DW Drums from a Non-DW Player's Perspective

I am a non DW player (I own a Collectors maple snare that doesn't get a ton of use). I feel like people love to hate on DW but I don't see why. They are fantastic drums. The performance series is priced similarly to other drums in its league (Saturn, Starclassic ect) and the Collectors is priced higher due to endless options available. So why the hate? Just silly and ridiculous.

BTW, there are pretty much no drums sold these days over the $600 mark that sound bad or "like cardboard".
Not so much "hate" as befuddlement as to why these drums fetch such a premium and are so sought after. Whether a drum sounds like cardbord or not is dependent on a variety of factors. Player. Room. Head selection. Tuning. I'm not saying DW toms sound like cardboard due to any inherent design of the shells or hardware. But I am rarely impressed when I hear them live or on recordings. This is a consistent feature of these drums that I have noticed. It might have a lot to do with the stock heads. But, they also seem to choke out rather quickly, adding to the sense that they sound one-demensional, flat, and, well, like cardboard. All subjective, though.
 

Destroyer772

Gold Member
DW Collectors was my dream kit till I met Mapex Saturn Exotic. But when it comes to option's and hardware DW does sit on top of the hill.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
I think that DW sound people dislike is due to the DW batter heads they come with. Switch the heads out to something to your liking and they'll do anything you want sound wise. I recently got to
Play a collectors set with G2 batters and they sounded fantastic.

I'd love to hear one of the collectors cherry kits in person.
This has been my experience as well. Currently own 1 DW kit...sold three other DW kits. In each case, swapping out the stock heads for some clear Emperors (or coated ambassadors) over clear Ambassadors. They sound great with good aftermarket heads.

I find it strange that the universally accepted pure garbage Remo UT heads have the same 'features' as the DW heads: crimped hoop (not glued) with very shallow collars. Probably different mylar....but I am highly suspicious of this.

Could it be...the "special" Remo made, DW branded heads are actually UT quality ?
 

BenjaminCamelot

Senior Member
I never cared for DW at all when I started out but later on, I started taking more pride in them to put it that way. After I went to the DW Factory Tour last July, I was absolutely stunned by how the drums there are made and how they sound of course. Best part is that my ultimate hero, Neil Peart plays them so I can probably feel like Neil behind a DW setup.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
They offer drummer endless options and price accordingly, and they make incredible drums.

If you are prejudiced against a certain brand, should that not be named brandism ?

Overall rejection of an entire brand just seems strange to me.

pdp, design, performance, all flawless kits. And now all of that great gretsch sound under the same roof. I am about to trade a usa custom kit for a live custom and some cash, so it's all relative now is it not ?

This one and the other similar thread just makes me buy a rebellious dw kit.

Most of all, they are just drums.
 

Ekim

Silver Member
I am not a DW player (except for some hardware).

Most DW drums I've hit in person are too resonant for my liking. I like a more staccato note from all of my drums, which is why I love my vintage birch Tama Superstars. Some folks love to have their drums resonate forever. That's not me.

Their snares rings WAY too much for my liking, too. I attended a clinic with John Good and Billy Ward demo'd a ton of DW snares. My favorite was the copper because the tone sounded woody and metally (sic) at the same time.

I won that DW copper snare at the end of the night in a raffle. I sold it before too long because I could not tune out that ring without dampening the thing. I don't miss it.

But DW makes the best-looking kits out there. No question in my mind. Their finishes are insanely-good. Beautiful and innovative.

And as a drummer, the thing I most appreciate about DW:

They seem to ALWAYS be pushing the art of drum-making forward. Nothing seems settled or sacred. Like PRS guitars, they re-make and re-imagine a lot of things the industry seems to take for granted. Has any other company brought forward as many innovations as DW? It doesn't seem like it to me.

So I am really glad they exist. They stir things up and push the competition to do ever-better.

I just really hope I never find out I love the X- or Vertical-grain birch or cherry series... I'll go broke buying a matching kit with 20 pieces...
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Two simultaneous DW hate threads in the same week. Sweet, sell me your boxy sounding drums and we'll all be happier. :)
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
I am not a DW player (except for some hardware).

Most DW drums I've hit in person are too resonant for my liking. I like a more staccato note from all of my drums, which is why I love my vintage birch Tama Superstars. Some folks love to have their drums resonate forever. That's not me.

Their snares rings WAY too much for my liking, too. I attended a clinic with John Good and Billy Ward demo'd a ton of DW snares. My favorite was the copper because the tone sounded woody and metally (sic) at the same time.

I won that DW copper snare at the end of the night in a raffle. I sold it before too long because I could not tune out that ring without dampening the thing. I don't miss it.

But DW makes the best-looking kits out there. No question in my mind. Their finishes are insanely-good. Beautiful and innovative.

And as a drummer, the thing I most appreciate about DW:

They seem to ALWAYS be pushing the art of drum-making forward. Nothing seems settled or sacred. Like PRS guitars, they re-make and re-imagine a lot of things the industry seems to take for granted. Has any other company brought forward as many innovations as DW? It doesn't seem like it to me.

So I am really glad they exist. They stir things up and push the competition to do ever-better.

I just really hope I never find out I love the X- or Vertical-grain birch or cherry series... I'll go broke buying a matching kit with 20 pieces...
I applaud DW more for their savy marketing practices than for the innovations they've allegedly brought to the industry. Many of those DW "innovations" are merely marketing gimmicks. We've discussed these over the years so I don't want to resurrect that debate. Back to marketing, it is the allure that DW is somehow an elite brand which drummers have bought into, allowing them to charge what they do. Someone has to pay for that stable of endorsers.

My DW drums sound great, at least as well as the high end lines of most other major drum manufacturers. My snare is particularly noteworthy. Their exotic finishes are extraordinary but what a premium for those veneers! They even do graphic finishes extremely well (pic of my rack tom). My kit sat in a drum shop for a year, waiting for someone to fall for an admittedly polarizing finish. When the price came down significantly, it was too good a price for a new Collector's kit to pass up. When push comes to shove though, I'm reaching first for the Guru or Tama kits. The DWs are kept at the warehouse where one of my bands rehearses.
 

Attachments

As others have implied, setting aside the toms (maybe stock heads?), it's not so much that DW aren't quality drums. They are at least as good as any other quality ply drum out there. But, it's what else is out there for around the same price (or just a little more) that draws into question the comparative value of DW. I'm not talking about personal preference. People who prefer DW will buy DW. That's great. But, there are now solid shell kits nipping at DW's Collectors series price point. Again, subjective--sound wise. But, DW has somehow managed to infuse their ply drums with a mystique that prompts drummers to throw down the big bucks for their ply kits and pass on some of the other arguably superior designs.

That's what this thread is about. Asking the question of how much of the DW mojo is marketing. I think there is a bit of confirmation bias when someone throws down $3-$5k on a ply kit. From someone who is not smitten with the mystique, it seems like a rip off. Same can be said for Gretsch USA and other high dollar ply kits that fetch a premium largely because of the mystique crested by all the marketing hype.
 

R2112

Silver Member
From a DW owner. IMO...

DW Sonically = overpriced - DW drums don't sound bad. There's just too many other drums that sound just the same as DW but for less money.

DW Customization Options = appropriately priced - DW will build you virtually whatever you want. Only limited by your imagination and the fit and finish will be outstanding. However, that level of finish options and customization comes with an appropriately high price. If you wanted dust from the moon to be sprinkled throughout the finish of the shell. I'm pretty sure John Good would find a way to make it happen........and convince you that it would make the drum sonically exquisite lol. Just look at where DW is today. John Good is a marketing genius. No question.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
From a DW owner. IMO...

DW Sonically = overpriced - DW drums don't sound bad. There's just too many other drums that sound just the same as DW but for less money.

DW Customization Options = appropriately priced - DW will build you virtually whatever you want. Only limited by your imagination and the fit and finish will be outstanding. However, that level of finish options and customization comes with an appropriately high price. If you wanted dust from the moon to be sprinkled throughout the finish of the shell. I'm pretty sure John Good would find a way to make it happen........and convince you that it would make the drum sonically exquisite lol. Just look at where DW is today. John Good is a marketing genius. No question.
I just wish they'd do a solid-shell kit like their snare drums. What an interesting experiment that would be, hmm?
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I have a very limited experience with DW drums. As for sound, I remember playing a collectors kit kit at a gig once and liked it quite well. The ones I've lightly tried out in the stores sounded just fine too. It's the lugs that I really don't like. they just don't look good to me. Now the price. Yes over priced. All of the high end kits are over priced. There is not 1 to 2 thousand dollars quality difference between the mid line kits and upper line kits. A dollar has a different worth to each person. So the price is very much a personable opinion. To me the top of the line is not worth the price.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Again, subjective--sound wise.
In all due respect, you stated many times in many threads that it is subjective. Given this absolute truth, there is no point for negative hate on a drum company or its marketing. Some people like the sound of DW drums and like buying them
Think about it - at some point these kinds of discussions verge on insulting those who own and use the drums.
 
Last edited:

BenjaminCamelot

Senior Member
Think about it - at some point these kinds of discussions verge on insulting those who own and use the drums.
I can see a little bit of that starting to come out more nowadays on here. Honestly, if you don't like this brand or that brand, then don't waste your time bashing it because it won't get you anywhere in life to put it that way.
 
In all due respect, you stated many times in many threads that it is subjective. Given this absolute truth, there is no point for negative hate on a drum company or its marketing. Some people like the sound of DW drums and like buying them
Think about it - at some point these kinds of discussions verge on insulting those who own and use the drums.
If you take it to be an insult, it's probably more you than me. I have said several times it is all subjective to acknowledge the point that people who find value in DW drums because they like them are perfectly justified in their decision. I spend money on things all the time that others don't find value in. It doesn't matter, because I find value in them.

My larger point here is that us drummers have a lot of marketing thrown at us in order to get us to buy the wares of drum makers. Take the Gretsch USA custom. It's got that "great Gretsch sound." 100+ years of drum making behind it. Your favorite drum hero might even play one. But in reality, a USA Custom is a Keller-made drum shell with the same Asian hardware you get with a Renown (except the bass drum claws). Someone basically painted the inside of a Keller maple/gum shell with silver paint, cut some 30 degree bearing edges on it, lacquered the outside and slapped a $3k+ price tag on it. Why would the average joe drummer pay that much when he or she now has the option of buying a perfectly playable and nice looking kit from any of the big drum makers (including Gretsch) for around $1k? Marketing. And in this thread, I question the marketing DW is putting out there, not the people who find value in DW and like to play and own them. Some people buy BMWs when a Toyota gets the job done. Life is short. Do and buy what you like.
 
I can see a little bit of that starting to come out more nowadays on here. Honestly, if you don't like this brand or that brand, then don't waste your time bashing it because it won't get you anywhere in life to put it that way.
There is a difference between bashing a brand and questioning the value of something that is being peddled to drummers for a lot of coin. It's not limited to DW for sure. This post was inspired by a recent experience I had with a DW collectors kit. I sat down behind it hoping to have that $3k experience. But, like every other time I have played or heard a DW, I was unimpressed. It just got me thinking "if these drums are all that a bottle of water, why do I consistently find them lacking?" This is a discussion board. We discuss things drum related. One thing we all deal with is constant marketing that actually makes it harder for us to understand the instrument we love to play and even harder to find the right gear. If DW is your thing, what do you care what I think about them? Bashing DW is not the point of this thread.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
But I am rarely impressed when I hear them live or on recordings. This is a consistent feature of these drums that I have noticed. It might have a lot to do with the stock heads. But, they also seem to choke out rather quickly, adding to the sense that they sound one-demensional, flat, and, well, like cardboard. All subjective, though.
Not really. The pros who use them and record them are right. DW drums are a proven, top quality professional instrument.
 
I have a very limited experience with DW drums. As for sound, I remember playing a collectors kit kit at a gig once and liked it quite well. The ones I've lightly tried out in the stores sounded just fine too. It's the lugs that I really don't like. they just don't look good to me. Now the price. Yes over priced. All of the high end kits are over priced. There is not 1 to 2 thousand dollars quality difference between the mid line kits and upper line kits. A dollar has a different worth to each person. So the price is very much a personable opinion. To me the top of the line is not worth the price.
That's the bigger point. When it comes to plywood drums, they're all just plywood tubes with lots of glue, bearing edges, hardware and drumheads. And they all sound good when a world class drummer playing through $10k work of outboard gear is demoing them for a promo video. Sure, there are different woods, different grain orientation etc. some have expensive lacquer finishes. Some are wrapped in plastic. How the drum companies get us to pay $3k+ for plywood drums is largely though marketing. I singled out DW in this post because I don't really like the way they sound and can't really see the vslue. But the same could be said for any of the high end ply drumsets with big price tags.
 
Last edited:

Thunder 42

Silver Member
There is a difference between bashing a brand and questioning the value of something that is being peddled to drummers for a lot of coin. It's not limited to DW for sure.

Bashing DW is not the point of this thread.
Right......

In my non-owning experience, I've played two sets of Collectors and decided I liked the sound and would own a set someday.

There are good deals, the patient and diligent buyer needs to find them, just like anything worth having, including other drums.
 
Top