I've been playing Ludwig drum's for a long time. I really love them but I've been thinking about buying a Trick drum kit. How do Trick drums compare to Ludwig drums. How do Trick drums compare to wood drums in general?
Louder and brighter than almost any wood drum, more resonant too. Definitely FAR more durable. I play a copper set, but if there were no such thing as copper, I'd probably play a Trick or some other aluminum set. If you want darker/drier, you can use thicker heads and wood hoops, and they'll sound like a high-end wood set. Nothing beats a good metal drum, IMO.
Copper sets are hard to find in used form. I lucked out and bought one on Craigslist. I'm buying a 16" copper tom from Echo Drums this summer, they do a lot of aluminum sets, some copper sets, and even a few brass sets. I'll let you know how it sounds when I get it.
Steel is brightest of the metals, but the Ludwig steels have such a wide bearing edge that they're not as bright as you'd assume. Steeldrums.it in Italy make some steel sets, and Ludwig still makes a few steel sets. Copper and brass have a much more musical sound, to me. Notice how many instruments are made from those versus steel, for instance.
I was very interested in Trick drums and spent a bit of time checking out their booth at the NAMM show a couple of years ago. Top notch construction through and through, and the availability of colors and finishes is almost paralyzing - it would take some time to really nail down a color choice, as far as I was concerned. They even make a great bass drum pedal, you know.
But Trick would be my choice if I needed a kit to withstand any environment - you could be in the rain, or under the hot desert sun and the drums will take it. And when I got a chance to play them, I was surprised at the "woody-ness" you could get. So yes, they're brighter and more resonant, but that doesn't mean you can't make them sound like how you need them to sound. I played a 1978 Ludwig Vistalite kit (in solid black) with white coated heads, and everyone kept telling me how good those maple drums sounded to them!