DW Drums from a Non-DW Player's Perspective

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
That's a SUPER THICK Sonor kit...and a very thin maple kit....... you gotta go play a thicker Sonor kit for yourself.. but they don't really come across to well IMO.. on a drum video..

Here is a thinner Sonor kit:

What? They don't record well? Sign me up for a set of those!! LOL All kidding aside, the Sonor drums are great. Not for me though. My point is that some of the people here talk shit about DW like it's a fashion statement. To say they sound like cardboard is idiotic. Well, the world is full of idiots. LOL

That said, some members here have given honest and well written reviews, and I for one encourage it. It may help some one make a more informed future purchase.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
It's all about marketing and not necessarily a superior product........similar to Harley Davidson.
I just don't buy into the marketing BS. In fact, it's a bit insulting to anyone with any knowledge about how a drum works.
Yeah, Over zealous marketing. Stage Custom. Tour Custom. Recording Custom, Custom Custom. What is custom about these sweat shop specials?

I'll never buy a Yamaha. Geeze, I forgot. I do own a MCAN. Another custom. LOL
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
What? They don't record well? Sign me up for a set of those!! LOL All kidding aside, the Sonor drums are great. Not for me though. My point is that some of the people here talk shit about DW like it's a fashion statement. To say they sound like cardboard is idiotic. Well, the world is full of idiots. LOL

That said, some members here have given honest and well written reviews, and I for one encourage it. It may help some one make a more informed future purchase.
FYI: the black/yellow tribal stripe kit is a birch kit. You're comparing Beech vs Maple in the first set of videos. Apples and Oranges. Like I said previously, if you're gonna go all "inferiority complex" on us, keep your DWs and buy a Mapex kit like I did. 🤣 (y):cool:

I totally agree with you on the Yamaha marketing. How 'bout Pearl? Holy shiite! How many syllables do you need to spit out the names of some of their lines? How many different ranges do they have? :unsure:
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Here's that pic of my DW's.

Believe me when I tell you they look much darker green in real life. My apple phone camera doesn't capture the actual color the human eye sees...at least with these drums. I'm looking at the picture and then looking at the drums and there's a big difference.
 

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TK-421

Senior Member
From a 30+ year drummer and sound guy on DW Collectors 100% maple.

Sound:
Very focused! You get the attack, then the note and then it's gone. None of the juicy overtones rolling around that jazz guys usually insist on. The ultra focused sound works great on kicks and snares when you want to rock (or country) but the toms are always sort of dead sounding. The toms also don't carry very well in acoustic settings but can sound pretty darn good with a mic on them. You can't really go wrong with a good 100% maple kit but hating DW is more about what they don't do than what they do. You can take a different maple kit at half the price and get it to sound like or even better than (frankly) DW's but you can't make DW's sound like anything but DW's. Once you buy it you're stuck with it. The DW kit I worked on at my last backline company always had problems getting the toms to sound cohesive. Often the 10" would sound like it was from a completely different kit than the 12".

Hardware:
This is where my hate for DW really sets in. The thing is I like my back much better when I don't blow it out on stupid, pointlessly heavy hardware. DW is well known for exceedingly overbuilt hardware and a pricetag to match. You get 10 options on a stand when you only need 2 and it's sold to you, including the extra weight and overall pain-in-the-a** of all that pointless stuff, as "inovation"! If you have a roadie loading it for you then who cares? Right? But if you're hauling it yourself then save your back and your bank. I also had problems with the tom mounts rubbing up against a couple tension rods making tunning more challenging than need be but maybe DW has fixed this since the production of that kit.

Particularly for the price there's a lot that DW's don't do for me.

Check out the Late Night w/David Letterman Drum solo series and compare Sheila E's flappy DW drum sound (in heels! Hell yeah!) to the well rounded sound of Gavin Harrison's Sonor's (not in heels! Sorry Gavin). World of difference between the two!

Adding another DW kit from David Letterman's Drum Solo Week to the mix. This time Neil's Time Machine Kit. Unlike Sheila E's DW, you can't accuse this one of being out of tune or undertuned. But I honestly can't stand his boingy tom sounds. And frankly, I can't stand that clangy ride either. And I'm not hating on Neil—after all, he was a big part of why I became a drummer way back when. But I've never liked the way his kits have sounded after making the switch to DW and Sabian. Compare that to how his Tama/Zildjian kit sounds on Moving Pictures (which is one of my all-time favorite kit sounds), and it's night and day.

 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Here's that pic of my DW's.

Believe me when I tell you they look much darker green in real life. My apple phone camera doesn't capture the actual color the human eye sees...at least with these drums. I'm looking at the picture and then looking at the drums and there's a big difference.
Gorgeous kit, even if the color isn’t true to life.
 

J-W

Well-known member
Yeah, Over zealous marketing. Stage Custom. Tour Custom. Recording Custom, Custom Custom. What is custom about these sweat shop specials?

I'll never buy a Yamaha. Geeze, I forgot. I do own a MCAN. Another custom. LOL
Steady there, Freddy. It seems I've struck a nerve. But saying DW haters hate because they can't afford them is like saying DW fanatics only love them to justify the fact they paid too much. Neither makes sense. I'm not saying DW drums are crap, by any means. They can sound good and they can sound bad, just like any other drum. In fact, they sound like drums. Period. And there is far more to marketing than just what you name your line of drums. The "over zealous marketing" (your words), that I'm referring to is the BS about "timbre matching" and ply direction and "bog oak", etc... If those things really mattered in the real world, then other manufacturers would have followed suit, but they know better and they also know that their customers know better. John Good is a good salesman, but so were snake-oil salesmen of the 1800's.
That being said, I will say that they do have an outstanding selection of custom options and finishes. But I'm not going to buy diagonal ply, bubinga, timbre matched shells in a gloss to satin fade finish kit with any expectation that they'll sound better, deeper, have more sustain, resonance, or more attack than a wrapped shell by any other manufacturer....... especially if I plan to play in a musical setting. DW sells boutique shells and nothing more, but the shell plays such a small part in the drum's overall sound (again, especially in a musical setting), that I'm not terribly interested in paying that much of a premium for it's looks when other manufacturers make drums that, in my opinon, look just as nice and sound just as nice. Your opinion may differ, and that's great. Otherwise we'd all be playing the same kits and we would have absolutely nothing to discuss here.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Here's that pic of my DW's.

Believe me when I tell you they look much darker green in real life. My apple phone camera doesn't capture the actual color the human eye sees...at least with these drums. I'm looking at the picture and then looking at the drums and there's a big difference.
Love the finish...even if the pic doesn’t do it justice. Are you tempted to set them up and take them for a spin after all this DW talk?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yea I have the house to myself this weekend. I have 2 kits set up in my studio already. I might set the DW's up as a "drums only" type setup. I have another rack and floor tom not shown as well.

Side by side comparison with walnut Guru's...again same class, just a different, more trebly delivery. Same sustain, same quality of tone. Just brighter.
 

J-W

Well-known member
Drums sound like drums but for what it's worth, my Gretsch kit sounds different compared to any other kit I've played, and I have played MANY.

I would buy a DW kit and probably will one day.
I believe you. But are they the same sizes/depths, heads/tuning and in the same room as all the other kits you've played? Just curious.

I would buy a DW kit someday as well, if I came across one to flip. I have what I need and am happy with it. Thankfully.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I believe you. But are they the same sizes/depths, heads/tuning and in the same room as all the other kits you've played? Just curious.
I'm not a professional reviewer so in most cases no, but most recently - yes. I took down my new (January 2020) Stage Custom Birch kit and setup my new (June 2020) Renown RN2 kit in their place and tuned them identically using a Tune-Bot. The difference was very apparent.

I'm borrowing terms here but I would characterize the Gretsch sound as 'rounder' and 'wetter' than anything else I've played. The Yamaha Live Customs come close but they're still different.

The Stage Customs sound good mind you, but they're more 'attack-y' and 'tubular' sounding than the Renowns. I set them up in a different room in the house and my love affair with them continues.

I get your point, of course, but I think that Gretsch's 30 degree bearing edges, 5-lug rack toms and 302 hoops all add up to a different enough aural experience to say that they have a sound all of their own.
 

J-W

Well-known member
I'm not a professional reviewer so in most cases no, but most recently - yes. I took down my new (January 2020) Stage Custom Birch kit and setup my new (June 2020) Renown RN2 kit in their place and tuned them identically using a Tune-Bot. The difference was very apparent.

I'm borrowing terms here but I would characterize the Gretsch sound as 'rounder' and 'wetter' than anything else I've played. The Yamaha Live Customs come close but they're still different.

The Stage Customs sound good mind you, but they're more 'attack-y' and 'tubular' sounding than the Renowns. I set them up in a different room in the house and my love affair with them continues.

I get your point, of course, but I think that Gretsch's 30 degree bearing edges, 5-lug rack toms and 302 hoops all add up to a different enough aural experience to say that they have a sound all of their own.
Again, I totally believe you. I don't want to turn this into a "$hit on other people's drums" thing at all, as that is not my intention. It's just that in my experience I have found that, while drums can and do sound different than each other, in the end the subtle nuances attained by the shell differences (touted by DW) get lost in the mix with other instruments or are insignificant once mic'd and processed.
What has confirmed that, for me, is that when I recorded drums to the same tracks with two different kits (Yamaha Recording Custom & Ludwig Classic Maple), which sounded different by themselves, I found that the difference really didn't matter once mixed in with the rest of the tracks. I've also experienced the same in live situations. I've heard more than one CB700 kit sound fantastic and even better once mic'd and through a PA.
My point here is that you don't need rare, exotic woods with the grains oriented in certain directions and tapped on to distinguish which note the shell is going to project the best in order to get a good drum sound. THAT's the marketing ploy I don't buy into. DW drums are good, if not great drums, no doubt, but their claims are a bit off-putting to me personally.
I'm not knocking the drums themselves. Like I said, if I didn't already have the kit that fits my needs and wants right now, I would buy a DW kit if they checked all the boxes and the deal was right. But, while I think John Good's passion for drums is commendable, I also feel that many of his claims are misleading or at best, exaggerated.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Got this one today, Walnut edges, maple center. each section is steam bent. The wood is compressed before bending. No one else dose this. Is it hype? LOL Nope, They do sound different then regular steam bent. Kinda between wood and metal drums. Very bright, This is my second one like this. I have an all walnut one too. Is it a sound everyone will like? Beats me.
 

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J-W

Well-known member
Got this one today, Walnut edges, maple center. each section is steam bent. The wood is compressed before bending. No one else dose this. Is it hype? LOL Nope, They do sound different then regular steam bent. Kinda between wood and metal drums. Very bright, This is my second one like this. I have an all walnut one too. Is it a sound everyone will like? Beats me.

Regardless of sound, it's absolutely beautiful!

Was the water used to make the steam from a natural spring found high in the Rocky Mountains though? I've heard that sounds even better. ;)
Just bustin' balls. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I'm not a fan of those lugs, but those really are nice looking drums.
 
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