is height adjustable within fairly extreme limits, if you’re one of those that like your snare at grin level, you can do that too. The basket tilter utilizes the same ball & socket adjustment as the tom arms, and has a large round grip to tighten the basket. The large rubber feet hide chunky metal spurs that you can slide down to keep the stand from bouncing off your favourite rug, or can be used to poke your guitarist in the arse when necessary.
The hi-hat has a chain and lever mechanism; it’s very smooth and spring tension is adjustable. The action is solid, and the large rubber feet hold the stand in place. No problems with creep here either. Like the hi-hat pedal, the bass drum pedal footboard is black composite with orange flashes at the top and bottom. The pedal looked pretty good, and I did try it straight out of the box. It was functional and smooth and didn’t creep, but I’m attached to my Italian made “Tamburo” unit.
The shock control tom mounts are fixed to the tom shells with four elastic mounted tension rods that use rubber gaskets to dampen vibration. The toms are held solidly, but the mounts are flexible enough to allow the drums to move and resonate freely when you whack ‘em. The mounting bracket receives a Premier or Tama type knurled L-rod, and is made of a lightweight fibre composite material. The mounts are tightened with a drum key, and believe me – once positioned, they do NOT move. The tom-holder arms have drum key tightened ball & socket adjustment mechanisms, making the toms easy to position without the teeth and ratchet heartache associated with some systems.
The lugs are made from injection-moulded carbon fibre, which means they don’t have the weave pattern you see on motorcycle accessories - they’re just black. They’re fitted with steel lug nuts, tension rods, and screws. Lugs are attached to the drum by a vibration-dampening rubber gasket, one screw, and a positioning pin. This mini-mass
system lightens each drum and allows it to vibrate more.
Now, if you’re still awake, I’ll tell you about the sound. I like my snare head tuned quite tight and gradually wind up my batter head until I get the sound I want. So I did an approximate tuning and gave it a clout. The dry crack that resulted put a HUGE grin on what passes for my face. And that was with the supplied heads. Now there’s a REMO coated ambassador on there, and it howls. It has eight tension rods instead of ten, but I don’t think it suffers at all.
The bass drum has lots of poke. It is very bright, without excessive low end boom. It’s got more presence than a Ferrari in your garage and projects like Carmen Electra’s nipples at 20° below. This is a bass drum with balls and an attitude.
The toms sing out, with a solid attack and no lack of tone. The 8x7 tom has a nice high ping that decays quite quickly, while the 10x8 tom has a beefier sound. As for the 12x9, well, it’s throatier and surprisingly solid. I think that the resos have more effect on the overall tone of these drums than on any other kit I’ve played. It’s like you can hear the bottom head ring out, and by experimenting I established the fact – the resos on these drums really add sonority.
The suspended floor tom is pure magic. I didn’t expect such a small drum to be so authoritative – it’s like “Oi! Listen to me!” Such a sweet solid thump that tells you that this is a floor tom even though it’s hanging off a rack!
Well, she’s mine so I’m biased – but "solid" seems to describe every drum in this kit. Each one has its own timbre, tone, attack, and projection that could put some big-name drums to shame. But don’t just take my word for it - if you go to www.rmvdrums.com.br/
you can hear one of their kits being played. DW without the mortgage, anyone?