I have a few very special projects on going at the moment that required some custom 'e' drums being built as due to the nature of what is required, off the shelf Vdrums were not going to be suitable.
As good as they are, I needed 'e' drums that replicated 'a' drums sonically and visually. The first of these is a special replica of a snare drum.
As normal, I decided to record my findings live the very first time I tried out the snares. Sadly I don't have a working video camera, although this trial is only really about sound quality and trigger capabilities anyway.
For this test, I used the TD-20 with the entry level Jobeky Stealth vs the PD-125 from Roland. The Jobeky was the lead snare and the Roland my side snare. The recording can be found opposite and to find out more about the test and the drums, please read on.
BACKGROUND Based in the UK, as many of you know, we have a couple of independent 'e' drum builders. I had no prior experience of either's products and knew only what I had read about how and when each company had started, what they both had to offer and only a little about their company structures etc etc.
I felt it only right to speak to both to see if it would be possible to test one of their standard drums before committing to any special order purchases, so I approached both companies.
Both were helpful, however, Dave at Diamond was honest enough to say that he didn't feel his company was in a position to assist in what was required at that time.
I then went to Colin at Jobeky Drumsand he offered to send me a drum to test, but with their UK Custom Drum Festival looming, I thought I'd go along to try out a number of products in a public environment.
It was a very interesting show as you may have read in another article for many reasons and I met many like-minded drummers, interesting suppliers and came away with a shopping wish list for both 'e' and 'a' drum kits.
While there, I took the opportunity to talk further to Colin as I now had a personal as well as commercial requirement for custom drums.
His knowledge and drum building history is impressive and without revealing to him my full requirements, I was able to tell that his mind was working a step ahead of the snippets that he was being told.
Still, the proof is in the pudding so to speak, so I decided then to take up the offer of a loan entry level Stealth Snare drum and also, with the agreement of a Jobeky customer, I was able to also try out his custom size and built snare that had the new hand made UK shells that were now on offer.
THE TRIALS So how did they shape up? I started by running a four way test between the two Jobeky snares, the Stealth being 12", the Custom being a 14 x 6" and Roland 10" PD-105 and 12" PD-125 pads.
Both Jobeky snares were very well made, although naturally, costing a little more, the custom snare was made with details as the client had asked, so naturally, that was the real eye candy!
The heads were embossed with the company logo and were perhaps softer under the stick, so giving a little less bounce than the Roland heads which can sometimes flatter my playing! The underside, although less visible than on a tom, was the same black head used on the toms to enhance the authentic look of the drum.
The rim depth and feel was equal to that of the Roland, while the jack hole was located where you would expect the breather hole to be located.
The company badging was not excessive and was also tastefully done.
I used three modules during the tests, a TD-10 TDW-1, a TD-12 and a TD-20. For each drum, I set the same sound, trigger type, cross talk, scan, retrig and mask, as well as the same ambient and mixer settings as I felt that would highlight any differences in set up requirements that would need to be made. This was something I had experienced in using Roland RT triggers vs Roland pads and Smartrigger vs Roland V-Cymbals.
To my surprise, on none of the modules, were any changes required to any of the above settings when playing the Jobeky snares.
Although I don't play with brushes, I felt I should try these out, although I only had some 'Flix' to hand. I would have to say the Jobeky triggered better, but the Roland head being with a tighter knit mesh, was less likely to 'catch a brush'. I asked if there was an option to resolve this and Colin informs me a selection of heads are available that include some better suited to brush work.
On the main stick trials, I intentionally played to test the trigger elements however best I could, so rim shots, cross sticking and full dimensional positional sensor tests were played often and in excess!
You will hear that there are no dead spots, missed triggering or cross talk issues and you will know when I play the Roland snare at the same time as the Jobeky as it sounds like a soft flam effect. 70% is played solely on the Jobeky, 20% on the Roland and on around 10%, you will hear the 'flam'.
I was unable to find any issues in any of the above tests and this left me very excited at the prospect of being able to 'clone' one particular special acoustic snare that I have and not suffer the issues of trying to use an RT trigger, which is why I had returned to using a PD-105 and PD-125 for the twin snare on my Gretsch 'e' kit.
This is very important to me on the snare in question for reasons that will become clear in the coming weeks.
The 12" Stealth snare retails at £139.00 vs the Roland PD-125 at a RRP of £345.00 (although they can be picked up at around £300)
The 14" Custom Snare retailed at £169.00, so still almost half the price of the Roland and built to the customer's own size, finish and lug requirements.
In terms of long term durability, naturally I could not test this, but perhaps testament to their robust design and technical reliability is the fact that a number of name drummers endorse Jobeky drums now, among them Lily Allen's drummer who has been out on tour for several years during her rise to fame and he has just added more Jobeky drums into his stage kit.
Jobeky have also been reviewed in the mainstream major international drum magazines a number of times now and have come out very favourably, showing that they are a serious option for 'e' drummers.
Those that know me will already know that I don't say the first thing that comes into my head, nor do I say something because it may gain me brownie points. If I like a product, I'll say so and I know that I am perhaps fortunate to be able to try more products than some of those sitting earlier in their playing career, so my comments are to be taken simply as just my own thoughts.
At the end of the day, each of us make up our own minds and a decision to buy or not buy a product, will still be your own making.
Once my unrelated research has been completed, my own requirements for custom drums will become very clear, so I am sorry that I can't go into this just yet, but I hope it will be interesting to some of you when you find out what I have managed to dig up! I have put this review up now as a number of people have asked for it, so I hope it helps someone in some small way.
Many thanks to Colin at Jobeky for the loan of the drums.