Not many people may remember this, but Pearl actually released an all-acrylic shell drum kit way back in 1978. It was called the Crystal Beat. Well folks, it’s back and what that means for us drummer peeps in Australia is that we now have a serious contender to battle the likes of Ludwig, Tama, DW and C&C. The thing is, Pearl have some little tricks up their sleeves, which means the Crystal Beat could be the choice to go for.
WEAR NICE PANTS
So, the Pearl Crystal Beat shells are clear – so you can’t hide. They look awesome and have some unique features as well as some things that belong on more expensive Pearl drums. You get 6mm seamless acrylic shells that are moulded, not rolled, so there’s no seam or weak point. You also get Pearl’s opti-mount for more sustain, Pearl heads as standard, matching acrylic bass drum hoops in the same colour, drum lugs unique to the Crystal Beat, recessed bass drum claws, air suspension floor tom feet and three cool finishes. Oh, and a razor sharp 45 degree bearing edges with a rounded apex. All other features are very striking. I had a go on a Ruby Red and the craftsmanship, fit and finish are awesome. It’s a great looking kit.
YOU GET TO CHOOSE
Normally when you buy a drum kit – unless you’re willing to sell your first-born – you’ll have to choose from pre-determined configurations. Only the super top-end drum makers, and only on their top end kits, allow you to actually spec your own set up. Well folks, us Aussies can do just that with a drum kit your Nanna can afford. Yep, you heard right. The drums are priced individually rather than strictly as a kit. So, you just choose whatever drums you want and make your kit! Gold! Choose a 24” bass drum with only two floor toms. No worries – completely your choice. You can even spec different colours for each of the drums from the finishes available. As mentioned, they’re all priced individually and this includes colour. So go Jelly Bean! The best part of all this is that you can just add another drum if and when you feel like it and it won’t be a crazy special order that costs you a kidney. Lovely Pearl. Lovely.
BUT THEY’RE NOT WOOD...
You won’t care when you start playing these babies. If you think about it, the inside of a wood shell is deliberately sanded as smooth as possible to promote a surface for sound to bounce around. An acrylic shell is perfectly smooth inside, so there’s actually a tonne of resonance to the shells. Wide open, they’re very focused but speak beautifully with a real punch. So, they look like they’ll punch you in the face and they sound that way too. There’s so much presence. The toms were really easy to tune across the range. The mid range was the sweet spot, which is often the case but I reckon you can have them a bit lower and they’ll be killer through a PA. The 16” floor tom I tried had some balls too, and if I was spec’ing a kit for myself, I’d go bigger to get the full rock vibe. The bass drum possesses the same qualities as the toms too with the same punch and presence. Add it all together and you get a kit that, for the value, punches above its weight. You don’t get the full spectrum of tone that a wood shell gives you, but then again, the Crystal Beat doesn’t try to do that. Instead it rewards with an overall bright tone and projection to knock over the people in the front row.
There isn’t an actual Crystal Beat snare available but you can get Pearl’s excellent free floater with the same acrylic shell – which is killer – so you’ll be laughing. Overall – a total winner? Yep. Shut up and take my money. I’ll have an Ultra Clear thanks.
For more details on the range of Pearl products, head to austmusic.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Fantastic value with awesome configuration choices for total personalisation
Great and unique look
Punch and volume from acrylic shells
No snare as standard
Shell pack only