Big, versatile tones in an ultra-compact package.
If you’ve ever had to pack up your set and navigate city streets, stairs, and sidewalks, you might agree that bigger is not always better. It’s no wonder that drummers are experimenting more and more with different setup configurations to help lighten the load. We’ve seen this take shape through cajon-based kits or the use of electronics to supplement acoustic drums without adding too much extra gear. Maxwell Drums has an all-acoustic option that may provide just the solution you need to pack a huge sound in an ultra-portable setup. It’s called the Nesting Kit ($1,749), and we found that it’s just as enjoyable to carry as it is to play.
Specs and Features
The Nesting Kit comes in a three-piece shell pack featuring a bass drum, rack tom, and floor tom. Matching snares are also available in a variety of sizes, though they won’t be able to nest with the rest of the kit. The shell pack that we received for review included an 8×10 rack tom, a 13×14 floor tom, and a 14×18 bass drum. The toms consist of 6-ply maple shells, while the bass drum is 8-ply maple. All of the drums come standard with 45-degree bearing edges and Yamaha hardware, including a bass-drum-mounted tom holder. In addition to the kit we received, Maxwell offers another shell pack with a 16″ bass drum, 10″ rack tom, and 13″ floor tom, as well as the option to have any sizes custom made with nesting capabilities.
The bass drum and floor tom are equipped with butterfly latches and internal seating rings that allow you to separate the shell in half and put it back together with a consistently flawless seal. The rack tom fits snugly inside the floor tom, which sits perfectly inside the bass drum. The entire nested kit can be stowed in a bass drum case, with the exception of any additional hardware, cymbals, and drums that you’d like to bring along. To keep things as portable and light as possible, we paired the Nesting Kit with a 5×12 snare, a cable-driven hi-hat (which we attached to the tom stand), and a crash/ride cymbal.
Size Versus Sound
You might think that with smaller shell sizes that separate into two halves, you would be sacrificing sound in some way. But we were happy to learn that no such concessions seemed to exist, as we played the Nesting Kit in a wide range of styles and at various dynamic levels. Quite simply, we couldn’t identify any differences between this outfit and other similarly sized drumsets caused by the nesting design.
The warmth and buttery sound of the maple shells held true from the lowest to the highest tuning. The bass drum came with a felt cloth that helped shave off some of the overtones and provided just the right amount of dampening to maintain an open yet controlled tone. The bass drum also retained the projection and big sound that we’ve come to expect from a maple shell. Furthermore, the smaller size gave us just enough control over the tone and resonance that we decided not to use additional internal dampening for funk/rock grooves. The fat and open yet controlled sound of this kick was simply too addictive to tame.
A Huge Win
There’s no doubt that the Nesting Kit from Maxwell Drums is a great option, not only for players in the market for an ultra-compact drumset but also for anyone looking for a small but diverse kit to meet a wide range of musical needs. The toms sang with the delicate response of maple, while the bass drum offered a great wide-open punch that sat perfectly in the mix.