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ddrum Reflex Rally Sport

ddrum Reflex Rally Sport Drumset

A great gigging kit with a tricked-out aesthetic.

by Michael Dawson

One of the sister companies to Tampa-based ddrum is Dean guitars, and one of the woods that Dean uses for electric guitar bodies is alder. Alder is considered a semi-hard wood and ranks just above pine and poplar. It’s known for having a warm, focused tone with prominent midrange and low-range frequencies and attenuated attack. When used to build drums, alder provides a very satisfying sound that’s big and punchy with a short, focused sustain. Reflex is ddrum’s series that features all-alder shells. The kit we have for review here is a new addition to that series, called Reflex Rally Sport (aka 2RS). It’s designed to be the “ultimate gig kit” for drummers playing in smaller venues and on tight stages. Let’s see how it fares. 

Components
The Rally Sport kit is available in one four-piece configuration. It comes with an 8-ply 14×22 bass drum, a 6-ply 8×12 rack tom, a 6-ply 14×16 floor tom, and an 8-ply 5.5×14 snare.

The drums feature ddrum’s Face Off turret lugs and 2.3 mm triple-flange hoops coated in satin nickel finish. The rack tom comes with ddrum’s minimal Fixt Pitch suspension mount, which connects to two of the top lugs to allow for optimal sustain. The bass drum comes with vintage-style gull-wing spurs that attach to the side of the shell rather than poke through it. The bottom of the bass drum features a few Resolift isolator pads, which help improve tone by keeping the shell from making direct contact with the ground.

The 2RS is offered in two finishes, either flat black or green with crème racing stripes. The bearing edges are cut to forty-five degrees. Drumheads include coated 2-ply batters and coated single-ply resonants on the toms, a coated single-ply snare batter, and single-ply bass drum heads with built-in muffling rings.

In Action
We tested the 2RS kit at three different tensions (high, medium, and low), which were calculated using the Tune-bot digital tuner and the Tune-bot iOS app settings for maximum sustain. The snare was pitched a major third higher than the rack tom, and the bass drum was pitched an octave below the floor tom.

At the high tuning, the kit sounded very vintage-like, with a blunt attack, pure pitch, and short decay. The kick drum sounded big but not boomy. In fact, I had to double-check that there wasn’t any muffling inside the drum; it was that punchy and focused. The snare had a lot of throaty, thick tone, a cracking attack, and minimal overtones, and the snare sensitivity was very clean and responsive. I had a lot of fun doing my best Mitch Mitchell impression on the 2RS at a higher tuning. It records incredibly as well.

The alder shells used in the Reflex series really shine at lower tunings. Tuned medium, the snare had a more open voice with more prominent overtones, but it still died down quickly. The toms sounded bigger and had more low-end and a clearer pitch. The decay was fast but smooth, almost as if I had engaged a gate in my recording software with a slow release. (I hadn’t.) The kick remained super-punchy and focused.

A low tuning brought out more depth and low end from the toms and kick while retaining pitch clarity and clean articulation. Microphones loved this kit tuned this way, whether for recording or live performances. You won’t have to worry about the toms rumbling through the PA or causing feedback, and the softer attack and fatter tone give this kit a very pleasing acoustic voice that’s also incredibly easy to mix. List price for the four-piece 2RS is $799, which is a downright bargain.