Help choose a drum set


Junior Member
Hi all,

Im just getting into drums, and have been spending quite a bit of time trying to find a decent value set (looking mostly used at this point).

I am looking at the following drums:

Mapex Pro M - Rock
- 24*18 bass, 13*10 hanging tom, 16*16 and 18*16 floor toms, 14*16.5 snare

Pearl Export EXR
- Regular 5 piece set, I dont know the sizes

Mapex M Birch
- Again, I dont know the sizes on these
-22 x 18 Bass Drum, 10 x 8 Tom Tom,12 x 9 Tom Tom, 14 x 14 Floor Tom, 14 x 5.5, Snare Drum

- Similar to the Mapex Pro M Rock
- Toms are 16x14, 12x9, 14x12
- Snare 14x6
- Bass 24x18

I had a few questions
- The Mapex Pro M and PDP sets Im looking at both have a "rock" set up in that they have big floor toms and only one mounted tom. I listen to mostly rock and likely this is what I would play (classic rock), but does having this type of set up limit what I can play? Are these big drums likely to be overpowering if I start playing with band?
- Is it difficult to switch between playing a kit that has 2 mounted toms and one floor vs the 2 floor set-up?

The Mapex Pro M seems to be what I am leaning towards, its about 700 used including cymbal stands (Im in Canada), its a maple set, its barely been used from what the owner says, and Mapex seem to be well reviewed.

Anyhow let me know what you think. Appreciate any and all answers/comments!

Edit: Added sizes for Mapex M Birch kit
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Senior Member
You should get a Mapex Meridian Birch Standard kit. They replaced the M series. There is a place on eBay called "DrummerSuperstore" who is the largest Mapex dealer in the U.S., and they are very good people - a family run business. You can also call them and talk to the owner, who is a drummer. Their prices are so good, they are almost as low as used.


Silver Member
Of those kits I'd take whichever Mapex I preferred. They are both fantastic for the cash, so sizes and condition/extras would be my decision maker.

Rick H.

Senior Member
I think birch kits sound great. I currently own a pdp birch kit, it depends on what kind of music you play i guess but i play with a 20''x18'' kick, 12'', hanging, 14'' and 16'' floor toms. i was looking for larger toms for a more full sound, but this was all they had with the 20 inch kick. the only reason i prefer a 20in kick is because i like my toms nice and low and in easy reach, but people who don't care about that generally go with bigger kicks for that punchy bottom end sound. Personally i think i can get real similar sounds out of my 20''x18'' but thats just preference i guess. I used to own a Pearl EXR and it was a great kit, if you can get a good deal i'd say go with that though, because those are pretty high quality and will probably last you a long while.


Silver Member
Just played a fusion Mapex M Birch in the blue finish today at a church thing, even with stock heads it sounded great where I was playing. It was wet and cavernous. They even had a vintage Speed King as the pedal... that was a blessing. The snare stand it came with was crap, didn't get to try the other stands.


Platinum Member
You must carefully consider your drum dimensions when selecting your kit.
You should try different kits first to see what size drums that you like.
You must consider the type of music that you play, The size room that you play it in, and the volume that you will play it at.

A 24 inch bass drum may be to large for you're playing situation.
Most drummers find the 22 inch bass to be the perfect size.
I also like 20 inch bass drums.
Toms are the same. You should try different size toms before you decide.

Once you have selected the size drums that you want, you can better choose your kit.

I noticed that you didn't know the sizes of some of the kits that you were looking at.

Most drummers find the two rack toms up and one floor tom down to be a good set up.
You should try the one rack tom up and two floor toms down first to see if you like it before buying that kit configuration.
Having two floor toms takes more floor space. This can be a problem in a small club.

Larger drums are harder to transport and they take more space in your car.
A larger bass drum may mean that you can't put your mounted toms as low as you would like to.

Another set up that you may want to consider is the two up to the side and one down.
Here is a link to a thread that I made about a kit that I just put together for myself from drums that I bought separately.
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Junior Member
Thanks for all the advice so far.

I checked out that thread you started bob, that is a nice looking drum set (hard to believe that its not a set, that its just parts of other kits and companies!).

I added the sizes of the Mapex M Birch set.

I also looked up some prices on the new Meridian line, but Im thinking thats out of my price range. Ideally Im looking under a 1,000 Canadian (you Americans do seem to get better deals, both used and new, and seem to have more selection!).

The Mapex Pro M's I can get for $900 including 2 crashes, a ride, and the hi-hats and all cymbal stands (not just basic cymbals either, and everything looks in great condition). The appeal here is that I can get everything I need and they are well reviewed drums, and the price seems decent (though hard to tell since I don't really know the prices of the drums used).

The Mapex M Birch are interesting as well, but I haven't talked to him about price yet (hes looking for $750 just for drums and some cymbal stands). I could probably talk him down (and they have been for sale for a couple of months now).

Anyhow, sorry for info overload, and I will take everyones advice and just start trying out some drums!

Thanks again for all the info, and for any further advice!

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Is there any reason why you're not looking at Tama or Yamaha? Or Ludwig for that matter?

I have found that drums in all the certain price points, all tend to be about the same, you really can't go wrong with any. You've not mentioned the Sonor Force series, either. Those are some serious drums for the money as well.

Sorry to add to the confusion.


Gold Member
One thing that I can say with confidence is that the Pearls are real work-horses. They're sturdier than a rock and they sound decent. A great kit if you're gonna be taking it out for gigs eventually.

When it comes to sizes, I don't know if Pearl ever made anything besides a 'standard' sized set of Exports, so we can assume they're 12"x10", 13"x11", 16"x16", 22"x18", and a 14"x5" snare drum.


Junior Member
Thanks again for all the responses and advice.

I haven't seen really any Sonor's for sale here (used anyhow, which is what I am looking at to keep the cost down). Thats mainly the reason I didn't mention them, though I would like to find some as everything I read about them is positive (maybe thats why nobody is selling them, their all keeping them!)

The Meridians are about 700 US but shipping to Ontario Canada adds anywhere from 200 to 400 US on top, which makes them too expensive. Buying new in Ontario would probably be about 1,100 new before taxes, and I havent seen many/any used ones yet.

I wouldn't mind Yamaha (I have heard good things about the stage customs), there aren't many and the prices are higher then what I am looking at here.

I did just find some older tama swingstars, I will post the stats below (since I have heard good things about earlier swingstars):

Tama Swingstar 6 Piece Kit in Brushed Chrome Wrap - $400.00
- 10 - 12 – 13 – 16 – 22 – 14 * 6.5 chrome Snare
- Bass drum has new Remo EQ3 batter head
- Comes with tom mounts, single bass pedal, hihat stand and two cymbal stands

Tama Swingstar 7 Piece Kit in Black Wrap - $300.00
- 8 - 10 - 12 – 13 – 16 – 22 – 14 * 6.5 chrome Snare
- Comes with tom mounts, double tom stand

He says that the one set is early 80's the other later 80's earlier 90's (I dont know which ones which). The prices are right, so if you guys could let me know if they are comparable at all to what I am looking at that would be great.


Also added in the PDP MXR kit stats in original post.
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