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exup35

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New Yamaha? How fast does it go mate?

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21.06.2010 (29.03.2011)

Advantages:
Price, features, good reputation

Disadvantages:
extras can be expensive, friends think you have bought a motorbike

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Appearance

Quality of sound

Durability

Playability

Value for money

How well constructed is it?well

Range of tonesquite rich

Ease of buying accessorieseasy

Recommended forall levels 

Amount paid£500

I bought itnew 

16 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (12%):
  1. Bigbaz
  2. Hishyeness
very helpful by (88%):
  1. RazzaLazza
  2. TheHairyGodmother
  3. Coloneljohn
and 12 other members

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Sounds like a Motocrosser

“I’ve bought myself a new Yamaha DTXplorer”
“Yeah, what did you do with the old bike?”
“It’s a drum kit !”
“A Yamaha? Oh er.. cool!”

There are still people that forget that Yamaha do other things, other than building motorcycles. Look closely at their logo and you will see the three tuning forks to highlight the company’s strong musical heritage. OK I admit, the DTXplorer name does make it sound like some off-roader that Charlie Boorman could be bouncing off over sand dunes with
Yamaha DTXplorer

The system came packed in 4 boxes, the largest, but not actually the heaviest contains the main frame structure which all the kit is bolted onto.
If you are setting up the equipment yourself, as always best to make sure that all that should be there actually is.
Should you decide that you are going to purchase this kit, check what is included, as not only are there various deals from different outlets, but for some reason some stores state that they include the second pedal. It is unclear whether the second pedal should be included anyway but it can't hurt to ask before parting with your cash, only to find you need to buy another pedal.

Ride and Crash

The frame itself, when you remove all the packaging, reminds me more of an elaborate nasty trap from the Indiana Jones films. Some of the thick metal spikes which protrude from the various arms would seem quite suited to impaling an unwary Lara Croft or Indy as you swing them round into what is hopefully the right position.
The control unit attaches to its own frame bracket with two screws. Each of the drum pads push onto the spikes and are then locked by a large knob underneath. The crash and ride cymbal pads are locked to two long arms, and secured between two padded washers by a wing nut.
In this kit there are two pedals, one high hat control pedal, and a more elaborate kick, or bass drum pedal. Which itself needs building up from its separate parts. It is easier to build the support frame first, before adding the pedal and hammer to the unit. The kick is helped to stay in position by a strip of Velcro, and both pedals have adjustable spikes which can also be pulled into the floor surface. Although better check with whoever owns the floor before you screw these pieces of metal into the floor: again these metal protrusions would seem to be just as at home on the end of a javelin being hurled by an angry native, enraged at having his sacred idol stolen by a now fleeing archaeologist.
Once all set up, the unit now loses its Marquis de Sade dungeon appearance, and all that is left is to slide and rotate the various drum pads into your required position. A cluster of phono leads is supplied, labelled with the drum pad and its corresponding socket on the control unit. The cables are already cut and terminated to the correct length and there is a handful of Velcro straps to secure to the frame.
Machine Control

There are various outputs: If you have a single amplifier then using the left phono of the stereo outputs is the one you need. The kit can also be connected to an optional Yamaha amplifier kit, which is akin to an elaborate 2.1 speaker system. Although compared to some speaker systems seems a little overpriced being close to £300 and, from some suppliers, could push the price of overall setup to £900 - £1000: Even though the DTXplorer is viewed by many as a reasonably priced entry level kit, this is getting close to the value of my own Yamaha Thundercat motorcycle.
The phono output can also be connected to a pair of headphones, virtually silencing the drum kit to everyone else but the user. That is, apart from the kick pedal which, I suppose, could still be quite penetrating through walls as a dull thud, probably not too good if your archaeologist neighbour starts getting flash backs about tribal drums.
There is also a midi output, which can be connected to recording equipment, computers etc. It is possible to use a computer with its speaker system as the output.
An aux (iliary) in socket allows you to connect a device such as a CD player to play along with your favourite tracks.

The control unit contains many preset kit sounds which mimic various styles, such as rock, reggae, jazz etc. You can also individually set each drum trigger to produce a tailored, individual sound out using the wide range of percussion and effects available, thereby producing a customised kit.
Also in the unit’s memory are stored over 20 songs to be able to practice drum technique along to. A grove check and metronome can help you nail your timing down so you don’t end up chasing a missed beat like a hapless nerd lost at a Pendulum gig, failing to clap in time.

Drumming on the kit, the feel is quite good. It’s not an acoustic setup, so you are never going to get all the little nuances and sounds you can make, such as the wide range of sounds you can get from a single acoustic snare drum are beyond the Yamaha, but then again we are talking about getting into advanced techniques, and although the DTXplorer is an excellent electronic kit, you need to remember that it is still aimed at entry level drumming
Rebound from the pads is nice and predictable, and good enough to start working on those different grips to get the drum sticks behaving in the correct way. The kick pedal setup is the same as would be on a normal kit anyway; all that is different is the trigger pad as opposed to a large bass drum from an acoustic setup.
Compared to more expensive kits, there are no advanced features from the drum pads - There is no cymbal grab (to silence the cymbal), no rim shot sound, Also hitting the "bell" on the cymbal pads (the raised centre hub) does create a sound but I cannot work out whether this is an artifact from the cymbal arm itself or the pad - probably the former.

Don’t forget to fasten your helmet


The only criticism I can find with the kit is trying to setup on a perhaps slightly uneven floor. The frame legs, which can be pivoted outwards (the photo at the top of the page shows the basic setup) do not really allow much for adjustment. The left leg seems to have some sort of cantilever arrangement, which would appear to help, but in the end this just seems more of a brace support rather than anything to help keep it level. Perhaps a well placed wedge of card under the kit will stop any slight wobbling, but it seems to be something that could have easily been included.
Moving the kit to another location (maybe a gig or practice venue?), looks set to be tedious. It will be tricky to get the kit back into its original packaging, but not impossible. But I would expect more acoustic drum kits would come with their own packaging for your roadies to carry it to the waiting van. Any kit is going to be a pain to dismantle and reassemble anyway, but maybe a more permanent way of transporting the equipment would be greatly appreciated. Then again I wouldn’t expect it to be cheap and so would force the price of the overall kit up. I suppose it’s case (sic) of looking around and finding decent cases and bags at music stores, or wherever that will fit the purpose.

If you need advice on the kit, there is a thriving online community which I would expect would be more than happy to help out with various issues you may have. Most of the information I have sought for the equipment has been on the Roland forums (another manufacturing company) which also has additional boards for the various kits that are out there. Look around, with your internet search engine, it shouldn’t take long to get pointed to somewhere that can help.

Just an extra note, I bought this kit from dolphin music in Huddersfield with the help of the Take it Away, arts council scheme, which allows you to purchase musical instruments and equipment, interest free and repay back each month. Again, if you want details, s simple internet search should bring up the information.

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Comments about this review »

Coloneljohn 11.07.2010 13:49

Very well reviewed, but not something I will be needing. John

catsholiday 22.06.2010 16:03

Great review - you should chat to my son who bought himself something similar - we still have the rejected non- digital drum set in our loft!!

Bigbaz 22.06.2010 00:28

Well written review of an versatile product explaining everything in simple easily understood terms. I only wish you could give a demo!

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

The DTXPLORER is YamahaÆs lowest-priced professional-grade 5-piece electronic drum kit, ideal for practice at home ...

Product details

Long Name DTXPlorer Electronic Drum Kit, Dtxplorer
Type Drum Kits, Drum Machines
Genre Electronic Drum Kits, Electronic Drums

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This review of Yamaha DTXPlorer Electronic Drum Kit has been rated:

"exceptional" by (12%):

  1. Bigbaz
  2. Hishyeness

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