Reviews

Modern Drummer Review

Check out what Rick Van Horn had to say about the Tour Elite kit, which is the predecessor to our current kit, the ROAD PRO!

Read Review

Modern Drummer Review
Inside the Tour Elite
As Good as it Gets – For Less! By Rick Van Horn
You may not have heard of Pintech Electronics, even though they’ve been around for a few years. They aren’t a major corporation, and they don’t make sound modules, effects pedals, or amplifiers. What they are is an American manufacturer of electronic triggering products. Those include a variety of pad kits ranging from entry-level student models to the top-of-the-line Tour Elite kit that’s the subject of this review. They also offer electronic “cymbals,” two sizes of tubular percussion triggers, three different kick trigger units, and triggers for acoustic drums. In fact, just about the only electronic percussion gear that Pintech doesn’t offer is sound modules – on the theory that there are enough excellent sound sources out there to give drummers plenty of options. Instead, Pintech focuses on offering pad and triggering systems with features – and prices – that set them apart from others on the market.

On the Road

The Tour Elite kit takes its name from its intended purpose. It’s designed to be used in live situations, and is built to stand up the rigors of professional touring. One key to its ruggedness is its ConcertCast drum pads and snare drum. They feature cast-aluminum constructions, heavy-duty LeverLok knobs, and a durable powder-coated finish. The tom pads (and other components of the kit that I’ll describe later) are mounted on a time-tested Gibraltar Road Series curved rack system. This makes the Tour Elite heavier than other E-pad kits that are mounted on lightweight aluminum rack systems. But it also makes the Tour Elite less likely to collapse under stress. Specific physical features of the Tour Elite kit that I really enjoyed include the 13″ piccolo snare drum. Notice I said “drum”, not “pad.” This is a genuine 4×13 drumshell, mounted on a Gibraltar snare stand. It has plenty of drumhead area to accommodate brush playing, and its rim lends itself to cross-stock playing. The fact that it mounts on a separate stand makes it easy to position and solid to “play into.” I also liked the LeverLok knobs, which provided extra-solid grip strength to lock down the position of each pad, but can be rotated out of the way for a neater look.

The component listing for the Tour Elite kit is boxed at the end of this review. But I do want to point out that it’s a complete package, including everything you need to plug in and play (with the exception of the sound module). Even the individual components of the drum rack are carefully labeled as to their purpose. Your grandmother could set this thing up!

Feels So Good

As far as I am concerned, electronic pads finally “got real” with the invention of woven-head technology. A few years ago I conducted a review on a pro-level E-kit with rubber pads. I had a great time playing on it for two weeks – at the end of which I could barely move my wrists. The hard surface of the pads had caused me some serious shock damage. Woven heads do away with that problem. The Tour Elite’s snare, kick, and tom pads all feature SilenTech woven heads. These heads provide excellent triggering capability, while at the same time offering great playing response and “give.” They are also lug-tunable for personal tension preference. As long as I didn’t loosen them to the point of being “spongy,” they maintained excellent tracking response at all dynamic levels. Although Pintech offers two other styles of kick triggers, they’ve outfitted the Tour Elite kit with their ConcertKik bass drum pad. It’s a good choice, because the pad – with its woven head – feels more like a real bass drum than any other kick trigger I’ve ever played. It’s also wide enough to easily accommodate a double pedal. And the baseplate assembly, with its spurs and hook-and-loop fastener strips, stayed in place even under serious stomping. The Tour Elite is fitted with Pintech’s Studio Elite hi-hat and cymbal pads – which are, in fact, rubber pads. However, they’re the softest rubber pads I’ve come across on an electronic kit. They’re also quite large, with a 10 ½” playing surface. This combination of size and softness provided a very comfortable playing feel. Each pad is dual-zone, permitting two sound options per pad, including the option to choke a crash-cymbal sound. Included with the Tour Elite kit is Pintech’s HH10-CV HyperHat. It’s a controller that works with any sound module capable of providing full-range, open-to-closed hi-hat response. Best of all, it offers adjustable footboard tension, just like a real hi-hat pedal. Once again: attention to function and feel. Nice.

Quiet Please!

The quite acoustic response of the Tour Elite’s woven heads and soft rubber cymbal pads would certainly work for home practice. But the metal rims on the drum pads would not. They produce a very distinct and cutting click when struck. But let’s remember that this kit is designed for live use. If you did want to practice quietly at home, it wouldn’t take much effort to install some rubber edging over the rims of the drum pads. This might cut down a little on the snare’s rim-trigger sensitivity, but that might not be much of an issue during practice. On the other hand, the “noisy” rims could create a problem if the kit were to be used for recording in a situation where live mic’s were in the same area (for example, if real cymbals were to be miked with overheads). A solution to this would have to be worked out with the recording engineer in advanced.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Although Pintech states that their pads are 100% compatible with all popular drum modules, company president Larry Easterday recommends using a high-quality module with the pro-level Tour Elite. So we tested it with a Roland TD-8 module. It provided all the sounds we needed to put the Tour Elite through its paces, including brush and cross-stick sounds.

I tried every kind of playing I know how to do on the Tour Elite kit. I played hard…and I played very quietly. I used brushes. I played Nashville-style cross-stick. I played intricate rudimental patterns requiring quick stick rebound, and I laid into the toms à la stadium-style power ballads. I played long enough to work up quite a sweat – and it all felt great. Meanwhile, the Tour Elite pads and the Roland TD-8 communicated flawlessly throughout (once I had set the TD-8′s sensitivity to my playing parameters). I looked hard to find a flaw in the Tour Elite. And I discovered one minor one: Two of the tom pads had slight rattles when hit hard. I took the top heads off, and discovered that some holding screws in the lower section (yes, these pads actually have closed bottoms!) were a little loose. Five minutes later I had corrected that problem, and the pads were totally silent. This was not what I would consider a major issue. What is a major issue, however, is price. And in that area the Tour Elite (and all of Pintech’s models) scores big. It’s priced significantly lower than comparable equipment from other, larger manufacturers. Yet it offers playability and functionality that are equal to anybody’s, and roadworthiness that’s better than most.

If Pintech electronic gear isn’t in your local store, contact the company at (800)445-0506, or visit their Web site at www.pintechworld.com.

Mike Dolbear Review

A review of the C28-SE (Now known as the E-Session) kit from Mike Dolbear himself!

Read Review

MikeDolbear.com Review
Pintech CS8-SE
by Mike Dolbear
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to my local drum shop to have a look around and pick up my latest copy of Rhythm. Subconsciously I imagined that such a mundane event would have cost me a couple of quid at most, however it ended up burning a considerably larger hole in my wallet than I had anticipated. Why? Well I was introduced into the ever evolving world of electronic drums.

My last experience of electronic drums was a Simmons kit which I owned about twelve years ago. I bought it from a guy in Cambridge and after only a couple of months sold it on to another unsuspecting sucker. It was terrible! I got more feel and response from plating on the cats belly than that kit and was glad to see it go. So you could imagine my skepticism when I saw this new Pintech kit in the back of the shop. However after five minutes playing on it I was transformed. After a few return visits to the shop for a quick go, I decided I wanted one and I haven’t looked back since.

The kit I bought was a Pintech CS8-SE-ST Concert Cast. The pads themselves (one of which is a dual trigger pad) are ConcertCast 10″ cast aluminum electronic drums. They’re very sturdy and could easily cope with rigors of transportation and regular playing. They’re mounted onto the StudioLine rack with industry standard ‘L’ rod mounts. The kit comes with three dual trigger zone Studio Elite rubber cymbal pads which, as the name suggests, have dual triggers built in ( handy for programming in a ride bell or splash etc) For Hi Hat effects you get the HH-10CV Hit Hat Velocity Control pedal, which I have to say has a very responsive feel. All the pads are mounted on the StudioLine tubular steel rack which is held together with reinforced plastic clamps. It can be used with a host of sound modules and I’ve picked the Roland TD-8 module which works great with the kit

I’ve had my kit for about four weeks now and I’m having great fun with it. The Silentech woven heads on all of the drums offer a very realistic feel. Sensitivity and response of the individual drums is quite amazing. The drum pads are also available with conventional heads. Rim shots, ghost notes, rolls, you name it and the pads give you the response you’d expect from an acoustic drum. I’ve got my kit set up in my front room and with the headphones on I can play away in my own little world without bothering anyone. Handy if you don’t want to bother the neighbours or practice into the early hours. As a standalone kit I reckon it offers most of what any drummer requires but it can of course be used to compliment an acoustic set-up. I’ve had no real problems with the kit to date but it did take me a few hours to set it up as no assembly instructions were supplied. I used a picture as my guide. The frame clamps were very tight on the tubular steel arms even with the tightening screw completely undone. I could probably get the set up time down to a half an hour or so after a few practices but I’d probably invest in some custom made cases to protect it if I was to use it at regular gigs.

Compared to other similar kits I think that the Pintech CS8-SE offers great value for money with an RRP of £1133 which includes everything I’ve mentioned and all the necessary clamps, cables, module mount and hardware. Pintech have a range of kits and of course all the parts can be sold separately too. They have unique Lifetime warranty on their kits and also offer a host of other products including acoustic drum triggers. For more information check out their web site at www.edrums.com email play@edrums.com – Gerry Mc Donnell

Stick It Magazine Review

What can we say? This Stick It Magazine review covers a LOT of our products.

Read Review

STICK IT Magazine Review
Covering a Wide Range of Pintech Instruments
Pintech, who gained their reputation for turning out road warrior quality staging equipment and multi-pin connectors recently turned their core competencies loose on electronic percussion. Initially, product offerings were based on improvements over existing drum pads, and priced just under their competitors. Pintech’s Jonathan Karow says, “These pads worked fine, but we immediately saw the need for more improvements; that plastic was not the best material for a professional electronic drum kit. We also saw that there was room for improvement in the way the drums ‘feel.’ Anyone can glue a trigger to a piece of plastic and call it a drum; what we were in search of was the optimum trigger placement and the ability for it to be used with all available modules.” I recently had the opportunity to test drive a Pintech kit, and discover first-hand what these guys are all about. The kit I received for review consisted of just about everything Pintech offers in their electronic percussion line.

OUTTA-THE-BOX
I was immediately impressed with the overall appearance of the drums. Their weight caught me off-guard, however. When I think of electronic drums, I usually picture “small and light.” The ConcertCast Drum Pads are not what I would call lightweight, but the quality and attention to detail in their machine work deserve high marks. The drums should have no problems standing up to the trials of the road. Durability is a hallmark of Pintech’s products, an attribute that has been generously passed on to the drum line.

The next notable feature was the fitting of real drum heads! No joke! These are conventional drum heads, tunable for feel and response just like their acoustic counterparts. Now, they are not “completely silent” as is the case with mesh style heads, but if that’s what you’re after, Pintech also offers optional Silentech “woven” heads. Still, the feel of the real head was cool with me. Sure, going from playing an acoustic kit to an electronic set up always requires some tactical and mental adjustment, but for me, the transition between the two were far more seamless with the Pintech rig with the acoustic heads.

PLUG IT IN
Armed with an Alesis DM5 (one of many available modules), I set up based on the factory pre-sets. Within a few minutes, I had everything up and running with a basic drum kit. It took a couple of tries to get the thresholds set up where everything was firing correctly, but after that, I was having fun. Now, for some real testing. Crank up the PA system, and let’s see how this kit really works. At high volume, I did experience some minor issues with double triggering. Sympathetic vibration, I’m sure, was a factor. But even with a guitar player cranking at spine decalcifying volume, false triggering was not a problem. I’m guessing that due to the use of real drum heads, I was able to dial them in so that they felt right, and yet still left some headroom to avoid extraneous triggering problems. At this point, any issue of “non-silent” operation has been overruled by volume anyway.

All of the ConcertCast pads are available in single and dual zone versions. The pads I played were of the dual zone variety, and they all performed very well. I was able to maintain separation between the zones on all of the pads, and still make them feel good. I really enjoyed the way sounds could be combined in a rim shot situation, with not much, if any, annoying cross talk. It was not hard to dial the drums in so that they were playable across the entire head surface and still be quite sensitive. I was able to get different sounds based on where the head was hit, as well as the velocity of the hit. Pretty cool.

WHAT ABOUT THE CYMBALS, MAN?
Two types of high hat foot controllers are available through Pintech: the VFP-1, and the upgrade version HH-10 Hyper Hat. The VFP-1 is a basic patch switch pedal, actually made by another company, but is heavy duty enough to live up to the Pintech standards. The pedal works well with the DM5 as an open/close HH switch, and the HH-10 upgrade offers adjustable spring tension for a more real feel.

Pintech offers a full range of sizes in their TC-cymbals line. Made from a polypropylene co-polymer, you get separate edge and bell sounds, and a lifetime warranty against breakage. They even offer a chokeable model, the Zenbal (editors note: now the SE-102 Studio Elite pad JK). They’re not plated, but Karow tells me, “…we don’t plate the trigger cymbals, because the finish tends to chip off of the polypropylene and loose its color anyway.” Good enough.

TC Series Trigger Cymbals

DINGBATS & NIMRODS …oh my!
The DINGBAT, a 12″ tubular percussion pad, and the Nimrod (6″ version), work well as cymbal and auxiliary triggers. Pintech also offers an entire kit, the SENSORAC Kit, made up from these components. The look of this kit is very streamlined, and I can imagine that it works well based on my experience with the pieces I tested.

KICK IT!
I checked out both bass drum triggers Pintech offers: the K-3 ERGOKIK (inverted beater) and the VK-10 Vertikik (upright style). The feel of the VK-10 was the better of the two, but both triggers tracked well, and either trigger was wide enough to accept a double beater pedal.

RACK’EM UP
The rack system is made up of 1 1/2″ metal tubing and nylon/cast metal “T” clamps. The system is very sturdy, and goes together with ease. I remember when you needed an engineering degree to put one of these things together. I especially like the use of Allen bolts in places where you are likely to leave parts tightened once you are set up. The less things to get hung up on, the better. You even get a bracket for mounting your drum module, as well as a bunch of Velcro straps to tie things up with for a nice finished look. I hate to sound like some kind of hyped-up infomercial, but these guys really do have their bases covered.

WHAT ELSE YA GOT?
A look through the Pintech catalogue impressed me that they really do mean business. The company offers a wide variety of accessory and ancillary products dedicated to electronic drumming.

The folks at Pintech will likely get pretty psyched-up if you call about a custom kit. They can put together any configuration you care to dream up. And aside from producing the pads and cymbals, they actually cut and powder coat the tubing for their rack systems right in the Pintech factory. So getting hooked up with everything you’ll need will be a snap-and that includes a selection of modules.

LOW DOWN
If you’re looking to get into an electronic drum kit, or even add to your existing kit, you will want to take a look at the Pintech line. You’ll also want to keep an open mind as you ponder the price tag. I make this suggestion not out of my reaction to high prices, but incredibly low prices. Pintech’s a bit at risk here of imparting the wrong impression. The K-3, the DINGBATS, and the NIMRODS each carry a list price of under $40.00; an entire CS/1-DM 9 piece ConcertCast kit including the rack and an Alesis DM5 checks in at just $1628.00 Suggested Retail! “Considerably less expensive than some of our competitors,” says Karow. “But we don’t want to be known as the ‘affordable electronic drum company.’ The fact is, many of our products are more costly to produce than those of our competitors. Professional drummers want quality, dependable products, and a company that will back those products. And if we can do it for less money than everyone else, we do.” The test drive left me with just one remaining question: “Why does everyone else charge so much?”

Posted with permission from Stick It Magazine. All rights reserved.

DRUM! Magazine Review

Norman Weinberg review the Studio Elite LE. (Now further developed and re-named the E-SESSION)

Read Review

DRUM Magazine Review
Pintech Studio Elite LE
by Norman Weinberg
An Electronic Review

There are several ways to incorporate an electronic kit into your home or studio. One method is to buy the all-in-one system – pads, brain, and rack – from a single manufacturer. Another is to build your electronic kit from the components, selecting those parts of the system that will offer the best price-to-performance ratio, or provide the exact features you need.

Compare this idea with buying a 5.1 home theater system. Some like the idea of the ready-to-go package that contains the DVD player with amplifier, speakers, and the stand to hold them all; some like to select each part of the system individually. In the world of home theaters, going the component route will usually get you a better system and sometimes leave you with a lighter wallet. Likewise, in the world of electronic kits, you may end up with a great kit while possibly saving a few hundred bucks.

Pintech is an American-owned company that’s been making electronic drums for quite some time. They don’t have the brand power of the big corporations, but they do have some outstanding products that are worth considering.

For this review, Pintech sent their Studio Elite LE kit, which includes a 12″ dual-zone snare pad, three 10″ single-zone tom pads, an upright-style kick drum pad, and both ride and crash cymbal pads. The package also includes a rack-style stand and all the necessary hardware (clamps, memory locks, cables, keys) to put everything together.

The Triggers. One of the first things that you’ll notice about the drum pads is that the heads look an awful lot like the heads of another well-known electronic drum company. Yep, those are the same mesh heads that are on Roland’s electronic drums (Pintech has licensed the patented mesh head technology from the Roland Corporation). This means that playing these pads at 4:00 in the morning isn’t going to bother anyone in the house next door. They’re nice and quiet and can be tensioned so that the response of the playing surface is comfortable and natural. There are many players who have serious reservations about playing on rubber pads, and Pintech’s may just win them over.

The body of ConcertCast pads is fabricated from a single piece of cast aluminum with a very hip black-with-silver-vein powder-coat finish. The shells feel solid and well constructed. Even with the aluminum, the drum is not a lightweight – there’s a lot of metal to it. The protruding ears that house the tension lugs and the mounting support have been designed to insure shell integrity as a whole. Both the 10″ and 12″ pads have six tuning rods and a chrome triple-flanged hoop.

The L-rod mounting system can fit on any rod up to 10.5mm in diameter, and the drum comes with a large knob that makes mount attaching easy work. As an option, you can purchase heavy-duty ratchet-type LeverLok knobs for the pads.

On the bottom of the ConcertCast pads, you’ll find a metal bridge system that holds the foam cylinder that contacts the woven head at its center – quite similar to the Roland PD120 pads. Head vibrations are sensed by the foam cylinder and transferred to the piezo that reacts to the movement. The dual-trigger snare pad has an additional piezo that responds to rim strokes. The CKV kick pad is a 10″ pad with a bass drum pedal plate, and pair of adjustable spurs with rubber feet and retracting metal spikes for the stage.

The kit comes with two of their 14″ Zenbals – dual-zone, choke-compatible pads for the ride and the crash. The crash has the second trigger located under the edge of the cymbal, while the ride’s additional trigger is under the bell. The weight of these pads closely resembles that of an acoustic cymbal, but the rubber surface is understandably softer than the real thing. Pintech includes Aquarian cymbal springs with the cymbals, which helps contribute to the pads’ natural movement.

The HyperHat is a full-range CV controller designed as a hi-hat foot pedal. It features spring-loaded carpet spikes, non-slip rubber pads, and Velcro strips to keep the pedal secure in just about any stage situation. If you’re planning to use this hi-hat controller with the Yamaha DTX modules, you’ll need an adapter cable for the HyperHat pedal (available from Pintech at no cost. It’s important to note that I was told by the company that a modification in 2005 will make the pedal compatible with all drum brains, eliminating the need for an adapter cable). The pedal works in conjunction with the company’s ZBH-2, a stereo hi-hat pad.

The only thing that’s missing from this kit is the sound module. Pintech doesn’t make their own module, but the pads are compatible with any module on the market that accepts a 1/4″ jack. The review kit was supplied with the Roland TD6V drum brain, and I also put the kit through its paces with a Yamaha DTX brain, and a drumKAT multi-pad triggering a computer running Reason and GigaStudio.

The Rack. Pintech’s new chrome rack is simple, strong, and easy to use. Two vertical bars provide support for the curved cross bar and serve double-duty by holding the cymbal arms with booms. Four additional arms provide mounting for the floor tom, snare, hi-hat, and sound module plate. It might be odd to see the snare arm supported by the same cross bar that holds the two rack toms, but this system actually works very well. Once the snare and rack toms were in their proper position, it was easy to get everything else exactly where it belonged.

Instructions. Since Pintech doesn’t manufacture the sound modules that serve as the trigger and audio brains for these kits, you’ll have to connect the pad to some sort of electronic drum kit sound module. The company has included instructions for interfacing to a number of the most common electronic drum kit brains, i.e. the Roland TD6 and TD8, Yamaha’s DTX2.0 and Alesis’ DMPro, D4, and DM5 modules. There are also instructions (with photos) for setting up the rack, hi-hat, L-rods, and even the cymbal springs. If you can’t put this kit together with these instructions, you probably shouldn’t be playing a musical instrument.

Impressions. The single-zone pads responded well and could track my lightest stroke (of course, the brain that you’ll be using with the kit handles most tracking responsibilities). That being said, the ConcertCast pads offer a strong enough trigger signal to drive any system. The head trigger on the double zone pads responded just as well as the single zone units, and I had no trouble getting the rim trigger to react with both light and heavy strokes.

The isolation between the head and rim triggers was outstanding. My strongest strokes didn’t cause any crosstalk problems. Although some vibrations passed between pads through the rack when I set the sensitivity to the lowest possible setting on the supplied TD6, it was easily fixed by adjusting the sensitivity to a more realistic level. Once properly adjusted, there were no crosstalk issues (and I play with a pretty heavy hand).

The kick pad also responded well to my playing. If anything, the head felt a little too bouncy right out of the box. I relaxed the tension of head slightly, and it then felt more like an actual bass drum.

While the Zenbals worked fine in terms of response and sensitivity, I was less impressed with the feel of these instruments under my sticks. While not reviewed, there are other members of the Pintech family of electronic kits and triggers. They also offer the Visual Custom Series of custom made electronic pads with acrylic shells, the Studio Elite series rubber pads, the AcousTech metal snare pad, a 6″ and 12″ tubular bar pad, the Trigger Perfect line of acoustic drum triggers, and the entire line of Visu-Lite electronic cymbals.

All Pintech pads carry a lifetime warranty. This is one of the strongest warranties in the business, and Pintech is to be congratulated for standing so strongly behind their products. If any part fails due to a defect in material or workmanship, they will repair or replace it for free. After one year, you’ll be responsible for labor costs, but that’s to be expected.

Pros. While this is not a comparative review, it’s difficult not to compare the Pintech mesh-head pads to the similar meshhead Roland pads. The bottom line is that these pads offer an exceptional value. In terms of factory list prices, a single-zone 10″ Pintech pad goes for $168. Its mesh-head competition retails for $420. You do the math. Going the component route can save you some serious bucks.

Since both companies use analogous technologies, the feel, response, and sensitivity of the pads are also similar. Saving dollars wouldn’t be important if quality was an issue. There are enough issues with electronic percussion already, and nobody wants a pad that’s going to fail on the gig. Quality of construction is certainly not an issue with these Pintech pads.

Cons. About the only negative aspect of the ConcertCast pads is the exact same technology that makes them so responsive. As mentioned earlier, the pads have a cylindrical foam sensor that contacts the center of the mesh head. This creates a “hot spot” right at the point where the foam touches the head. If you normally play a little off-center, then this won’t be an issue and the pad will respond to all dynamic levels, but if you put a stroke right on the foam, moderate playing velocities will trigger stronger than normal attacks.

Final Word. Before you drop your dimes on a new electronic kit, go play the Pintech instruments. If you’re convinced that mesh head technology is the way you want to go, it’s smart to have a choice of manufacturers. They are an outstanding value – quality construction and quality performance at a reasonable price.

Tiger Bill Video Review Fest!

Click on the links below to watch video reviews of three different Pintech kits with Tiger Bill!

PLEASE NOTE! These videos are in Windows Media Format.
2006 E-Gig kit with EZ Module – Click HERE
2006 ECHO kit with EZ Module – Click HERE
2006 E-JAM kit reviewed with both the Yamaha DTXpress and Roland TD-3 – Click HERE

Danny Britt Review

Ride along as Danny Britt takes you for a spin in his video review of our all new LIDS!

Click HERE to watch the video review (Windows Media Format)