Pearl vs. DW Drums Which do you prefer?

JaysonJeanChannel

Well-known member
Two are my favorite brand, and right now. I don't know which one to side with. I love Dw with PDP, and I knew this brand all my life, but I'm starting to go more with Pearl when I eventually invest in another drum kit.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Given that I've been an exclusive player of Pearl for over three decades and that I've never owned a DW kit (or even a single DW drum), the obvious answer is Pearl. My current set is a four-piece Pearl Session Studio Select. I put great thought into the selection, and it's exactly what I wanted. I have nothing negative to say about it.
 

JaysonJeanChannel

Well-known member
Given that I've been an exclusive player of Pearl for over three decades and that I've never owned a DW kit (or even a single DW drum), the obvious answer is Pearl. My current set is a four-piece Pearl Session Studio Select. I put great thought into the selection, and it's exactly what I wanted. I have nothing negative to say about it.
I love both. And DW, especially the performance series are wonderful drums. But now I’m thinking that Pearl does a lot more with their products than DW. Right now, I believe that DW has the best hardware hands down. But I’m starting to think Pearl puts a lot more effort in their shells than DW than creates an much better sound ... it also doesn’t help that Pearl is often less expensive than DW, but I don’t want this to be a money thing.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I love both. And DW, especially the performance series are wonderful drums. But now I’m thinking that Pearl does a lot more with their products than DW. Right now, I believe that DW has the best hardware hands down. But I’m starting to think Pearl puts a lot more effort in their shells than DW than creates an much better sound ... it also doesn’t help that Pearl is often less expensive than DW, but I don’t want this to be a money thing.
I have no meaningful experience with DW hardware. All of mine is Pearl. That goes for my bass pedal and throne as well. Only my cymbals (Zildjian), heads (Remo), and sticks (AHEAD) aren't made by Pearl.

I have no desire to experiment with other drum makers at this point. If Pearl can give me what I want, I can put the issue to rest and focus on playing. Equipment can be a massive distraction from drumming if you allow it to be. I'd rather drum than shop for drums.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I’ve owned both and both are great. They both offer something different depending on what you want. I’ve only owned DW Collectors series kits and my main Pearl kits are Reference series, both very different side-by-side. You can geek out on either one.

But truth be told, once you get past a certain price point, like say, over $2000, they’re all great. They all sound like drums and will survive the abuse of the road. So it’s really up to you. Which Pearl line are you thinking about getting in to?
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I like Pearl a lot, and if I didn't play Ludwig, I'd play Pearl. I find their general design to be thoughtful, and they offer drums that interest me in a price range I think is reasonable.

My main experience with DW is also through Pacific; I've owned a couple snares and a CX kit. They were all pretty nice but I just cannot get used to the True Pitch lugs. For me the feel made tuning a lot more difficult because of the additional friction and it really messed with me. I also think from a design standpoint using proprietary tension rods, lug nuts and even fastening hardware is just about the dumbest thing you can do to a drum.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Pearl any day of the week. Not that DW is bad. They aren't. I just shy away from the hype. Pearl makes really great quality drums and for me stand up to DW without all the John Good marketing.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Pearl any day of the week. Not that DW is bad. They aren't. I just shy away from the hype. Pearl makes really great quality drums and for me stand up to DW without all the John Good marketing.
Such as the rigid tuning instructions inscribed like the Ten Commandments inside DW shells?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I see this thread will devolve into a “let’s bash DW” thread.....
Not at all. I just find the shell guidelines with regard to tuning rather bizarre. I'd like to think they were created by alien lifeforms, not unlike crop circles. But unfortunately, human beings thought they'd be worthwhile.

As for DW's quality, I have no reason to derogate it.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
DW drums don't sound that great to me, especially when you factor in the extra high price. They sound good, but not great, which I would absolutely demand if I bought a $4000 kit.

The DW Collector's series has a slight muddiness to the tone, they don't sing as cleanly as other brands. Sure, they resonate like all the others, they have attack and punch, but the tone is kinda murky IMO.

I do like the sound of DW bass drums though. They consistently have a satisfying thud/thump to them.

Pearl makes kits equal in quality to the DWs, but for hundreds or even thousands less. Their toms sound cleaner to my ears. I totally agree with @C.M. Jones. If Renowns didn't exist, I'd be all over the Session Studio Select. They sound fabulous and are very well made.

Those tom arms tho.....
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I totally agree with C.M. Jones . . . I'd be all over the Session Studio Select. They sound fabulous and are very well made.

Those tom arms tho.....
I really do love my Session Studio Select kit. Superb drums. The birch/African mahogany combo is wonderfully balanced. I don't know that you'll find a better compromise between projection and warmth.

Tom arms: I don't use them. I'm a one-up/one-down player, and my up tom is in a snare stand. Removing Pearl's mounting system from a tom is but the work of a moment.
 
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SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
I see this thread will devolve into a “let’s bash DW” thread.....
It's a thread on DW about DW, what do you expect?

PDP is made by DW, but it's not a DW. Just like an Epiphone isn't a Gibson, Squire isn't a Fender, you get the point. So to do an apples to apples comparison you have to use Pearl's top of the line.
Bo is right about all of the drums past a certain price point are good. The first time I heard that statement was in the late 90's and it came from my friend's dad who managed a large drum tech place. His statement was, "when it comes to high end drums, they all basically sound the same so pick the hardware and finish you like best and get that kit." There's no mojo to this brand to that. This coming from a guy who had been around the world teching for the biggest names, and when not doing that lived in the studios teching for his clients. This statement was made standing in front of a 6 foot tall by 8 foot wide storage rack full of Ayotte drums, which were new and fairly rare at that point.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
I'm leaning toward Pearl and ordering them sans mounting hardware so I can use something that utilizes ball-and-socket L-arm holders.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
DW drums don't sound that great to me, especially when you factor in the extra high price. They sound good, but not great, which I would absolutely demand if I bought a $4000 kit.

The DW Collector's series has a slight muddiness to the tone, they don't sing as cleanly as other brands. Sure, they resonate like all the others, they have attack and punch, but the tone is kinda murky IMO.

I do like the sound of DW bass drums though. They consistently have a satisfying thud/thump to them.

Pearl makes kits equal in quality to the DWs, but for hundreds or even thousands less. Their toms sound cleaner to my ears. I totally agree with @C.M. Jones. If Renowns didn't exist, I'd be all over the Session Studio Select. They sound fabulous and are very well made.

Those tom arms tho.....
What is it about the Pearl tom mounts that so many dislike?
Is it just because the generic cheapie kits copied them?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Can you recommend a brand with drumshells moulded from compressed Spam?
Didn’t Ginger Baker make his first set of drums out of “Perspex”? I think I read that in a MD interview long ago. Not sure what that stuff is, but if that was what he was using in the beginning with Cream, then what do we know?

I stand behind my statement that after you get past a certain point, they’re all good. Any argument against, or “not hearing it” is totally subjective. Pick a finish, pick hardware you like, and go with that, is about the best advice you can get. I’ve played and owned most all of the big lines by now (except for Sonor’s SQ2), not including the really upscale “small names”, and you just pick a philosophy you like and play them til they break! I like all the big name brands, they all sound great. There’s always something not to like from every brand, so maybe you should identify those and see what you can live with.

If you live near Los Angeles, I’ve always had the option of buying drums I liked, and then having the Pro Drum Shop install what I wanted. Some guys got Gretsch bass drums and had Yamaha spurs installed. I had a DW bass drum and installed a Yamaha tom mount on it. There was always custom work going on out here and that was really cool to be able to do that because not every thing from one company was great.
 
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