is $1300 to $2000 the sweet spot for most drums?

Justinhub2003

Silver Member
I love high end things. I like things that are built well, with integrity and good design. But in last 4 years I've owned a lot of drum sets and the more I buy, the more I find that the best Value in drums is in the Mid range.

I think the gap between the sub $1200 drum market and the $1300 to $2000 market is so much greater than the gap between the mid range and the drums that cost $2000 or more.

I had always wanted a USA Ludwig kit, so I bought one 2 years ago ( and sold it) and I always wanted a German Made Sonor kit, so I also bought one (and sold it) but since then I have bought Mid tier kits from Pearl (Session Studio Select), Yamaha (Tour Custom), Sonor (AQ2), and finally Gretsch (RN2) and after comparing my experiences with high end drums Vs Mid tier, Im finding that the sound is similar (and in the Renown's case, better), the hardware is either on Par or Better and the shell construction from drums made in Taiwan is every bit on point as what people are making in the USA and Germany. In fact, I had more issues with the German made Sonor kit than I did with the Chinese made AQ2 kit.

Right now I have a full kit of Pearl Session Studio Selects, Gretsch Renowns and a 10" tom from a Yamaha Stage Custom. To me, these 3 kits could easily hold their own against drums that cost thousands more. The value and craftsmanship that you get from any Pearl Drum made in Taiwan is off the charts and after hearing these Gretsch Renowns, Im blown away and not sure how a USA made Gretsch kit could sound much better.


Any one else think that best value in Drums is in the mid tier ?
 

T_Kauff

Member
Buy the kit that makes you happy for a lifetime(if possible) if money is the deciding factor to the kit you want, make cuts elsewhere in your life, sell some things, pass on the vacation etc. It just kills me when people chince out on their dream kit. That said, I DO have a $ ceiling for new gear.

Snare drums, 5k max!

Kits, 20k max!

Cymbals, $600 max each!

Hi hats, $700 per pair max!

These numbers reflect my own financial endeavors. And I would encourage anyone to set their own, just to have a basis of sanity... Ha!
 

Justinhub2003

Silver Member
Buy the kit that makes you happy for a lifetime(if possible) if money is the deciding factor to the kit you want, make cuts elsewhere in your life, sell some things, pass on the vacation etc. It just kills me when people chince out on their dream kit. That said, I DO have a $ ceiling for new gear.

Snare drums, 5k max!

Kits, 20k max!

Cymbals, $600 max each!

Hi hats, $700 per pair max!

These numbers reflect my own financial endeavors. And I would encourage anyone to set their own, just to have a basis of sanity... Ha!
I went absolutely ape shit during the pandemic. Thousands in earthworks mics, drum kits, hardware…snares. I went from owning 1 snare pre pandemic to 20 high end snares, some custom.

But if the pandemic taught me anything…. Drums (and things) don’t make people happy, I ended up selling off everything and have just been splurging on vacations with my family. That does make me happy.

And playing drums that sound good makes me happy too. But playing 4,000 dollar drums that sound just like 1500 dollar drums makes me unhappy.

I’ve realized a dream kit doesn’t exist to a guy who’s always dreaming. I’m just chasing that carrot… so going forward, it’s best bang for my buck
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I've been really impressed with the kits in the $1300-$2000 range. My Renowns sound amazing and have an impeccable fit and finish. Aside from exotic finishes, I really don't see the benefit of spending twice as much on a USA Custom.
 

Tiges

Well-known Member
Example here rhe Sonor AQ2s match it with the SQ2s in sound and quality and there alot cheaper in price some sonor lovers might disagree but who cares thats me bottom line is high end drums arent always better just because they cost more it's all a hype to me.
 

Ian S

Member
I think the gap between the sub $1200 drum market and the $1300 to $2000 market is so much greater than the gap between the mid range and the drums that cost $2000 or more.

Diminishing returns. Luxury price brings brand flagship badge, ltd edition design, fittings/finishes, maybe exotic wood, and prestige for collector case. And at luxury price, craftsmanship 'should be' very closely attended.. fewer excuses for any poops in that range.

Never owned, but been in plenty of rooms/venues hearing luxury drums played, and I've played other people's expensive drums a few times. The sounds of different drums are of course different, but 'better' is subjective and blindfolded the luxury stuff will be difficult or impossible for all but the audiophile-savant to separate when compared with most (well tuned) mid-range drums (with decent heads). Gap in actual tone quality near to negligible if not non-existent.
 

Tiges

Well-known Member
I've been really impressed with the kits in the $1300-$2000 range. My Renowns sound amazing and have an impeccable fit and finish. Aside from exotic finishes, I really don't see the benefit of spending twice as much on a USA Custom.
Is it money or sense.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known Member
Some very expensive drums are worth the price tag.
It depends on your needs. If you are in pressure situations where your sound is being analysed in microscopic detail, then you are going to want drums with a proven track record - whether that's a $500 Supraphonic or a $2000 Craviotto.
If you are touring for a year and playing some obscure countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America, then you are going to want a superbly built drum set with the best hardware and great customer support.
Playing at home, or in a local bar a couple of days a week, your gear requirements are going to be more modest.
The blanket statement that expensive drums are not worth the money is just as untrue as the statement affordable drums can't sound good.
 

Dutch

Senior Member
I went absolutely ape shit during the pandemic. Thousands in earthworks mics, drum kits, hardware…snares. I went from owning 1 snare pre pandemic to 20 high end snares, some custom.

But if the pandemic taught me anything…. Drums (and things) don’t make people happy, I ended up selling off everything and have just been splurging on vacations with my family. That does make me happy.

And playing drums that sound good makes me happy too. But playing 4,000 dollar drums that sound just like 1500 dollar drums makes me unhappy.

I’ve realized a dream kit doesn’t exist to a guy who’s always dreaming. I’m just chasing that carrot… so going forward, it’s best bang for my buck
I hear you and mostly agree, but at the same time... do you still have that snare in your avatar? I got the same model recently and although it doesn't sound twice as good as some of the Yamaha snares I own(ed) man it's beautifully built....
 

Ian S

Member
Some very expensive drums are worth the price tag.
It depends on your needs. If you are in pressure situations where your sound is being analysed in microscopic detail, then you are going to want drums with a proven track record - whether that's a $500 Supraphonic or a $2000 Craviotto.
If you are touring for a year and playing some obscure countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America, then you are going to want a superbly built drum set with the best hardware and great customer support.
Playing at home, or in a local bar a couple of days a week, your gear requirements are going to be more modest.
The blanket statement that expensive drums are not worth the money is just as untrue as the statement affordable drums can't sound good.

I agree mostly. (I'm aware I'd be impertinent to argue with you sir)

It's not that expensive drums aren't necessarily 'worth the money', but that the monetary value (per sound quality) is diminishing rapidly beyond a certain price point.

Playing at home or local bars any cheap beater is probably good enough for most of us unless we're picky. Meanwhile you guys in world class situations can afford (and are expected to use) world class gear, and don't need to ask a forum's opinions on it. But for the rest of us, a really nice high quality kit doesn't need to cost any more than a thousand or fifteen hundred, maybe a little more if our heart's set on a specific finish.

So I'm guessing most answers here are based on that sort of down to earth situation most of us will ever find ourselves in..
 

Justinhub2003

Silver Member
I hear you and mostly agree, but at the same time... do you still have that snare in your avatar? I got the same model recently and although it doesn't sound twice as good as some of the Yamaha snares I own(ed) man it's beautifully built....
The Benny snares are 2 of the ones I kept (brass & beech)… I mostly love them for their versatility. Those are built well for sure
 

1 hit wonder

Active Member
I could be pretty content with a mid range kit.
But.....still happy with my Maple kits ordered new in the early 90s ($2810 with hardware, DW pedals). It seems the kicks were $545 each, new. Today, could I find the drums only, used condition for today's $2200-2400? It would be difficult and time consuming. It took a long time to find an 8x8 Maple in the same color after Premier shut down. Even then it was missing lugs.

But the short Supraphonics I got for 50 a piece at pawn shops sound good enough to play in place of the Maple snares.

It's RARE that I like other people's snare and ride sounds. One guy has a Black Beauty that sounds perfect. Another had a cheap Pearl export that sounded great.
 

Justinhub2003

Silver Member
I think drums and cars are very similar.

My Honda Pilot that we just purchased is like a Pearl Session Studio kit and the Acura MDX is like the Pearl Reference. They are both Honda's, both will last forever, both likely built in the same factory. The differences lie in the small details and the luxury factor. And more innovations start at the Acura level before they trickle down to the Honda.

But the reality is.. Drum making is down to an exact science for most companies. The shells are the most important part and shells from the mid tier to high tier are really well made so the way they get us to buy the high end stuff is focused on hardware innovation, built to spec ordering and finishes.
 

RichFaulk

Member
I love high end things. I like things that are built well, with integrity and good design. But in last 4 years I've owned a lot of drum sets and the more I buy, the more I find that the best Value in drums is in the Mid range.

I think the gap between the sub $1200 drum market and the $1300 to $2000 market is so much greater than the gap between the mid range and the drums that cost $2000 or more.

I had always wanted a USA Ludwig kit, so I bought one 2 years ago ( and sold it) and I always wanted a German Made Sonor kit, so I also bought one (and sold it) but since then I have bought Mid tier kits from Pearl (Session Studio Select), Yamaha (Tour Custom), Sonor (AQ2), and finally Gretsch (RN2) and after comparing my experiences with high end drums Vs Mid tier, Im finding that the sound is similar (and in the Renown's case, better), the hardware is either on Par or Better and the shell construction from drums made in Taiwan is every bit on point as what people are making in the USA and Germany. In fact, I had more issues with the German made Sonor kit than I did with the Chinese made AQ2 kit.

Right now I have a full kit of Pearl Session Studio Selects, Gretsch Renowns and a 10" tom from a Yamaha Stage Custom. To me, these 3 kits could easily hold their own against drums that cost thousands more. The value and craftsmanship that you get from any Pearl Drum made in Taiwan is off the charts and after hearing these Gretsch Renowns, Im blown away and not sure how a USA made Gretsch kit could sound much better.


Any one else think that best value in Drums is in the mid tier ?
Have to say I agree. I picked up a Sonor AQ2 studio for a great price earlier this year and loved it so much I bought a matching Martini to go with it, plus the bigger FT from the Stage pack. All together I've got a 10-piece mega kit: 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 toms, 10 and 12" snares, 14 and 20" kick drums. All in price was around $2200, including most of the hardware. The kits sound great with the stock chinese remos but after replacing them with good US heads the sound is unbelievable. While it would be nice to have a heavy beech SQ2, the current configuration I have in the AQ2 ($2,200) would cost AT LEAST $12,000 in the SQ2. Would the SQ2 play/sound 5x better? I doubt it.
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
the current configuration I have in the AQ2 ($2,200) would cost AT LEAST $12,000 in the SQ2.

that is just the MAP pricing they have in the configurator... you would not pay anywhere near that as long as you are using the right dealer. ..... but I take your point .....and it is the same situation with Yamah PHX, Tama Star, Dw, Masterworks compared to all their mid level kits.
 

RichFaulk

Member
that is just the MAP pricing they have in the configurator... you would not pay anywhere near that as long as you are using the right dealer. ..... but I take your point .....and it is the same situation with Yamah PHX, Tama Star, Dw, Masterworks compared to all their mid level kits.
I always thought that "minimum advertised pricing" meant that was the LEAST you would possibly pay and that it could be higher?
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Any one else think that best value in Drums is in the mid tier ?

I think a mid-tier drum kit can sound great, and may be the best value out there because mid-tier kits offer the same if not better quality of higher-end kits of 20 years ago. Heck, take a mid-tier kit with a great sounding snare and cymbals, and there's a kit for a lifetime.

I opened for a major act in the country music industry several weeks ago who have had chart-topping singles over the span of 12 years. The drummer was using Gretsch Catalinas, and they sounded just fine!
 
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