Re: Does Pearl Hardware still rock?
I never got the impression that the Pearl stuff was the best in any era. Although good, their hardware wasn't that different or less strong compared to similar offerings from Tama or Yamaha. And Gibraltar is American? I never knew that.
Yamaha makes really nice single-braced hardware if that's what you're looking for. Gibraltar makes those really cool (and cheaper) flat-based hardware stands that are really good too. I say make a list of what you want and then start looking around - there will be a company that has what you want. Drum Workshop probably makes the best over-engineered stuff on the planet right now. Pearl is probably more economical compared to DW. As far as racks go, I think the Yamaha hex rack is a great design.