Natal is mostly known for producing high-end drum sets. And chances are most people have heard about, and even played a set of fiberglass congas produced by the manufacturer.
It is a product of Alan Sharp, who started by making his own Latin percussion instruments. Natal is a name that has recently resurfaced, with the company launching its “Originals” to a good reception.
The hardware is designed and built from scratch. Under the British design and quality control, the Originals soon gained a reputation for good designs and great sounds.
It is amazing how the brand was able to conquer the top market with its products.
And now it has set its jaws on more affordable products. I have seen what their products can do, which makes me wonder if they will succeed here.
Well, let’s see …
You get both wrap and lacquer finishes with the Arcadia. I ordered the ‘UFX Plus’ configuration that came in a standard ‘Grey Strata” package.
This six-piece setup features two floor toms. The Arcadia series also comes with 24-inch by 16-inch kick, 13-inch by 9-inch rack tom, and a 16-inch by 16-inch floor toms for rock music. And if you are in for a jazz setup, there is a configuration with 18-inch by 14-inch bass drum, 12-inch by 8-inch rack tom, and 14-inch rack tom and 14-inch by 12-inch floor tom.
The rack toms come as ‘short-stack’ depth. And the shallow toms (10 -inch by 16 ½ and 12-inch by 7-inch are mounted on the bass drum. Natal’s Pro-series aluminum-ball tom mounting system has been included to ensure you don’t face any trouble with your gear.
The floor toms on my kit measure 14-inch by 12-inch and 16-inch by 14-inch. The bass drums measure 22-inch by 18-inch, with Pro-series spurs and 20 lugs included.
I liked the drum wrap’s appearance, which is gunmetal grey with horizontal stripes of different width. There are other finishes available, including red sparkle and black sparkle.
You may not find another drum set with two badges at this range. There is one on either side so that left-handed percussionists can also feel the touch.
The shells on the drums are made from Natal’s 100% birch construction. The same ‘Sun’ design popular with Natal drums completes its build, though it has been cast in a lower-mass form to make it lighter for gigging drum players.
Each drum is bearing a 45-degree edge, with Remo UT heads and triple-flanged hoops. The all-black lug bolts inside the shell create a nice finish.
The UFX Plus comes ready for playing. It features a full hardware pack with straight and strong cymbal stands. It also has a hi-hat stand, a snare stand, and a kick drum pedal for easy setting.
It is nice that the company has to include bright chromed and double-brace hardware that feels sturdy instantly for long hours of whacking.
The setup and playing
I loved the Arcadia immediately when I opened the box. There it was, with the short-stack toms delivering a modern vibe. The floor toms give away a custom-spec appearance.
If you don’t know the price, you may think it is one of those more expensive kits. The full-scale hardware pack makes it look pricey. It’s heavy-duty and immediately gives the impression of regular gigging.
My first thought of the bass drum pedal was that it was too basic. But then I realized it comes with all the necessary adjustments. Along with it are two different cymbal stands for easy positioning of the cymbals.
I also had the impression that the hardware was too complicated. But it was smooth and easy to use, a factor that elevates the premium feel of the kit.
Everything fits in place easily. Forget any weird adjustments angle issues that characterize more entry-level hardware.
The toms are easy to mount, leaving enough space for a wide range of movement. The shallow depths make it easier to position with the lug tension allowing smooth tuning.
The clean sounds of the drums can be attributed to the Remo’s heads. This is an exclusive feature of the brand, and one of the reasons it is very famous.
I have been checking with bands that use the Arcadia kit to see how easy it is to set it up. All have uniformly agreed that it is no hustle. Besides, it keeps improving when you hear the sound.
Playing the un-damped bass drum, which features full heads, reinforces the low. You can feel the punches making waves through there when a loud bass player is behind. This is something that deep bass drum struggles to achieve.
Tuning the snare is quite interesting and motivational. It offers a broad range of tuning and fits well with heavy-hitting and ghost notes.
You may have to adjust the Moongel a bit to that nice, clean, and tight backbeats. This is another impressive addition at this price range.
The toms are characterized by shallow depth. This means they speak fast with strong tonal command. Any unwanted overtones have been eliminated. Even though there is a half-inch difference in the depth between the 10-inch and the 12-inch, the tuning ranges create a wide range of incredible sounds.
The floor toms are regular-sized, yet they still sound clean, without sounding too boomy. When you play the 16-inch, the tribal rock beats are well articulated, and it will remain in position until the end.
Who is the kit for?
If you are looking to maximize every cent you spent on your first kit, the Arcadia series is a good solution. Unfortunately, the shells are not as versatile as you would expect, but they come with medium-duty hardware that will make things right.
Is the Arcadia Birch T6 Drum Kit really good?
The Arcadia series is Natal’s cheapest line of drums. A T6 drum kit has been introduced to make sure beginners get the same quality sound as other higher-end sets.
It features a nice look from a modest outlay. They achieve this design shipping in a single cardboard box, popular with any budget kit.
And the final results are an affordable drum kit with six-ply shells.
The shells are 7mm thick and rise to 8mm with plastic wrap. Even the 16-inch bass drum hoops are bitch ply.
The Arcadia Birch T6 compares to the Ludwig Breakbeats, or Tama Imperialstar, and several other top brands that have a 16-inch bass and 10-inch & 13-inch toms. The extra-small sized drums may not sound as deep as large drums, but the T6 comes really close to the feel.
This kit sounds great if you overlook those obvious limitations, as the lack of enough muscle. It is one of the Arcadia drums versions that has gained a lot of traction among users.
As Natal’s cheapest range of drums, the Arcadia drums series maintains the brand’s image in terms of quality. Every piece is produced to offer good sounds for low-budget buyers. Though there are certain limitations, like the lack of power in the Acardia Birch T6 mini-kit, there is not much to complain about.