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Product H91063

Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack   

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Breakbeats by Ludwig marks the return of Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson to the drums of his youth. With a setup compact enough for an apartment, cab and ...Read More

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OVERVIEW

"Break-able" for the gritty, raw backbeats you love.

Breakbeats by Ludwig marks the return of Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson to the drums of his youth. With a setup compact enough for an apartment, cab and a coffeehouse, Breakbeats by Ludwig are an ideal companion for the gigging, urban percussionist.

The driving force behind these drums are the 7-ply poplar shells that produce punchy, focused attack with dry, clipped resonance. A 45-degree bearing edge ensures quick, classic shell response, while triple-flanged hoops will endure the best rimshots you can produce. Positioned on an included lift for optimum reach, Breakbeat's 16" x 14" bass drum, 13" x 13" floor tom, 10" x 7" tom and 14" x 5" matching wood snare not only fit into tight places, but also break down quickly.

This shell pack also includes velvet storage bags for a convenient transport option. Additionally, you can use the bags to reduce volume by draping each bag over each drum. Available in three durable wrap finishes, Breakbeats by Questlove has a footprint as "tight" as their namesake.

Cymbals and hardware sold separately.

FEATURES Configuration
  • Bass drum(s): 16" x 14"
  • Tom(s): 10" x 7"
  • Floor tom(s): 13" x 13"
  • Snare: 14" x 5"
  • Total pieces: 4
  • Hardware: Not applicable
  • Cymbals: Not applicable
Shells
  • Shell material: Poplar
  • Construction: 7-Ply
  • Thickness (mm): Info Not Available
  • Bearing edge: 45°
  • Reinforcement ring: Not applicable
Drum Hardware
  • Material: Steel
  • Mounts: Traditional
  • Hoops: Triple-flange
  • Lugs: Standard
Other
  • Heads: Branded
  • Finish type: Wrap
  • Country of origin: China

A pocket kit made to fit the seam of tight grooves. Order today!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
LudwigBreakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack
 
4.6

(based on 34 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (25)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

94%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Great sound (26)
  • Responsive (21)
  • Versatile (21)
  • Huge tone (13)
  • Sensitive (13)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Small venues (24)
  • Jazz clubs (19)
  • Accompaniment (14)
  • School bands (6)
  • Soundtracks (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (19), Professional musician (13)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Detailed Review

I received a white sparkle Breakbeats as an unexpected gift from my wife. With some vacation time on my hands and nowhere to go, I ran this kit through the ritual of...Read complete review

I received a white sparkle Breakbeats as an unexpected gift from my wife. With some vacation time on my hands and nowhere to go, I ran this kit through the ritual of evaluation.

BUILD QUALITY

The kit comes in a state of partial assembly. I completely disassembled the kit to inspect all hardware and interiors. Shells (excluding wrap) measured .255" with calipers. The interiors are of a white wood rumored to be poplar, and it appears to be just that. Small knots (not holes) indicate that the wood is not deep heartwood, but it is too white in color to have been taken from the sapwood. In Ludwig tradition, date of manufacture is stamped inside each shell. The exterior sparkle wrap is nicely done, and completely glued to the shell. With the hardware removed I took the opportunity to wax the laminate with NuFinish car wax which really made the sparkle "pop" and provides UV protection (keeps the white from yellowing).

The drums were in-round but it was evident that they were not handled with great care in manufacture. There was indication of a "get 'em done, get 'em out" mentality in production. An example is the holes. Though drilled in the correct places, the drill was "punched through" leaving break-out and rough edges on interior wood and spiral shavings of laminate on the exterior. This is all covered by hardware, but on more expensive drums, more care is taken. Drum "badges" are carefully placed stickers. The edge of the bass drum badge was peeling due to lack of adhesive, and with no way to fix it, I removed it. The stickers look really cheezy. Really, how much can proper drum badges cost?

The chroming on the hardware is very thin, and showed what looks like mild chrome "acne." This appears to be due to imperfections in the substrate surface (which thicker chroming would hide) rather than pitting or corrosion. Bass drum legs and tom mount seem very sturdy, if roughly cast and thinly chromed. The hoops are of very thin gauge steel, thinner than 1.6 mm., and feel as though they would deform under tight tension or rim shots. They are polished bright but I'm not sure that they are chromed. Bass drum hoops are metal, tension claws are stamped steel.

Tuning lug screws all have thick nylon washers. All threads on screws and bolts throughout felt as though they were binding until light grease was applied. I think the un-lubed threads were actually galling (catching and tearing metal). It would be best to lube all threads on all parts before doing anything with this kit.

HEADS

Heads are Remo UT/UC made in China, and are poor. They are impossible to tune evenly and wrinkled no matter what I did. The Bass drum heads were passable. Both bass drum heads are thick and both have an interior dampening Mylar ring.

BASS DRUM

With the supplied heads the kick sounds surprisingly deep for a 16" but is quite quiet. The riser is a knock-off of the Gibraltar SC-BDPM, and is of simple design but works well for getting the beater to strike nearer the center of the head. Some people have complained about the pedal linkage hitting the rim. If you put the riser in the lowest position, most modern pedals will clear the rim. If you extend the riser fully, you will likely need to set the pedal back a little. Set low, the beater hits a little off-center (pedal set for center of 22" kick). I detected no difference in sound from behind or in front of the kit regardless of how the riser was set. However, the drum is beater sensitive. With a felt beater, there is an "ooom." A plastic beater drastically increases attack. If you want to change out the batter, the only company I know of making 16" kicks is Aquarian , which is fortunate because their heads are excellent.

TOM TOM

The tiny tom has memory locks for both the down-tube and the L-arm, but the receiving notch in the hardware is quite shallow. This is not Ludwig's regular stuff. I replaced both heads with Evans coated (G2 on top, G12 on bottom sounded best to my ears). The sound is "woody" and very pleasing. Owing to the low-density wood, the drum can be deeper than you would expect, but can be tuned up higher for jazz. Volume is attenuated, which is a good thing if playing in intimate venues. Being accustomed to suspension mounts, this drum lacked sustain with the supplied mount. Unmounted and held with two fingers sustain is very nice. If one were to obtain a suspension mount, one would also need to obtain a mounting bracket, as the hole-spacing of the brackets (same for tom mount and floor tom legs) is less than 2".

FLOOR TOM

The 13"x13" floor tom was outfitted with G12s top and bottom. The drum surprised me for how low it sounds. The rough legs terminate in cheezy hard and thin rubber feet, which diminish sustain but on my sample didn't choke the tone. Gibralter floating feet may wring the potential out of this drum.

SNARE DRUM

The snare drum is made of the same wood in the same thickness as the rest of the kit and is very light for a snare drum. To my amazement, snare beds are present. The strainer and butt are cheaply stamped and chromed, but are rather heavy-duty, and worked very smoothly after they were disassembled, cleaned, and properly lubed. Engagement is not positive, kind of sliding into place, but it stays put.

I pride myself on being able to get any snare drum to sound good with proper tuning. This one frustrated me. The drum sounded completely unfocused and "boingy." To try to fix it without putting money into it, I sanded the interior using 220, 400, and 1,000 grit paper. I applied a coat of clear satin wood wax to the wood, let it dry for a day, and buffed it out for an hour while watching a movie, to produce a glass-like sonically-reflective satin surface. The supplied reso head seemed too thick. I found a reso head from an Acrolite and the Acro's original wires, which were better than the ones that came with the Breakbeats. After installing the head, I affixed the wires with grosgrain ribbon, ditching the thick plastic straps that came with it. I found a G1 in my old stock, and came across a 2.3 mm 14" top S-hoop of 8-lug configuration I had forgotten about. The effect of these was cumulative but of all the things I did, I think the heavier hoop was the source of the single greatest improvement in sound.

The results were not amazing, but the improvements did make for a drum that is at least usable. Due to the soft, low-density wood it is quiet and dry, lacking "crack," but it is surprisingly sensitive and articulate with the improvements, and has a low, "EQ'd sound" that works well in small venues where a better snare might be overwhelming. After the enhancements it sounds like a real snare drum, but not one you'd buy if it didn't come with the kit.

OVERALL

As this is a shell pack, I added some hardware I had on hand: a lightweight snare basket, a lightweight hi had stand, and a lightweight cymbal stand to mount a single crash-ride. Much more hardware than that would defeat the purpose of this light little portable kit.

The whole shell pack easily fits in the back seat of my '02 Mazda sedan. When I took it to its first Jazz Jam, the other musicians poked fun at its diminutive size, until I started playing it. They all commented that they could not believe that such a tiny kit sounded so good. The best part, though, was carrying it in and out of the venue. The drums fit in a set of SKB soft cases (the bass drum, even with all the extra hardware on it, fits in a 16x16 SBK floor tom case; btw, the supplied bags are useless). The snare drum went in an Acrolite backpack case. With snare on my back, I was able to transport the two lightweight toms in my left hand, and the bass drum slung over my right shoulder up the rickety and unrailed switch-back stairs to the Jazz Coop. One more trip with a backpack cymbal bag and carrying a hardware bag is all the gear-schlepping I had to do. Never before have I been able to get all my gear in by myself in two trips.

BOTTOM LINE

The kit looks great, is lightweight and sounds surprisingly good. Necessary upgrades include better batter and reso heads on snare and toms, and a heavier top hoop for the snare drum. Floating floor tom feet, better snare wires and 1.6 mm hoops all around, and perhaps an isolation mount for the tom would be an improvement, but I'm not sure it's worth putting that much money into this kit.

At less cost than a quality snare drum, the Breakbeats are what they are. Not high-end drums, they nevertheless look and sound better than I expected. They play well, amaze the audience and other musicians, and are quick to sto-and-go. They're cool in a kind of a riding-a-tiny-bicycle sort of way.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Not bad for the price

This kit is cool, but the quality is sketchy everywhere you look. But for the price, it's expected. Replace the heads. It will tune up surprisingly well. The 16" bass...Read complete review

This kit is cool, but the quality is sketchy everywhere you look. But for the price, it's expected. Replace the heads. It will tune up surprisingly well. The 16" bass drum is fun. The riser (as with all bass drum risers I have ever tried) forces you to put the pedal a bit too far away from the drum so the chain doesn't hit the rim of the drum as you play- the feel is a little weird. The included bags are worthless. All in all, I wonder if the Sonor Safari has better quality for about the same money. Oh well.... would I buy this again- no. But it does what I wanted - small footprint- finish has a cool 70's look- can carry around easy.

Reviewed by 34 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Awesome Set!

By 

from Des Moines, IA

About Me Professional Musician

Pros

  • Great Sound
  • Responsive

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Accompaniment
    • Jazz Clubs
    • Small Venues

    Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

    This is a top notch drum set. This small scale kit has exceeded all my expectations. I am a VERY happy customer!!!

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Small Footprint Good Value

    By 

    from Somerset, N.J.

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Great Sound
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Jazz Clubs
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

      I was looking for a drum set to fit into a small footprint in my Condo, that was a good value, and solid. I found that in this Ludwig Drum Set. I bought the Ludwig 400 series hardware pack, the Sabian SBR cymbal set, and a Gibralter throne. I am pleased with all these products, and they are a great match.

      Comment on this review

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great buy

      By 

      from Dayton ohio

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Great Sound
      • Responsive

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

          The positive reviews were right. A great kit. Good quality, and good high volume.

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Breakbeats Kit = Awesome

          By 

          from levittown PA

          About Me Experienced

          Ask me a question

          Pros

          • Great Sound
          • Huge Tone
          • Responsive
          • Sensitive
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Accompaniment
            • Jazz Clubs
            • School Bands
            • Small Venues
            • Soundtracks
            • Symphonies

            Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

            This kit is truly good quality. The price is great. This is my second break beats kit. I use this kit for most gigs, talk about a space saver. I replaced the tom heads with Evans coated g2 on the batter side, and clear g1 on the resonant side. The snare has an HD Dry head, and the kick has an EMAD 1. This kit sounds so much better. The drums sound huge. If you have hesitations, don't!! It is worth every penny. Bonus it comes with gig bags!!. Thanks Ludwig!!

            Comment on this review

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Great practice kit

            By 

            from NJ

            About Me Professional Musician

            Pros

            • Huge Tone
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Small Venues

              Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

              Bought this drumset after reading rave reviews. This is a great little drumset. Perfect for a practice set, playing small venues, or bringing to gigs when you don't feel like carrying a whole bunch of gear.

              It's definitely not a top of the line kit, but for what you pay it's really worth it! As other reviews stated the shells, wrap, and hardware seems a little cheap and kind of looks like a kid's set, but the bass/tom mount is pretty solid and I like that there is a spot to add something else (I put a crash cymbal). I agree the floor tom legs seem a little short (I tend to sit high) so I might switch then out with legs from another kit. I did not have a problem at all with the bass drum riser. My pedal did not hit the hoop as others stated. I think a little adjustment is all that's needed. The pedal doesn't FULLY clip on to the riser, but it's perfectly fine. Best of all is the sound. These things sound huge! I could not believe the "boom" coming out of the 16" bass drum. Even the toms sing! The snare drum is not as bad as expected after cranking it way up. I used the stock heads and these things sound really great.

              Overall I would definitely recommend as a practice kit / small gigs.

              Comment on this review

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              "Diamond" Jim Pfeifer

              By 

              from New York Metro Area (New Jersey}

              About Me Professional Musician

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Got Compliments
              • Great For Limited Space
              • Great Sound
              • Nice Stage Presence
              • Responsive

              Cons

              • None

              Best Uses

              • Jazz Clubs
              • Small Venues

              Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

              Used this set the day after it was delivered. A small club venue, great sound, good responce good stage bling. Got a few compliments on the color and looks, and for the size good solid sound. "Diamond" Jim Pfeifer (The Gems) drummer.

              Comment on this review

              (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              A nice set, but looks like junior drums

              By 

              from Los Angeles, CA

              About Me Experienced

              Ask me a question

              Pros

              • Great Sound
              • Responsive

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Accompaniment
                • Jazz Clubs
                • Small Venues

                Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

                Can't help feeling like I am playing one of the Junior drum sets when I look at and sit behind these. They sound good and seem to be constructed of better quality materials than a junior set. No instructions whatsoever - I know drums, but the mounted tom upper support will not fit together correctly. No matter what I do the notches will not line up in the tom mount. The bass drum tom support mount works fine.

                Comment on this review

                (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                A Nice Set of Drums

                By 

                from New Jersey

                About Me Experienced

                Pros

                • Compact
                • Easy To Transport
                • Great Sound
                • Great Vintage Look
                • Huge Tone
                • Quick Breakdown
                • Quick Breakdownsetup
                • Quick Setup
                • Responsive
                • Small footprint
                • Tight Tone
                • Versatile

                Cons

                • Sticker Instead Of Badge

                Best Uses

                • Jazz Clubs
                • Small Venues

                Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

                I have been playing drums since I was young boy and have been a formally-trained drummer and percussionist for most of my life. I presently teach music to middle school and high school students. I have owned several sets of drums over this period of time. I had been playing with the idea of picking up one of these kits to use for rehearsals, small gigs, etc. instead of my Gretsch Renown with a Gibraltar rack. I liked the idea of the small footprint. I was a bit skeptical about these kits, so I checked them out in person prior to placing the order for my Azure sparkle. I am so glad I did. The bass drum sounds like a cannon. If you know how to dial in a set of drums, these are for you. I have found that I can get several types of desired/fitting sounds from this kit after dialing in the tuning to fit the venue. They look and sound great. Great vintage look! You won't be sorry snatching one of these up. I am very choosy about my drums and these do NOT disappoint. My only small complaint is that it is not "badged," but "stickered" instead. I can live with that given their great look and sound.

                Comment on this review

                (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great beginner kit or professional kit

                By 

                from Campbell, CA

                About Me Professional Musician

                Pros

                • Great Sound

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Small Venues

                  Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

                  The kit is a really great kit for it being so small. I replaced the heads that it came with and added moon gel to get more tone. I used a Powerstroke 3 Kick head with Kick Port and it sounds amazing.

                  Comment on this review

                  (21 of 21 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Detailed Review

                  By 

                  from Washington, DC

                  About Me Experienced

                  Ask me a question

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Transport
                  • Great Sound
                  • Huge Tone
                  • Responsive
                  • Sensitive
                  • Snare Beds Present
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                  • Cheezy Badges
                  • Flimsy Counterhoops
                  • Terrible Heads
                  • Thin Chrome

                  Best Uses

                  • Busking
                  • Jazz Clubs
                  • Small Venues

                  Comments about Ludwig Breakbeats by Questlove 4-Piece Shell Pack:

                  I received a white sparkle Breakbeats as an unexpected gift from my wife. With some vacation time on my hands and nowhere to go, I ran this kit through the ritual of evaluation.

                  BUILD QUALITY

                  The kit comes in a state of partial assembly. I completely disassembled the kit to inspect all hardware and interiors. Shells (excluding wrap) measured .255" with calipers. The interiors are of a white wood rumored to be poplar, and it appears to be just that. Small knots (not holes) indicate that the wood is not deep heartwood, but it is too white in color to have been taken from the sapwood. In Ludwig tradition, date of manufacture is stamped inside each shell. The exterior sparkle wrap is nicely done, and completely glued to the shell. With the hardware removed I took the opportunity to wax the laminate with NuFinish car wax which really made the sparkle "pop" and provides UV protection (keeps the white from yellowing).

                  The drums were in-round but it was evident that they were not handled with great care in manufacture. There was indication of a "get 'em done, get 'em out" mentality in production. An example is the holes. Though drilled in the correct places, the drill was "punched through" leaving break-out and rough edges on interior wood and spiral shavings of laminate on the exterior. This is all covered by hardware, but on more expensive drums, more care is taken. Drum "badges" are carefully placed stickers. The edge of the bass drum badge was peeling due to lack of adhesive, and with no way to fix it, I removed it. The stickers look really cheezy. Really, how much can proper drum badges cost?

                  The chroming on the hardware is very thin, and showed what looks like mild chrome "acne." This appears to be due to imperfections in the substrate surface (which thicker chroming would hide) rather than pitting or corrosion. Bass drum legs and tom mount seem very sturdy, if roughly cast and thinly chromed. The hoops are of very thin gauge steel, thinner than 1.6 mm., and feel as though they would deform under tight tension or rim shots. They are polished bright but I'm not sure that they are chromed. Bass drum hoops are metal, tension claws are stamped steel.

                  Tuning lug screws all have thick nylon washers. All threads on screws and bolts throughout felt as though they were binding until light grease was applied. I think the un-lubed threads were actually galling (catching and tearing metal). It would be best to lube all threads on all parts before doing anything with this kit.

                  HEADS

                  Heads are Remo UT/UC made in China, and are poor. They are impossible to tune evenly and wrinkled no matter what I did. The Bass drum heads were passable. Both bass drum heads are thick and both have an interior dampening Mylar ring.

                  BASS DRUM

                  With the supplied heads the kick sounds surprisingly deep for a 16" but is quite quiet. The riser is a knock-off of the Gibraltar SC-BDPM, and is of simple design but works well for getting the beater to strike nearer the center of the head. Some people have complained about the pedal linkage hitting the rim. If you put the riser in the lowest position, most modern pedals will clear the rim. If you extend the riser fully, you will likely need to set the pedal back a little. Set low, the beater hits a little off-center (pedal set for center of 22" kick). I detected no difference in sound from behind or in front of the kit regardless of how the riser was set. However, the drum is beater sensitive. With a felt beater, there is an "ooom." A plastic beater drastically increases attack. If you want to change out the batter, the only company I know of making 16" kicks is Aquarian , which is fortunate because their heads are excellent.

                  TOM TOM

                  The tiny tom has memory locks for both the down-tube and the L-arm, but the receiving notch in the hardware is quite shallow. This is not Ludwig's regular stuff. I replaced both heads with Evans coated (G2 on top, G12 on bottom sounded best to my ears). The sound is "woody" and very pleasing. Owing to the low-density wood, the drum can be deeper than you would expect, but can be tuned up higher for jazz. Volume is attenuated, which is a good thing if playing in intimate venues. Being accustomed to suspension mounts, this drum lacked sustain with the supplied mount. Unmounted and held with two fingers sustain is very nice. If one were to obtain a suspension mount, one would also need to obtain a mounting bracket, as the hole-spacing of the brackets (same for tom mount and floor tom legs) is less than 2".

                  FLOOR TOM

                  The 13"x13" floor tom was outfitted with G12s top and bottom. The drum surprised me for how low it sounds. The rough legs terminate in cheezy hard and thin rubber feet, which diminish sustain but on my sample didn't choke the tone. Gibralter floating feet may wring the potential out of this drum.

                  SNARE DRUM

                  The snare drum is made of the same wood in the same thickness as the rest of the kit and is very light for a snare drum. To my amazement, snare beds are present. The strainer and butt are cheaply stamped and chromed, but are rather heavy-duty, and worked very smoothly after they were disassembled, cleaned, and properly lubed. Engagement is not positive, kind of sliding into place, but it stays put.

                  I pride myself on being able to get any snare drum to sound good with proper tuning. This one frustrated me. The drum sounded completely unfocused and "boingy." To try to fix it without putting money into it, I sanded the interior using 220, 400, and 1,000 grit paper. I applied a coat of clear satin wood wax to the wood, let it dry for a day, and buffed it out for an hour while watching a movie, to produce a glass-like sonically-reflective satin surface. The supplied reso head seemed too thick. I found a reso head from an Acrolite and the Acro's original wires, which were better than the ones that came with the Breakbeats. After installing the head, I affixed the wires with grosgrain ribbon, ditching the thick plastic straps that came with it. I found a G1 in my old stock, and came across a 2.3 mm 14" top S-hoop of 8-lug configuration I had forgotten about. The effect of these was cumulative but of all the things I did, I think the heavier hoop was the source of the single greatest improvement in sound.

                  The results were not amazing, but the improvements did make for a drum that is at least usable. Due to the soft, low-density wood it is quiet and dry, lacking "crack," but it is surprisingly sensitive and articulate with the improvements, and has a low, "EQ'd sound" that works well in small venues where a better snare might be overwhelming. After the enhancements it sounds like a real snare drum, but not one you'd buy if it didn't come with the kit.

                  OVERALL

                  As this is a shell pack, I added some hardware I had on hand: a lightweight snare basket, a lightweight hi had stand, and a lightweight cymbal stand to mount a single crash-ride. Much more hardware than that would defeat the purpose of this light little portable kit.

                  The whole shell pack easily fits in the back seat of my '02 Mazda sedan. When I took it to its first Jazz Jam, the other musicians poked fun at its diminutive size, until I started playing it. They all commented that they could not believe that such a tiny kit sounded so good. The best part, though, was carrying it in and out of the venue. The drums fit in a set of SKB soft cases (the bass drum, even with all the extra hardware on it, fits in a 16x16 SBK floor tom case; btw, the supplied bags are useless). The snare drum went in an Acrolite backpack case. With snare on my back, I was able to transport the two lightweight toms in my left hand, and the bass drum slung over my right shoulder up the rickety and unrailed switch-back stairs to the Jazz Coop. One more trip with a backpack cymbal bag and carrying a hardware bag is all the gear-schlepping I had to do. Never before have I been able to get all my gear in by myself in two trips.

                  BOTTOM LINE

                  The kit looks great, is lightweight and sounds surprisingly good. Necessary upgrades include better batter and reso heads on snare and toms, and a heavier top hoop for the snare drum. Floating floor tom feet, better snare wires and 1.6 mm hoops all around, and perhaps an isolation mount for the tom would be an improvement, but I'm not sure it's worth putting that much money into this kit.

                  At less cost than a quality snare drum, the Breakbeats are what they are. Not high-end drums, they nevertheless look and sound better than I expected. They play well, amaze the audience and other musicians, and are quick to sto-and-go. They're cool in a kind of a riding-a-tiny-bicycle sort of way.

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