You Be The Judge
Compact Kits
Which one packs the punch?


In this corner...


Weighing in at 40 lbs.                         Coming in at 55 lbs.



Since every drummer most definitely does march to his or her own beat, it never made any sense to me to listen to someone else tell me what I would or would not like in regard to gear. Some of my favorite pieces of equipment are often the cheapest and not the “crème de la crème.” Therefore, the concept here is to present a totally unbiased and fair audio review, instead of the usual pro and con synopsis.

My first thought was to get these two inventive kits into the studio for a test drive. The idea was to get two identical sets of heads (Evans EC2’s for the toms, EMAD for the kick, ST for the snare top and 300 gauge snare bottom/Remo Pinstripes for the toms, Powersonic Bass for the kick, CS reverse black dot for the snare top and Ambassador snare bottom), tune them to identical settings using a tension watch, mic’ them exactly the same, without EQ or effects, and record both to the same track, allowing them to be heard in a similar setting.
Well, that was the idea, but it didn’t quite work out that way…

In order to explain the scenario in which we worked, I really do have to tell a completely unbiased and fair story. That way, you can be the judge.

Out of the box, both kits set up rather quickly and without too much thought needed for assembly. Just a bit of common sense and knowing not to rush, about 20 to 30 minutes was all it took. Once both sets were assembled and ready to go, I proceeded to attack the Arbiter Flats Lite first by undoing the one individual tension rod that each drum (the snare has two heads and therefore two tension rods) uses for its unique way of tuning. That’s when my first problem appeared. Unfortunately, I could not change out the original heads (Remo Asia) and outfit it with the Evans EC2’s as intended. No matter how I tried, the new heads would not fit inside the Flats outer tuning ring, and allow me to actually tune the drum back up (Arbiter’s U.S. distributor informed me that the Flats Pro had curtailed that problem, but were more expensive). After fighting with it for more than a good few minutes, I finally got the ring to hold the head in place, but after turning the single rod until it could not turn anymore, I was still left with a completely wrinkled and dead EC2. As I put the stock heads back on, I knew this test drive was not going to go around the track as planned.

Then again, maybe it would…

Since I couldn’t equally try each kit with the Evans outfit and the Remo outift as intended, I had no choice but to approach both kits in the manner of, “let’s see what they can do right out of the box.” And that’s exactly what we did.

So here they are, 100 percent exactly as is, stock heads, hardware, cymbals and all.

Have a listen and You Be The Judge.

– Mover 

Arbiter Flats Lite Audio                                                                      Alchemy Traps A400 Audio

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