Pearl BCX vs MCX or maple in general

Invicta

Junior Member
I located a great deal on a Pearl BCX kit in the sizes I actually like. The only issue is I've never played a BCX and I've been a pearl guy all my life. I've had VBX, MMX, MRX, MCX, and MCT. The VBX was dryer with less body. I asked the guy what the difference between the BCX and MCX was and he said the BCX was "brighter". I asked him what that means exactly and he said "they are higher pitched than the MCX". I'm a bit skeptical of this...if anything, I always found birch a bit lower pitched than maple if any difference in pitch what so ever, which is probably stretching it to find any difference in pitch. The MCX were too high pitched for me. The MCT were lower in pitch how I like but the bass drum in particular was a bit wimpy compared to the MRX and MCX. Anyone have any experience?
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I think birch is 'brighter' than maple, but it's not due to pitch. Both can be tuned low to high.

The brightness comes in from extra high frequencies that aren't present with maple.

In other words, if you tune them both to the same fundamental pitch,
the birch will have more high frequency content than the maple.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I had a BCX kit and it sounded great. Pitch is a result of tuning, no? I pitched mine down and I got that warm Gadd tone. BCX and MCX were the last line before they revamped to MCT (although they stopped birch production, I believe). But they are solid.
 

Invicta

Junior Member
I suppose words are not bridging the gap successfully for me here. I honestly don’t know what “bright” or “high frequencies” is meant to describe when it comes to what I’m hearing when a drum is played. More high pitch ringing overtones? More stick slap attack on the drum head? Less low pitch growl?
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
This basically shows the difference between Maple and Birch, and why Birch has a "pre-EQ'd" sound which is so great in the studio.



Birch speaks more quickly, it has a shorter, punchier note than Maple. Birch is perhaps the most articulate wood out there...fast notes will not get lost in the mix. It is usually perceived as brighter because of the increased Highs. But this does not necessarily mean the fundamental pitch of Birch is higher than Maple.

Maple tends to have a 'thicker' note with a little more resonance, warmth and body. Birch doesn't lack body.....it's just a shorter body if that makes sense.

BCX (Birch) Punchier note, more attack. It has more body than the VBX you played.

MCX (Maple) Less attack, a little more ambient sustain, a little warmer

All that being said, the sound differences between the BCX and MCX are actually quite small. You'd be happy with either kit IMO.
 

Invicta

Junior Member
This basically shows the difference between Maple and Birch, and why Birch has a "pre-EQ'd" sound which is so great in the studio.



Birch speaks more quickly, it has a shorter, punchier note than Maple. Birch is perhaps the most articulate wood out there...fast notes will not get lost in the mix. It is usually perceived as brighter because of the increased Highs. But this does not necessarily mean the fundamental pitch of Birch is higher than Maple.

Maple tends to have a 'thicker' note with a little more resonance, warmth and body. Birch doesn't lack body.....it's just a shorter body if that makes sense.

BCX (Birch) Punchier note, more attack. It has more body than the VBX you played.

MCX (Maple) Less attack, a little more ambient sustain, a little warmer

All that being said, the sound differences between the BCX and MCX are actually quite small. You'd be happy with either kit IMO.
Epic reply, thank you very much.
 

Invicta

Junior Member
Definitely listening to those different clips I hear the biggest difference being as was mentioned: maple = longer notes, birch = shorter notes. I like maple personally. I enjoy hearing a drum ring out, even when played faster. I can see how birch would sound “clearer” when played faster as no notes are overlapping or stepping on each other’s resonating duration.
 

OSDrums

Active member
I own two sets which are of the same construction, one being made of maple, one made of birch: a Pearl MLX and a Pearl BLX. Both are six ply 7.5 mm shells. If you put on the same heads and tune to the same note, you don’t hear any difference. That was the result of a blind test with ten fellow drummers at a meeting. Other than that both kits sound fantastic!
 

Invicta

Junior Member
I own two sets which are of the same construction, one being made of maple, one made of birch: a Pearl MLX and a Pearl BLX. Both are six ply 7.5 mm shells. If you put on the same heads and tune to the same note, you don’t hear any difference. That was the result of a blind test with ten fellow drummers at a meeting. Other than that both kits sound fantastic!
Do you have any difficulty turning them low? I’m leaning towards DW drums due to their ability to seemingly tune lower than any other drums I’ve heard but I actually like pearl hardware and pearl as a company better. Everyone has always said the previous pearl masters 7.5 mm thick maple shells do not turn low well.
 

OSDrums

Active member
No, they tune low easily. As long as the bearing edges and the hoops are flat, every drum should... what stops low tunings is when the head starts to wrinkle because of bent hoops or poor bearing edges. Some heads are better for low tunings than others (Pinstripes, EC2S, Response 2).
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Do you have any difficulty turning them low? I’m leaning towards DW drums due to their ability to seemingly tune lower than any other drums I’ve heard but I actually like pearl hardware and pearl as a company better. Everyone has always said the previous pearl masters 7.5 mm thick maple shells do not turn low well.
I think you'll have to get that DW thing out of your system by finding a set you can play around with. There's no other way around that. I've owned most different brands by now (and four DW Collector's kits), and really, once you know what you're doing, you can take any kit and make it sound great. But I think Pearl has more options to give you than DW does simply because Pearl offers you more options in the shell department by offering you different woods, different bearing edges, etc.,... If you stepped up to Pearl's Reference drums, that would be a game-changer because of the different amounts of woods and bearing edges determined by shell size. I play Reference now and they're awesome. and probably the loudest drums I've played so far, so the drum is definitely not holding me back as it gives me no excuses to use if I sound bad. Is it a money thing why you're interested in BCX and MCX?
 

Invicta

Junior Member
I think you'll have to get that DW thing out of your system by finding a set you can play around with. There's no other way around that. I've owned most different brands by now (and four DW Collector's kits), and really, once you know what you're doing, you can take any kit and make it sound great. But I think Pearl has more options to give you than DW does simply because Pearl offers you more options in the shell department by offering you different woods, different bearing edges, etc.,... If you stepped up to Pearl's Reference drums, that would be a game-changer because of the different amounts of woods and bearing edges determined by shell size. I play Reference now and they're awesome. and probably the loudest drums I've played so far, so the drum is definitely not holding me back as it gives me no excuses to use if I sound bad. Is it a money thing why you're interested in BCX and MCX?
I like pearl drums, they’re my favorite. But I A/B’d a MCT bass drum with an old tama Artstar II bass drum and then an old pearl MRX bass drum and it made me sell my MCT’s. I also noticed the much thicker 12” Artstar II tom tuned lower than the thin 12” pearl MCT tom with same heads. Kind of destroyed the thinner shell lower tuning thing for me. What I’m saying is I have found myself liking thicker 7-7.5mm shells more than thinner 5-6mm shells but in theory and everything I read on here, I shouldn’t. It’s all perplexing. They’re just noticeably more powerful and I like powerful room shaking drums. I found a BCX kit with 12 and 14” rack toms, 22x18” deep bass drum, and 16” floor tom, all my favorite sizes. Or, I could hold out for a reference kit or reference pure kit like you said but have no experience with those.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I like pearl drums, they’re my favorite. But I A/B’d a MCT bass drum with an old tama Artstar II bass drum and then an old pearl MRX bass drum and it made me sell my MCT’s. I also noticed the much thicker 12” Artstar II tom tuned lower than the thin 12” pearl MCT tom with same heads. Kind of destroyed the thinner shell lower tuning thing for me. What I’m saying is I have found myself liking thicker 7-7.5mm shells more than thinner 5-6mm shells but in theory and everything I read on here, I shouldn’t. It’s all perplexing. They’re just noticeably more powerful and I like powerful room shaking drums. I found a BCX kit with 12 and 14” rack toms, 22x18” deep bass drum, and 16” floor tom, all my favorite sizes. Or, I could hold out for a reference kit or reference pure kit like you said but have no experience with those.
Thinner shells have more resonance and a lower fundamental than thick shells. It sounds like the 2 kits you compared may have incorrectly shaped your perceptions. There could be any number of reasons why Kit X didn't sound right compared to Kit Z. Tuning, heads, hoops, bearing edges, etc.

If you're looking for deep sounding drums like DW, I think Ludwig Classic Maples should be considered. There's a 13/16/24 kit at Guitar Center...the 16" is GODLY. It has single ply clear heads and has THE BEST rumble I've ever heard. It sounds exactly like THIS 16" floor tom at the beginning of the video.

The Pearl Session Studio Select is also a great kit you should check out. And the Tama Birch/Walnut is also capable of deep tuning...they should be on your short list.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'd proud to own either. My understanding is the big difference between birch and maple is when recording not so much live? Maybe you recording gurus can offer some insight to that posit?
 

Invicta

Junior Member
You guys are all a massive help. Thank you so much. I am nervous to waste money and purchase the wrong drums so you guys are all very appreciated.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
In
You guys are all a massive help. Thank you so much. I am nervous to waste money and purchase the wrong drums so you guys are all very appreciated.
have you come across any particular sets for sale that interest you?
I had a Pearl BLX set years ago and it was a great sounding set...thick shells with a lot of punch and a note that got out of the way quickly...no lingering sustain.
Even if you like Pearl, it’s worth checking out similar Birch offerings from other manufacturers...Yamaha Recording customs come to mind. They ain’t cheap though but holy crap they sound killer.
 

Invicta

Junior Member
In

have you come across any particular sets for sale that interest you?
I had a Pearl BLX set years ago and it was a great sounding set...thick shells with a lot of punch and a note that got out of the way quickly...no lingering sustain.
Even if you like Pearl, it’s worth checking out similar Birch offerings from other manufacturers...Yamaha Recording customs come to mind. They ain’t cheap though but holy crap they sound killer.
I’m actually becoming curious about Yamaha Maple Custome Absolutes now but I’m keeping Ludwig CM, Tama Walnut/Birch, and possibly Mapex Saturn V on the short list. I’ve not heard a Yamaha that sounded bad though to be honest. I just never considered them before. Basically thin-ish maple shell or walnut mix is probably what I’m after. Could always go back to pearl MCT’s. Maybe I just had an out of round drum or two. It’ll basically be whatever I find a deal on out of these most likely.
 
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