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Rating and Reviews: Tama IS58C Imperialstar

The IS58C Imperialstar 5-Piece drum kit from Tama comes with nearly everything you need to get playing right out of the box.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"After further review, this kit is a contender, not a pretender! " submitted October 24, 2008

By a customer from hotmail.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: active working musician
Music Style: rock, alternative, country, variety
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Sound: I posted a review when I first bought this drumkit back in March of 2008 and after experimenting with different drum heads and correcting some flaws, I have a better opinion of it. The toms sound great with Attack 2 ply thin skin drum heads, very punchy, and excellent tone. The kick and snare sound good. It all depends on the drumheads. Take the worthless stock heads off immediately! The bass drum head also, it's not as bad as the rest but it's still not good! The bottom resonant heads are not good either. Feature: I still have problems with the bass drum tilting because of the lift that's attached to it. Just put a roll of duct tape on each side to stabilize the drum from tilting and problem solved. The tom post is still too short because of the 18" bass drum, I had to set it as high as it would go and set the toms on the L-arms at a higher point as well. The single braced hardware is good, lightweight but stable. Ease of Use: Size does matter, and in regard to ease of use, smaller is better! They save space on stage also because of the 14x18 kick drum. Quality: The poplar wood is decent, not great and don't expect the drums to sound like high quality maple. Closer sounding to Birch, lot of attack. Projects well. Good decent quality and affordable. Love the Platinum Grey wrap finish however it is prone to scratches and finger prints easily so be careful. Value: Good overall. If you can get this kit on sale, even better! Manufacturer Support: I haven't needed any service from them, I don't think they would do much anyway. The Wow Factor: It's a fun little kit, extremely easy to transport and doesn't take up much space. You will sacrifice sound on the bass drum being that it's only an 18" kick but I put a Powerstroke 3 on it with a remo muffle foam muffle ring and it's very punchy with plenty of attack and has a passable deep enough thump. If you trigger the drum, no problem. I sold the 13" snare that came with it and bought a 14" snare in the same color wrap and no problems with it. I put an Evans G-Plus head on it and it sounds great! Again, don't expect the sound of maple but it's good. Overall: I intend on keeping these drums, hopefully for a long time. I upgraded my review to say that they are contenders and not pretenders, you just have to put better drum heads on them and understand that this is an entry level kit that sound decent, not great, but more than adequate. They're are some flaws that need to be corrected but probably won't be but there's flaws with most every entry level drumkit and even mid to upper end kits.
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"More of a pretender than a contender!" submitted May 4, 2008

By a customer from hotmail.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: active working musician
Music Style: rock, alternative, country, variety
Back to Product Information
VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: First of all, the stock drum heads on the snare and the toms, which have got to be the worst stock heads ever, have got to be replaced immediately. I put Attach 2 ply thin skin clear heads on the fusion size toms had a good tuning range. I would rate the sound as good, not great, but more than adequate to please most drummers. They have a tight punchy sound that a two ply head is supposed to create. Good fat tone and sustain, not bad. The snare is lightweight and feels cheap but after I put an Aquarian head on it, it sounded good with a crisp pop to it. I also put a 2.3 mm hoop on the batter side for better rim shots and the thicker hoop also helps the overall sound. The small bass drum, may look like a toy but it sounds good with the stock heads on it. It has a punchy attack sound with a decent low end thump. Don't expect it to have the depth or low end thump of a 22" kick but the 18" serves it's purpose as a space saver and a back saver very well. Overall, for being an entry level kit, which I took into consideration, I have to give the sound a 7 overall. Feature: I like the bass drum hoops, I think they not only look great because no claws are needed but I also believe they help improve the kick sound. I like the bass drum spurs, they don't flare out like some other companies. These spurs go straight forward and I like that. The hardware is ok, single braced but actually very stable. Not bad but still kinda cheap looking, it's the diameter of the tubing that has gotten smaller and the metal just seems really cheap. I do like the HP30 foot pedal, not bad. The bass drum lift was a good feature for the 18" kick but it's flawed. The bass drum isn't very stable because of the lift, it can easily lean back and tip to the left or right because there is only 1 stabilization point in the middle of the bass drum lift. This needs to be corrected but I doubt it ever will be. The tom post is too short for most adults with the 18" kick, even with the bass drum lift. It's like Tama thought of some cool features but didn't put much thought into making them work the best they could. Ease of Use: I give a high score here, simply because it's so easy to transport and set up. I bought these small size drums because I'm in a 6 piece band and many stages are too small, not much space, so these help tremendously. Also many gigs the load ins are awful and this small kit makes loading in and load outs much easier. Quality: I like the Platinum Gray finish, it's what I had back in the mid 90s with my Rockstars. I don't think the quality is as good as my Rockstars. Everything looks cheaper and is lighterweight, from the lugs to the hardware used. I don't think it's all that durable, I'll find out soon enough. I don't know about the quality of poplar wood vs. the cheaper mahogony that used to be used on the Rockstars and Swingstars. I've had basswood drums and those sounded good I thought, maybe the poplar will provide more midrange attack but the basswood seemed to provide more lows, which I think is very important. The poplar may not be able to achieve better low end, I don't know. With good drumheads though, they do have a punchy tight sound that I am pleased with. I don't expect the quality of a birch or maple kit but still, Tama could have done a little better overall on everything. Value: If they were $100 cheaper, I would have rated the Imperialstars an 8. For $500, I give them a 7 overall. I think that Tama could have done a little better overall for a $500 kit. Perhaps I'm expecting too much from them but the larger size kit goes for nearly $700 so I don't think I am asking too much to make the Imps a little better. Manufacturer Support: From my experience with Tama, they aren't really all that helpful compared to some other companies that I thought had better customer service. The Wow Factor: Visually, the Platinum Gray wrap has a cool look to it, I think. It may have a stainless steel kitchen sink look to it but it also reminds me somewhat of the Delorean in the movie, Back to the Future. Under the lights, the gray steel wrap reflects the different colors well. It can scratch easily and takes on noticeable finger prints much more compared to other wraps, such as a silver sparkle wrap but I think the Platinum Gray is a tough looking wrap that is very appealing and attention getting. Overall: I like the compact kit, it's worked out well for what I intended to use it for. Tama brags about being the "Leader in Innovation" but they're more like the Leader in Aggravation! They need to actually make something that is truly great in the entry level market, like they did when they went all out and improved the Rockstars 10 years ago. The Imperialstars are somewhat of a disappointment to me. Not as good as Rockstar, maybe a little better than Swingstar. I have a Pearl Forum kit also, which up until a few years ago, the Forums were regarded as pure crap, but I think the Pearl Forums are better made and perhaps sound a little better than the Tama Imperialstar. I don't think I would buy another Imperialstar. Pearl and Mapex have drums in this color as well so it's doubtful I would buy another Tama Imperialstar if I had to replace these if they were stolen or damaged.
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