February 16, 2012 by zdueck
Over the past couple of years Pearl has been working on a truly portable drum kit which they call the Pearl Rhythm Traveler. The idea here being a kit that you can just pack up and take with you virtually anywhere. The toms pretty much all stack inside one another with the exception of the snare (it may be stackable if you remove the head, I’m not entirely sure as I have yet to see this kit stacked like a russian doll) and then can all be placed within the bass drum (again if you remove one of the heads). It also comes with a cymbal and a pair of hi-hats along with hardware to mount them all. After listening to a couple videos this is sounding like a pretty decent kit for being below a 600 dollar price point. The drums may sound a little flat to begin with but a quick tune up with some 2-ply oil filled drum heads will warm those drums up in no time. Unless you prefer your kit to be a bit brighter sounding than I do, in which case you’d need to find a head that can achieve that sound all on its own. Because the thing to consider with these drums is that they have no resonating bottom head and a very shallow chamber to focus it’s sound waves, so that top head is pretty much doing all the work. The drum itself is just keeping the head tuned to your preference and isn’t going to help focus the sound much at all. And according to this fellow from Gearwire, the cymbals aren’t anything to write home about either (but for under 600 I wasn’t expecting much from them to begin with), and after hearing that crash/ride in action I couldn’t agree more. Luckily I’ve already got plenty of unused cymbals I could swap them out for.
Personally, the reason this kit is so fascinating to me, and the reason I would really love to acquire one, is because of how perfectly designed it is for my other favourite travel kit… The Suitcase Kit. Now there’s a lot of different ideas of what a suitcase kit is, some people think it is just a drum kit that incorporates a suitcase as the kick. For me however, a true suitcase kit must be able to be completely contained within the suitcase when it is all packed up. Until now that has meant that I’ve either been travelling with pretty basic kits, or kits made up of toy instruments. However with these drums as small and stackable as they are, all I’d need to do is maybe drop the kick drum and perhaps one of the toms and I could likely fit a complete and quality sounding kit into the suitcase. It would sure make gigging a lot easier, plus it’s a great conversation starter and an interesting stage piece for people to look at while you’re performing. And if you’re interested in building your own, there’s a beautiful instructable on it here and a decent video about how to select your suitcase below.