Are overpriced drums worth it ? A Defence of mapex

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I don't agree with the "drum is just a drum" school of thought. Much like any product there are varying degrees of quality and it's up to the consumer to not only decide which level of quality they desire but to be able to acquire it at the "right" price. It would be a pretty boring world if everyone played Stage Customs, drank Budweiser, and drove Chrysler K-cars.

How 'bout this curbside classic? LOL
 

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NouveauCliche

Senior Member
I spend a lot of time, shopping around for drums and looking a them and trying to work out what company gives you a real good value for money.
at the start of the year , I purchased my dream set of drums -yamaha live custom hybrid oak in natural finish. I LOVE this kit. However ,in the years leading up to this purchase, I always considered mapex drums. In particular , the mapex Saturn range. I always felt like mapex always demonstrated good value for money with very reasonably priced kits, with what appears to be a great professional kit at the £1300 mark. I always turned myself away from these kits as my ‘dream’ choice as I always had a notion that mapex where budget, mass produced, and thrown together in cheap manufacturing countries like China and taiwan to save a buck. So in My choosing of my dream kit I felt I had to spend the extra money on my yamaha , as I wrongly believed they made their high end kits in Japan. It was after a few months of having them I noticed ‘made in China’ on the main badge, and therefore I felt my reason to go with Yamahas more expensive drums was now invalidated, and I should have perhaps saved a significant amount of money and brought the mapex Saturn I always had a soft spot for.
As I am now learning - it seems like all the big names in drums.. pearl, tama, etc are now manufacturing most of their drums in China , yet their prices are still very high ? In this day and age, we have been making drums for a very long time, and naturally, with technology getting better and more efficient, prices of products should drop considerably over time. Yet , it seems like that he manufacturing has dropped , but the prices for consumers are still the same ? I can assume the big cats at the tops of these companies are enjoying their nice juicy profit Margins. I also feel awakened to a world of marketing dishonesty and sensationalism. With every artist , and channel on you tube telling you that their gear (that they are endorsed with )is the best you can get, and you must spend the extra money to buy a superior Set of drums. look, a drum is a drum, and theyre nothing special , but every year, a big name company will spout words such as ‘revolutionary technology’ as they chuck new gimmick hardware on the drums to keep the prices nice and high. I believe , a great drum, does not have to cost sky high prices , and if they have a good even shell with a good bearing edge with some quality no nonsense hardware on it should be unbeatable. If price point is a valued factor in this comparison, mapex seem to own this area of the market. Especially when you get a good set of heads on them, they probably give your high end pearls, tamas and DWs a good competitive run for their worth.
So with what sounds like a good rant out the way. I ask, what is the best value in drums , should we come away from being blinded by brand names, and should we start learning how to recognise a good drum without looking at the price. Cheers!

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.

The new Recording Custom has badges which clearly state ‘Made in China’.
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.


TL;DR Version:

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.
 

jimb

Member
Not sure there's such a thing as overpriced anything, you get what u pay for....If its expensive its probably great quality, no corners cut. Having said all that I bought my Mapex Tornado kit because it was very cheap and had a 20x14 BD. I'm not a pro and don't gig much. Sounds great with good cymbals, heads and hardware and as long as I don't schlep it continuously will probably do.

Even as a bass player it was Squires and Fender Rumbles....all perfectly fine and loud enough for the odd weekend bash. But Iam/was a Pro photographer and always had the top gear, not because it took great photos but because top gear is very tough and can stand the rigors of the day to day work out, that's the only reason.
 
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So now you've got two dream kits - Yamaha which you have, and Mapex which you don't have.

When you're done goofing around with those, get Ludwig or Gretsch. :p
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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.


TL;DR Version:

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.
oh yeah , don’t get me wrong, the live custom Oak is a testament to how good China have gotten at making drums. But with that being said , drums are no new technology. All country’s should be pretty spot on with their drum making. I don’t feel I am ready to point at the kit and claim it’s over priced , I don’t feel like it is overpriced , but I’d be interested to see how a mapex equivalent could compare to it. But yet again, I come to the conclusion that a good bit of what you are paying for is the name
 
OK, so I know next to nothing about any of these things but it seems like Chinese wages have increased a lot over the last decades, so the idea that it's extremely cheap to produce there probably no longer holds true. I don't think that these wages are corrected for inflation but the increase is more drastic than in other countries (e.g. in the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States ). And there is probably a higher cost for machinery and regulations than in the 80s. Looking forward to clarifications by someone who knows about these things.
1-china-wages@3x.png
If companies were making an extremely high margin, I guess that one of the competitors would offer sets at way lower prices to be more competitive. With the exception of one set, I've only owned sets from the 80s or older, because I don't deem the new innovations important enough to justify paying that much more. If you gig all the time and want to be able to fully customize your set, new might be worth it but for most people it's probably not really necessary.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Two quick points here.

Point 1: Regardless of how nice the Chinese Yamaha factory is, they never passed any of the savings on labor they enjoyed on to the consumer. That's a deal breaker for me with regard to ever wanting to buy a Yamaha kit. That and I find their stuff to be kind of sterile too. No soul. YMMV

Point 2: Mapex's Chinese factory is ISO 9001 certified which I guess is a good thing. i.e. not a sweat shop. Name and badge notwithstanding, they make pretty nice drums at a price point that seems to be a true reflection of how and where the drums are made.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Two quick points here.

Point 1: Regardless of how nice the Chinese Yamaha factory is, they never passed any of the savings on labor they enjoyed on to the consumer. That's a deal breaker for me with regard to ever wanting to buy a Yamaha kit. That and I find their stuff to be kind of sterile too. No soul. YMMV
We read the situation backwards from each other:

I actually think they could have stuck consumers with a price increase to justify a multi-million dollar new facility. That's a big investment - granted it's shared between several of the lines of instruments - not just drums.

I can agree to an extent that are sterile - on some level that was part of the reason I left. I find that their drums are almost too perfect - not a lot of character: Kind of like what a "drum set" setting on a keyboard would sound like.

Now is it fair to complain about sounding good and amazing consistent? Probably not - but that's why I love Gretsch and Stone Custom Drums - there's an amazing amount of character with their instruments.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Several years ago I bought my dream kit. It was 7 piece shell pack of Yamaha Birch custom nouveau absolute. It was a great kit. However I was a little disappointed when I realized it really didn't sound any different than my 1988 model Power Tour custom Yamahas which I still own. Nowadays my main kit is a 2003 model Tama starclassic performer Birch kit. I think it sounds every bit as good as my high-dollar Yamahas. Another kit did I bought about a year ago was kind of like a bucket list kit. I wanted an American-made kit that was a relatively high quality. I chose the 2019 model Ludwig Club date she'll pack. While I'm very happy with all aspects of it it's still really not much different than any of my other drum sets. I suppose the maple Poplar shell sounds slightly different than my Birch, it's really kind of hard to tell all I really know is I like them all. I even had a four ply Poplar kit called Ludwig SL series they later went on to become the Rockers. I really liked those drums also that was around 1982. One of my favorite drummers Philly heart from Kansas once said in a modern drummer magazine interview that a drum was a drum was a drum. He said they all sounded good he just needed a company that would stand behind him while he was out on tour. So I guess I'm with the drum is a drum crowd but that's only for drums that are made well I understand that there are drums out there that are completely junk I'm not talking about those
 
I don't agree with the "drum is just a drum" school of thought. Much like any product there are varying degrees of quality and it's up to the consumer to not only decide which level of quality they desire but to be able to acquire it at the "right" price. It would be a pretty boring world if everyone played Stage Customs, drank Budweiser, and drove Chrysler K-cars.

How 'bout this curbside classic? LOL
Several years ago I bought my dream kit. It was 7 piece shell pack of Yamaha Birch custom nouveau absolute. It was a great kit. However I was a little disappointed when I realized it really didn't sound any different than my 1988 model Power Tour custom Yamahas which I still own. Nowadays my main kit is a 2003 model Tama starclassic performer Birch kit. I think it sounds every bit as good as my high-dollar Yamahas. Another kit did I bought about a year ago was kind of like a bucket list kit. I wanted an American-made kit that was a relatively high quality. I chose the 2019 model Ludwig Club date she'll pack. While I'm very happy with all aspects of it it's still really not much different than any of my other drum sets. I suppose the maple Poplar shell sounds slightly different than my Birch, it's really kind of hard to tell all I really know is I like them all. I even had a four ply Poplar kit called Ludwig SL series they later went on to become the Rockers. I really liked those drums also that was around 1982. One of my favorite drummers Philly heart from Kansas once said in a modern drummer magazine interview that a drum was a drum was a drum. He said they all sounded good he just needed a company that would stand behind him while he was out on tour. So I guess I'm with the drum is a drum crowd but that's only for drums that are made well I understand that there are drums out there that are completely junk I'm not talking about those
well look, if we talk on real terms. A drum is a bit of wood, with lugs rings and a head on it. If can only get SO fantastically amazing. The argument I have fizzles out when it comes to junk kits- as you say. However I feel there are kits that are so bad they are purposely made bad! To me, if the drum has good quality parts and is made to a good standards, you can make any kit sound great! Stick some good heads on it and your rockin
 
I've never owned a Yamaha kit, nor have I ever wanted to, but if Yamaha is Dave Weckl's drum maker of choice, the organization has to be doing something right.
Oh it certainly is! I’ve always loved anything with the Yamaha name on it, and not just limited to drums or even instruments in general. I know this goes against what I saw about going with brand names. However, Yamaha IS a very safe way to go, I gotta express
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
well look, if we talk on real terms. A drum is a bit of wood, with lugs rings and a head on it. If can only get SO fantastically amazing. The argument I have fizzles out when it comes to junk kits- as you say. However I feel there are kits that are so bad they are purposely made bad! To me, if the drum has good quality parts and is made to a good standards, you can make any kit sound great! Stick some good heads on it and your rockin
We're in total agreement here. While a terribly constructed kit fashioned from substandard components might be hopeless from the outset, almost any decently appointed kit can be tuned to sound excellent. There's no limit to what you can spend on drums, but there's also no "need" to be exorbitant.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I've never owned a Yamaha kit, nor have I ever wanted to, but if Yamaha is Dave Weckl's drum maker of choice, the organization has to be doing something right.
They just really dont make bad stuff. I own a Yamaha PSR-6 keyboard from the mid 80s. It still works, every single thing.

I used to build PA speakers for Yamaha. They are very invested in their product. We would hear from Bosch (ElectroVoice) if they made changes. Peavey never communicated with us. We would have to basically stalk them to get any info from them. Yamaha would check in at least weekly. And at least once a year they would send folks from the Japan headquarters to make us paranoid as we built their stuff.
 
We're in total agreement here. While a terribly constructed kit fashioned from substandard components might be hopeless from the outset, almost any decently appointed kit can be tuned to sound excellent. There's no limit to what you can spend on drums, but there's also no "need" to be exorbitant.
It’s all about how the thing sounds when you are in the room with it. We can go all day comparing Kit sounds on YouTube , even if they’re recorded to engineering excellence , we will never get an idea of what a good kit sounds like in a good room. And again, it seems like you can get so many tonal variations out of choice of head , it makes you wonder how much the kit limits the sound. At the end of the day, if it’s got a good beating edge , with stable hardware, I can’t see how a kit can go wrong!
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
well look, if we talk on real terms. A drum is a bit of wood, with lugs rings and a head on it. If can only get SO fantastically amazing. The argument I have fizzles out when it comes to junk kits- as you say. However I feel there are kits that are so bad they are purposely made bad! To me, if the drum has good quality parts and is made to a good standards, you can make any kit sound great! Stick some good heads on it and your rockin
Ok, so on "real terms" as you say, what is the ceiling (price point) that no one should cross when buying a new set of drums? Should I be satisfied with asian birch or asian maple or is it OK for me to want higher quality scandinavian birch and N Amer maple? Are you saying there's no difference and I'm wasting my money? What if I want a beech snare or whole beech kit? You take your point down to what I too consider to be junk/baloney wood kits but I also think that same reasoning can be applied to kits over say $2200-3000. My point is that there is a difference between manufacturers' products on the high end as well. It's OK to be a discerning consumer of high quality products in that many have features that make them worth the extra dough.

All that said, you will have to pry my 2nd hand Gretsch Renowns from my cold, dead hands !! ;)
 

petrez

Senior Member
I really like Yamaha drums myself, but I definately think that with kits like the Saturn (you could add Gretsch Renown, Pearl Session Studio Select and to a degree, Tama Starclassic W/B in there as well) makes one question just how much more money it is worth to spend to get a kit of any more perceived quality, badges and logo aside. I understand you pay more for a well-known brand, but I still feel, at least here in Europe, that paying about double the price for a Oak Custom Hybrid (which aren't even ranked as their top of the line kit) than a Mapex Saturn is somewhat questionable, just thinking about what you are actually getting for the money.

Then again, I had a Saturn myself, that I decided to sell. Reason? Well, they definately sounded awesome and looked the part. I got a great offer on them when I sold it that helped, of course. But there is just something about being proud of what you play and how you are being perceived when gigging, you would want to use something that you don't have any bad feelings or annotations about, at least if you are a gearhead like me, care (maybe a bit too much) about your equipment and have the money to get a high-end kit regardless. I constantly had to make conversations with other drummers that claimed Mapex made s**** drums, and just people in general that wanted to chit-chat and the main argument I would always try to sell; "well they are really good quality drums for the price". Sure, they really are. But it came to the point that I got a bit tired of it all, having to almost "defend" myself of why I bought the drums, since I definately could have afforded a high-end kit from another brand anyway. It's vain, I know, but as I also have a habit of switching kits every now and then, I decided I wanted to let them go for now.

My point to all this? I'm not sure... I would be proud to play that Yamaha kit if I already had paid for it, but I definately feel you pay a bit too much if you take into consideration the kits I mentioned in the first sentence. If money allows though, it's best to pick the kit you have your heart set on, all aspects considered, even if it means you pay more for it. At least that's how I feel about it now. Paying more for it just affects your wallet at the time of your purchase, you have to consider that you would like and be proud of this kit in the long run, so it might very well be worth it.
 

RickP

Gold Member
Why is it Mapex owners ( and I am stereotyping here folks) seem to need constant validation that they made the right choice buying a Mapex kit ?
Mapex makes fine drums , the Saturn series are great drums and I am not adding the “for the price” phrase that seems to be constantly bandied about .
if a set of drums ticks off all the boxes for you, you can afford it , sounds good and is reliable then who the heck cares what other drummers think .

I have been accused of being a gear snob n occasion because I have some expensive kits . i own these kits because they sound good to me , they have features I like and I could afford them .
I play at least 8 gigs a month ( including now during the pandemic). I play drums I want to play and to be honest I don’t care who plays the same brands or who likes my drums or not .

I have owned a ton of different drum brands from budget to Uber expensive . Drums speak differently to different drummers .Play what you like , don’t obsess about what other drummers/people think of your kit. An experienced drummer can make most any kit sound acceptable and good .

We all have our opinions on various drum brands , some of us are more experienced with various brands and should offer up information in our experiences in a respectful manner . Don’t belittle someone for their choice in a new drum purchase but instead be excited for them .

Ultimately we can ask for advice on a potential drum purchase but the buyer needs to buy what they like , not what someone says or what some name drummer uses . Make your own decision and buy what you like .
 
Ok, so on "real terms" as you say, what is the ceiling (price point) that no one should cross when buying a new set of drums? Should I be satisfied with asian birch or asian maple or is it OK for me to want higher quality scandinavian birch and N Amer maple? Are you saying there's no difference and I'm wasting my money? What if I want a beech snare or whole beech kit? You take your point down to what I too consider to be junk/baloney wood kits but I also think that same reasoning can be applied to kits over say $2200-3000. My point is that there is a difference between manufacturers' products on the high end as well. It's OK to be a discerning consumer of high quality products in that many have features that make them worth the extra dough.

All that said, you will have to pry my 2nd hand Gretsch Renowns from my cold, dead hands !! ;)
So my direct answer to your question - if it’s for the kit - 3 toms and kick drum only , I would say that anymore than 2500 would be the purchase of what I would call an over priced kit. Especially when you look at what many kits are Already on the market for far less than that. And very similar in spec.
 
Why is it Mapex owners ( and I am stereotyping here folks) seem to need constant validation that they made the right choice buying a Mapex kit ?
Mapex makes fine drums , the Saturn series are great drums and I am not adding the “for the price” phrase that seems to be constantly bandied about .
if a set of drums ticks off all the boxes for you, you can afford it , sounds good and is reliable then who the heck cares what other drummers think .

I have been accused of being a gear snob n occasion because I have some expensive kits . i own these kits because they sound good to me , they have features I like and I could afford them .
I play at least 8 gigs a month ( including now during the pandemic). I play drums I want to play and to be honest I don’t care who plays the same brands or who likes my drums or not .

I have owned a ton of different drum brands from budget to Uber expensive . Drums speak differently to different drummers .Play what you like , don’t obsess about what other drummers/people think of your kit. An experienced drummer can make most any kit sound acceptable and good .

We all have our opinions on various drum brands , some of us are more experienced with various brands and should offer up information in our experiences in a respectful manner . Don’t belittle someone for their choice in a new drum purchase but instead be excited for them .

Ultimately we can ask for advice on a potential drum purchase but the buyer needs to buy what they like , not what someone says or what some name drummer uses . Make your own decision and buy what you like .
We all live to our means don’t we. I set myself the emotional budget of £2500 for a kit. I could have brought that ‘cheaper’ kit , but I would have lived on thinking what I could have had if I spent the extra. Now I know what I have , now that I have spent the extra , I am now interesting on what I can get with a more ‘affordable’ name. This is not to say I am unhappy with my yammy, and I am certainly not looking to sell it. I allow most of my expendable income to go on drums , and my main focus on saving money on the kit is to get more cymbals and hardware!! And that’s a whole other conversation !
 
Two quick points here.

Point 1: Regardless of how nice the Chinese Yamaha factory is, they never passed any of the savings on labor they enjoyed on to the consumer. That's a deal breaker for me with regard to ever wanting to buy a Yamaha kit. That and I find their stuff to be kind of sterile too. No soul. YMMV

Point 2: Mapex's Chinese factory is ISO 9001 certified which I guess is a good thing. i.e. not a sweat shop. Name and badge notwithstanding, they make pretty nice drums at a price point that seems to be a true reflection of how and where the drums are made.
This is the thing ! Drum companies over the years have shifted manufacturing. Those savings are never passed on to their customers. Instead they eat up the bigger profit Margin! If they didn’t gain out of it they wouldn’t bother moving in the first place. These companies will tell you they’re honest companies for the players - but at the top of them all there’s a man who’s only interest is BUISNESS.
 
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