Florida-based Ddrum debuted all-maple Dios series drumsets in 2008, and they quickly became the top choice of many of the company’s artists and customers. So why was the Dios line discontinued in 2012?
We asked Ddrum’s director of marketing and artist relations, Felix DeLuna. “We were attempting to follow suit with the rest of the industry with drums that had a bit of vintage swagger and traditional sizes,” DeLuna explained. “That was the origin of the Paladin Maple series, which were great-sounding drums. However, that aesthetic wasn’t embraced by our current fans, nor did it really bring in any new fans. We were too young of a company to succeed with a ‘vintage-inspired’ line.”
Detecting a blind spot in its catalog for a dedicated all-maple lineup, Ddrum in 2018 decided to bring back Dios. “We had been receiving calls for its return,” says DeLuna. “So it was a good time to revisit the series.”
The updated Dios line includes thin 6-ply/5.6mm tom shells, 6-ply/6mm bass drums, and 8-ply/8mm snares. The bearing edges on all of the drums are cut to forty-five degrees with a thirty-degree counter cut. The toms feature ddrum’s upgraded FixPitch suspension-mounting system, and the bass drums come with Resolift isolator feet, which elevate the shell off the ground slightly so the drum can produce a bigger, fuller sound.
The initial batch of re-launched Dios kits are available in four lacquer finishes (Red Cherry Sparkle, Satin Gold, Emerald Gold, and Satin Black) and three configurations, all of which feature ddrum’s trademark 20″-deep bass drums. The five-piece kit, which we received for review, includes 7×10, 8×12, 14×14, and 14×16 toms and a 20×22 bass drum ($1,599). The other setups are three-piece and include 8×12 and 14×14 toms with a 20×20 bass drum ($1,149) or 9×13 and 14×16 toms with a mammoth 20×24 kick ($1,249).
Add-on bass drums and toms and matching snares (6.5×14 and 7×13) can be ordered separately. The stock drumheads are made by Evans and comprise 2-ply clear tom batters and clear single-ply bottoms, and a clear single-ply kick batter and a white single-ply front with built-in muffling rings.
Full, Contemporary Tones
For our review, we tested the Dios Maple drumset at high, medium, and low tunings. The top and bottom heads were tuned to the same frequency to ensure the purest and most resonant tones possible. No muffling was added to any of the drums, including the 20×22 kick. All of the drums tuned up quickly and easily, and the toms produced big, full sounds with crisp attack and pure pitches, and the sustain matched well from drum to drum. The toms opened up most naturally at a medium tuning that had an octave spread from D to D between the 10″ and 16″ drums.
To get to the higher tuning, I pitched up each drum by a major third so that they had an octave spread at F# on the 10″ and 16″. The rack toms had increased cut and projection while still retaining pure pitch and rich sustain. The floor toms lost a bit of power and depth when the heads were put under that much tension, but they still produced clean tones that blended well with the rack toms.
For the low tuning, I loosened the heads about as far as they could go, and ended up settling on an octave spread at the note A. With barely any tension on the rods, the toms sounded super-punchy and had controlled, dense sustain—almost like a quartet of tiny kick drums. The floor toms excelled at this tuning, exhibiting deep, fat tones that served as a perfect bridge between the more tuneful timbres of the rack toms and the thunderous smack of the kick. Across the entire tuning range of the Dios toms, there’s plenty to work with, whether you need ultimate thump and depth (low), pure, classic tones (medium), or fusion-like cut and clarity (high).
With a solid front head and no muffling, the 20×22 kick drum wasn’t quite as versatile as the toms; the heads needed to be kept fairly loose in order to produce enough attack and punch to balance out the additional power and sustain provided by the extra-deep shell. Porting the head would provide more flexibility for dialing different amounts of punch and focus via muffling, and it would allow you to take advantage of the 20″-deep shell to explore a wider range of mic placements from inside the drum. The Resolifts on the underside of the kick drum did a great job of decoupling the shell from the floor. There was very little resonance lost from striking the drum while suspending it in the air versus playing it in context with the kit. I should also point out that the FixPitch suspension mount on the rack toms is one of the best in the biz. It’s discreet, it doesn’t impede tuning or head changes in any way, and it had no discernable impact on the drum’s tone or resonance.