Re: Promark vs Vater vs Vic Firth
I think you are already on the right track in figuring this one out for yourself. Just pick up a pair of whatever model you like from every manufacturer and play them all until a winner arises.
Like Dennis, I've tried all those brands, Zildjian, Hornets, and Regal Tip too. I really like Vater but I've been using Vic Firth and Pro Mark a little more than usual in the last few months.
They all make great sticks, but they all feel slightly different. How that difference feels in your hands is tough for anyone else to answer.