Considering what I paid for these Design drums, I will, for the record, state that Collector's series drums are not $3500 better than these. In fact, these being as nice as they are at this price, means I'm not gonna freak out at the first scratch or worry if I'm playing a backyard party with these. Yet at the same time, it's not some cheap Yamaha GigmakerI think that the Design Series has a similar relationship to the Collectors Series that the first generation of Gretsch Renowns had to the USA Customs of the day. Build quality and features are similar enough that you would be hard pressed to hear a difference between them all things (heads and tuning) being equal. There is a difference, but it is small.
There are still perfectly good reasons for going with any company's top of the line kits but these kits that are within one or two models of the top will give you 80-90% of the performance and features for about 50% of the cost.