Pearl vs. DW Drums Which do you prefer?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
The only kit I've owned out of the two is a very old second hand Pearl Maxwin that I picked up for $50 AUD.

I think that DWs' look too over engineered.

Their lugs are splayed all over the shell.

No doubt they sound good though.

So from my perspective, I prefer Pearl I guess.
I wonder if anybody thought Camcos in the 60s looked over-engineered? DW hasn’t strayed away at all from that look, you know.
 

Dirtysticks

Senior Member
I’ve had them both personally and currently play a 7pc DW Design Series at my church that sounds superb. I would give Pearl the Edge.
 

fess

Senior Member
The DW Performance series has slightly smaller lugs than the Collectors. Mine sound pretty good. dw1.jpg
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
All things being equal ,DW is just a drum that looks like it was thought up by the Soviet design bureau of 1950's cold war Russia.
Pearl overall makes much better snare drums too.
What does “all things being equal” supposed to mean, anyway?

Pearl has several different lines based on price point, so what’s your comparison? My red flags go up whenever somebody says something is “better” than something else.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Pearl gum wood jazz vs DW jazz (jasper shell clones).
I just think the Peal has cleaner lines in terms of design.
I've played a number of top line DW kits and while serviceable ,I was never impressed by the tone.

As for better,Pearls free floaters are more articulate and have a nicer overall tone and crack.
I have a black Sensitone COB that sounds better than my DW COB.
The MCX maple snares I have just have a better overall sound and feel than the DW's.

I own 5 top line DW snares (Craviotto,2/10&6's,a Collectors Solid, and COB).
The are all decent snares and wouldn't own them if they were not.
Overall,I just prefer the Pearl stuff.

Does Pearl have some duds?
Yup the Chad Smith signature has a thuddiness to it.
There's a reason they can be had cheap.
 
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Mendozart

Platinum Member
Hey Bo,
You’ve owned top of the line drums from both Pearl and DW, if you had to play/keep just one, what would your choice be?
 

Chunkaway

Silver Member
I’m not a fan of DW drums, but I’m even less of a fan of Pearl drums. To me, DW drums at least have a bit of their own sound. Pearl drums sound like Yahama, or Mapex, or ....you get the idea. Most of their lines are pretty damn generic sounding. Not my thing.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hey Bo,
You’ve owned top of the line drums from both Pearl and DW, if you had to play/keep just one, what would your choice be?
At this time I have a DW kit. As stated before, both make great drums. However, my reasons are pragmatic: Pearl doesn’t do cherry/mahogany, and dealing with them is harder because they’re so far away and things come from Taiwan. So if I want to add anything, it’ll take at least 6 months. With DW, being in LA like me, it’s easy to ring them up and get extra drums and the wait would be , at max, 12 weeks. But there was that one time I ordered a 16” floor tom and it arrived at the shop in 4 days!
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I would probably opt for Pearl drums. I have a MCX snare drum that I love, and I play it with whatever kit I have out at the time. I would budget for different tom mounts though.

One of my "things" with DW shells is that I feel like I would go through a really weird FOMO outbreak in my head if I had to pick out what kind of shells I wanted from them. They have 5 different grain orientations. In addition, they have 5 different shells in regards to the "Pure" series. Then there are the hybrids. There's NO WAY to be able to hear all of these different combinations outside of YouTube. If I ordered some DW's, I'd be so afraid I'd obsess over things like, "Maybe I should have done ABC grain orientation over XYZ" or "Doesn't one of their lower lines have XYZ grain orientation too? Did I just spend too much money on a custom kit that sounds just like one of their lower lines?" etc. This is a prime example of the paradox of choice.

I know what I'm getting with a Pearl Reference, a Classic Maple, or a Broadcaster. There's a certain level of consistency there that I prefer.
 
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PaisteGuy

Well-known member
I would probably opt for Pearl drums. I have a MCX snare drum that I love, and I play it with whatever kit I have out at the time. I would budget for different tom mounts though.

One of my "things" with DW shells is that I feel like I would go through a really weird FOMO outbreak in my head if I had to pick out what kind of shells I wanted from them. They have 5 different grain orientations. In addition, they have 5 different shells in regards to the "Pure" series. Then there are the hybrids. There's NO WAY to be able to hear all of these different combinations outside of YouTube. If I ordered some DW's, I'd be so afraid I'd obsess over things like, "Maybe I should have done ABC grain orientation over XYZ" or "Doesn't one of their lower lines have XYZ grain orientation too? Did I just spend too much money on a custom kit that sounds just like one of their lower lines?" etc.
I agree, DW has too much going on shell option wise, and could dial it back some.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I see this thread will devolve into a “let’s bash DW” thread.....
I see that a lot here! And yet the "show us your Pearl" thread is 11 pages. The "show us your DW" thread is 51 pages! Seems like an awful lot of happy DW owners.

I agree, DW has too much going on shell option wise, and could dial it back some.
That would allow then to lower the cost of their product too. Well, if they wanted to.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I see that a lot here! And yet the "show us your Pearl" thread is 11 pages. The "show us your DW" thread is 51 pages! Seems like an awful lot of happy DW owners.



That would allow then to lower the cost of their product too. Well, if they wanted to.
I'm both Pearl and DW happy, but I've been doing this long enough to know it's still the drummer and that every manufacturer makes good stuff. It's like buying clothes - just try it on and if it fits, you're gold. But regarding the mentality about the different wood configurations, vs. "how Pearl does it" - I'd say it's about the same amount of confusion. Pearl taught me about the use of mahogany, and DW taught me about the ply orientation. DW also uses different woods, which is why I have a DW now - Pearl doesn't do cherry/mahogany (or they do as a custom 8-month wait job). The biggest thing DW is doing is this vertical ply thing. I'm not sure it's important to know what they're doing besides vertical or horizontal plies. The vertical plies really do lower the pitch some, and I love it. Pearl does it with horizontal plies, but they flatten the bearing edge. So it's just a matter of how they're made.

But the reason maybe some people get into DW and they're not initially happy with the sound could be because the stock heads DW provides are just too thin. If you're tuned up for jazz all the time, those heads work great. But I immediately went to Evans EC2's on mine and a nice thick Evans EQ4 bass drum head, and got that low tone I like. Pearl automatically ships Reference drums with clear Emperors on top and clear ambassadors on the bottoms, and that dials in the low-end right off the bat. I did try my Reference kit with clear ambassadors once, and tried a DW maple collectors kit with Evans UV1 heads and HATED it. Not enough tone for me (but great for Omar Hakim - who sounds good on anything). So perhaps that's what people need to do with their DW kits when they get them. The Pearl folks get a great tone right out of the box.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
The DW Performance series has slightly smaller lugs than the Collectors. Mine sound pretty good. View attachment 93122
I got a chance to check out both the Performance and Design Series side-by-side at Pro Drum and other than the lug sizes and color offerings, there's not much difference. So people who can only afford a Design series are certainly not getting "less" on the quality side. I think the only other difference is that Design is made overseas, and the Performance is made in Oxnard, CA. I may eventually get a Design shell pack to be a second "dive bar" kit to my Collectors in the future.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I prefer Pearl, not for any particular reason. Peace and goodwill.
I admire the stark candor of that admission. Regardless of the profound and circuitous reasons one might submit for preferring one brand over another, at the core of the debris is almost always "not for any particular reason." People just like certain brands. It's as elementary as selecting ketchup over mustard, which isn't a decision worth defending.
 
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