Considering a new Pearl kit

LeftyDoug

Senior Member
Well, here I am looking at buying another kit again. To be honest I am not really sure why and I already have a couple of really nice kits. I have been gigging and recording with my DW performance kit for the last few years. I felt a bit tired of them and decided to pull my Ebony Renowns out of storage and gig with them this year (what gigs we do end up having or not. So far that has been 3 for the year). I fell back in love with my Gretch kit after that first gig with them but I have a terrible itch for a set of Pearl drums and I cannot seem to shake it. It started with a set of Session Studio Selects. I am a birch guy at heart and the mahogany on the shell interiors is just really sweet for looks and sound. Then I noticed a killer deal on a set of Reference Pure drums for almost the same price. Wow, a real set of top tier drums. Then I saw the Gearfest deals on the Masters Maple Complete and after watching a ton of videos on all of these kits, the MCT seems to be the most consistent and killer sounding on the YT videos that I have watched. I am planning on selling a couple of the kits that I know I can live without. Time to let someone else enjoy them. I have been really blessed to be able to enjoy all of these kits and I really need to trim down my collection.

I think the Session Selects are the best deal but I can't get over the sound of the MCT kits. I am also a little worried about the Sessions Selects sounding a bit dead after getting used to maple kits for so long. I'm looking for some opinions so let me know what you think. I am not too far from Sweetwater so I may call my rep and see if I can come over there and try both of those kits out. It's about a three hour drive but I was gonna pick the kit up there anyhow.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
My kit is a Session Studio Select. I love the birch/African mahogany combination. The Sessions are extremely well made all around. It's quite possible that they'll be the only series I'll purchase for the remainder of my days as a drummer. That goes for Session snare drums as well.

I've owned two Masters maple kits. Both were excellent, of course. Everyone seems to gravitate toward maple. That could be one reason I've developed an affinity for birch/African mahogany. I sometimes enjoy defying the tide rather than allowing it to sweep me away.

You can't go wrong with anything Pearl makes. Good luck settling on a kit.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think you should upgrade to the Reference Pures. You already have two intermediate kits with the Performance and Renown. I say step up, especially if it doesn’t cost you more. Then you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner 😉
 

roncadillac

Member
I have very little experience with pearl's high end stuff but I am a recent pearl convert who absolutely LOVES his midtown kit. If that little sub-$1000 poplar banger can rip so hard and sound so fantastic then it's a safe assumption you will get your money's worth on something 'pro' level with their name on it.

If I ever decide to spend a 'few' bucks on a nicer kit I could see myself really being at home on a crystal beat. 20" kick, 12" and 14" concert toms... Mmmmmmmmm
 

LeftyDoug

Senior Member
My kit is a Session Studio Select. I love the birch/African mahogany combination. The Sessions are extremely well made all around. It's quite possible that they'll be the only series I'll purchase for the remainder of my days as a drummer. That goes for Session snare drums as well.

I've owned two Masters maple kits. Both were excellent, of course. Everyone seems to gravitate toward maple. That could be one reason I've developed an affinity for birch/African mahogany. I sometimes enjoy defying the tide rather than allowing it to sweep me away.

You can't go wrong with anything Pearl makes. Good luck settling on a kit.
I appreciate the reply. I used to have a love/hate relationship with all maple kits and I had two of them that I eventually got rid of, but when I bought the Renowns they just sounded a lot better to me. I kind of lucked into my DWs and I will probably never sell that kit due to recording I've done with it and I really do like the way they sound. Like I said I am really a birch guy at heart and I also have a set of Japanese Tama Starclassic birch Performers that just sound good no matter what room they are in. It's just time for something a little different. The only thing I don't really like on the Pearl kits are the tom mounts and it's not because I don't think they are good and sturdy or anything. They just don't work with any of the hardware that I currently have so I'm going to end up buying one or two tom stands to go with the kit.

Just out of curiosity, what finish did you end up going with on your Session Studio Select kit? I keep ending up back at the Anitique Crimson Burst.
 

LeftyDoug

Senior Member
I think you should upgrade to the Reference Pures. You already have two intermediate kits with the Performance and Renown. I say step up, especially if it doesn’t cost you more. Then you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner 😉

This was exactly my thinking on the Reference kit. My only turn off is that if I ever want to add any toms they are freaking pricey. I try to buy three up/ two down kits just for the option to take out what I want to use for a gig. Very seldom do I take an entire 7pc kit out for a gig. This particular kit is a four piece 10/12/16/22 and the toms are all hanging toms.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
This was exactly my thinking on the Reference kit. My only turn off is that if I ever want to add any toms they are freaking pricey. I try to buy three up/ two down kits just for the option to take out what I want to use for a gig. Very seldom do I take an entire 7pc kit out for a gig. This particular kit is a four piece 10/12/16/22 and the toms are all hanging toms.
My Session Studio Select snare (14x5.5) is in natural birch finish. Its badge appears in my forum photo ID. The rest of the kit (a four-piece setup with the mounted tom in a snare stand) is in white marine pearl. I'm about to get a backup Session snare (same dimensions) in barnwood brown.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
This was exactly my thinking on the Reference kit. My only turn off is that if I ever want to add any toms they are freaking pricey. I try to buy three up/ two down kits just for the option to take out what I want to use for a gig. Very seldom do I take an entire 7pc kit out for a gig. This particular kit is a four piece 10/12/16/22 and the toms are all hanging toms.
Cool. I’m not sure I dig hanging 16” toms either. And yeah, adding drums is expensive and if it’s a lacquer, you’ll have to wait 6-8 months. But the quality level is definitely worth it and you won’t have to worry about the kit not being able to handle anything you might want to play with it. Maybe if you wait for a configuration you like to come along. I definitely wouldn’t move sideways from what you already have.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I have very little experience with pearl's high end stuff but I am a recent pearl convert who absolutely LOVES his midtown kit. If that little sub-$1000 poplar banger can rip so hard and sound so fantastic then it's a safe assumption you will get your money's worth on something 'pro' level with their name on it.

If I ever decide to spend a 'few' bucks on a nicer kit I could see myself really being at home on a crystal beat. 20" kick, 12" and 14" concert toms... Mmmmmmmmm
The Crystal Beats look nice. I've never played them, but they get good reviews.
 

roncadillac

Member
The Crystal Beats look nice. I've never played them, but they get good reviews.
A Sam Ash store near me had the Crystal Beat 20x15/12x8/14x13 configuration in clear as an open box for around $900 for awhile, it was listed as 'open box' but for conversation sake it was new. It was very difficult to not buy it and I almost regret not doing so.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
A Sam Ash store near me had the Crystal Beat 20x15/12x8/14x13 configuration in clear as an open box for around $900 for awhile, it was listed as 'open box' but for conversation sake it was new. It was very difficult to not buy it and I almost regret not doing so.
What would be cool is if you could get orphan crystal beats and build up a jellybean kit. That would be fun.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
A Sam Ash store near me had the Crystal Beat 20x15/12x8/14x13 configuration in clear as an open box for around $900 for awhile, it was listed as 'open box' but for conversation sake it was new. It was very difficult to not buy it and I almost regret not doing so.
There are some great open-box deals out there, and the merchandise is still brand new. That's how I got my current bass pedal, a Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive, at a considerable discount. Truth be told, though it's a good pedal, it's so overwrought with adjustments and other features I don't need that I'm considering selling it and dropping down to a basic Pearl Demonator. Bells and whistles can be more of a burden than a blessing.
 

roncadillac

Member
There are some great open-box deals out there, and the merchandise is still brand new. That's how I got my current bass pedal, a Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive, at a considerable discount. Truth be told, though it's a good pedal, it's so overwrought with adjustments and other features I don't need that I'm considering selling it and dropping down to a basic Pearl Demonator. Bells and whistles can be more of a burden than a blessing.
Well said, I agree.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
I don't have any experience with the Studio Select.
I have the Pures and often play on the MCT. The MCT are a bit more boomy and flappy than the Pures which are really clean and round. Pures have the very nice Fat Tone hoops that give some articulation and still have an open sound.

If I preferred a Pinstripe or Coated Emperor sound, I would go for the MCT. The Coated Ambassadors work very well on the Pures. The edges of the MCT are standard 45º. The Pures are back cut on toms and round over on floors and bass, which takes a little of the flappiness away and gives a little more articulation in lower tunings.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Hi Lefty
This past few months, I had a chance to get a masters maple in red vermillion sparkle not once, but twice. I never owned a maple kit and always dreamed of a masters kit with gold hardware (and/or a mid 90s era sessions in teal mist lacquer) from Pearl since my childhood.
I played on a Ludwig classic maple a few years back and didn’t really like the focus/sensitivity of the drums. Though I still want to give them a try as well, but...

I ultimately have ordered from the factory through GC, a session select 5 piece shell pack in black halo glitter a lacquer finish. The thing that sold me on these are that they are 6 ply masters grade shells. Moreover, I like the attack and response of birch. This series includes 2 inner plies (I think), of mahogany for lower frequencies; and I have 3 pieces apart from the shell pack (will be 8 pieces in total) and so far I like the sound and look inside and out. I have the cs dots (top) and ambassadors (bottom) waiting to give them an offensive boost.

*What I also did was....(I can’t say though I really want to, stay tuned).*
 
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cfen

Member
I just picked up a new Pearl Masters Maple complete at $1,500 brand new from Sweetwater. It was a deal they had for the holiday and not sure if it’s still going.

to be honest I had some of the same thoughts as you. I watched a YouTube video by Portsmouth Drum Shop (I think) that had four different Masters sets in stock. The Birch/Mahogany and Maple kits sound VERY similar, however that’s still a good reference to check out.

I wouldn’t get a used reference kit unless it came exactly to my specs. I know id want to upgrade and add on drums at some point and it would bug me if there was even the slightest bit of non-uniformity because the drums were made at different times instead of together. Not likely to happen with Pearl, but that’s something I’ve always thought about. I’d do a new Reference if going that route.
 

LeftyDoug

Senior Member
Hi Lefty
This past few months, I had a chance to get a masters maple in red vermillion sparkle not once, but twice. I never owned a maple kit and always dreamed of a masters kit with gold hardware (and/or a mid 90s era sessions in teal mist lacquer) from Pearl since my childhood.
I played on a Ludwig classic maple a few years back and didn’t really like the focus/sensitivity of the drums. Though I still want to give them a try as well, but...

I ultimately have ordered from the factory through GC, a session select 5 piece shell pack in black halo glitter a lacquer finish. The thing that sold me on these are that they are 6 ply masters grade shells. Moreover, I like the attack and response of birch. This series includes 2 inner plies (I think), of mahogany for lower frequencies; and I have 3 pieces apart from the shell pack (will be 8 pieces in total) and so far I like the sound and look inside and out. I have the cs dots (top) and ambassadors (bottom) waiting to give them an offensive boost.

*What I also did was....(I can’t say though I really want to, stay tuned).*
Awesome. There is a video on Youtube with a set of Session Selects that have CS dots over clear Ambassadors and that is one of the videos that kind of sold me on these drums. The toms have such a great cut and tone and the floor toms have great low end to them. I think the Session Selects are what I am leaning towards for a lot of reasons. Sound, construction, price and add-on toms are just great for that series. Thank you for your insight!

I just picked up a new Pearl Masters Maple complete at $1,500 brand new from Sweetwater. It was a deal they had for the holiday and not sure if it’s still going.

to be honest I had some of the same thoughts as you. I watched a YouTube video by Portsmouth Drum Shop (I think) that had four different Masters sets in stock. The Birch/Mahogany and Maple kits sound VERY similar, however that’s still a good reference to check out.

I wouldn’t get a used reference kit unless it came exactly to my specs. I know id want to upgrade and add on drums at some point and it would bug me if there was even the slightest bit of non-uniformity because the drums were made at different times instead of together. Not likely to happen with Pearl, but that’s something I’ve always thought about. I’d do a new Reference if going that route.
I saw these kits shortly after they were posted and if I could have bought that maple/mahogany kit, well I wouldn't be talking about these other kits right now. That was a great video and all of those kits are a killer deal.
 

LeftyDoug

Senior Member
I don't have any experience with the Studio Select.
I have the Pures and often play on the MCT. The MCT are a bit more boomy and flappy than the Pures which are really clean and round. Pures have the very nice Fat Tone hoops that give some articulation and still have an open sound.

If I preferred a Pinstripe or Coated Emperor sound, I would go for the MCT. The Coated Ambassadors work very well on the Pures. The edges of the MCT are standard 45º. The Pures are back cut on toms and round over on floors and bass, which takes a little of the flappiness away and gives a little more articulation in lower tunings.

That's a great review of those two kits. I have been using coated ambassadors for quite awhile but my Renowns currently have colortone emperors on them. I like the emperors but they are a bit boomy for me. Really keen to check out a set of CS dots since I have never used them.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Awesome. There is a video on Youtube with a set of Session Selects that have CS dots over clear Ambassadors and that is one of the videos that kind of sold me on these drums. The toms have such a great cut and tone and the floor toms have great low end to them. I think the Session Selects are what I am leaning towards for a lot of reasons.
Was it this video? This is what sold me as well.
My kit is the same color and configuration, except I have a 13” for it and the matching snare. I think Christian talks about using either a reference or master snare.
The cut the 8” has oh my god, that thing is like a crack of thunder.
 
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