This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the May 2016 issue, which is available here.
Collector’s Series Pure Oak Drumset
Crisp attack, booming tone, and ultra-rich aesthetic.
With all of DW’s experiments in drum shell construction, you may be surprised to learn that it wasn’t until recently that the company began to explore the bright, clean timbre of hard oak. The journey started in 2015, when DW vice president John Good purchased logs from a 1,500-year-old Romanian River oak tree to use for a few limited drumsets in the Timeless Timber series. Good enjoyed the sound of those kits so much that he decided to develop the Pure Oak series, which are made from red oak timber. We were lucky to get our hands on one of these new oak sets, so let’s check them out!
Our review kit included 8×10 and 9×12 rack toms, 12×14 and 14×16 floor toms, an 18×22 kick, and a 6.5×14 matching snare. The rack toms are 7-ply, the floor toms and kick are 8-ply, and the snare is 11-ply. The plies are thicker to cut back on the total number of plies per drum, and the glue has been reformulated to be twenty times stronger and harder, which DW says helps increase resonance.
Another interesting way that DW tweaks the tone of its drums is by combining veneers with long and short grains. The Pure Oak drums have a 3-ply core with a long-grain center sandwiched between two short-grain plies. The 7-ply rack toms are finished with 2-ply short/long laminates on the inside and outside of the core so that the outermost ply is long and the innermost ply is short. The short-grain interior is said to create a lower timbre due to there being less tension in the wood. The 8-ply drums have an extra short-grain veneer on the inside, next to the core. The shell layout used on these drums is called HVLT (horizontal/vertical laminate technology). The bearing edges are cut to be fatter on the outside, which also helps emphasize the lower frequencies.
For the complete review, check out the May 2016 issue, which is available here.