This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the December 2016 issue, which is available here.
Renown RN2 Drumset and Full Range Hammered Black Steel Snare
More classic appointments to the brand’s top import lines.
The professional-grade Renown series drumset has been very popular among touring, gigging, and session drummers for its combination of classic Gretsch quality, clean and contemporary tone, and competitive price point. For the second-generation version, called RN2, the company incorporated more of the features found on the high-end US-made Brooklyn and Broadkaster series. We were sent the RN2-E825 shell pack (7×10, 8×12, 14×16, and 18×22) in satin tobacco burst finish, plus a 5×14 Full Range series Hammered Black Steel snare. The shell pack lists for $2,499.99 (which includes a matching maple snare). The Hammered Black Steel snare lists for $549.99.
Shell Pack Specs
RN2 drums, which are made in Taiwan, feature 7-ply Gretsch-formula maple shells with the company’s signature 30-degree bearing edges. There are no reinforcement rings, and the interiors are painted with Gretsch’s legendary Silver Sealer. The rack toms have five lugs per side, the floor tom has eight, and the bass drum has ten. The lug casings, tom brackets, memory locks, bass drum spurs, tom mount, and thumbscrews are stylized to give this kit a classic Gretsch look, which is complemented by timeless round-badge nameplates.
The rack toms come with the company’s discreet off-the-shell mounting system that connects to two lugs without obscuring much of the drums’ classy satin finish. The tom mount attaches directly to the bass drum, which makes setting up this kit quick, easy, and consistent. I prefer this type of mount, as opposed to flying toms from cymbal stands, because I can lock in the tom position without having to adjust cymbal bases and booms to get my crashes and ride where I want them. Even if the extra weight of the toms on the bass drum sacrifices some tone (I didn’t notice any), I feel that this was a smart decision by Gretsch, especially for gigging/touring drummers who have minimal time to make adjustments on stage. It’s also worth noting that the tom brackets and floor tom legs Gretsch uses on the RN2, as on the US-made lines, are big and chunky, and they lock into place very securely. I doubt you’d ever have to worry about them slipping in the middle of a gig.
For Renown RN2 toms, Gretsch swapped out the die-cast hoops for its newer 3mm, double-flange 302 design, which was previously only available on US-made Brooklyn and Broadkaster drums. The 302 hoops bridge the gap between the open sound and flexible feel of triple-flange and the more rigid feel and focused snap of die-cast. These hoops definitely helped give the toms a tight, clear tone without choking the sustain. They also produced strong and chunky rimshots.
For the complete review, check out the December 2016 issue, which is available here.