While thumbing through the catalog of available doumbek drums for my website, I came across the images of some very unique looking examples from respected manufacturer Remo. My eye was immediately drawn to their “Crystal” series, which have a “fabric finish” of varying brightly colored patterns, with sparkles also embedded within the shiny finish. These lively colors give these drums a very festive look. But regardless of what your visual taste is, the amazing sound of these Remo doumbeks is unquestionable.
There are two overall model lines of the Remo Ergo doumbeks, the Crystal and Soloist lines. The Crystal series have the above mentioned brightly colored and patterned “fabric finishes” under a glossy finish with sparkles. They are weighted slightly lighter than the Soloist series, which have a textured metallic outer finish, and come in three colors. Both series come in 8″, 9″, and 10″ models, in both External Hoop tuning or the traditional Internal Tuning systems.
I recently tested the 8″ External Tuning Soloist and 9″ Internal Tuning Soloist models. The 8″ model had a very striking yet pleasing white metallic finish. These Soloist series all have a unique textured surface of what appears to be like finger swipes in wet clay, for lack of better description. They each have a metallic quality as well, and come in white for the 8″ External, Black for the 9″ External, and Garnet for the 10″ External. The Internal models, which have a more traditional shape and tuning system found on most of these types of Arabic doumbeks, come in 8″ with a fantastic Gold/Bronze finish, 9″ with Orange, and the 10″ is Turquoise, all with a rich metallic paint too giving it depth and richness.
More importantly, the playability and sound of these drums is really fantastic. The 8″ standard model makes a perfect soloing Tabla for bellydancing solos. The bright teks and attack are great on it. The 9″ sounds almost exactly like a Sumbati sized clay darbuka. The Skyndeep heads that come standard on these great doumbeks complete the package, delivering an authentic fish skin sound in a real world synthetic head that won't sound dull the minute it gets cloudy like real thing will. The Acousticon material of the Remo doumbek drum bodies, and Ergo counter hoops give the drums a real warm clay sound with deep round doums, and sharp teks. The Soloist series are weighted substantially as well, giving you a confident feel when playing in the traditional lap style. The drum will stay put, and have a nice solid feel.
This drum can not and should not be compared with the top of the line clay and Mother of Pearl darbukas that are coming from Turkey and Egypt. And the sound from the rare but good aluminum cast tablas is hard to beat; you just won't achieve those ringing tones with these Remo doumbeks. But you will be pleasantly surprised at the magnificent construction quality, (no fear of miss-matched lug nuts and holes or bent hoops), playability and professional sound quality of the Remo Ergo Doumbeks.
Here is a YouTube video where I compare a couple of the Remo Soloist Doumbek models. Good headphones or speakers are recommended for a more realistic representation of the sound: Remo Soloist Doumbek Comparison Video