PDP Concept Maple - drumkit review


Junior Member
I bought the PDP Concept maple 5 pieces in transparent walnut finish. I've had it for two weeks now and got to test them enough to make a review.

The sizes are:
BD 22" X 18"
SD 14" X 5,5"
Mounted toms 10" X 8" and 12" X 9"
Floor tom 16" X 14"

Unpacking and setting up:
The packaging was perfectly done, the boxes were compact and easy to load in a medium sized car trunk.
The shells look beautiful, the lacquer finish is shiny and smooth, showing the wood grain underneath. All the bearing edges looked even and smooth. The lugs, the tension rods and the tom mount give solid impression. I like the look of the new lugs, they show more of the shells and give the kit kind of a vintage look. I would also guess that less metal on the shells allows more resonance. That's why I also like the graduated counter hoops which are based on that idea.
Putting the kit together and adjusting it was very easy, the tom holders are smooth and let you position the toms with precision. Apart from the necessary heads and hardware, the package included a nice bass drum muffling pillow and some extra tension rods.

Tuning and playing:
I owned a Pdp BX birch kit before, which I really liked. The value of the kit made me trust in the Pdp company and that´s why I decided to stick to PDP when it was time for an upgrade. I always wanted a maple kit and after some research I decided for the Concept maple. I didn´t have the possibility to try it, but I believed I wouldn´t be dissappointed. Which I really was not...
All the heads are chinese made Remos with Pdp logos. The snare has coated ambassador on top and clear ambassador 3 mil on the bottom, all the toms have clear ambassadors on both top and bottom, the bass drum has a clear powerstroke 4 (if I am not wrong) on the batter side and an ambassadar ebony as a resonant head.

In some previously made reviews of this kit, the heads (mostly the tom heads) are subject of some heavy critique. Here I must strongly disagree, especially with the type of comments calling them 'terrible heads' or 'bad quality heads'. Clear ambassadors are versatile heads and have been the no.1 choice of many drummers for decades. These might be slighter worse quality than the U.K. made heads, but nothing I would be personally bothered about. Based on my experience, single ply heads might be more difficult to tune, but with little patience and right tuning technique they provide beautiful colorful tones with nice punch. And they certainly did that on my concept maple kit. Although I used coated emperors before, I am not going to replace these heads until they wear out. And if they will last long enough, I will probably replace them with clear ambassadors again. The only head I decided to switch was the snare batter, which I replaced with a coated emperor, in order to slightly decrease the ring. So, I hope I will not offend anyone if I disagree with those who recommend to change the heads instantly. I would say, give the heads a real try and be patient, you might save some money and get a beautiful sound. But I also respect that the open sound with full resonance is not up to everyones taste. I just felt sorry for the heads geting such an unfair condemnation...I don´t think they give the kit a wrong first impression at all, I believe that the thought behind the choice of the heads by the manufacturer is more thorough than just money-saving.

So to close up, in my opinion, the bass drum sounds superb - the pillow which comes with it provides just enough muffling and the sound is wet, punchy with nice warmth undrerneath, but the tone is controlled with the pillow keeping it focused. The snare had too much overtones for my taste which didn´t disappear even when tuned all the way up and tight. After replacing the batter with the coated emperor, the ring decreased. However I cranked it up and now it produces very nice sharp and focused sound with nice thickness to it. The overtones are still there but in the amount which doesn´t bother me at all. The mounted toms sound like heaven with full balanced tones, really nice attack and beautiful resonance. The floor tom was the most dificult drum to tune, it took me a while actually to make it sound decent. Now it finally produces the same tonal qualities as the mounted toms. The tuning was a little complicated process and I needed to retune one more time after some hours playing the kit. Now all the drums keep its tune well, after approximately 30 hours of playing.

The kit as a whole sounds as good as I would only dream of before. It is just completely amazing. The sounds of the drums inspire me so much and I feel my drumming skills are getting new levels which I didn´t think of before.
For the money it costs, I believe this kit is hard to beat. I would recommend it to anyone.


Last edited:


"Uncle Larry"
I have a set of PDP's as a practice set. I have no clue why these drums aren't more popular. I think they beat the crap out of the Yamaha Stage Customs, which are nice drums. My PDP's sound better, look better, are better. The shells and edges are perfect, it has 32 TPI rods and lugs, no construction issues, but mostly the tone is easily as good as my DW's. I really love the bass drum tone. And hey the racks and floor tom sound as good as anything I've played. No compromises.

Plus I only paid 125 used, can't beat that.

People complain about the PDP lugs, but they are not cheap metal, I took lugs off to inspect them, they have some heft to them, and frankly I don't understand what they're complaining about.

The PDP drums are an outstanding value IMO.


Senior Member
I just finished restoring an older PDP CX maple kit (no snare) and have reached Athens same conclusions. They sound great! After removing the discoloured wrap and installing a wrap set from BumWrap drum Co they now look fantastic!

Great value!

Nice review.


"Uncle Larry"
I have a CX kit too, all maple, WMP. They are set up 1 hour away from me at one of my bands rehearsal space. I get to play them tonight. I do look forward to that.

john gerrard

Senior Member
That is one GOOD looking kit, and I'll bet that it sounds good too. I had a CX kit that was a great kit, the only reason I got rid of it was the fast sizes and the lugs weren't for me. Other than that they sounded and looked great. John


"Uncle Larry"
They have the DW style suspension mounts too, which I like a lot. They don't get in the way and don't dominate the look. Plus you can take the heads off while it's still mounted. I just put my 14 x 5 snare together from this kit. I bought it with 2 broken rods about 8 months ago. Someone tried to screw in 24 TPI rods into a 32 TPI lug. So I got 2 more lugs, just waiting on 2 more tension rods.

But yea, nice finish on your kit man. Liking the SoulTones too.


Junior Member
Does the PDP Concept series compete directly with the Pearl Vision? Or would you place it on par with the Pearl Session Studio?


Gold Member
The PDP Concept Birch kit might compete with the Vision as they are similarly priced. Session Studio kits are birch and kapur..so they are very different kits.


Senior Member
Does the PDP Concept series compete directly with the Pearl Vision? Or would you place it on par with the Pearl Session Studio?
Yes they are in the same bracket of intermediate birch kits:

PDP Concept Birch
Pearl Vision
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch
Tama Silverstar

These are all pretty much on par with each other.

Session Studio is a blend of birch and kapur which would be more similar to a Mapex Armory (birch and maple) in terms of sound. They're also a notch higher in quality at the very top echelon of the intermediate semi-pro range. They compete more with the DW Design Series than the PDP Concepts.