Gretsch Renown & DW Performance: Why $$ Difference?

RobertM

Platinum Member
I know a lot of folks here love the Renowns, and a lot of folks seem more 50/50 about DW drums. The Performance kit appears to be a nice, quality set with wide tuning range/applicability, and the same is true of the Renowns.

So, why are the Performance drums so much more expensive? Is it simply because of being made in California versus Renowns in Taiwan? A bop 3-piece set of Renowns is roughly $1300 or bit more, but same setup in Performance is roughly $2100. That is a pretty stiff difference, especially when considering that Nolly and the guys at Drummer's Review gave the Renowns a pretty spotless review not too long ago (the RN2 kits with 302 hoops).
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
DW Design series would be a closer price to the Renown ..... but you can't get nearly the size choices with DW Design that the Gretsch Renown offers. One BIG reason the Renown's get suggested here, a lot.
 

jaymandude

Active Member
Fwiw. I had a student, a really good drummer btw shop for renowns and then finally forked over the money for a Brooklyn kit. I’m kind of biased cause I have high end stuff, but I don’t think the renown’s sound all that great. I think the design kits sound better.
 
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AzHeat

Platinum Member
I had a set of PDP MX series for near a decade. Wanted the performance series the moment I saw them. Just before I made a move on them I had a chance to play a set with the same heads as on my PDPs and I was like no way! I was gaining nothing by the move. They sounded and felt near identical. That’s not saying they are bad, but maybe how good the PDPs were. The renown’s sounded and felt different. Star classics too were amazing. In the end I settled on the Brooklyn set I have now.

It all comes down to what moves you. I thought it was the DW Performance for me, but it wasn’t.
 
The Dw’s are made in the same exact factory and on the same line as the collectors. They are just collector series drums with limited options. I saw them on the factory tour in Oxnard CA.

The renown is made in Taiwan by reliance for Gretsch. They use a sandwich of USA maple and Asian maple. They are great drums.

They both live in two different price points. If you like the way the renown’s sound then buy them and save a lot of money. DW’s are made in the USA and they cost spot more to produce.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I have a set of Renown RN2s and a set of DW Designs which are essentially DW Performance Series clones but built overseas at great savings.

They're both superb drum sets. The DWs epitomize what a maple drum kit should sound like and the Renowns have some kind of secret sauce that sets them apart in a highly competitive market. I give the edge to the Renowns but the DWs aren't far behind.

I would advise anyone who is considering a set of DW Performance Series to have a look at the Design Series first and see if you like the sizes and finish options on offer. If you do, you can get a set of drums that is materially nearly identical to the Performance Series but at substantial savings. You might even like the sound of the Design Series better.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I would advise anyone who is considering a set of DW Performance Series to have a look at the Design Series first and see if you like the sizes and finish options on offer. If you do, you can get a set of drums that is materially nearly identical to the Performance Series but at substantial savings. You might even like the sound of the Design Series better.

How are the Design nearly identical to the Performance if the Performance is nearly identical to the Collector's? I chose a Performance over Collector's specifically because the added cost of the Collector's endless custom options wasn't worth it to me. I didn't even consider the Design because that wouldn't have been enough of an upgrade from my Concept Maple to justify the purchase (which is NOT to say the Design isn't a very nice set).
 
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Drumdame

Silver Member
That ridiculous price difference does not justify the sound of those drums the renowns sound much better at half the price highway robbery I say.
I agree. My Gretch Renown Maple kit is the only drum kit that I ever had and I love it! Sounds great... especially after my son and I put the new heads on.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
The extra cost for the DW Performance Series is 110% because it was made in America. Sad to say, but it's the truth.

Side by side, both these kits will look, and feel high quality, despite the big price difference.

That being said, the Renowns sound way better. :)
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
The extra cost for the DW Performance Series is 110% because it was made in America. Sad to say, but it's the truth.

They're being manufactured by the same handful of people people making Collector's. Same hands, same machines, same wood, same hardware. That's a whole lot more significant than simply being made in America.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
How are the Design nearly identical to the Performance if the Performance is nearly identical to the Collector's? I chose a Performance over Collector's specifically because the added cost of the Collector's endless custom options wasn't worth it to me. I didn't even consider the Design because that wouldn't have been enough of an upgrade from my Concept Maple to justify the purchase (which is NOT to say the Design isn't a very nice set).
I hear good things about the PDP Concepts.

To answer your question: the Design Series and the Performance Series have in common:

North American Maple shells with 45-degree edges
Graduated counter hoops (1.6 mm - 2.3 mm)
True Pitch tension rods
STM mounting system
Low mass die-cast claw hooks
21" x 1/2" floor tom legs and memory locks.

Where they differ is in the ply layup and veneer thickness. Design series are HVLT and Performance Series are HVX. The Design Series also uses smaller turret lugs which look great and reduce the mass attached to the shell. I like the scaled-down Performance lugs too.

The Performance Series features DW's proprietary heads whereas the Designs come with non-USA Remo heads. Advantage goes to the Performance Series here though most people swap out the factory heads pretty quickly so it's a temporary advantage.

Materially the two lines are very similar and equally well made. You get a few more finish and size options with the Performance Series which is a great thing, especially if what you want isn't available in the Design Series. If you like the Design's sizes and finishes, however, they're a bargain... at least they were when I bought mine. They're not unlike a basic set of Maple Collectors in many ways.

Here's a great review of the Design Series in case somebody stumbles on this thread in the future and wants to know more about them:

 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Not to be a total schmo, but I believe that the reason why the DW's are more expensive is due to the brand name, and they are made in the USA. I've played a handful of DW kits, and while there was nothing wrong with them, they just didn't do it for me. I'd buy a set of Renowns over the DW Performances just on sound alone.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Not to be a total schmo, but I believe that the reason why the DW's are more expensive is due to the brand name, and they are made in the USA. I've played a handful of DW kits, and while there was nothing wrong with them, they just didn't do it for me. I'd buy a set of Renowns over the DW Performances just on sound alone.
It's hard to disagree. The DWs are great drums but Renowns have a certain something I've never heard before, even from more expensive kits.
 

Warrenwood

Active Member
I have a good friend who has a DW Design kit and I have a DW Performance kit. One weekend we drove our respective ladies nuts by setting up the kits side by side, same heads, same tuning. Side-by-side, there's a very noticeable difference, but it's hard to describe. The Performance kit seems to have a richer, "fatter" sound with a little more sustain, and we both preferred my Performance kit over his Design kit.

Playing live, with or without mics, I'm feel sure nobody would tell a difference. And to go back to the OP's question, I suspect that when playing live, the Renouns would sound just as good as either DW kit. I would suggest that the OP buy the best tool for the job, and it might not be the most expensive. Which kit speaks to the OP's needs the best? Which kit speaks to the OP's soul?

I bought my DW kit for a set of gigs that didn't come to pass. It sounds great live and to be honest, if something bad were to happen I can replace it easily. But for the tone and playing for my soul, I love my Gretsch kits. I always have a Gretsch set up for practice.
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
Different tiers and different options. Renowns are probably a lot closer to the Design series overall, but DW tends to limit size and config options as a cost-saving measure. Side by side, Gretsch makes it easier to dial in the sizes and setup of your rig without wasting a lot of cash on stuff you don't really want, whereas the DWs would require a lot of strategic purchasing of different shell packs and add-ons...and you're still limited to just a couple of colors if you want everything to match.

Make no mistake, I like my DW and PDP stuff, but from a buyer's perspective the Renowns are a better value, IMO.
 
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