What is a timbal
The timpani is a percussion musical instrument classified as membranophone and ideophone. This is because it has a membrane, usually synthetic, and a resonance box that emits a sound when struck with two sticks known as drumsticks. It's also ideophonic because it has the ability to produce its own sound just by striking it with its hands.
History and types of timbales
The history of the timbal has two aspects: one of academic origin and a more modern one that began on the island of Cuba.
It's one of the instruments of a symphony orchestra and is identified in the academic literature with the name of timpani. Its history is related to membranophone ancestors in the Ancient Age. But it found its place in orchestras thanks to the work of Jean Baptiste Lully with his work Teseo, towards the end of the 17th century.
On the other hand, its place as one of the main instruments in the percussion line comes thanks to Johann Sebastian Bach, who composed the first works with timpani solos. However, he found his point of greatest relevance in the orchestra with Ludwig van Beethoven, who composed complete works with timpani in different tunings and creating counterpoint lines with the string instruments.
This is the most important percussion instrument in Latin music. It brings out all the rhythm and flavor of these genres and has notable differences with respect to the chamber timpani.
Its inclusion in Cuban music dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, when the need to add livelier rhythmic lines to salsa became apparent. Since then, many timbaleros have distinguished themselves as the best in the world in this genre.
The most responsible for the internationalization of the timbal salsero are Chepito Areas and Tito Puente, among others. They not only created solo repertoires, but in their time they formed a whole school of new rhythms and rhythms of salsa with the timbal.
As we have already mentioned, this is an instrument that has a version in academic music and in Latin salsa. These share certain similarities:
- Resonance box: consists of a cylindrical body that can be made of steel, aluminum, brass or copper.
- Leather or membrane: Originally, this membrane was of animal origin. But this has been modified to obtain a higher sound performance with synthetic leathers of various sizes.
- Ring: located on the upper part of the timbal and is in charge of holding and joining the leather to the body of the timbal.
- Tension wrenches: these are hooks that hold the hoop together with the timpani body. They are also the ones that allow tuning the timpani.
Differences between academic and salsa timbales
Basically, the differences between the two versions are in the shape and in some added mechanism, for example:
- The chamber timpani has a cylindrical body and an inverted pear shape. While the gravy boat is cylindrical but in the shape of an inverted cauldron.
- For chamber music, timpani are made of copper because this metal produces a more resonant sound. Latin timpani are manufactured using different materials to obtain more varied sound nuances.
- The academic timpani has a mechanism consisting of a pedal or chain and a mute. This is used to create effects with more reverb or a bit drier. On the other hand, the timbal salsero doesn't have this mechanism. He is able to make this variation in the sound but with his elbow resting on the timpani.
- Another difference is in the base or support. The academic kettledrum has wheels that allow it to be moved. But the salsero is placed on a stand that has brackets for hooking.
- The timpani for symphony orchestra is tuned by musical notes and usually follows patterns of just or dominant fifths. But the salsero is more like come on, if you like the sound, that's how it stays. Nevertheless, the final sound is quite striking.
Just as there is the academic timbal and the salsero, there are also techniques that fit them. Although in the case of the academic, these often approach the absurd. For example:
- A common technique for playing the academic timpani is to hit 10 cm from the rim. This seems a bit exaggerated but, surprising as it may seem, there are conductors who demand this kind of blows from timbaleros. We are not saying that it should not be done, only that it's exaggerated to make it an obligation for all interpretation.
- On the other hand, the way the Latin timpani is struck depends on the sound or nuance that the musician is looking for. Drier, more intense, with more volume, sustain or reverb. A little dull, looking for low frequencies, and that's how the punch stays. The freedom in this instrument is priceless and that is why it's so popular.
- For the academician, the distance between the sticks when the stroke is made has a great influence. The closer they are to each other, the more stable the sound will be.
- The stacatto
is one of the ways to express the redobles technique in the academic timpani. But in the salsero it can be the paradiddle or variations of tempos such as seisillos, tresillos, dosillos and any variation one can think of.
- In the academic timpani we find the pedal, which is used as a technique to create various sonorous nuances.
- The rimshot
is a technique of the timbal salsero where the rim and the drumhead are hit simultaneously.
- Golpe de aro is another technique or characteristic sound of the timbal salsero.
- The middle finger or elbow is a technique widely used by solo timbaleros and produces interesting glissando-like sounds. It's performed by pressing the timpani drumhead with the finger or elbow and moving from the edge of the rim to the center while striking it with the drumstick.
Although there are two types of timpani, their tuning follows the same principle. This is done by adjusting the tension hooks crosswise until the desired sound is achieved.
However, the significant difference between the two types of timpani is that the academic timpani must be tuned in fifths. That is, with the help of the tuning fork, one of the timpani is tuned to give the note of C. While the accompanying timpani is tuned to give the note of G which is the right fifth of C since it's three and a half tones away.
But in the timbal salsero, tuning by musical notes is not usually used and, instead, everything depends on the preferences of the timbalero.
The best timbal players
For this section we will differentiate between the chamber timpanist and the Latin music timpanist, since both perform differently.
Salsa and Latin music timbaleros
- Manny Oquendo: he was one of the greats who revolutionized the form of this instrument. Their contributions were both design and technical.
- Tito Puente: is recognized as the greatest of all time. His greatest contribution was the internationalization of the instrument to unsuspected places. It's undoubtedly the major reference for this musical instrument.
- “El pavo” Frank Hernández: was a Venezuelan timbalero who in the 1950s developed new ways of conceiving the sound of the timbal.
- José “chepito” Arenas: one of the first musicians who saw in the timbal an opportunity to develop salsa rhythms.
- Ulpiano Díaz: he was the first to use the timbal as an official percussion instrument in Cuban music. He was also the first to add a cowbell and bell in the performance.
- Marc Quiñones: is one of the greatest percussionists of today, being part of the bands of Marc Anthony, Willie Colón, Rubén Blades and many other jazz fusion bands.
- Willie Rosario: one of the greatest salsa bandleaders and great timbalero of our time.
It's important to note that the timbalero de cámara is more of an integral percussionist who plays all the percussion instruments. It's for this reason that it's almost impossible to find any name that stands out as a timpani specialist. Nevertheless, it was possible to find some musicians who stand out from the rest.
- Rafael Más López: Spanish percussionist who stands out thanks to his dedication to timbales. He is part of the best orchestras in Spain and contributes to many more in Europe.
- Jaume Esteve: another one of the great Spanish percussionists of our time and with great dedication to the dissemination of this musical instrument.
- Cynthia Yeh: she is the percussionist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and stands out for being an excellent timpani player.
- Marcos Cabezaz: Argentinean by birth and percussionist at heart. This is one of the great references in symphonic percussion.
- Evelyn Glennie: she is considered the best percussionist in the world. Her achievements have always been a living example that being deaf is not a limitation to reach your goals. Yes, she is deaf and also the best percussionist in the world, being able to read scores as well as perceive the vibrations of sound through the excitation it exerts on the bone structure.
Although there are a few more names, these are the most relevant of the modern panorama and those who have been most concerned with popularizing the instrument.
The best timbal brands
There are a number of excellent brands on the market. However, among all of them it's possible to find some that are considered the best in the world:
- Latin Percussion: this brand is the most purchased in the world and its products have an impressive variety. It stands out for having the largest stock of signature timpani in the market and because it's used by the best in the world.
- Meinl: from Germany, this company's products are the second line of battle among the best timpani players in the world.
- Pearl: although their specialty is drums, this company has an excellent selection of timpani that are used by intermediate and advanced musicians.
- Yamaha: as usual with this company, their products turn out to be excellent and this can be seen in the timpani.
- Herch: this is a Mexican company that has some of the best timbales used by corrido and salsa orchestras.
- Adams: is one of the best brands of symphonic timpani that are also some of the most expensive in the world.
- Bergerault: this is a French company that manufactures some of the best symphonic timpani in the world.
- Lefima: although this is a company dedicated to percussion instruments, its timpani are excellent and recommended by great chamber percussionists in the world.
The best timbales for beginners
Timpani for beginners have basic features to make them affordable for all users. However, in this review we have chosen three timpani, two of which do not quite follow this rule. In fact, they are the most sought after by beginner and intermediate musicians.
The value for money is excellent.
Because it doesn't have a snare, it lacks the metallic sound characteristic of timbales.
- Materials: cast iron, chrome-plated brass, PET.
- Tuning: it can be tuned to just fifths.
- Patch sizes: 6″, 8″ and 10″ inches.
- Allowable height: 117 cm high and 79 cm wide.
- Weight: approximately 8.5 kg.
Millenium is a German company that manufactures inexpensive musical instruments for students or amateur musicians who want to expand their musical equipment on a budget. This roto-tom timpani set is a clear example of what it means to reduce costs while maintaining value. Users love them because they have certain features that we will talk about below.
This timpani set has steel hoops with a chrome finish. This implies a great durability because generally the hoops are made of common iron and tend to deform after a short time. But this will not be a problem with this model from the house of Millenium.
It has a double star-shaped support made of cast iron. This is not exactly the best material but in this case the bracket has a good caliber, so it inspires confidence and no customer complaints have been reported.
The bracket is also of good quality cast iron with a chrome cover which, in our experience, will flake within the first year. But you can be sure it won't break or bend from use. Just make sure that the threads are not lost by over-tightening.
Finally, the patches are made of PET, which is a material technically known as polyethylene terephthalate. This is an inexpensive type of polyester that we recommend replacing after about three months.
This instrument departs from the standard design for timpani and is presented without a case. While it may be aesthetically appealing, it certainly has an impact on sound quality. However, it's a timpani designed for fusion and unconventional styles.
The heads measure 6″, 8″ and 10″ inches respectively, which gives a roto-tom appearance, but it's more of a timpani with little resonance. This design makes it compact and easy to install almost anywhere. It weighs about 8.5 kg and the maximum height it can reach is 117 cm high and 79 cm wide.
The double arm stand allows you to add extensions for jam blocks, chimes and bells. This design has made it a useful instrument for salsa orchestras. But it's also functional for marching bands and is used by symphony orchestras.
What gives more to talk about is the sound, because it‘s an intermediate between timbales and drum toms. It lacks the resonance of a timpani, nor does it have enough depth to be a set of toms.
This isn't to imply that it doesn't produce a richly nuanced sound, because it does have plenty to give. Mainly, the resonance is heard more in the style of Chick Corea Band-type jazz fusion. It's also quite common with the style of Michel Camilo, Casiopea and Jinsaku Duo.
Honestly, we do not recommend it for traditional salsa but for more modern styles such as those mentioned above.
Millenium offers a timbale-rototom that is primarily modern and both its design and sound confirm this. Its price-performance ratio is excellent and, if you use it with the right musical style, it will leave nothing to be desired. It's a sufficiently versatile, compact instrument with a sound quality that is ideal for modern percussionists. Find the best prices at Thomann.
LP M257 Matador Chrome Timpani
The sound is very good.
The price is a little high for a beginner.
- Materials: steel, PET, chrome.
- Tuning: they sound excellent in G the 14″ and D the 15″.
- Hull sizes: 14″ and 15″ with 6 1/2 deep.
- Height: 113 cm high and 77 cm wide.
- Weight: 16.6 kg.
Matador has become synonymous with high quality and is by far the timpani of choice for musicians of all levels. This is due not only to the company's marketing, but also because it has structural and timbral characteristics that make it an almost perfect timpani for any occasion.
These timpani are made of stainless steel and there are plenty of reasons to trust this material. In this case, it's chrome-nickel steel, which is non-magnetic and has a higher resistance to corrosion, as well as a medium hardness. These characteristics are what make it possible to have hulls and a bell that will not rust for a long time.
In the case of patches, these are made of PET, which is a synthetic polymer that can vary in quality according to the design. The best we can say about them is that they can last up to six months before they start to lose sound quality.
This model from LP is in a set format that includes two timpani boxes with a cowbell, a key for tuning, a pair of drumsticks and the hardware stand to start playing. Hull sizes are standard 14″ and 15″ with 6 – 1/2″ depth.
This configuration, along with the quality of the steel and the chrome finish, is what has inspired such a wide recognition that it has become the most desired affordable timpani by musicians of all levels. Not only for the great resistance of its materials, but also the dimensions of these timpani make it relatively compact.
This set has a characteristic and completely unique sound. Firstly, the sound hue is metallic and accentuates the high frequencies with outstanding quality. The capacity of the material has an impressive response to sustain that you will not find in other brands. Likewise, the echo and resonance are wonderful and ideal for music with a Latin flair.
The tuning that is best recommended for them is C4and G4. This way you will obtain harmonics that will be the cherry on top of your musical cake.
There are plenty of reasons to say that the LP Matador timpani are among the best of the Latin Percussion brand. The set is complete, has outstanding sound and the build quality is top notch. That is why we recommend it for all levels of learning and especially for beginners, as it's an instrument that will accompany you throughout your life. Interested? Find the best price at Thomann.
Meinl MIT810CH Mini Timbales Set
They are compact and have a good sound.
Resistance is not the best. Doesn't come with a stand.
- Materials: steel, chrome, PET.
- Tuning: G4and D5are recommended.
- Size: 8 and 10 inches.
- Weight: approximately 4.9 kg.
Meinl has always been LP's direct competitor due to the high quality of its timpani. This time we will examine a mini set that has a huge popularity among timpanists, as it has excellent features.
Like the LP Matador beginner set, these Meinl timpani have stainless steel shells, so their strength is the most you can hope for. However, the body of this instrument is made of common iron with a chrome finish.
This difference in the body is significant. Not only does it reduce shock resistance, but it also exposes the timpani to wear and tear. In this regard, it's quite common to see that the chrome coating on the body breaks down and flakes off. This doesn't happen immediately, but gradually, either due to negligent use or aging.
The heads are made of white PET, which is one of the most commonly used and best reproduces the traditional sound of timbales. Although its durability is not the best and tends to dent after a short time of use.
What we also consider a negative is that the tensioners for tuning the patches are made of chrome-plated iron. This can be a problem in the long run if you do not take dedicated care of the instrument, because they get stuck, deformed or lose their thread. That is why the manufacturer includes a jar of oil that you can apply every time you tune the timpani.
This set is the typical pair of timpani but in a reduced version. It's compact, practical and easy to carry anywhere. The timpani weighs 4.9 kg and has shells of only 8″ and 10″. They are 52 cm long and 27 cm wide, so you can carry them in almost any suitcase or backpack.
We like the design of the tuning tensioners because it's closed and has a fairly large top that is difficult to bend. This is an ideal complement to the helmets which, being made of steel, offer excellent durability.
Another detail we like is the robust design of the stand that joins them together and allows them to be placed on a stand. It's large, sturdy and will bend with difficulty. What we don't like is that the stand is not included and this represents an extra expense.
The sound is very good and with an excellent volume that is not shrill but has a good balance. In addition, the reverb contributes a lot to the sound propagation and we love the sustain.
The harmonics that are achieved when tuned in G4and D5are also marvelous. The only drawback is the sound of the body, which is a little muffled to mark the beat. That is why we recommend using a bell.
The Meinl timpani set is a good choice for beginners because it's quite compact and lightweight. The heads provide excellent sound when tuned to the recommended notes. However, it's important to consider the recommendations for care so that you can avoid very rapid deterioration.
We recommend it for beginners who want to buy a basic, easy to carry and good sounding timpani. If you want to find the best price at Thomann follow the link.
There is no doubt that the best of these three options for beginners is the LP M257 Matador Chrome timpani. Its quality is unmatched by the competition in terms of design, materials and sound. But the Millennium rototom is also a good choice if you are part of a chamber or martial orchestra.
The best timpani for intermediates and professionals
Now we come to the range of timpani for intermediate or semi-professional musicians, for which we have selected three models from Latin Percussion: the Tito Puente steel timbalitos, the Tito Puente brass timbales and the Carl Perazzo steel and brass set. All three are the ideal that every timbalero should aspire to and we will analyze them for you in culturasonora.
LP 272-S Timbalitos Tito Puente
The sound has the best treble and harmonics within this range.
- Materials: steel, PET, nylon.
- Tuning: we recommend G3and D4.
- Size: 9 1/4″+10 1/4″ hulls and 6 1/4″ tall.
- Weight: 6.4 kg approx.
Few instruments are as fantastic as this timpani set made by LP. Let's take a close look :
The first thing that stands out about these timpani is that they are made entirely of stainless steel. In addition, the steel gauge in the body is high #16, which gives it a resistance like few other LP timpani. Similarly, the hulls are stainless steel but with a much larger gauge of No. 14. All this makes it almost impossible for them to bend with use.
The stand is also made of steel, as is the cowbell holder and tuning key. This gives you the most shock resistant timpani on the market.
LP's designers have conceived these timpani with a compact design to make them easy to transport. Its overall measurements are 9 1/4″ with 10 1/4″ on the shells and 6 1/4″ tall, to have a unique measurement among any other manufacturer's timpani.
In addition, this set is part of the Tito Puente series, complemented by others in bronze and brass. This way, you can have a mega set of six professional timbales for solo timpanists. The heads of these timbales are LP signature Tito Puente and have a great sound quality thanks to their double layer design.
A solid steel stand with universal adjustment completes the set. In addition, it has a clamp for cowbell, drumsticks and a tuning key.
The sound is what we like the most because it presents an excellent response to almost any tuning. If you tune it to C3 and G3 they will have a response to medium sounds that are excellent. But if you want it in G3 and D4, the mid and treble response will be a delight.
The sustain has a better response when tuning C3 and G3, but to the detriment of the harmonics. Whereas if you tune it to G3 and D4, the overtones of this timpani will sound great, but this will detract from the sustain. The reverb is very good in both tunings. Also the drumstick strike to the body has a loud timbre and gives a characteristic sound of Latin music.
There are plenty of reasons to rate this timpani set as one of the best on the market. We recommend it for musicians of all learning levels whether you play with a band or to complement and create a great solo timpani set. It has everything that is required in an instrument of this quality and more. Find the best prices at Thomann.
LP 257-B Timbales Tito Puente
Its sound has the best low and mid frequency response on the market.
- Materials: brass, steel, bronze, PET and polyester.
- Tuning: C3 and G3.
- Size: 14″ and 15″ hulls with 6 1/2 deep.
- Weight: 16.5 kg
If the LP 272-S mini timpani are the best on the market with mid and high frequency response. The LP 257-B is ideal for complementing the low frequencies, because it has the right design for this purpose. Its materials may be considered low quality, but LP's experience delivers a surprising result.
In this set of timpani we find four types of materials for its manufacture. First we have stainless steel for the shells or hoops and this makes them strong enough to last a very long time. The body is made of brass, a material considered cheap and generally used for beginner percussion instruments.
But we should not allow the brass to deceive us because it doesn't detract from the resistance and fulfills acoustic functions that we will mention later. On the other hand, the body is finished in bronze to complement its sound capabilities.
The stand or tripod is also made of stainless steel with a double clamp design for the two timpani. It also has a support for cowbell and bell.
This set has been conceived as a complement to the Tito Puente series and to be used together with the LP 272-S timbalitos. This is because their design is intended to offer a better response to low frequencies, while mini timpani respond better to mid and high frequencies.
Its total measurement is 74 cm long and 42 cm wide and its weight is 16.5 kg. This makes it a standard size timpani set, a bit large, so they are not easy to move. That is why we recommend buying rigid cases, preferably with handles and wheels, so that you can carry them more comfortably.
The tripod design is excellent and stabilizes the rebound of the timpani very well. In addition, it keeps them at a suitable distance to create fast lines next to the cowbell. The finish, on the other hand, is in bright steel color for the hulls and antique bronze for the body. The set is completed by a pair of drumsticks, a foot with a cowbell holder and a tuning key.
When it comes to timpani, it's all about sound and that's precisely what this set does best. The body is made of brass, which is considered cheap and is only used in low-cost percussion instruments. But in this set it doesn't have a negative impact: the sound response is excellent, offering a great response to low frequencies.
We must remember this is the Brass model to create lines a little heavy but with great sustain and an enveloping reverb. Therefore, the recommendation is to tune them in C3 and G3, so that they fulfill their function fully. With this set you will obtain a sound quality that is enriched by the harmonics, which are excellent.
The LP 257-B timpani set is the best model in Latin percussion for low frequencies with great sound dynamics. Their build can be deceiving due to the brass, but the truth is that they have a great resistance and are the ideal complement to use with LP timpani. We recommend them for musicians who wish to create a large set with excellent timbral varieties that are ideal for solo timpanists. Interested? Find the best price at Thomann.
LP 257-KP Timbales Karl Perazzo
It has the best response to the standard mid frequencies of a Latin timpani.
- Materials: steel, bronze, PET and type A polyester.
- Tuning: C3 and G3 are recommended.
- Size: 14″ with 15″ cases and 6″ deep.
- Weight: 14.8 kg.
This timpani set was made in honor of Karl Perazzo, who is one of the greatest solo timpanists of all time. Their construction is a delight, and they show us that it's possible to innovate and obtain different results even when using common materials.
The Karl Perazzo Signature is not just any timpani set, but is the direct competitor to the Tito Puente series. However, this set has a notable difference in materials because it‘s made entirely of steel.
The shells are made of stainless steel, which allows them to be more resistant to the oxidation that our sweat can produce and that we leave behind every time we tune the patches. In addition, they are more resistant to twisting and this prevents them from bending as a result of tightening the wrenches.
The body is made of carbon steel, which is much stronger than stainless steel. This type of material is not very elastic and limits resonance. But the designers have solved this by incorporating a brass cover for a sound that differs from the brass and traditionalism of the Tito Puente signature.
The Karl Perazzo set may look the same as the Tito Puente series, because the shell sizes are the same: 14″ and 15″ inches. The difference is in the depth, which on the Tito Puente series is 6 1/2″, while on the Perazzo's it's 6″. This difference is crucial because not only are they more compact, but they produce a significantly different sound.
Another interesting detail of these Karl Perazzo is in the finish. The body has an antique bronze look, while the hooves have gold-colored hardware for a modern, industrial touch.
The stand is excellent because the clamp design prevents accidental isolation. In addition, it's sturdy and height adjustable. Its overall dimensions are 88 x 58 x 21 cm.
The difference between the Mark Perazzo set and the Tito Puente set is evident in the sound as a result of the combination of materials.
The brass of the Tito Puente timbales offers a more metallic sound with a certain opaque sonorous color but with high brightness. While this Mark Perazzo pack has a more accentuated resonance thanks to the carbon steel, although with less durability because the case has less depth.
Another aspect that differentiates them from the LP 257-B Tito Puente is the harmonics, which in this Perazzo set have more presence. The reason for this is the finish
The antique bronze design provides a better sound response and allows the differentiation of musical notes.
This Perazzo set is an excellent choice for timpani players who want an instrument with a more musical sound. The construction is wonderful, the combination of materials is excellent and the price seems quite affordable. In addition, aesthetically it's a beauty, as it mixes colors of industrial decoration with music and a top quality finish. Find the best price at Thomann.
Without hesitation, the best choice is the LP 257-KP Karl Perazzo because all its elements conspire to achieve a superior instrument in design, construction and musical sound. However, if we keep in mind that this is the professional timpani section, then we must say that the three sets described together represent the perfect union for solo timpanists. In them you will find a range of sound nuance that covers the entire sound spectrum of Latin percussion and, if you try the recommended tunings, you will have a spectacular feast of sounds.
The best timpani for symphony orchestras
Timpani for symphony orchestras have a notable difference to those used for Latin music. It's not only their shape, the materials used for their construction and their price that expose the great distinctions between them. But also their sound and size. In this section we will see two examples of excellent orchestral timpani that allow us to discover the best of these instruments for chamber music.
Adams 26″ 2PAUFFI26D FS German
The construction is a delight and the sound is nothing short of heavenly.
- Materials: Fiberglass, aluminum.
- Tuning: G3 and D4
- Size: 26″ hulls, adjustable base up to 96 cm in height.
- Weight: approximately 14 kg.
The Adams house is one of the most respected in symphonic percussion. Each one of its instruments has an innovative selection of materials combined with a traditional design that achieves the best sound results. And this series is perhaps the one that best represents this aspect of the Adams company.
The big difference between this timpani and those of Latin percussion is that the manufacturers experiment more with the materials. In this case we are dealing with class S-2 fiberglass. This material has the highest capacity against fracture, compressive stress and elastic capacity among all the fibers used for the manufacture of hammered instruments.
Both the rim and the body of these symphony orchestra instruments are made of high quality fiberglass, hence the high price. In addition, it has aluminum support legs and the tuning keys are made of stainless steel.
In terms of design, we also found several interesting aspects. The parabolic hull shape, for example, offers the best fracture resistance. In addition, it raises the acoustic quality in a surprising way, while providing more effective tuning.
Its shell size is 26″, making it a mid-range timpani. The support system has three legs and has an adjustable system to raise from 54 cm to 96 cm.
This instrument has a structure made of light materials, such as fiberglass and aluminum. However, it weighs approximately 14 kg. It's therefore not easy to find a case that facilitates transport, but we do recommend purchasing one to better protect the instrument.
One thing we love is the tuning pedal and the tuning indicator that allows for a more intuitive process. C, D, E, F, A and B, which is identified with the letter H, follow the German nomenclature. For a better tuning experience, it features six polished stainless steel keys that will prevent the production of sticking, which is common on Latin timbales.
Finally, this symphonic timpani has a brake pedal on one of its legs to prevent the instrument from slipping while you use it.
Thanks to the shape of the body, the sound of this timpani is round and has a great projection that greatly benefits the volume of the instrument. Also, we find that the superior elasticity of the S-2 glass fiber produces an enveloping reverb that enriches the sonic nuances.
Due to its 26″ size, this symphonic timpani has an excellent response towards the mid frequencies. While if you use T-4 felt round mallets, you can improve the bass response, although to the detriment of the harmonics. By using a cork mallet, you will feel all the expressiveness of the harmonics and if you tune it following the C3 and G3 recommendations , you will get impressive nuances.
In this timpani, the sound dynamics can be exploited by simply varying the mallets and this is thanks to the quality of its materials. That is why we also recommend buying a good set of felt, wood and cork mallets in sizes T-2 to T3, so that you can achieve a wide range of sounds.
This Adams symphonic timpani is one of the great choices for percussionists who want a high-end instrument at one of the most affordable prices among the competition in this range. Its construction is impeccable, the quality of its materials is unquestionable and the range of sounds that you can achieve just by varying the types of mallets is quite wide. Find the best price at Thomann.
If what you want is an option that has a great response towards the low frequencies, then what you are looking for is the 29″ version of the Adams timpani. This model has the same characteristics of materials, design, performance and possibilities to achieve high quality sound nuances.
Bergerault VI26KH FS Voyager copper
Top quality construction and exceptional sound.
Very heavy and expensive.
- Materials: copper, fiberglass, stainless steel, aluminum.
- Tuning: do3 – sol3.
- Size: 26″ with adjustable base up to 96 cm in height.
- Weight: 18.7 kg.
Bergerault specializes in the manufacture of bronze-bodied timpani. This model is by far the best timpani for symphony orchestra in this category and price range. This is due to the selection of its materials and the great care that went into its construction. Let's take a close look :
The shells of this timpani are made of stainless steel, the best option in terms of resistance and durability. You can be sure that you won't suffer from rusty shells for at least twenty years and, if you have a good cleaning routine, your timpani will last forever.
The keys of the tuning screws are made of fiberglass, while the tuning screws are made of stainless steel. This combination seems ideal to us because, being metallic materials together with synthetics, it avoids the hindrances if you neglect the maintenance and oiling of the keys.
As for the body, it's made entirely of copper, one of the most sonorous and elegant materials available. This selection is largely responsible for the quality of this instrument. Finally, the symphonic timpani features a Remo drumhead from the Renaissance series made of high quality nylon. It has a degraded film of 10,000 microfibers that improve the acoustic response to some frequencies.
The manufacture of the body is totally traditional. By this we mean that it was handmade, hammered to the perfect shape that a classic symphonic timpani should have. It can be seen through the body which features mallet marks that also create a beautifully textured and luxurious glossy finish.
In addition, the headphones feature six tuning keys, a foot pedal and a tuner to enhance your experience when adjusting the tones on your timbal. It also has a depth indicator to take advantage of a wider acoustic range.
For the base, the designers incorporated three retractable legs that allow you to adjust the height from 54 to 96 cm. The size of the shell is 26″ to make it a timpani with great response to mid-range sound frequencies.
As a bonus, the Bergerault company, in partnership with Remo patch house, has incorporated a Renaissance 2″ series head. This drumhead is by far the best choice for a timpani of this quality and we recommend that you continue to use this type of drumhead when replacing the factory one.
Finally, the installation system is German and the company includes tuning keys with the purchase. Its weight is the only drawback we found because it has 18.7 kg. Therefore, it will not be comfortable to transport and carry.
Thanks to the copper body, this instrument has an exceptional resonance that responds to the mid frequencies and exhibits the full range of sonic nuances that are possible. The sound is dynamic and fast if you use wooden mallets, while if you use felt mallets you can hear the sound shift between mid and low frequencies just by hitting closer to the rim.
The sustain is impressive and the reverb is a total blast that makes it possible to perceive all the harmonics that are present in the tuning. The volume is also impressive and improves when using wooden mallets. Although it's still powerful with cork mallets, with which it gives a better response for legatos.
If you change the tuning from C3-G3 to G2 with D3, you will have a richer bass response, while still enjoying the more pronounced middle sounds.
This timpani is an excellent model to have in your symphonic timpani set. We recommend it for a solo set. This instrument will allow you to diversify the sound palette, while maintaining a construction to aesthetics ratio that is unparalleled in this price range. Interested? Find the best Thomann price on this link.
Now, if you want another timpani option for more bass sounds, then the choice is the 32-inch Bergerault VI32KP FS Voyager copper. This instrument differs from the Bergeault VL26KH in that it was not made or treated by hand. This doesn't reduce quality, although it lacks the resonant capacity provided by the textured body of the hand-crafted one.
The two options presented above are both excellent and each offers something that stands out from the competition. The Adams 26″ 2PAUFFI26D timpani has the most modern, dynamic and stable sound in the mid frequencies. While the Bergerault VI26KH is traditional, with an exquisite combination of materials and a less stable sound but with better overtone response and excellent sonic versatility.
Remember to visit our culturasonora page. There you will find reviews for every type of musical instrument. We recommend you check our review of the best güiros.
Technical Characteristics of Timbales
|Millenium RT6810||8,5 kg||cast iron, chrome-plated brass, PET||can be tuned for perfect fifths||6″, 8″ and 10″|
|LP M257 Timbales Matador Chrome||16,6 kg||steel, PET, chrome||The 14″ one and the 15″ D sound excellent in G||14″ and 15″ with 6 1/2 depth|
|Meinl MIT810CH Mini Timbales Set||4.9 kg||steel, PET, chrome||G4 and D5 are recommended||8 and 10 inches|
|LP 272-S Timbalitos Tito Puente||6.4 kg||steel, PET, nylon||We recommend G3 and D4||9 1/4″+10 1/4″ and 6 1/4″|
|LP 257-B Timbales Tito Puente||16.5 kg||brass, steel, bronze, PET and polyester||C3 and G3||14″ and 15″ with 6 1/2 depth|
|LP 257-KP Timbales Karl Perazzo||14.8 kg||steel, bronze, PET and polyester type A||C3 and G3 are recommended||14″ with 15″ under cases and 6″ deep|
|Adams 26″ 2PAUFFI26D FS German||14 kg||fiberglass, aluminum||G3 and D4||26″ helmets, adjustable base up to 96 cm in height|
|Bergerault VI26KH FS Voyager copper||18,7 kg||copper, fiberglass, stainless steel, aluminum||C3 – G3||26″ with adjustable base up to 96 cm in height|