The Imperialstar is an entry-level acoustic drum set from Tama. While this kit is ideally meant for a beginner, it could also be used by intermediate and advanced drummers. The kit is one of the cheapest drum kits in Tama’s lineup and comes with cymbals and hardware. This makes the kit an excellent option for anyone who’s just starting their drumming journey. Read further to know if the Imperialstar will be perfect for your needs.
Tama Imperialstar Review
The Imperialstar is a solid entry-level 6 piece drum set from Tama. While the drum might be held back due to its low cost, it is still able to provide some rock solid features. It has an incredible snare drum which not only sounds great but is also nickel plated to make it look better.
The hardware is all double braced, so you don’t have to worry about the kit coming apart as you play hard. Similar to other drums in Tama’s lineup, the Imperialstar will also last a long time. The kit’s Iron Cobra pedal has a metal base, which makes it sturdier and more appealing. The kit is also pretty inexpensive.
The drum does have a few drawbacks though.The set uses Tama’s Omnisphere system to mount its toms. This system won’t be much of an issue to beginners as they are usually not bothered about positioning toms perfectly.
However, if you are an intermediate or advanced user who likes to mount their toms exactly as they like it, you might find this kit frustrating. You will be limited in the number of different positions you’ll be able to mount your toms into. Additionally, the spurs for the bass drum are not that easy to use.
Also, the drum heads that come with the kit are not impressive. While you might be able to tune them a little and make them sound better, they still won’t sound great. Your best option would be to buy a separate set of good drum heads and replace the stock heads with them.
The toms included with the kit do not have a clear sound, however, they do sound warm and are able to sustain sound decently. The bass drum is quite loud and punchy, you can, however, reduce the sound by adding sound absorbing materials inside the drum, you can even use your old towels.
The best part about the Imperialstar is its snare drum. The snare drum sounds incredible whether you are playing complicated cross-clicks or extravagant rimshots. The snare drum’s quality is way better than what you would expect from an entry level drum set.
The major drawback of the drums are it’s stock heads. These heads sound cheap and you will probably need to buy a set of after-market heads if you want a decent kit. However, once you have installed the new heads and have properly tuned them, you will be greeted by a drum set that sounds great.
The kit comes primarily with cymbals, however, a few vendors also include a free splash cymbal. It includes a 14” hi-hat cymbal, a 16” crash cymbal, a 20” ride cymbal, and a free 10” splash cymbal. While these are only entry-level cymbals, they do sound pretty nice. However, if you do want to upgrade your cymbals, you start by replacing the hi-hat as its the most played cymbal.
The Imperialstar features Tama’s Stagemaster hardware. The kit features double braced stands, thus each leg of the kit is supported by two metal beams. This means that you will be able to play as hard as you want without having to worry about your kit coming apart. This is a very rare feature in an entry-level drum set.
The kit also features a hi-hat stand that is inclusive of a fully rotating pedal. It can turn a full 360-degrees, so you will be able to place the stand where it’s comfortable for you without having to worry about the position of the legs.
The bass drum pedal’s base is made of metal, something that is critical for any good bass drum pedal. This will ensure that your bass drum remains stable at all times.
Poplar shells and Finishing
While poplar shells aren’t exactly the top of the line when it comes to shell materials, they are still a great choice at Imperialstar’s price point. The poplar shells produce a focused tone that appeals to quite a lot of the population, but the appeal is not universal. The kit also features smaller lugs, these lugs are visually appealing while also helping enhance tone and resonance.
Unlike most entry level kits, the Imperialstar has every part of the wrap glued to the shell. This will ensure that wrap lasts longer and doesn’t come apart quickly. You can get the Tama Imperialstar in three finishes, Sugar White, Vintage Red, and Blacked out. These all look incredible with the black nickel hardware of the kit.
Is this a great-playing entry level drum kit at an affordable price?
Yes, the Tama Imperialstar is indeed a great starter drum kit at an affordable price. The kit comes along with hardware and cymbals, so you won’t have to worry about buying them separately and thus save money.
While the kit does come with issues like ineffective mounting systems and complicated spurs, this will not be much of a problem for beginners. The cymbals and hardware are sturdy and pretty good for an entry-level kit.
The only major issue would be the stock heads, but these can be easily replaced. In totality, the Tama Imperialstar is a great option for anyone looking to buy an entry-level kit at an affordable price.
Tama imperialstar vs Pearl export
Similar to Tama’s Imperialstar, Pearl’s Export drum kit’s shell is also made of poplar. This results in both the drum kits sounding quite similar. The Imperialstar’s snare drum is of a league on its own and the Export does not come anywhere near it.
The hardware used by both kits is however quite different. While the Imperialstar uses Stagemaster hardware, the Pearl Export kit comes with the renowned export hardware. While both kits use double-braced stands, the Pearl Export is a little bit sturdier.
Both the kit comes with bass drum pedals. Imperialstar uses the HP200P Iron cobra pedal while Export comes with Demonator P-930. While both these pedals are pretty good, the Export has the leading edge.
A major issue with both the kits is that they have ineffective tom mounting systems. Both these kits make the process of setting toms in your preferred position either frustrating or impossible. While both the mounting systems are pretty bad, the Imperialstar has better maneuverability.
Unlike the Imperialstar, the Pearl Export does not include cymbals. Thus, you’ll need to purchase cymbals separately for the Export. This drives the price of the completed kit higher, thus making the Imperialstar a more affordable choice. The Export kit does have better hardware, so it’s still a good alternative for the Imperialstar.
My Final Opinion
The Tama Imperialstar 6 piece drum set with cymbals would be a great kit for any beginner to start out with. The package includes everything a drummer would need to begin his journey at an affordable price point. The kit comes with good quality cymbals and great hardware.
The main highlights of the kit are its snare drum and iron cobra bass drum pedal. Your only issue might be the tom heads, but these can easily be replaced with better ones. On a final note, the kit is ideal for entry-level drummers while its lower cost and features might also appeal to intermediate drummers.