RMV drums - that's why Brazilian women shake their... well you get the idea.
May 2, 2009
Review by Beatmonster
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:High level performance at an affordable price
Cons:Not as well known as they deserve to be
The Bottom Line: Anyone wanting DW sound without the relative mortgage requirement can apply.
RMV drums are entirely made in a single factory in Brazil. Everything is made there, heads, shells and hoops, lugs, stands, and pedals, and they do their own finishes too. RMV calls this "Sonic Optimization", and it's aimed at producing a component match that guarantees the best sound possible from a given drum, and consequently, the entire kit. RMV are actually part of the well-known LP Percussion company that make the Latin bongos, tablas and congas played by many famous percussion artists for bands who use percussive effects. Well, enough of the publicity yak, let's get down to me and mine.
Recommend this product?
My kit is a Concept Series which should have cost around €1500 ($2000, I believe), but the Italian importer had it on offer for just over half price. That ended up with me handing over pieces of coloured folding stuff that amouted to €775, and I walked out with a beautiful matte black Concept Series kit which included a extra 8" rack tom to complement the 10 and 12 inchers, and the 14" suspended floor tom.
The snare is an 8-lug 14 x 5½, bass drum is a 16-lug 22x18, suspended rack toms measure 8x7, 10x8 and 12x9, and the suspended floor tom is 14x13. The matte black wood finish and the black hardware make it one of the nicest kits I've ever 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 absolutely amazing.
The shells are thin - so you can actually get a "vintage " sound out of a modern drum at last. I measured them between 4 and 6 mm with my trusty tape, and the assembled drums themselves are quite light compared to my Gretch or Premier tubs. The official RMV site quotes the shells as 100% Bapeva, with an outer ply of Copaìba, and the drums are sized according to their role; all toms have 4.6mm 4-ply shells, while the bass drum and snare have 6.9mm 6-ply shells.
All the shells 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. Damn 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, where we drummers struggle with about seven tons of wood and metal, the boom arm disappears into its support tube for easy transport.
The snare stand is height adjustable within fairly extreme limits, if you're one of those that like your snare drum 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 fireside rug, or they can be used to poke your guitarist in the butt when necessary.
The hi-hat has a chain and lever mechanism; it's very smooth and spring tension is adjustable. The action is smooth and precise, and the large rubber feet hold the stand firmly in place. I have never had any problems with any of these lightweight "Lightech" stands creeping, and being a species of small gorilla, I hammer quite hard.
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 tried straight out of the box it was functional and smooth and didn't flex. The action was fluid with a nice throw, and beater weight and rebound made for a pedal that is at home in all playing scenarios. I probably didn't do the RMV unit justice, because I almost immediately swapped it for my Gibraltar double pedal, so any long-term defects (unlikely) are unknown to me.
The patented carbon composite SCS (Suspension Cushion System) tom mounts are fixed to the tom shells with four elastic mounted tension rods that use rubber gaskets to dampen vibration. The drums are held solidly, but the mounts are flexible enough to allow them to move and resonate freely when you whack ‘em. The mounting bracket receives a Premier or Tama type knurled L-rod. 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, and the drums are easy to position without the tooth-and-ratchet heartache associated with some other manufacturers' systems.
Tension 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, and 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 sound dry and tight so I set the reso high - approximately an A - and then gradually wind up my batter head until I get the sound I want. I did an approximate tuning and gave the snare a clout. The dry clonk associated with maple shell snares was immediately present and correct, and that resulted in 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. It has a nice defined thud, like a heavy door being slammed - ideal for prog-rock double pedal grooves.
The toms sing out, with a solid attack and no lack of tone. The 8x7 tom has a nice high ping that decays nicely, 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 actually 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 diameter drum to be so authoritative - it's in your face with an "Oi! Listen to me!" attitude. It rewards every break with a sweet, solid thump that leaves you in no doubt that this is a floor tom, even though it's hanging off a rack!
I experimented with different tunings, and the range is more than adequate - high and bright for jazz/funk and mid to low for rock. My kit is tuned medium high for the music I play, and it's really gratifying to see jaws dropping when those toms sing their song!! I'm just a tart really - I like making an impression!
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 put some big-name drums to shame. But don't just take my word for it - go to the RMV website or whistle up YouTube, tap in "Mauricio Leite" and hear a Concept kit as it should be played.
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