Product Spotlight: Synced Up Audio Carts

Synced Up Audio

We are proud to now be able to offer another excellent option for all your marching percussion cart needs, by way of Synced-Up Audio. Synced Up offers a variety of synth, speaker, mixer, and auxiliary percussion carts.  Synced-Up is made of a team of current and former percussion educators and sound designers that understand the unique style of carts needed for both the indoor and outdoor marching arts.

Synced Up is also able to offer a relatively quick turnaround time on many of their cart options, with many of the options being available in 2-5 months. This along with the top-quality materials and construction make them a great option for all your audio/percussion cart needs.

Below are some examples of their current offerings: (For more details information you can visit

Synth/Mixer Carts

Synced Up offers open and enclosed synth carts, which allows you to get something that best meets your budget and needs. The Shielded Synth Cart (SY2) includes an Edison power inlet and a horizonal accessory rail, making this a great option if you need also have your synth players cover some acoustic percussion parts. The Enclosed Synth Cart (SY3) is completely enclosed and give you the max amount of protection during transport. The SY3 offers an upgradable bi-fold lid and both the SY2 and SY3 can be upgraded to include rack spaces and a back door upgradable option.

Their mixer carts come in two sizes with either the double mixer cart (MC1) or the extended mixer cart (MC2). Mixer carts include bi-fold lids, rear double doors, 20U or 24U rack space, removable front panel, and even a side access door. The carts come standard with one Edison power inlet lined to a Quad power box and you have many different customizable plug options for your speaker connections and any other audio connections to may need to run from your main mixer cart.

Speaker Carts

The speaker carts by Synced Up are available in a variety of configurations with side-by-side (SC1), stacked speaker (SC2), extended stacked speaker (SC3), center fills (SC4), and full range speakers (FR1). Synced Up can also customize the carts to fit your speakers that will give you the best and most secure fit possible.

Drum Set/ Auxiliary Carts

Along with the excellent carts they offer for all your audio gear, Synced Up also has some excellent carts available to meet your percussion needs.  The DS3 Drum Set cart if great for drum sets of all sizes and offers flexibility in set-up and will help with your efficiency of setting up on the field quickly. They also offer excellent options for your rack percussion, gongs, and even Malletstation carts.

If you have any questions or other would like a price quote, please contact us at 317-813-2070 or

Tips for a Successful Band Camp

With many groups in the middle of band camp or starting band camps in the coming weeks we thought we would put together our best tips for both students and educators. While this is certainly not an all-inclusive list, these are things to consider that we have learned from our past experiences teaching band camp.

While some of the tips apply to both groups of students, we have split them out to be more specific to each specific group.


Tips for Students


  • Be sure to hydrate before camp starts
    • Of all things you can do to prepare for band camp, this is likely the most important.
    • Remember that going to camp hydrated means being sure to drink lots of water and drinks with electrolytes in the days before camp starts, not just during camp.
    • Being well hydrated and maintaining hydration during camp, will keep your energy up throughout the camp.
  • Practice and prepare for what is expected on the first day of camp
    • Your staff will likely give you materials such as warmups and show music to prepare before camp starts. Be sure to have it prepared (not perfected) before camp starts.
    • Having things such as warmups memorized, will help you get the most out of your time at band camp.
  • Do not forget the sunscreen
    • Bring it to camp and re-apply before every time you are going outside for a rehearsal block.
  • Have all your materials ready to go, including a fresh pair of sticks and mallets
    • Have a binder or music folder with all your materials ready to go the first day of camp. And be sure to have extra slots available for any new information you may get throughout camp.
    • If you know you have worn out sticks, go ahead and get a fresh pair of sticks and stick tape or a good pair of mallets to use during warmups or self-practice time.


Tips for Percussion Directors/Instructors


  • Set some clearly defined goals and share them with your students
    • Having a set of clearly definitely goals will help guide you throughout band camp. And sharing with your students will help everyone be on the same goal.
  • Create time each day for sectionals
    • Obviously not everyone will have a full staff the entire camp, but it is important to find time each day for break out sectionals.
    • Band camp is one of the few times of the year, you may truly have time to dig into the details of technique or music with each section. Try to plan for this and it will pay off.
  • Balance working on technique and learning music
    • Band camp often gives you extra time to work on technique, but it is important to balance that with learning music. Ideally you want to leave band camp having a solid foundation on your technique packet.
    • Be sure to work with the band directors so that you are learning the music that is expected throughout band camp. Learning percussion music can take a little longer than a wind player, but it is important to stay of pace with the overall program.
  • Have materials ready to go for your students
    • Be sure to have materials printed and ready for you students before camp
    • Work with your arranger, to make sure they are on pace with music and have a back-up plan if they are very far behind.
  • Plan some time for maintenance or drumhead changes (if needed)
    • Taking a little extra time during band camp to go over any of your material needs with make sure you can get it ordered in a timely manner.
    • Doing an initial drumhead change during band camp is a great idea. It allows the students to play for extended periods of time throughout camp on drumheads that are not overtightened and may not sound good.
  • Have a clear plan for your electronics team
    • This is a big one now with so many electronics being used in marching band now. Be sure to include your electronics team/staff in your plans for band camp.
    • Taking the time during camp to reconfigure set-up, relabel boards, incorporate any new gear will help you greatly in the long run.
    • Doing some initial scenes in your mixer or mainstage will help to relieve any issues as you get started in the season.

Last Tip for Everyone

Remember that no matter what your goals are as a student or director, the most important thing is to HAVE FUN! For many of your students, band camp is the first impression that will have of the high-school band program. Make sure to have some activities planned throughout your camp days that allow the students to have some FUN with their friends, that do not necessarily deal with music making. You have the whole season to fix small issues with your show and perfect the drill, but you can leave a lasting impression on a student during the week of band camp, so be sure to do something FUN!

If you have any questions or other tips you would like to share, please contact us at 317-813-2070 or

A Guide to Suspended Cymbals in Marching Band

There are a ton of options in the market now when you are looking for suspended cymbals to enhance the sound of your front ensemble. We thought we would take some time to give you some of our top recommendations if you are looking to upgrade your sound this fall.  

Things to Consider when Purchasing 

When considering what option may be best for your ensemble, it is important to think about the following: 

  1. What is the size of your ensemble? Consider both your percussion and wind players. 
  1. Are you looking for year-round use or just for marching band? If you do indoor percussion you may want to have different options available.  
  1. How many people do you see playing suspended cymbal rolls at a time? This relates to question 1 about the size of your ensemble. 

What Size of Cymbal Should I Use? 

While there are many great options from 16” – 20” for suspended cymbals, for our recommendations below we are using 18” cymbals. We would suggest that you consider using different sizes across your front ensemble if possible. But if you are looking for a more unified sound from all performers the 18” cymbals tend to sit in middle of the sound profile. 

Our Top Recommendations

Zildjian 18” Classic Orchestral Suspended Cymbal

The Zildjian Classic Orchestral Suspended Cymbal is arguably one of the most popular options for the marching band idiom.  This cymbal has a full-bodied sound with shimmering crescendo rolls and bright crashes. This works so well outdoors as it sounds great at all dynamic ranges and is an excellent blend of both low and high overtones.

Meinl 18” Symphonic Suspended Cymbal

Made from B20 Bronze this suspended cymbal from Meinl is one of the best options on the market for suspended cymbals. The hand-hammering construction of this cymbal with medium-thin weight gives it a very musical and warm sound. The shallow and flat profile give means this cymbal has immediate and sensitive response with a long sustain. Whie this may not be the most well-known cymbal option in the marching band space, we highly recommended doing the research on this cymbal! 

Sabian 18” HHX Suspended Cymbal

Sabian has many great offerings in the suspended cymbal category and the HHX Suspended Cymbal is one of the best for outdoor marching band use. This highly sensitive cymbal has a dark and wide tonal range. The thin construction of this 

Sabian 18” AA Molto Suspended Cymbal


The AA Molto cymbal from Sabian is excellent all-around cymbal for marching band use. It has a very smooth sound profile with bright and shimmering tones. Because of the higher timbre of this cymbal makes it an excellent option as a standalone cymbal across your ensemble or as an additional color pallete.

Zildjian 18” K Constantinople Suspended Cymbal

The K Constantinople Suspended Cymbal from Zildjian is likely one of the top cymbals uses by orchestras and top performing groups around the world. Although this is a great cymbal option for marching band, we believe this would be a great option as a complimentary cymbal rather than one that is used by all members. The lush, dark cymbal sound will enhance any ensemble sound. The darker tones can get lost outside, which is why we would recommend using these more as a complimentary offering in your ensemble. 

Honorable Mention (Budget Friendly) – Sabian 18” XSR Suspended Cymbal

If your budget is a concern, we think the Sabian XSR is an excellent option for a suspended cymbal. Made of B20 alloy like other suspended cymbals, the is a value of sound and price. Bright and mid timbre with thin construction give it overtones that will work nicely with most programs. 

Of course, there are many other sizes and options out there for suspended cymbals. The truth is that they each have different characteristics that you may or may not fit the sound you are trying to make for your ensemble. You can find all this information and more on by visiting the different manufacturers websites and social media channels. We plan to do a comparison video soon to help highlight some of these differences as well. 

If you have any other questions or need further recommendations please contact us at 317-813-2070 or  

What to Choose? An In-Depth Look at Concert Tambourines

With concert festivals and evaluations coming up in the coming weeks and months you may be missing the exact sound that you want from your concert tambourine. We thought we would do a deep dive this week on what makes different tambourines unique and give you some recommendations based on our past experiences. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing a concert tambourine and they are not always one-size fits all depending on the style of music, type of ensemble, and number of performers. Important things to consider would be shell material, type of jingles, type of head and number of jingles. Let us look deeper into each of these factors below. 

Shell Material 

Most concert tambourines will be 10” in diameter and are usually made of wood. While there are varying types of wood such as ash, mahogany, or cherry wood they are all great options for the lightweight they provide for the musician. There are also options available in ABS or plastic materials, but they tend to be heavier than the wood shells. The shell does not have much effect on the sound of the tambourine, but it can play an important role in the durability and use of the tambourine. 

Type of Jingles

There are many different types of tambourine jingles that are used in modern day concert tambourines and they each have a unique quality of sound. While there may be some variations and combinations of these different jingles the below options are the most popular options today. 

  • Steel/Aluminum/Brass – While these jingles certainly have their own characteristics, we are grouping them here as they tend to be used or budget tambourines. Brass jingles can provide an excellent option if you are looking for a full bodied, warm sound. These can be a great option if looking for a more aged sound on a specific style of piece. 
  • Beryllium Copper – The beryllium copper jingles have a mid-dark pitch profile that are articulate but with a subtle sustain.  
  • Phosphor Bronze – Phosphor Bronze jingles give the darkest sounds available in tambourine jingles. They also tend to have wet sound that works well with music from the Romantic era. 
  • German Silver – These jingles tend to be very sensitive and have a wet sound. These jingles often have a higher pitch as well. German Silver jingles provide a very open and full sound. 
  • Chromium 25 – These jingles are made specifically for Black Swamp tambourines and offer a very bright and articulate/dry sound.  

Another thing to note about concert tambourines is most manufactures such as Pearl, Grover and Black Swamp have various models that will combine two types of jingles to give unique sound profiles and gives the performers a wider range of use. 

Skin Head vs. Synthetic

The traditional way of making a tambourine would be with either calfskin or goatskin heads that are glued to the shell. While these also give the most “authentic” sound, they are susceptible to weather changes so the performance use should be considered when purchasing a tambourine with a skin head.  

In recent years, the emergence of synthetic heads has become popular on higher end concert tambourines as well. As more people use these in various performance venues both indoor and outdoors, the synthetic heads offer a great option for a great quality sound with added durability. 

One final note, it is a fairly simple process to replace a calfskin or goatskin head, so keep that in mind when choosing which option is best for you. 

Number of Jingles (Rows) 

While most tambourines come with two rows of jingles there may be instances where you only want a single row jingle. There are some great options from Grover Percussion and Meinl Percussion that can give you the lighter and more open sound that a single row of jingles would produce. 

Popular Models and Recommendations 

In the concert tambourine world, the three most popular brands currently are Grover, Black Swamp and Pearl. They all offer similar type of tambourines, but we give you some of our favorites below!! (Click Links for more details and pricing)

Budget Friendly Options 

Meinl Artisan Mixed Jingle Tambourine (AE-MTAH2B)
Black Swamp Overture Tambourine (TDOV)

General Purpose Options 

Black Swamp Chromium/Bronze Tambourine (TC1 or TC1S)
Grover Projection Plus Silver/Bronze Tambourine (T2/GSPh)
Pearl Percussion Silver/Copper Tambourine (PET1018GC) 

Bright Sound Options 

Black Swamp Chromium 25 Tambourine (TD1 or TD1S)
Grover Projection Plus German Silver Tambourine (T2/GS)
Pearl Percussion German Silver Tambourine (PET1018GS) 

Darker Sound Options 

Black Swamp Beryllium Cooper Tambourine (TD4 or TD4S)
Grover Projection Plus Phosphor Bronze Tambourine (T2/PhBr)
Pearl Percussion Copper/Bronze Tambourine (PET1018CB)

There are many other great options that you could consider for concert tambourines and if you have more specific questions or need help find the correct sound, contact us and we can make more recommendations based on the pieces you are playing! 

Product Comparison: Which Marching Bass Head is right for me?

When it comes to finding the right heads to fit your needs or the sound you are looking for there are a ton of options. This stands true for marching bass drum heads as well. Whether you are starting to plan for future use or need something for the ongoing indoor season we hope this product breakdown and comparison will help you find what you are looking for.

Head Types

There are two basic types of marching bass drum heads that you will want to consider when looking to get a fresh set of heads. One type of head has no muffling attached and the other type has some type of muffling pre-installed or strips of muffling that you can adjust to your liking. If you already have muffling installed inside to the shell of the drum, you can use any type of drum head but you would likely want to consider the type without any muffling installed. If you don’t have any internal muffling installed inside the drum you will definitely want to consider purchasing one of the heads that allow for pre-installed muffling on the actual drum head. There are many different options that you could go with either way.

Muffling Approaches

Why would I need to muffle the the sound of the drum? This is an important aspect of marching bass drums as they serve a dual purpose within the battery percussion section. Because bass drums offer both tonal and rhythmic colors to the sound, having the heads muffled in one way or another will allow for the drums to be articulate while still having a good tonal presence. There are three typically ways that are used to muffle the sound of the marching bass drum.

  1. Muffling Pre-Installed on the Head – There are some heads that have strips of muffling pre-installed on the head or strips of muffling that allow you to change the sound to your liking. This is what you might see on the Remo Power Max or Evans MX Series of marching bass heads. This is a great option because of the ease of use.
  2. Add Muffling to the Head – In this scenario you would purchase heads and add some type of foam to the head to act as muffling. The advantage of using this method is that it allows you to place the muffling where you would like. It can help you get a more articulate sound depending on where you attach the muffling around the center playing area. Yamaha makes foam that is great for this purpose as well as other drum manufacturers.
  3. Add Muffling to the Shell – This method tends to be more popular by top-end groups that want the maximum control out of their sound. Here you would purchase muffling from somewhere like which has pre-cut strips of foam depending on the size of the drum. The biggest advantage here is that once you install the foam it is there forever minus touching up some glue from time to time. This method is certainly more time consuming in general but can pay off in a big way if it is done correctly.

Brands and Types of Heads

There are two brands of heads that are most popular within the marching percussion world and those are Evans and Remo. While they do have similar offerings the chart below is a good way to compare and contrast the heads from each company.

Brand          Thickness/Ply Muffling Sound Quality Durability
Evans MS1 White Single Ply/ 10-mil No Muffling Included  Warm, wide array of dampening options Good
Evans MX1 White/Black Single Ply/10-mil Dampening System – Movable Strips Warm, Focused Low End Good
Evans MX2 White/Black Two Ply/7.5 mil each Dampening System – Movable Strips Increased Attack, Articulation, Reduced Sustain Best
Remo Ambassador Smooth White/Ebony Single Ply/10-mil No Muffling Included Full Sound/Tone, Articulate and Clear Projection Good
Remo Emperor Smooth White Two Ply/7.5 mil each No Muffling Included Bright Tone, Attack and Projection Best
Remo Power Max Smooth White/Ebony Single Ply/10-mil Installed Muffling Optimum Tone Control, great for outdoor use Good
Remo Power Max Smooth Black Suede Single Ply/10-mil Installed Muffling Focused Attack, Focused Sustain Good
Remo Power Max 2 Smooth White/Ebony Two Ply/7 mil each Installed Muffling Excellent Low-End and Increased Attack Best

What Head Should I Choose?

Ultimately you may want to consult with your staff and design team on the option that will work best for you. When it comes to Black or White that is often a personal preference or design choice based on your show and their is no difference in the quality of sound between the two options. If you have a smaller band you may want to opt for the 2 ply heads out side to get more articulation and less sustain, as this can help balance out the sound. The trends in drum heads is an ever changing model, so try not to follow the trend but find something that works with your sound, the size of your bass line, and your budget.

Of course if you ever have more specific questions or need more details or pricing feel free to give us a call at (317) 813-2070 or email us at One of our trained specialists can work with you to find the best option for your group.