As we have already mentioned, we have recently received a sizable parcel from drumstore.pl – an importer and distributor of many brands in the field of drums and percussion. Inside a few decent-sized boxes, we found all kinds of drums and accessories, which we were more than happy to check out. We have put a number of cymbals, gongs and snare drums under our microscope. Very recently, we described the Natal Cafe Racer UF22 drum kit. Now, it is time for its smaller brother – the Natal Cafe Racer TJ.
We test the Natal Cafe Racer TJ drum kit
1. The packaging and look.
The Natal Cafe Racer TJ drum kit arrived in our office in two boxes (the bass drum and the rack tom in one, the floor tom and hardware in the other). All the shells were very well secured with foil and foam. Potential buyers really do not have to worry about the condition the drums will arrive in, if dispatched as a courier consignment. The floor tom legs were put in foil, while the lugs, rack tom holder and tension rods were packed separately. Solving such a jigsaw puzzle is pure joy to any drum freak. After some 15 – 20 minutes of savouring this activity, we saw a stylish, jazz drum kit with a beautiful, classic-looking Champagne Sparkle finish. Pure eye candy!
2. The product.
The kit’s shell configuration is: 12” x 8” (rack tom), 14” x 14” (floor tom) and 18” x 14” (bass drum). The shells are made from tulipwood, which can be found in eastern parts of North America, China and Vietnam (it also has an Australian, Indian and Malaysian variety). Each drum is equipped with light, chrome-plated Sun Lugs, which come from the manufacturer’s flag drum kit, i. e. Natal Originals. The aluminum, stand-mounted, ball tom holder allows for easy rack tom mounting as well as angle adjustment. The tom itself does not change its position, even when playing really hard. The telescopic bass drum legs work with no problems whatsoever. The bearing edges are slightly rounded, hand finished (according to the producer) and their angle is 45°.
3. The test.
The test was carried out in an acoustically adapted room. The toms are fitted with Remo Ambassador Coated heads, while the bass drum tempts with a Remo Powerstroke 3 skin. This is good evidence of the fact that Natal treat potential buyers of the Natal Cafe Racer TJ drum kit seriously. For the purposes of the test, we also used a Natal Pure Stave snare drum, which we are going to write separately about. Having first tried each of the drums individually, we played the kit as a whole. It sounds consistent, the toms display a nice, warm low end. The more we turned the tension rods to the left, the more high but nice-sounding overtones the drums produced. The bass drum, as for an 18-inch drum, is quite lively and nicely blends in with the toms. It would be impossible to expect it to perform as its 24-inch brothers would do, and it should come as no surprise. After all, we are not dealing with a ‘stadium monster’ here. It is merely a ‘café racer’, which jazz/folk/world music drummers should not be disappointed with. Also, a rock drummer who has an acoustic set to play should be satisfied. Each of the drums individually, as well as the kit as a whole, sound natural, warm and good.
The Natal Cafe Racer TJ is a very nice set of drums. Tulipwood turns out to have a clear and expressive sound with a lot of warm low end on the toms. The fact that the bass drum lacks the latter is simply the result of its size and should absolutely not be considered a flaw. All the hardware elements work the way one would expect them to. The way the drum kit looks, just as in the case of its bigger brother, is pure joy to the eye. Four points on our five-point scale are well deserved. Natal Cafe Racer TJ can be yours for the equivalent of about EUR 940, USD 1125 and GBP 845.
5. Basic product specs
- Brand: Natal
- Series and model: Cafe Racer TJ
- Material: Tulipwood
- Finish: Champagne Sparkle
- Configuration: 12” x 8”, 14” x 14”, 18” x 14”
- Hardware: tom holder, floor tom legs
- Bearing edges: 45°, rounded
- Drum heads: Remo Amassador, Remo Powerstroke.
- Warm tone, lots of low end on the toms
- Remo heads included
- Beautiful look
- Easy to transport.
- We can’t see any.