Pearl Export


Junior Member
Is the Pearl Export 8-Piece Double Bass Kit a good kit? The majority of the reviews I've read on different websites are favorable, but I'm interested in a final opinion. Thank you.


Platinum Member
one thing you have to know about the reviews on sites like that people get super excited about their new stuff, and they inflate what the real review should be. i dont really blame them, when you open a brand new 8pc drum set, you going to be really happy. but some of these people just put max stars for everything and say "OMG THIS IS THE BEST KIT EVER, TOTALLY WORTH THE MONEY, BEST VALUE ON THE MARKET HANDS DOWN!!!!! MUST BUY!!!" --sound familiar? well anyways back to the point, the pearl export double bass kit is not a good quality kit, last time i checked, it was made of poplar, if you buy that, your paying for the amount of drums, the name, and the shipping, NOT the quality, i would highly suggest looking into something else, unless you need a really big kit on a budget(but i dont see why you would)


Silver Member
Another thing you have to know about threads involving Pearl Exports here on DW is that it's become trendy to knock them. Normally by people who have little experience with them. The criticism has been repeated so many times that people often simply add their voices without really thinking about it.

The poplar wood issue always comes up, and although they'd disagree with me, most of the detractors would never tell maple from birch from poplar from basswood in a blind test. Plus, for many, many years poplar was the wood of choice for high end jazz kits. And poplar is certainly not inferior to the Philipine Mahogany and basswoods that many of the competitive kits are made from.

I suggest you do a search in the "Your Place" section for threads by Export owners and you'll find a different view altogether.

Oh, and Pearl Export is still (and has been for a long time) the best selling drum kit in the world. If they were that bad, surely the paying public would have cottoned on by now?


Senior Member
I agree with katman to a certian degree There is alot of drum snobbery around. I had a 2003 export for 3 years. I had no problems with it. I got a great sound out of it in the end once i finaly figured out how to tune (evans emad & g2's) . So the export lasted me well & as far as i know its still going. know i have a sonor 2007 which are not much more money at all!!! Well what can i say the quality is amazing & they sound fantastic. I find the floor toms easier to tune. Basicly i rate them very highly over the exports & they are nearly the same price. I got my 7 piece kit that was a shell pack but with 2 boom stands & tom holders for £800 brand new (checkout my link below) Its 100% birch. The thing is the market is so compitative now That you can get great kits made out of great wood for the same price or a little more than a export. So the export has fallen behind but they have realised this & are not making them anymore & being replaced by the new pearl vision kits (birch/basswood). Im my opinion if you really want a pearl wait for them or even better look at sonor 2005/2007 (birch) or 3005/3007 (maple). Also seen alot of mapex kits around looking great. Tama superstars are also very good & like the vision are birch/basswood.

So my opinion... Exports are good kits but you can do better in the price range these days


Same here, I've played on exports quite a lot and they really aren't bad. But Tama superstars are the same price range but offer more pro level features than the exports do. I'm slightly biased towards Tama though...


The Export question.

Are Exports inherently bad kits? No. Are they well made? Yes.

Do they cost too much for the features that they offer? I believe so. If the Export was the same cost, as say, a Yamaha Rydeen, then there wouldn't be any Export snobbery. Last night I played a gig on an old Export (I prefer the older ones) and the bass drum was really rather good. However, for what they offer, there are so many other kits on the market that offer more in terms of features and configuration options. I'll mention the Mapex Pro-M, the Sonor Force 2007 and the Yamaha Stage Custom that are in the same price bracket, but I believe have a better set of features and potential than the Export.

Pearl have finally realised this and introduced the 'Vision' range, which is basically a direct go for the Tama Superstar market. Whether they're actually any good or not is just a matter of waiting and seeing, but I'm interested to see what Pearl do with their marketing now.

Plus I just can't get over how poor that ISS mounting system is...

graham rogers

Junior Member
i had a pearl export for seven years.
it took serious punishment and always held up. i had it for three years before i got cases for it and nothing ever happened to it.
the hardware is very solid and practical.
i would endorse pearl export, no problem.


Senior Member
The Export question.

Pearl have finally realised this and introduced the 'Vision' range, which is basically a direct go for the Tama Superstar market. Whether they're actually any good or not is just a matter of waiting and seeing, but I'm interested to see what Pearl do with their marketing now.

Plus I just can't get over how poor that ISS mounting system is...

I have a Vision, pretty good for the price that you pay. For the price that your paying, its great.

Paul Quin

Pioneer Member
It is good to see a reasoned approach to a topic which often brings out a series of slammin' and damnin' statements. If you use the right heads and tune it properly a Pearl Export is a fine kit. Does it stand up to comparisons to DW, to Starclassics or other top of the line kits? No - but neither should it as they are innapropriate comparisons to make. There was a time when I was playing three or four gigs a week - and driving to them in my car with my gear. My primary kit at that time was Yamaha Maple but it never went anywhere without being in cases. Quite simply I coudn't fit the drums when they were in cases in my car. As a result, I used a Pearl export - which I was willing to take places wthout using cases. I played over 300 gigs with the export and it held up great. In its latter years there were some problems with the lugs breaking (leaading to quick repairs prior to each set) but overall it was a great kit.

If you don't play big gigs and if you don't record at a top end studio, and you have good heads and can tune your kit, then I suspect an export would serve all of your needs.

Pearl makes quality gear - and an Export would, I suspect suffice for the needs of more than 90% of the folks who post here. I still have my export but have become a huge fan of the Tama Starclassic Birch - and I have regular cases (not flightcases) now - so I can carry my Tama kit in my car with cases. If the need arose, however, I would not hesitate to use the export.



Gold Member
The newer ECX (maple shells) is very nice indeed.

The truth is, there are a number of very good drums being made today. Put good heads on any of them and tune them well and you'll have a fine sounding kit.

I would love to see a test of shell materials where entire drum kits--or even single drums--are made with identical specifications, hardware, sizes, etc. except for the wood. One maple, one birch, one mahogany, one oak, maybe some blends, too. Put identical heads on each, have them all tuned identically and let's just see how many can tell the difference.

I'm willing to bet that head choice and tuning both swamp the effects of wood choice.


Platinum Member
Pearl Export snobbery here. No, people just saying "for the same amount of money you can get a better kit". Better to buy a good "used" kit with whatever money you have. And if your heart is set on the Export, get a used one. Their re-sale value is in the dirt. People on eBay can hardly give they away. You can probably pick up a used Export kit for less that half of what they go for new. There's over 30 Pearl Export kits on eBay right now, for sale. When I sold my 3 piece Yamaha Recording Customs, I got $850 for them, off eBay. So you can slip into a "gently used" pro-level kit for under $1K. I'd rather have fewer high-end drums than a room full of Pearl Export quality drums.


Senior Member
Well I am a 44 year old drummer in several working bands, I have owned my Export a while now and can say out of the box they dont sound that good- This is easy to fix and a matter of changing the stock pearl heads for better quality heads, I use Aquarian on the top and I have used my old Evans G2s on the bottom all round...with good tuning using in my case, an Evans torque key and the ear to fine really is possible to have an fantastic sound out of this kit! I have recorded with it on several occasions at live gigs and can say its fantastic value and with care can sound every bit as good as a kit costing twice as much..

Things I have done to improve my sound using my set up- toms are not dampened, with the configuration of heads I have I dont need to, the bass drum needed taming for overtones so I simply use and Evans eq pillow on the front head and the Aquarian bass drum head only has a falom slam pad on the middle.
If you are looking for a good honest kit that will last you and sound good- get one!

Its true that no matter what wood the drum is made from with the right combination of heads and really good tunning any kit can sound really good, I have toyed with the idea of changing for a better kit, considered other makes and bigger prices, but not yet- my Export sounds way better then my mates, masters, and his dw!

This is a link for some of my recordings- all using my export drums, Enjoy!


Gold Member
My only complaint about Pearl Exports is their volume. Not a loud drum. If you are gigging and mic'd up, they will be fine, and you don't worry about them getting scratched or hurt,,,,,for what one of my high toms cost on some of my kits you could buy a 6 or 7 piece Pearl Export. So I worry sometimes...... The Exports are proven and a solid drum. Very gig worthy.


Pioneer Member
It is almost a legendary right of passage to have played at least once in your life a Forum or Export. We used to joke that we'd never met anyone who had bought one brand new. They are the ubiquitous used kit and there are a million of them out there for cheap.

I agree with most comments. I always got a great sound out of them with a little attention to tuning and heads. The hardware used to be really crappy but I'm sure it's better now.

I suggest buying a used one. The money saved can score you a couple of snares.


Junior Member
Forget the Posh dudes who can afford DW's .... Stick some decent heads (Evans Blue Hydra's) on the exports mate, and who would tell, ........ If you wanna go for all that (best sound you can get) Try the Sleishman free floating ...... If It's good enough for Roger Taylor, Then its good for me when I win the Lottery ..... Even if it is made of some Australian Yaba daba doo wood, ..... But I still LOVE Slingerland Too, but PEARL EXPORT meets my budget lovely right now, and the hardwear is brill, I will NEVER knock em,


Platinum Member
I bought a "new old stock" Export set within the last year. They have poplar shells. I have played drums over forty years, and I really like them. I never put the stock heads on them, except the front bass drum head, which I will probably replace eventually. My bass drum and toms sound very good, and very few people could tell the difference between these and a top-of-the-line set. To each his/her own and all of that, but I get a kick out of getting good sound out of medium quality drums. If one does not care for the tom mounting system, it can be upgraded later.

Go to the Pearl forum and ask your question, and you will find many drummers who do just fine with Pearl Export drums. Peace and goodwill.


Junior Member
Good to see some pro export comments on this thread.
Lets all be honest the export is by no means a great kit but its a good reliable and well built kit. I am not a pro drummer and i'd assume most ppl on here aren't either. If you're not a pro than you prob play small gigs in pubs n clubs where the sound quality isn't great, more often than not the sound engineer is just a guy who works behind the bar but thinks of himself as a musical genius, and most ppl dont really listen to the tone of the drums. for this reason the export becomes a great kit, its reliable, it can take a beating, you wont be too worried if the odd beer gets dropped on it or worse the odd mike stand or over enthusiastic singer. the iss mounting system is relaible in my opinion. and if you spend a bit of time tuning them they can sound great!! (in my humble no-pro opinion). But lets all be honest most drummers tune the toms as low as they can go and stick a big blanket or pillow in the bass drum anyway, so the question of tone is a non runner, even for those who own great kits??!!
Best thing you can do is get a good quality snare and a small export kit second hand that you're happy to play with, is reliable and can sound good if you spend time to tune it.
PS. everyone talks about the different wood in the shells but most dont know the difference, they just like to sound clever.


Silver Member
Personally, if I were going to own a kit like Pearl Exports, they would be a knock-around kit for playing original clubs, where I have to get on and off stage quickly. In that case, I wouldn't want an 8-piece kit, just 5. Also, for that type of kit, I imagine there are better kits than Pearl Exports. I have played Tama Imperialstars, that I like, and own an older, used set of Yamaha Stage Custom Advantages that sound good. Also, look for used, intermediate Premier kits, like XPK and Royale APK. If you go used, you should be able to get something better than Pearl Exports for really cheap.


Junior Member
My view is that in terms of the drums themselves, pearl exports are not crap, and can be tuned and fitted with the right heads to sound reasonable. If you look at the resale value though, that IS crap, so if you're looking at an export to suffice your drumming needs until you can afford a more expensive kit, they may not be a great choice. With an export, you can take it around to gigs, bash it around, play it how you want ect. without having to worry about it being damaged, as it isnt an expensive kit, so it can be viewed as a great gigging or practice kit. I own an old export and it has definitely been enough for me until I bought a starclassic. I still bring it around with me when I need to practice or to just mess around, but when I go out for something more serious like a show or a recording session, I bring along my starclassic because I'm generally looking for more consistency. The only problem I had with the export (and this may not be a generalization of all exports) was that the hardware was always giving me problems, such as going out of tune quickly, loosening bass drum spurs (Even during shows occasionally!!) and the Tom suspension system which doesnt allow for as much placement versatility as a tama ball mount.