Hi all, 40 year veteran pounding the drums. I gig a lot and over the years I have played so many great sounding drums. I have never been one to have a collection though because if I like the way a kit sounded, that's what I always wanted to play. Anyway like most of you old timers out there, I've noticed you can buy a lot more for your money than you could 20 or 30 years ago. I have played on maple high end kits, birch kits, and blended wood kits like maple/walnut, poplar/mahogany etc. These days I just don't have the disposable income I once did to keep buying/selling/trading drums. I took a year or so off and was going to retire but we all know how that goes! LOL. When I decided I just wasn't ready to hang up the sticks, I had to buy everything all over again and if I swapped anything, it would have to be a straight up swaps with no money involved or incur the wrath of the wife (who has been VERY supportive by the way). So in perusing the less expensive and better bang for your buck kits, I have come across two poplar sets that I really thought sounded great. One of them, my bass player bought from me and wouldn't sell back. It was an early PDP X7 in tangerine sparkle laquer. The other is the set I'm playing now. It is an almost bottom of the line Ludwig Element 5 pc 10,12, 16 and 22 (I use a Tama Metalworks 6.5X14 snare but have the stock snare 5X14 that doesn't sound half bad either!) The color is what Ludwig calls black gold (wrap) and no iso mounts on the toms. This for me would have normally been blasphemy as I have always used some kind of r.i.m.s or other iso mount systems on toms. I do mount the toms off my cymbal stands for better sustain. They are 9 ply poplar in a WRAP with no iso mounts and sound GREAT! Good sustain, awesome POP, great kick with plenty of low end and they project well. Granted I DID swap out all the batter side heads, including the kick, with Remo pinstripes. I just don't understand the maple/birch, snobs as I call them, putting down poplar! The tuning range is slightly narrower than maple/birch drums but I think they have the best sounding qualities of BOTH of those woods if you ask me. Any one else?