Next-level drum-tec

drum-tec has released its latest flagship offering, a full-size kit available with various cymbal and module options.

At the heart of the new pro 3 series are real birch shells with a new multi-sensor trigger system.

digitalDrummer was able to test the new snare and tom pads with a range of modules.

What’s in the box

The pro 3 kit is offered with a choice of either a Roland TD-50X or 27, GEWA G9 or Pearl mimicPRO module; Roland, ATV or GEWA cymbals; and shell packs in various configurations – a 22” bass drum, 14” snare and choice of up to four toms ranging from 10” to 16”.

The drums consist of six-ply birch shells with quality DW-style lugs and drum-tec’s real feel mesh heads.

Where previous drum-tec pads were fitted with spider-basket triggers, the new range includes a unique seven-sensor snare design, notable for its three ‘centre’ triggers, arranged in a triangle.

This design eliminates the central hotspot associated with a single central trigger and evens out the head response. Three more head sensors are fitted close to the edge, while the rim trigger is mounted centrally at the base.

The new snares also feature a switch to reduce the output voltage for those modules that require cooler signals.

The toms boast a new four-sensor configuration with three head sensors mounted near the edge and a single central rim trigger, similar to the ATV/Efnote/Roland PDA approach.

The drums feel solid and robust and look stunning, with four finishes currently on offer – piano black, piano white, blue burst and brown sunburst.

In action

We tested a 14” snare and a 12” tom with a variety of modules, including some available from drum-tec in its kit packages.

The weighty drums felt fantastic, with the three-ply heads offering just the right balance of firmness, rebound and stick noise.

The pads triggered perfectly with a Roland TD-27 using drum-tec’s recommended presets: PD-128 for the snare and PDA-120 for the toms.

Both snare and tom were plug and play with the presets, the snare producing an excellent dynamic range and even, hotspot-free triggering across the entire head with perfect positional sensing. Head and rim separation on both snare and tom were flawless out of the box.

Paired with a Roland TD-30, the recommended settings of PD-125 worked a treat for both the snare and the tom, producing perfect triggering – full dynamic range, positional sensing, head/rim separation and, of course, no hotspot.

The drum-tec snare was one of the few third-party triggers that actually worked right off the bat with the Strike Pro module. The snare produced excellent head and rim triggering with full dynamic range and even responses across the head. The tom triggered well, although the rim response was a bit subdued, requiring a reduction in threshold and a boost in sensitivity.

Stock PadPP preset worked a treat with the 2box DrumIt Three for the snare, but the tom needed a bit of tweaking, with head gain boosted and rim threshold raised to prevent false triggering. When dialled in, both performed excellently.

With the ATV aD5, the drum-tec pro preset did not work as well with the snare as the Roland PD128 setting. That required just a touch of calibration via the setup wizard. For the tom, the ATV preset worked well, especially since there is no rim triggering via the module.

Connected to a Pearl mimicPRO, the snare delivered a full dynamic range, positional sensing and excellent head/rim separation using the R-PD-128 preset, while the R-PD-120 setting worked exceptionally well for the toms.

The Roland pd-128 setting worked extremely well for the snare with a GEWA G9, while the pd-125 setting was ideal for the toms. The snare performance was excellent – in fact, superior to the stock GEWA snare, with great dynamic range, even triggering and hints of positional sensing on the instruments with the appropriate programming. The tom triggering was equally impressive – both on the head and the rim.

In summary

drum-tec owners tend to gush about their kits, and the latest generation certainly gives these drummers something to boast about. While the new shells look stunning, their performance is equally impressive.

The snare trigger design completely overcomes hotspotting without any loss of positional sensing. The drums are easy to dial in and the performance certainly matches the great aesthetics.

While not quite at the nuance level of Roland’s digital snare, the pro 3 is without doubt one of the best analogue drum pads on the market – no matter what module it’s paired with.

Of course, these superior looks and performance come at a premium price, and the range starts at €6,199 for a one-up, one-down kit paired with a Roland TD-27 module. The top-of-the-line four-tom kit paired with a TD-50X will set you back €9,249 – significantly more than Roland’s flagship VAD706 kit (which has one less tom!) which drum-tec sells for €7,599. But it does come with a five-year warranty – compared to Roland’s 12 months.