Hierarchy at various manufacturers?

Mastiff

Senior Member
Is it just me, or is it really hard to discern which lines are the flagships and which are the intro kits (and in-between) from the various manufacturers? I'm trying to figure out what to get for my next set, and looking for a "prosumer" sweet spot from Tama, DW, Pearl, and Yamaha (maybe others). I think Starclassic is my spot for Tama, but perusing the other sites I'm still struggling.

I understand that it's not necessarily always "this line is better than that line", but I suspect you can get pretty close to that.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The Pearl site is pretty easy I think. The drumsets are arranged more or less from top to bottom respectively.

 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
"Prosumer" in Yamaha I'd say Tour Custom. Those are some nice drums.

Sonor lists SQ2 as their flagship in the new online catalog then continues on with their current lines.
 
Last edited:

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I understand what you are saying, but I my answer is "no" the majority of the time when it comes to flagship and lower-line; it's the "in-between" that I find utterly confusing.

Sometimes it can get confusing whenever there is a set that was only made for a short period of time and then it goes away (examples in my mind include Ludwig Epics, Centennials, etc.). This happens a lot with mid-line kits. It's happened with a lot of the the flash-in-the-frying-pan, upper-end Keller kits of the early 2000's as well.

It can also get confusing when a once-valuable USA-brand starts making cheaper drums overseas. The lines are also blurred because many of these pacific-rim drum kits are pretty darn good quality. However, many are not as well.

DW confuses the absolute crap out of me. I don't understand their lines at all. They have all of the ways that plies are put together: HVLT, SSC, VLT, PMS, ADD, I don't know. Then, they'll be like "We've developed a new shell that consists of plies of the rare Ashbrittle Yew alongside plies developed from wood taken from upper deck of Noah's Ark. We have then inlaid it with unicorn horn and whispers from Mother Teresa's ghost."

And people buy it.

With that said, I know what the upper lines are from the majority of the big boys.
 

Out of Round

Well-known member
The blurring of the mid lines seems more prevalent in the last 20 or 25 years. I keep thinking about the "low-mid-high" model from the manufacturers during the 80s, especially Tama and Yamaha. Man, they almost seemed set in stone. The choices now are staggering. Ludwig certainly has experimented with their mid line offerings in the past 15 years or so. It's interesting.
 

PaisteGuy

Well-known member
DW confuses the absolute crap out of me. I don't understand their lines at all. They have all of the ways that plies are put together: HVLT, SSC, VLT, PMS, ADD, I don't know. Then, they'll be like "We've developed a new shell that consists of plies of the rare Ashbrittle Yew alongside plies developed from wood taken from upper deck of Noah's Ark. We have then inlaid it with unicorn horn and whispers from Mother Teresa's ghost."

And people buy it.

With that said, I know what the upper lines are from the majority of the big boys.
🤣🤣🤣
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
The Pearl site is pretty easy I think. The drumsets are arranged more or less from top to bottom respectively.


Straightforward from top to bottom, but the number of lines they have is pretty ridiculous IMO.
18 different lines of drums.

What confuses me is when a manufacturer changes a line of drums -
different shell material, hoops, lugs, etc., but then keeps the same name for it.
Not too bad if you stay on top of it, but it makes trying to research drums from the past
that you didn't know about, pretty difficult.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
With that said, I know what the upper lines are from the majority of the big boys.

What's the closest equivalent to TAMA Starclassic for the other companies (at least DW, Pearl, Yamaha, maybe Sonor)? I'm thinking ~$2K, not more than $3K for a 4 piece shell pack.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
i think we should stop with this “pro level kit” name, since NOBODY knows what makes a kit “pro level” or “semi pro grade”. like what apple does with their product lineup, macbook “pro” doesn’t mean anything.

i also think that pearl has one of the most difficult lineup yet, there are like 20 lines with minuscule differences in the top lines, it’s crazy. the most streamlined lineup is probably DW, gretsch, ludwig yamaha, since every kit has a different name and the differences make sense.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's easy enough to rank a company's lines based on their price, but that doesn't necessarily translate into what's best. Sounds are very subjective, so terms like professional, intermediate. entry-level/student etc are really a matter of personal opinion when it comes to something's sound. Of course there are often hardware differences that may contribute to a certain line's pricing. That said, if you really want the best sound for the money, you have to hear and preferably play the kits yourself, and then decide.

I'm not familiar with most companies' lines anymore, it's really become a blur over the last 30 years or so. I will say that of Ludwig's current five or six lines of US-made drums, the Neusonics are fabulous, and they're also the least expensive. That's not to say I don't love their other lines, but the 'cheap' drums compete very nicely sound-wise with the expensive ones. But that's also a case of the hardware and finish being significantly different (read: less bulky and costly) than the rest of Ludwig's lines. I don't think there's a sturdiness issue, it's just that the cost is less so the drums can sell for less.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
What's the closest equivalent to TAMA Starclassic for the other companies (at least DW, Pearl, Yamaha, maybe Sonor)? I'm thinking ~$2K, not more than $3K for a 4 piece shell pack.
DW performance. pearl masters reserve/reference(?), yamaha tour custom and sonor SQ1 is what i think. yamaha has like 4 top end lines and 1 kit in the 1000/2000 range so it’s quite a wide gap
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
How about PDP's Concept Maple series? I remember the concept series seeming to be pretty high end a few years ago. Then DW came out with the Performance series which seemed to take over that niche, and now the Concept Maples seem to be in a more affordable niche. They still seem to be decent drums with decent hardware, but I'm confused about where they stand. You can get a 4 piece for $799.00 right now. Also the bass drums now have 8 lugs instead of the 10 that they had before. Makes me wonder what the difference is between a Concept Maple kit and a DW performance series. And if they are pretty similar as far as shells, why would I spend twice as much for the DW performance kit? or 10 times as much for a DW collector's series...
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
Most of the Flagships sunk in my opinion. Replaced with midline features at Flagship prices.
What kind of features are you referring to specifically? Seems to me that in the midrange kits, hardware especially has gotten better in the last decade, along with quality control of shells.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
What kind of features are you referring to specifically? Seems to me that in the midrange kits, hardware especially has gotten better in the last decade, along with quality control of shells.
i think there is not much difference between mid range and top end now. like how many noticeable differences are there between a starclassic W/B and a star walnut? sure there are changes in the finish, but sound and hardware wise they’re not very far from each other. except the 2000 dollar gap. same goes for many other brands. mid range stuff is too good and top end isn’t worth it anymore
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
What kind of features are you referring to specifically? Seems to me that in the midrange kits, hardware especially has gotten better in the last decade, along with quality control of shells.
Wraps, Pot Metal Lugs, Lug Gaskets , Cheap Hoops. etc etc..cheap badges.. if these kits are flagship all these items should be Primo.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I get it. The manufacturers all use high-end terminology in their low and mid-priced kits.

And so many terms are interchangeable now.

It gets confusing.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
DW confuses the absolute crap out of me. I don't understand their lines at all. They have all of the ways that plies are put together: HVLT, SSC, VLT, PMS, ADD, I don't know. Then, they'll be like "We've developed a new shell that consists of plies of the rare Ashbrittle Yew alongside plies developed from wood taken from upper deck of Noah's Ark. We have then inlaid it with unicorn horn and whispers from Mother Teresa's ghost."

And people buy it.
I just about broke a rib from laughing so hard!!
 
Top