We all know that China has skilled craftsmen and the ability to manufacture excellent products at all price points. The reason that Chinese manufacturing is problematic is that China is allegedly a trade cheat, technogy thief, design stealer, and all-around bad actor. Whether this is true anymore or not isn't a debate for a drum forum. I don't know enough to even think about it. It's too damn political. But the perception of foul play is that matters to many of my clients. Buying expensive drums from China seems like supporting a criminal enterprise to many. Defending Chinese quality seems to miss the point.There's a whole lot to unpack here.
In regards to Yamaha specifically: 1. Great choice - Your drumset is beautiful and I've had enough experience with all of Yamaha's kits to speak intelligently about their designs and engineering in great depth - I was a former artist for them for about a decade.
When Yamaha's cut ties with Sakae - they knew for a fact that there was likely going to be a small exodus and concern about the Japanese manufacturing and shells coming to an end. Up till 2011, all of Yamaha's high-end drums were made in Japan. And although Yamaha continues to build its flagship Phoenix PHX series in Japan, the latest professional series are now coming out of the new facility in Xiaoshan, China.
It's important to get this stigma of something being made in China as being cheaper or lower quality removed from your mind. That's likely true of some of the manufacturer's you mention - but certainly not Yamaha.
Below is from Rhythm Magazine's article about Yamaha and their Chinese facility who express their impressiveness of Yamaha's Chinese facility very well:
This extensive plant was first opened in 1997, producing Yamaha’s woodwind and brass instruments and marching percussion. Then in 2010 Yamaha achieved a long-held ambition to add a dedicated drum building, employing the latest in hi-tech, environmentally strict and rigorously quality controlled production methods. The aim as always is to stay on top, be competitive and to build the best drumsets conceivable.
Xiaoshan first delivered the Live Custom series, followed by 2014’s truly progressive Absolute Hybrid Maple. Now we have the revamped Recording Custom series, launched at Winter Namm, 2016. The
Recording Custom is Yamaha’s most acclaimed kit, quite possibly the most recorded kit ever, the kit which put Yamaha out front throughout the 1980s.
The new Recording Custom has badges which clearly state ‘Made in China’. Yamaha’s Xiaoshan facility is not some tawdry operation to make drums on the cheap using casual labour. On the contrary, Yamaha has invested an unheard-of US $10 million in the operation, with the Chinese workforce trained to the highest skill levels by the ultra-experienced Japanese craftsmen.
Visiting the factory was eye-opening, seeing up close the exacting manufacturing tolerances and testing, the unstinting quality control, the laboratory-style cleanliness of the workplace. That the factory is in China is simply a sign of the times we live in.
and I've found this to be true - not only is Yamaha still making excellent drums - I would argue that they are the only company to rival(and I would say surpass) DW in terms of R&D when it comes to shells and how they truly effect sonic performance. For instance in your kit - the hard inner ply which comes their PHX shell design - the weighted bass drum, etc. or things like the Crosstown hardware - which is something manufacturers should have done ages ago.
So specifically when it come to Yamaha - I've always found that their marketing is fairly true to production and final quality/performance.
As you state - that's not always true....there are hype machines out there and gimmicks - but your kit specifically is fantastic and I would pit it against the best of the best out there.
As for the general discussion on the price of drums equating to quality of sound - I know I always seem to be against the grain on this - but high end kits are high end for a reason. There are exceptions - like the Gretsch Renowns to me are a freak of nature - those can go head to head against kits that cost twice as much - but that's just not the case for a lot of drums. At some point you will hit a wall with budget drums - tuning consistency - tonal matching between toms - bass frequencies - the overall character of a set as an instrument and not individual pieces - versatility - being able to get one kit to handle lots of situation with integrity is a huge one where I see less expensive drums falling apart.
That's why the used market is so great like some of the above peeps have mentioned - if you can get an older high quality kit for a reasonable price - you are winning the game.
Yamaha invested a ridiculous amount into their Chinese facility - it's beautiful - high end drums are cool, buy a used high end set and get the best of both worlds.