Buy them if you can find them.
Oct 9, 2010
Review by rater13
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:beautiful tone, lightweight, perfect in studio, thunderous bass drum and floor tom
Cons:iffy tightening, low projection, mismatched snare, need more wrap and finish options
The Bottom Line: Unique tone and resonance, unrivaled light weight.
Since the other review already went into detail about what is included I figured I'd cover some details of how mine have held up over the years and my impression of how they sound.
Recommend this product?
I have to start by saying I will never sell mine if I don't have to. The sound is so smooth and mellow. Within each drum, the higher frequencies die away quicker than the lower frequencies. It's a nice balance of attack without all the overtones. It can dry up with coated heads but the dry tone won't blow you away like what you get with clear heads. I have a mix of Concept (thin shell more plies) and others RMV sold as the X5 kit (thicker and fewer individual plies but still relatively thin shell). Between the two the X5 have a little shorter sustain and are not as bright as the Concept. With different head combinations you can get one to sound like the other. Generally the sustain is also shorter than the competition so coupled with low projection I think they are definitely more suited for studio or mic'd venues. Except for the snare, the kit sounds beautiful in recordings. If you're a power hitter then you could get some really nice tones for live stuff w/o mics but not the volume you would expect from other maple kits.
They claim the wood should give you a little better projection than american maple because bapeva is more dense but I'm not really hearing it. I think the shells real claim to fame is the low note of each drum. I have a 12" thin shell tom by Truth and a 16" thin shell floor tom by Pork Pie. I think both shells are made by Keller. No matter how I tune the american maple stuff I cannot get them as low and smooth sounding as the RMV toms. It sounds similar to what others have reviewed about bubinga. My 10" RMV tom sounds like the 12" Truth and the 14" RMV sounds way better than most 16" toms I have owned. Besides lack of projection the only other downside on the RMV shells is that it seems like the larger the shell size the more prone they are to flexing which has really only contributed to tuning problems on the 16" floor tom. The Keller shells in all sizes seem rock solid and definitely project better.
In terms of weight, I think RMV outperforms the competition. I have the 24" bass drum which is similar in weight to the 16" Pork Pie floor tom I mentioned. I know that seems like an exaggeration and sometimes even I take it for granted until I help someone else load their drums. They really are that light thanks to all the plastic they call composite. If you use rims mounted toms you know how heavy just the mounting hardware can be. RMV's mounts are even lighter than GPI. The downside is that all that composite will break if over-tightened. I have pulled the nut through two bass drum mounts, tom mounts and a couple of shell screws on the lugs. If you are one of those guys where a warranty is the selling point then you might as well not bother with RMV. However, if you don't mind being a little creative you can fix the stuff with some epoxy and some hardware from your local home center. The reward is a happy back and hopefully these are just learning curves RMV will work out on newer kits.
Another back saver is the stands also have no other competition in terms of style and weight. You will notice a huge difference in weight between your hardware bag loaded with these stands vs. a bunch of chrome stuff from the competition. The legs have a much wider footprint which makes makes playing small venues a little tight. One consideration is that all the black hardware gives kind of a boring stage presence under low lighting in most small venues. But in the studio or anywhere else the black hardware looks killer. The booms also do slip if you are playing aggressive. Only fix i have found for this is to roughen up the smooth part inside the boom clamp to make it grip the arm a little better but is still will slip a little. The screws also make this ugly squeak like they are going to break but have held up so far. The hinge points also have done really well and everything from the boom down feels solid and stable.
The only other issues are the tuning rods and the wraps. The tuning rods are thinner than standard which is really only an issue of you swap lugs or loose tune and lose a rod. The wrap is purposely thin and not bound to the drum except at the seam. If you use soft-shell cases you will likely dent the wrap and possibly even the shell. Both of these were done to lower the weight and increase resonance of the shell. The plus side on the wrap is that you can easily remove it and if you want a custom lacquer finish the grain on the outer ply is smooth, clear and ready to stain.
Even with the durability issues I still gave it five stars because if you can get by with keeping it in the studio I think you might never encounter any of the problems I have had. Plus you can always swap out the hardware for gigs. You used to be able to find good deals on used RMV kits but it's a little harder with some of the positive feedback they've been getting. The X5 was an unbeatable deal since it inculded the balck hardware. The Concept price is on the border of being so high that most people would rather pay more for a brand they know. If you happen come come a cross a good deal on one, it is definitely worth the money. If nothing else you'll want to keep the bass drum. It is a cannon. The snare I think will only appeal to certain tastes. It's probably the only live sounding piece in the kit. It has a ring that can be controlled but you loose some of the maple characteristics and it starts to sound more like a steel snare. For recording most people have their own preference for snare anyway. I think RMV is really onto something with these kits and I would like to see more.
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