Originally Posted by BertTheDrummer
The lift allows the bass drum beater to hit the center of the bass drum. Personally I think it makes a big difference. Never played the Mapex kit, can't comment. Also just because the Yamaha doesn't come with a lift, doesn't mean you can't purchase one later. I just mentioned the Tama to say there are other options if your wanting an 18" Birch kit. There's also the Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz and the Sonor Bop. The Gretsch is mahogany, and I'm not sure what the Bop is made out of.
Thanks for the info. The lift is available pretty cheap as an add on which is good. The Yamaha kit is birch I believe.