When I moved to Japan in 2016 I began looking for a solid compact drumset. In America, I always drove to gigs so I could bring any amount of drum gear I desired. In Japan however, the train is how I get to most of my gigs. So, compact lightweight drums and hardware are a must.
Most clubs in Japan have backline gear including a full drumset. Usually, I bring only my snare drum, sticks, cymbals and kick pedal with me to most of my shows. There are frequent occasions however, when I need to bring the entire kit. For full drumset gigs, I bring my Pearl Midtown drumset.
The Hipgig and Manu Katché Jr. kits compared to the Pearl Midtown drumset
When I lived in Hawaii, I owned the Rick Marotta HipGig drumset for a couple of years. It was cool but the toms and snare sounded thin and the bass drum was boomy. In fact, I used to joke that the bass drum was like a canon. Nice try by Yamaha but the overall balance of the drum sounds was off.
I was also interested in the Yamaha Manu Katché Junior Kit. The sound was great but by the time I was ready to get one here in Japan, the price had gone up astronomically. It’s good but not worth over $1000.
I was always a Yamaha guy and never seriously thought about playing any other drums. Then, I found the Pearl Midtown drumset and my mind was blown! The sound….the price….perfection!
My recommendation criteria
As with everything I recommend, the Pearl Midtown drumset, gig bags and hardware meet my two criteria for recommending products to you.
- I use them and they’ve been great for me.
- I think they’ll benefit you too.
If you choose to click on one of the affiliate links below and buy some of the products, I will get a little bit of a commission. Every bit helps to keep this blog growing and going. THANK YOU!
The Pearl Midtown drumset – The full enchilada
I’m just going to lay it out here. The Pearl Midtown is the best compact drum kit on the market. I can use it on gigs in large halls to small clubs and even in the recording studio.
The sound is warm, full and responsive to different venue acoustics. In the picture above I was playing a large hall here in Japan. The sound tech staff couldn’t believe the beefy sound I was getting out of my kick. They were very impressed with the overall tone and depth of the entire kit.
Check out my demo video below of me performing a few different styles of drumming on my Pearl Midtown drumset.
I generally use the full kit for live performances but if I’m heading to the recording studio, I’ll swap out the 13″ snare for a 14″ snare. The Pearl Midtown drumset sizes are:
- Elevated kick drum with kick pedal plate: 16×14”
- Rack tom with mounting arm: 10×6”
- Floor tom with legs: 13×13″
- Snare drum: 13×5.5″
Getting to the gig
For transport, I take off one of the floor tom leg brackets and nest the floor tom inside the bass drum. I then reassemble when I’m at the gig. I put the drum throne cushion inside the floor tom as well.
The snare fits into a 13×5″ snare bag. It then slides nicely in the hardware bag. Both bag links are below.
The rack tom fits into a 10×8″ tom bag. Here’s the link for that too.
The rack tom then stacks nicely next to the bass drum/floor tom gig bag with the hardware bag at the bottom. See the pictures below of my set loaded up for a gig. The compact drum sizes yet full sound, make the Pearl Midtown the best compact drumset on the market in my opinion.
Incidentally, the gig bag I use for the kick and floor tom is this one:
Now let’s weigh in
The Pearl Midtown shell pack doesn’t weigh too much, only about 46 pounds (21 kg). I have also created an ultra compact, lightweight hardware setup. I kind of pieced it together with spare hardware I had. I think you’ll get the idea of how to do it when you see the pictures below.
I put the Amazon links to those hardware bits, my drum throne, kick pedal, hi-hat stand, and snare stand below. My goal has always been to reduce the hardware weight as much as possible. I am not endorsing any particular drum maker so I pick and choose what I like from different companies.
Get 2 of these:
Get this kick pedal:
Get 2 of these:
Get this hi-hat stand:
Get this drum throne:
Get this snare stand:
The total weight including the cart and drum rug are about 95 pounds (43 kg). Not too bad! I mean, we’re talking about a full drumset here. A drumset that will sound great with most any style of music you throw at it in large and small spaces alike.
As with everything I share with you, my ultimate focus is to help you be the best and most successful drummer you can be. If you are looking for the best compact drumset, look no further. The Pearl Midtown drumset will get the job done! Mine has paid for itself so many times over, I have lost count!
I know purchasing a drumset is an important decision. I hope the information I have shared with you can help you make the best decision for your drumming needs. I’ve shared the link below for the Pearl Midtown shell pack (hardware sold separately) on Amazon.com. Please take good care, be safe and KEEP ON DRUMMIN’!
If you’re living in an apartment like me, check out my blog post for the best low volume cymbals.
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For fun and free YouTube Jazz drum lessons, please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCbNEhazIibMgVlrsiRF_8Q