Re: Brand new Ludwig Kit...do my heads really suck?
When buying almost any kit these days, unless they come with original Evans/Remo/ Aquarian heads (not "made by" versions), you should factor in the cost of new heads, & I mean both batter & reso (at least on the toms).
On higher end kits, I think this is nothing short of a disgrace. I get the realities on real budget stuff.
The price that OEM's can get genuine make heads for is very low, yet the cost to the retail consumer is high. Let's take a 12" tom as an example: The difference in cost to the OEM of fitting two "made by" or no name heads compared to the genuine article is about £5 / $8, so about 1 - 3% of the cost of a high end drum.
Even taking such penny/dime pinching aside, why the hell wouldn't you want to present your fine instruments such that they sound as good as possible? Is it that the customer has already paid for them, so who gives a damn/let them carry the cost? You can bet they don't record their corporate product videos using those heads, or if they do, the recording is processed to compensate.
FFS manufacturers, stop treating customers of your upper range instruments like idiots. If you must penny/dime pinch to that degree, at least offer your customers the choice to have their new kit delivered with high quality heads & charge a sensible premium for doing so. Releasing your high end instruments with such heads makes many seriously doubt your integrity when asked to believe your marketing claims re: striving for the best possible sound, etc. If you're "cheaping out" on something as fundamental & influential as the heads, what else are you watering down - eh?
Sorry, mini rant over, but it really bugs me, because it's the uninformed that are getting suckered here. Just add $200 to the cost next time you're comparing kits that offer anything other than genuine Remo/Evans/Aquarian heads.