Re: Pitch-matched sticks - How critical is it?
I've done the pitch matching thing before but it wasn't for sonic reasons. The lower pitch ones will feel a little softer in your hand when struck on a hard surface like a counter and are more likely to break prematurely as they aren't as strong. At least that's the way it was explained to me and always kinda made sense. I never painstakingly A/B'd sticks to death, but I'd leave the softer-feeling ones behind. Nowadays, I don't bother and just grab and go.
There's the feel angle, too, as Bermuda mentioned. My sticks don't break the way they used to when I was playing full-force rimshots all the time on die cast hoops (pretty rare that I break sticks these days). Now they wear away up at the shoulder from playing the hats. After a while, they start getting that soft feeling and that's when I chuck 'em and grab a new pair. But I can't really tell the soft from the hard when they're new as they just don't vary that much when they're new. That why I don't bother going through that exercise anymore.
My kit: It's not just good, it's good enough. Recent band