Ayotte Custom Maple Drumkit Reviews 5

I bought this Ayotte shell kit on-line from their website in 2001. After selling a custom GMS drumkit thatI had used for many years, I was looking for a more punchy and unique sound. I custom ordered 10x9" and 12x10" rack toms, a hanging (suspension mounts, not legs) 14x13" "floor"-tom and a 22x18" bass drum. I ordered it with the trademark Ayotte wood hoops in a hand painted copper sparkle finish. (not a covering material) I paid around $2200 for the 4 drums together. Likes: Sound is incredible. Open, warm with good attack. That is, when not mounted on the tom arm!! (Read next topic) Dislikes: SBA system doesn't work at their fullest. The toms have more sustain when held in the hand. The SBA system chokes some frequencies. I think that you shouldn't have that kind of problem when you pay this much for a custom built kit. Quality: Kit includes the following sizes:8x8, 10x9, 12x10, 13x11, 15x13 all toms and a 22x16 bassdrum all in Purple fade gloss finish with wood hoops. Summary: With a different suspension system, this kit is wonderfull. For small setups, RIMS might do it. Right now, I'm having my own designed suspension system made for all the toms. It's similar to DW's with Ayotte's lugs specs. Because the SBA is not perfect, I give the kit a 4. Rating: 4 Author: Patt Trahan Date: 2002-07-18

The Ayotte kit has got every characteristic I wan't in a drum sound. It has serious punch with good stick definition in the toms but not overly "ringy". It sounds like a drum should sound! It sounds and feels like air is moving when you hit these drums, especially the bass drum, incredible. They have thin shells with reinforcement rings and they round their bearing edges a little more than other drum companies so that more wood contacts the drum head. This, in combination with the shell construction, is what I believe creates this awesome sound. They are a joy to play and the recordings I have done with them, wow.. I get incredible sounds.

There really isn't anything bad I can say about this kit. The wooden hoops are usually a big question with people looking into Ayotte drums. They outlast any stick.. rimshot after rimshot. I remember first witnessing this at the 1994 PASIC convention in Atlanta, Georgia, where Chad Smith say down at the Ayotte booth and WAILED on a wood hoop snare until his fat 5B stick broke. nary a scratch on the hoop! I got the copper sparkle finish on the hoops to match the kit and since the hoops DO stick out a little you have to be careful to keep them from scraping up a against another drum or hardware etc.. or the paint finish will scrape off somewhat. If I had gotten a natural wood finish with the inlay color, for example, I wouldn't see this problem. You can also purchase the drums with Steel hoops instead of wooden hoops. I would like to see Ayotte offer die-case hoops as well, but you can, of course, order them somewhere else if you like. Ayotte offers a kit to swap out your wooden hoops for Steel hoops as well.

The reinforcement rings are smoothed on both sides, unlike DW's reinforcement rings and this is custom done at their shop. So many "custom" drum companies just use Keller shells made to their specs. (GMS for example) and I believe alot of these drum companies drums start sounding the same because of this. The construction is immaculate. Just looking at the inside finish of these drums, the reinforcement rings and the bearing edges, and then, of course, the beautiful hand painted finish lets you know that they people making these drums are truly proud of their work. Mounting system: I think the Ayotte mounting system for toms is perfect. Another reviewer here mentioned he didn't like it because he thought it choked off some of the overtones of the drum. I think its just a personal preference of touch as well as sound. I have never really enjoyed the RIMS mounts or DW mounting system because of the bounce of the drums when you hit them. I enjoy a solid feel when I hit a drum, more like a Yamaha or Pearl kit with the Opti-mount system that holds the drum a little more firmly. Again, its a personal preference I believe. Ayotte gives you the option of not buying this hardware mounting system so it is entirely up to you. I also used the Ayotte "ball in socket" style mounts that clamp firmly to a cymbal stand. I think these are perfect. Another fantastic feature that is unique to Ayotte drums (and now Yamaha is trying to duplicate somewhat) is their leg system that allows you to replace heads very quickly. This system also comes with a small hex-key tightenable screw that presses a small nylon washer against the lug..keeping it from loosening from playing vibrations. This works incredibly well! I used to have to tune after every 45 minute set with my funk band, and not with this system. In turn, this system helps you save your heads and prolongs their life, because you don't end up playing on heads that have loosened up without you having a moment to tune them back up a little.

I would describe the Ayotte sound as somewhere between DW and Gretsch. I enjoy both DW and Gretsch drumkits, but I think just the all out punch and feel of the Ayotte drums is what got me to choose them instead. I think its a unique sound, but its what you should wan't a drum to sound like. I should also mention that they sound fantastic over a truly wide range of pitches. This is a problem I used to have with GMS drums, and I instantly loved about the Ayotte's. They sound great at any tension! The price is compareable to a DW custom kit and I only hope I they could bring the price down a little so I could afford a snare drum of theirs to go along with my shell kit!

Chip Vayenas rated this unit 5 on 2004-02-06.

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