Re: New Kit Advice
I truly believe that, considering the level of precision in any new drum kit these days, that you simply cannot buy a bad brand new kit, assuming it's not a First Act or Sound Percussion, and also assuming it's not a "lemon" kit. (they happen) So really it's all up to how each kit makes you feel. If everyone tells you Ludwig, but the SJC kit speaks to you.... follow your natural instincts.
I never consider the resale value of drums. I buy them because I want them. Drums are not an investment, they are a purchase. So get the kit that sets your heart a flutter. Go with your heart, not your head, JMO. Also remember that any set you try, they might not be headed and tuned so that they speak their best. If you pass over a great set because it's tuned like crap....well you have to consider that factor.
I've said this before, if at all possible, buy new stuff from a place that has a 30 day return policy. Buy them, take them home, head and tune them, play them for a week, and return them if they are not doing it for you. Rinse and repeat until you cannot return a kit. This is especially useful for new cymbal purchases. Exercise your full rights as the buyer.
The best way to do art, is to dispense with good and bad...and just get on with it.