Hands-on Reviews of Ludwig Element Evolution Maple?

mgear

Junior Member
Hands-on Reviews of Ludwig Evolution Maple?

Hi All,

My first post here: drums are not my first instrument.

In any case, I'm thinking of upgrading my kit, and I was wondering if any of you have played one of the new Ludwig Evolution Maple kits yet. If so, can anyone comment on the tone and/or the quality of the tom mounts, hoops, etc.? I am also considering a Tama Superstar Classic Custom kit. A 5-piece Superstar Classic Custom kit would be considerably cheaper, and I don't really need 6 or 7 pieces, but the Ludwig kit uses North American maple, and the Tama kit does not. I'm not sure I'd notice the difference, to be frank, but I'm curious as to what people think regarding which kit sounds better and/or is more solidly-built, or whether people think it's is a toss-up in terms of quality.

I'm also vaguely considering a Mapex Armory kit, but I don't really love any of the available finishes -- actually I hate most of them :) -- and while it arguably shouldn't be a major consideration, I'd prefer to have a matching snare available.

Note: I've edited the title, as apparently they're just called Evolution Maple rather than Element Evolution Maple as I had originally written; American Musical Supply has them listed as Element Evolution Maple, but that seems to be an error.
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Although I'm a Ludwig artist and set-up the Evolution drums on display at NAMM, I didn't really play them much. I don't recall thinking 'eh..' so that's a good sign! But I do remember them getting one of a handful of NAMM Best In Show awards last January, so they obviously stood out to the judges!

I'm not familiar with the Tama or Mapex, but in general I'd say the Ludwig and Tama will have better resale value down the line. :)

Bermuda
 

mgear

Junior Member
Re: Hands-on Reviews of Ludwig Evolution Maple?

Although I'm a Ludwig artist and set-up the Evolution drums on display at NAMM, I didn't really play them much. I don't recall thinking 'eh..' so that's a good sign! But I do remember them getting one of a handful of NAMM Best In Show awards last January, so they obviously stood out to the judges!

I'm not familiar with the Tama or Mapex, but in general I'd say the Ludwig and Tama will have better resale value down the line. :)

Bermuda
Thanks for the information. I hadn't heard about the "best in show" award for the Ludwigs. I'm can't tell for sure if that was for the Evolution Maple kit or for the "regular" poplar Element Evolution kit.

Anyone else play the maples yet?
 
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motojosh

Member
Anyone have any feedback on these yet? None of the stores around here have a set to try/buy, but they're included in MusiciansFriend's current "17% off" sale, which brings the price down to a pretty tempting level...
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
Anyone have any feedback on these yet? None of the stores around here have a set to try/buy, but they're included in MusiciansFriend's current "17% off" sale, which brings the price down to a pretty tempting level...



The best sounding in that group you listed is probably that Tama. Don't worry about the asian maple... they sound really good and MUCH better than something like Stage Custom IMO.

I have'nt heard the Ludwigs enough to rate them but the couple of vids I've seen they sound really good too.

Here are a couple vids in the same store so you can get an idea.

Ludwig
https://youtu.be/8Frvy_h7N0c?t=57

Tama
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH8BtXXDNy0
 

STXBob

Gold Member
Oh, good, so Ludwig now has an entry in the "Look, a ~$999 maple kit made in Taiwan," along with Gretsch, Tama, Pearl, Sonor, PDP, and everyone else.

It's a good kit. They're all good kits. They better be, because unless I'm much mistaken they're all the same damn drums. Same shells, same bearing edges, same Remo UT garbage for heads, same supposedly revolutionary and proprietary tom suspension mount which is neither.

Frankly, I'm stunned Ludwig took so long to release their own version. Good on 'em for banking on the name enough to try and squeeze another couple hundred bucks out of you. Gretsch tried it for a while; now they advertise "buy a 6-piece and get the 8-in tom free!" so you can at least pretend you're getting something worth the $100 upcharge over a Tama Silverstar Classic. Is the name "Ludwig" worth missing a drum and paying $100 more? Not for me to say.

I'm sorry for being short-tempered, MGear. It's just we see this obsession over pointless differences between drums at this price point. It amounts to "buy a brand you trust and a color you like."
 

motojosh

Member
I'm sorry for being short-tempered, MGear.
To be fair, I brought the question up again, not mgear (the OP), so please don't hold this against him/her. But you make a fair point. That "non-uniqueness" at this price point may be part of why there aren't very many reviews online. (Then again, there's LOTS of talk here about Stage Customs, even though they're not overly unique at their own price point.)
 

belairien

Silver Member
If they are built to the same level of quality that the element birch were, then they will be pretty darn good. I only sold my EB because I didn't like the 12-16 tonal jump on the toms, and being discontinued I couldn't get any add on toms.

If they use the same mounts, the tom arm and ball joint are super sturdy. It doesn't look like they have the clamp on the back side like the EB 4 piece. Which is fine. That was its weak point. Their versions of rim mounts are nice, if bulky. Their shape makes it a bit difficult to finger tighten the tension rods. Have to grab the head of the rods to do that. But they seem more stable and less prone to wobbling compared to the standard style rims mounts. The thicker rubber holds them a bit tighter.

It also looks like they removed some lugs from the kick. My Element had 10 per side, photos show these have 8. Only mentioning because it bugs some people.

Major downside, if it is the same diameter tom mount downtube, they are not a standard diameter. The old elements tom arms do not fit in stand bases so offsetting toms requires more hardware. Talking like a couple mm/or 16th inch or so over sized.. Their kick mount looks different on the evolution so maybe it changed?

That old Element kit tuned well and played nice. But one other week spot is the snare tension rods/threaded lug inserts. The stock ones strip under higher tunings.

One last issue. The kit I had, the kick spurs were slightly mounted offset pushing one side slightly further forward, about a quarter to half inch. It did not hamper playabilty, but bugged the crap out of me. (Maybe subconsciously making me not like the set up after a while).

This isn't a review of the Evolution maple. I haven't owned or seen them in person. Just observations based on this kits successor. The maple will sound a touch warmer and bassier, but should otherwise be on par.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
To be fair, I brought the question up again, not mgear (the OP), so please don't hold this against him/her. But you make a fair point. That "non-uniqueness" at this price point may be part of why there aren't very many reviews online.
Oh, I don't hold anything against anybody. I was just having a good kvetch. ;-)

(Then again, there's LOTS of talk here about Stage Customs, even though they're not overly unique at their own price point.)
I'm consistently astounded by the mania for Stage Customs here. Yeah, they're nice. But they're no more or less "good" or "nice" than anything else at that price point.

I think it's just become force of habit. It's an easier and gentler answer to say "Just get a Stage Custom with a 700-series hardware pack and a Zildjian A391 pack" than it is to say "Stop obsessing and get the kit which speaks to your heart." I get that.

It's just so damn dishonest. Especially when it's an experienced drummer who starts feeling GAS bubbling when something like this Ludwig kit comes out.

belairien said:
If they are built to the same level of quality that the element birch were, then they will be pretty darn good.
I'll make it a point to check Dale's. They might have one on the floor. If they do, I promise I'll take an unbiased look at them. :)
 

belairien

Silver Member
I'll make it a point to check Dale's. They might have one on the floor. If they do, I promise I'll take an unbiased look at them. :)
I won't make any promises on the evolutions ;)
The Element kit I had was purchased sub $400 on a blowout sale as they were discontinued, and thus well worth it. Not sure how much it should have cost without the sale, or how the price compares to the Evolution kits.
 

fusseltier

Junior Member
Still not much out there about the Ludwig evolution maple set.
Supposed to be same wood, doesn't say if the plies are layered cross grain like the classic maple.

I talked to one guy that works for a nationally known store that actually owns a set for his personal use and he had only good things to say, but still said if i can, go with the classic maple.

No idea if the factory in China makes only Ludwig or also other brands, like the Mapex and Sonor factory.

Most lines of all the brands are made in China now, but usually the flagship lines are still made in the original factory of the brand, with the exception of Tama making all lines in China, and Pearl makes some of the masters line in China too.

And with the majority of the drum factories in Taiwan closing and everything moving to China, it looks like regardless of what we want, its going to be Chinese.

I prefer not to contribute to the global expansion of China and their military, but until these companies stop thinking about only profits and start thinking about their own country and economy and people, what can we do?

So, either stick with your old set, or get a new Chinese set. Just go over it closely, make sure the quality is good enough to suit your needs, compare to your old set, then make your decision.

Of course there are some good craftsman in China, and hopefully these companies have them working for them.

Ludwig, Pearl, Tama, Yamaha, Sonor, Mapex, whatever, all Chinese, and that's just the way it is.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Anyone up on the Element series enough to be able to straighten me out on them?

After digging around some, I see:

Element poplar,
Element birch/poplar,
Element birch,
Element SE (not sure of wood type),
Element Evolution maple,
and Element Evolution (wood not specified).

Are badges enough to sort these out, or would you have to try and pull a head off and see if you can tell from the plies?
 
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AZDRUMZ

Well-known member
Still not much out there about the Ludwig evolution maple set.
Supposed to be same wood, doesn't say if the plies are layered cross grain like the classic maple.

I talked to one guy that works for a nationally known store that actually owns a set for his personal use and he had only good things to say, but still said if i can, go with the classic maple.

No idea if the factory in China makes only Ludwig or also other brands, like the Mapex and Sonor factory.

Most lines of all the brands are made in China now, but usually the flagship lines are still made in the original factory of the brand, with the exception of Tama making all lines in China, and Pearl makes some of the masters line in China too.

And with the majority of the drum factories in Taiwan closing and everything moving to China, it looks like regardless of what we want, its going to be Chinese.

I prefer not to contribute to the global expansion of China and their military, but until these companies stop thinking about only profits and start thinking about their own country and economy and people, what can we do?

So, either stick with your old set, or get a new Chinese set. Just go over it closely, make sure the quality is good enough to suit your needs, compare to your old set, then make your decision.

Of course there are some good craftsman in China, and hopefully these companies have them working for them.

Ludwig, Pearl, Tama, Yamaha, Sonor, Mapex, whatever, all Chinese, and that's just the way it is.
Ok, first of all, the only drums that pearl makes in china is the roadshow, export, and decade maple, the sessions and so forth are made in the Taiwan factory. Tama still makes the STAR drums in Japan. Ludwigs entry-level drums are Chinese made, but everything else that Ludwig makes (accept hardware) is made in the USA. Lastly, sonor makes its drums in Germany for the last time, thew force series is gone and not made in china. in the end, why is it a big deal where there made, they´re only made so drummers can have an instrument to play on
 
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thodoris5321

Junior Member
I checked some drum kits to buy and the Evolution Maple catched my eye. I found out that they got discontinued and it's very hard and expensive to get them in Europe now. Still some stock available in NA though.
 

Copeland

Active member
I just purchased the Ludwig Evolution Maple set six piece kit, which came with a "free" 8 inch rack tom to make it a 7-piece. My kit included hardware and Zildjian ZBT cymbals (20/16/14 size) all for $945 out the door. I am beyond happy with this set, except for the claw screw on the bass drum pedal (documented in another thread).

I have the toms tuned extremely low, barely beyond hand tight. The resonant sides tuned higher. When I hit these drums, it's a meaty, rich and low earthquake of a sound. I find myself hanging out on the toms more than I need to because I LOVE the sound. I have never owned drums that sound like this. There's a goofy smile on my face when I play. The quality of the toms with just decent tuning is equivalent to studio quality. No kidding. Floor toms shake the room, I don't use them much. Don't need to. My favorite tom is lowest rack tom, which is 12x9. I have it tuned perfect and it is effing epic.

Snare. 6.5 inches deep. I love it for THAT ALONE. But it gets better. I have the batter head tuned so tight, almost to the point of damage. Bottom head also extremely tight, with a foam ring circling he entire resonant head. Because the snare is deep, the foam doesn't kill the resonance, just the overtones. The snare produces a rich, deep -- but sharp -- unholy crack. It is loud. But I can still hit ghost notes and hear snare action.

Cymbals. Weak, as expected from cheaper zildjians, but still much better than Zildjians rock bottom Planet Z trash lids. I will upgrade the cymbals, but they are playable.

Bass drum. I have 22 inch. It's almost too much, not good for a smaller room. But it gives me the flexibility to play larger venues if needed.

Overall, my advice: BUY AND DONT LOOK BACK. Ludwig has discontinued this line, so there is limited new inventory still in the shops. Soon everyone will be buying these used. And considering how good they sound....they will not be cheap once the supply has gone.0714202336~2.jpg
 

TJK

Well-known member
I just purchased the Ludwig Evolution Maple set six piece kit, which came with a "free" 8 inch rack tom to make it a 7-piece. My kit included hardware and Zildjian ZBT cymbals (20/16/14 size) all for $945 out the door. I am beyond happy with this set, except for the claw screw on the bass drum pedal (documented in another thread).

I have the toms tuned extremely low, barely beyond hand tight. The resonant sides tuned higher. When I hit these drums, it's a meaty, rich and low earthquake of a sound. I find myself hanging out on the toms more than I need to because I LOVE the sound. I have never owned drums that sound like this. There's a goofy smile on my face when I play. The quality of the toms with just decent tuning is equivalent to studio quality. No kidding. Floor toms shake the room, I don't use them much. Don't need to. My favorite tom is lowest rack tom, which is 12x9. I have it tuned perfect and it is effing epic.

Snare. 6.5 inches deep. I love it for THAT ALONE. But it gets better. I have the batter head tuned so tight, almost to the point of damage. Bottom head also extremely tight, with a foam ring circling he entire resonant head. Because the snare is deep, the foam doesn't kill the resonance, just the overtones. The snare produces a rich, deep -- but sharp -- unholy crack. It is loud. But I can still hit ghost notes and hear snare action.

Cymbals. Weak, as expected from cheaper zildjians, but still much better than Zildjians rock bottom Planet Z trash lids. I will upgrade the cymbals, but they are playable.

Bass drum. I have 22 inch. It's almost too much, not good for a smaller room. But it gives me the flexibility to play larger venues if needed.

Overall, my advice: BUY AND DONT LOOK BACK. Ludwig has discontinued this line, so there is limited new inventory still in the shops. Soon everyone will be buying these used. And considering how good they sound....they will not be cheap once the supply has gone.View attachment 94247
I’ve been eyeing this for a while, the black 7 pc shell pack is only 649!
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
....Ludwig has discontinued this line, so there is limited new inventory still in the shops. ....
Just curious where you heard that they are discontinued?

I'll bet they sound great. The only deal breaker for me would be the 18" deep bass drum.
Otherwise, they seem like the best deal in that price category.
 

Copeland

Active member
Just curious where you heard that they are discontinued?

I'll bet they sound great. The only deal breaker for me would be the 18" deep bass drum.
Otherwise, they seem like the best deal in that price category.
The Evolutuon Maple is discontinued, not the regular Evolution series (poplar shells). I love the deep bass drum, but it would be tough to tame in a small room.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
It’s cool that you got a new kit and that your very happy with them. That’s something that you don’t get to do often. Some people never get a brand new kit. So keep that stupid grin on your face and enjoy the moment. I’m happy for you.
 
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