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Article ‘Slagwerkkrant’  nr 180, mrt – apr 2014

Test Wizzdrum

(English translation below)

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WIZZDRUM

Electro-acoustic kit from The Netherlands

Author: Dennis Boxem
In the recent months, increasing numbers of Dutch and Belgian drum builders made themselves heard. One of the most remarkable inventions that passed is the Wizzdrum: a compact drum set with electronic aspirations.
Creator of the Wizzdrum is Wouter Hietkamp. He was looking for a transportable set with which he could do more then just drumming. And he has shown a fine example of outside the box thinking. Hietkamp developed a super compact drum kit that you can play without using your feet from a combination of existing instruments and a few clever inventions.

The Wizzdrum consists of a bass drum, a small snare drum, two roto toms and a combination of hi-hat and two splashes on a specially designed cymbal holder. All of these parts are included with arms stuck in a sturdy plastic block again attached to a stand, made ​​of metal tubes.

Keyword in Wizzdrum is portability. The entire instrument, including microphones and small mixing panel, fits into a rectangular bag 40x40x50cm. The bag weighs 19 kilos and that’s just handy enough to take it with you by bike or in public transport.
In a snap

Mounting the Wizzdrum is done in an instant. After a few practice rounds you’ll install the kit in about seven minutes, including the time that you need to connect the amplification. The tubular frame is stuck with a pair of connectors that are fixed with hex bolts. The arms of the drums, cymbals and hi-hat operating system simply slide into the plastic block. They are held in place by memory locks, which works amazingly well and saves a lot of time to build up.

The cymbal holder is a special piece of design. You mount the hi-hat and two splashes to the same holder, but it is still possible to open the hi-hat. The holder is connected with a cable to a simple bicycle brake, over which you slide metal tube with an adult sized handle. Push the handle down, and the hi-hat cymbals come apart. That is unexpectedly smooth and fast, and thus Wizzdrum proves that you can make things that work very well with simple means.
Major step

The Wizzdrum is a drum kit that you play standing up or sitting down, but you cannot compare it with a cocktail kit like Tama Cocktail Jam (see test on page 60). The latter you can play without significant modification. Playing the Wizzdrum requires a lot more practice, if only because you have to play all the bass notes with your hands. So you actually need two limbs do the same work you did with four limbs before. In the beginning it can be a fairly significant step, although you’ll manage quite fast to play a standard groove with bass drum, snare drum and closed hi-hat. Opening the hi-hat during the groove is more challenging, and also fills between toms, bass drum and snare drum require careful thinking. Probably an experienced percussionist will master it faster than a drummer.

Hietkamp claims that the Wizzdrum has a fairly low volume acoustically, but that’s only partly true. The kit is very easy to play softly, and also provides a nice round tone. Especially if you use soft mallets or rods, it is easy to maintain the sound level of an acoustic guitar. However, if you add some power, you get a pretty decent sound level. The roto toms get a tasty sparkle and the bass and snare drums are punchy and pointed. Not bad!
Child’s play

Amplification of the Wizzdrum is truly simple. Two condenser microphones with goose necks are included in the set and you click them easily on either side of the set on one of the tubes. You then only need to connect them to the supplied small mixer. The quality of the sound you get with these two microphones is astonishingly good. The sound is clear and transparent, and both low and high frequencies are well represented. In addition, the Wizzdrum is almost immediately balanced thanks to its compact set-up.

You can use two microphones and mixer to amplify the Wizzdrum but that was not what Hietkamp had in mind with the design. For this test Slagwerkkrant possessed his personal kit for a few days, including a number of sound effects, and that combination proved to be addictive. With a looper, various filters and an expression pedal, you can directly get really crazy things from the Wizzdrum varying from super hip dance grooves to greasy industrial sounds – all with a few buttons pressed. And since you’re feet are still free while your playing, you can use them to control the pedals.
Charm

The finish of some parts may not be as smooth and chic as you’re used to with the big brands, but that’s also a bit of the charm of this instrument. The important thing is that everything is functioning properly , and that is certainly the case.
In short

The Wizzdrum is a nice and versatile instrument. The sound of the kit is quite good: the bass drum is sufficiently low, the snare drum is crackling and has a nice contrasts with the singing sound of the roto toms. The amplification is also done in a snap, and the set is so complete that you only need a single line in a mixer. Learning to play really well is a challenge, but one that makes the creative juices start to flow properly.
JUDGEMENT

+ Innovative design

+ Very compact to transport

– Need some time to learn how to play

 

COMPETITION

• none

The Wizzdrum is really something different than the average cocktail set or portable drum kit.

 

THE FACTS

• 8 “snare drum

• 13 “bass drum

• 8 “and 10 ” rototoms

• 14 ” hi-hat , 6″ and 10″ Splash Meinl MCS cymbals on a specially designed jaw holder

• all hung on a special rack system

• Two condenser microphones

• small mixer

• connecting materials

• bag for transporting the entire Wizzdrum

• Price : € 1,149.50

The kit comes with simple drums that are manufactured in the Far East. These can be upgraded with high-end drums, made ​​by Thijs van der Heijden – Customdrums.nl for an additional charge of € 695,-.

The Meinl MCS cymbals are upgraded to professional Zildjians for an additional charge of € 514,25. Both the basic and the high-end Wizzdrums are equipped with professional Remo heads. More options can be found on the website of Wizzdrum: www.wizzdrum.com.

 

Article ‘Slagwerkkrant’  nr 180, mrt – apr 2014

Danique Kos demonstratice for Wizzdrum

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 Article ‘Het Leidsch Dagblad’

5 october 2013

LD 5-10-13