Pearl Masters to DW Collectors?


Senior Member
I have a beautiful and very versatile set of drums. The base kit is as follows:

8x10 rack
9x12 rack
14x14 floor
16x16 floor
16x20 kick, virgin
5.5x14 matching snare.

These are all the Masters MRX 6-ply maple drums in beautiful #100 Wine Red finish. The rack toms wear the upgraded aluminum/chrome Optimounts.

I also have an 18x22 MMX (4ply maple w/re-rings) bass drum in matching finish. I just got this bass drum and don't currently have pics, but condition is same as what you'll see in the other drums (very good-excellent).

I view this kit as a shell bank from which to pull and cover pretty much any gig. Or, set it all up and have a very large and versatile kit.

However, I'm just not getting the sound I want out of these. In fact, I have an old 60's MIJ Firewood kit that sounds way better to me (warmer/rounder/deeper tone). The MIJ kit is 12/14/20, so that also covers the base for a smaller-sized gig/jazz kit (have recorded with this kit twice and the sound in my head is what came out on the "tape".)

In the back of my head, I've always loved DW kits. I just really dig the brand/logo/image I guess. I previously owned 2 different Collectors kits and sold them because I needed the money, but I know for a fact I got studio calls just because of my DW kit (engineer told me so.) So I'm thinking about ditching the Pearl Masters kit and grabbing a DW in bigger rock/blues sizes (12/14/16/22). Thoughts? How do the Performance series drums compare? I'm primarily looking at used to make the money work out, so I can't be too picky. From what I can tell, the Performance Series without the re-rings and with the thicker shells is going to make them sound a lot more like my Masters than what you would typically think DW's sound like (deep/punchy).



Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Check out PDP CONCEPT MAPLE, they're not considered 'legit' DW drums by some DW endorsers, but the sound for money factor is high.

Some of the mid range kits have a toned down tamber which is appealing to a lot of ppl.

Higher end kits seem to have more sound, which equates to more overtones, which can be interpreted as unpleasing.

Like your MIJ kit, the lesser offerings can have a pleasing tonal range, not as wide a tonal range as more expensive kits, tho pleasing in its capable range. The PDP's are one such kit.


Silver Member
That's a very nice Pearl collection.
It sounds like the DW sound is what you want. The best thing would be playing different models, Collectors, Performance, Design Series and PDP, then judge for yourself.


Silver Member
If it's rounder and warmer that you want in a DW kit, I would be looking at the Classics or maple/mahogany. Regular maple collectors might not be that much different to what you have now.

The SunDog

I made the exact switch you are contemplating. I owned a Pearl MLX in sequoia red with ISS mounts (no big holes in the shells) size 10,12,14,16,20. It featured the same six ply shell as the masters extra MRX and the newer MCX (same shell, they just keep changing the name). A couple years later I bought a DW collectors 10,12,15,20 and owned and played both sets for several years. I put both sets side by side and the DW sounded better hands down. The Pearl got used less and less and eventually ended up in a friends studio. It was an excellent drum set in all facets, but the DW had the edge in sound quality on every drum, especially the kick.