Sublime AXM Drumset, M4 Hardware, and M1 Hi-Hat and Double Pedal
A competitive maple/ash hybrid-shell kit and some sturdy, high-quality hardware.
Crush Drums and Percussion entered the market with a bang in 2010, with a full range of drums and hardware and a “best in show” win at the company’s first NAMM Show in 2011. Today Crush offers drumkits and hardware from entry level all the way up to high-end professional options.
Sublime AXM Drumkit: Build and Look
The Sublime AXM series, introduced in 2013, is a production line kit designed in the U.S. and built in Taiwan. Shells are constructed of inner and outer plies of European ash and center plies of North American maple. Kits are available in three different four-piece configurations: the SMA406 model features a 6×13 snare and a 16×20 bass drum, the SMA428 (our test kit) features a 6×14 snare and an 18×22 bass drum, and the SMA448 features a 6×14 snare and an 18×24 bass drum. All feature an 8×12 rack tom and a 14×16 floor tom.
Sublime AXM bass drums have 8-ply shells with double 45-degree bearing edges on the batter side and fully rounded edges on the resonant side. Tom shells are 6-ply with double 45-degree bearing edges and maple reinforcement rings. Snare shells are 10-ply with single 45-degree bearing edges on top and bottom.
The hardware is satin chrome finished and includes 2.3 mm hoops on the toms and 2.3 mm reverse flange hoops on the snare. The High Gloss White with Silver Sparkle lacquer finish is stunning—I initially thought it was a wrap—and the satin hardware complements it perfectly.
This kit comes with several features that drummers have come to expect from modern builders, including hoop-saver bass drum claws, minimalistic lugs to promote resonance, memory locks that interlock with the tom leg brackets, and durable two-position bass drum spurs for ease of setup and breakdown. The Sublime AXM also comes with Crush’s X-Suspension Mount system for the rack tom that attaches to four lugs (two top and two bottom) via rubber washers. It’s very easy to install and remove if you choose not to suspend the tom. The mount is also lightweight and stays out of the way. These are all nice additions to a kit that demonstrates thoughtful design and high-quality construction at a price that doesn’t break the bank—the SMA428 shell pack retails for about $1,200.
I’m very familiar with the sound of maple drums, and the addition of the ash in the AXM shells was a nice touch. Ash is often compared to birch, mainly because of its precision and focus. Combined with maple, which is warm and round, you theoretically get the best of what both woods have to offer. This theory definitely translated in practice. The drums did exhibit the attack and punch from the ash and a warm, full range of frequencies from the maple.
This is a rock kit, so my testing focused mainly on low to middle tunings. I started with the rods just past finger-tight and worked up to about a half turn more than that. Throughout this range, the drums remained responsive, punchy, and full. Immediately evident was the aggressive kick drum, which delivered full low end without too many overtones. The only muffling used was a rolled tea towel placed between the pedal and the batter head. Without muffling, the toms had few overtones as well. They were focused and cutting.
I tested the snare across a wider tuning range than the rest of the kit. The reverse flange hoops kept the tone focused, even at low tunings. Regardless of tuning, the AXM snare was responsive and felt great to play. The volume ceiling on this drum was a bit higher than what’s typical with wood ply-shell drums, likely because of the addition of the higher frequencies of the ash. Rimshots sounded especially satisfying and open.
M4 Series Hardware
The Crush M4 series hardware set we received consisted of a boom cymbal stand, a snare stand, a hi-hat stand, and a single bass drum pedal. These are all medium-duty pieces that are competitively priced but designed to last.
The boom stand is triple-tiered to maximize adjustability and features sturdy memory locks. It also has a toothless cymbal tilter with a big plastic lever that’s easy to grasp when making adjustments. Since it’s toothless, it moves freely, but once tightened down, it never loosened during our review period.
The snare stand features the same high-quality design as the boom stand, including memory locks and a toothless tilter for the snare basket. It was on par with any other medium-duty stand, but the toothless tilter put it over the top. For anyone who wants a snare stand with infinite adjustability, this is the way to go.
The bass drum pedal is surprisingly rugged for a medium-duty pedal. It’s double-chained and has brass bearings, which aren’t always seen on pedals at this price point. The pedal was easily adjustable, smooth, and responsive. It’s a great buy for anyone looking for something simple.
The hi-hat stand features a similarly robust design and smooth play, but it has one flaw. The footboard is attached to the base by three screws—one at the back and one on each side of the base—but can only be folded up if these screws are completely removed. This doesn’t bode well for quick setups and breakdowns and offers ample opportunity to lose the screws.
Overall, though, the M4 series hardware is a great option for medium-duty use. A five-piece hardware pack can be purchased for $499.99.
M1 Series Double Pedal and Hi-Hat Stand
The M1 series is Crush’s high-end hardware line. It’s designed to compete with the best in the business and has some features that certainly measure up.
Let’s start with the double pedal. It’s constructed of cast and machined aluminum, so it’s strong but lightweight. It can accommodate chain or direct-drive systems, and switching between the two was fast and easy. The cams are completely adjustable for any style of playing, and the pedal was equally responsive and smooth at all angles. And the footboard can be easily changed to a long-board configuration with the included pedal tool. I found that the M1 performed just as well as any high-end double pedal on the market, and it comes with a quality hard-shell case.
The M1 hi-hat stand is constructed with the same aluminum materials as the double pedal and comes with standard and short pull rods. Again, I found this stand comparable to other high-end stands on the market. It was smooth and played nicely with just enough resistance. The main difference between the M1 series and other stands is Crush’s quick-folding locking system. The footboard is attached to the base via aluminum tracks that slide easily when folded up or down. It makes for quick and easy setups. Although it only has two legs, the M1 hi-hat didn’t wobble and felt sturdy beneath the foot.
The M1 double pedal and hi-hat stand are priced competitively at $399.99 and $239.99, respectively.