Pearl vs. DW Drums Which do you prefer?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It's a little frustrating to me about the Collector's endless options that in a way you're paying for what you could buy, rather than what you did buy. I'm not saying that's bad, just frustrating. On the other hand that's the beauty of the Performance I suppose.
When I bought a basic 4-piece Collectors (just plain ol maple with rings and a wrap) the cost wasn’t much more than what you’d pay for a stock Pearl Reference kit. A lot of the available Collector kits I see on the market have something “special” done to them, hence the cost that makes everyone believe that all Collectors kits are stupid expensive. But I think bread n butter Collectors aren’t that out of reach. They’re like tickets to Disneyland - everyone complains about the price until they see that ALL of the theme parks charge about the same.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I have played DW Collectors, Performance, and currently a Design Series 7pc at my church and they all were top quality and sounded pretty similar (all were all maple). I don’t feel like anyone who buys Performance or Design “couldn’t afford” the Collectors but rather they may not have felt the need to spend the extra money based on sound and not the additional finishes or clout of having a Collectors kit. If I were looking for DW and a used Collectors was the same price as the others then yeah I’d probably get the Collectors but no reason to look down on the others.

Same goes for other brands as well. Some like the sound of Session drums over Masters or just as much so they but the Session. Some like Renown just as much as USA Custom. Some like Starclassic as much as Star. So on and so forth.

I must admit though that I do still laugh at drummers who put DW heads on PDP kits. To me that is like putting Lexus emblems in a Toyota, Audi or Porsche emblems on a Volkswagen, Infiniti emblems on a Nissan. Toyota,Volkswagen and Nissan are great in their own right but aren’t Lexus, Audi or Infiniti.
I think you summed up the DW line relationship nicely. I was considering a Collectors set, but just pulled the trigger on a performance set in Black Mirra Lacquer. Theyll do everything I’ll need them to and for much less than a similarly finished collectors set. I’ll be picking them up in a few weeks...waiting for an add on tom to be made.
 

GCRoberts

Well-known member
I think you summed up the DW line relationship nicely. I was considering a Collectors set, but just pulled the trigger on a performance set in Black Mirra Lacquer. Theyll do everything I’ll need them to and for much less than a similarly finished collectors set. I’ll be picking them up in a few weeks...waiting for an add on tom to be made.
Loving mine!!
 

AZDRUMZ

Well-known member
it could go either way. you either like USA-made shells with useless features or Taiwanese/Chinese built shells with ugly, hard to position mounts. i like pearl better because they have a square rack and the best cymbal stands (ICs will always be the best pedal now)
 

iCe

Senior Member
I have never played a DW kit so i can only judge from recordings and videos etc. Of the 4 kits i bought over the years, 3 are a Pearl. My first kit was a 1999 Export, then i got a Osan Runner which i kept for a decade to be replaced by a Pearl Vision kit in 2012 and finally got a Masters in 2014.
They all have pros and cons, but i always find that if i compare Pearl and DW, the sound of a Pearl kit draws me more. Also have a weak spot for Pearl since my first kit (love) was a Pearl and that could cloud my judgement as well.

One of the nice things i find with Pearl are those tube bridge lugs found on Reference Pure and Masterworks. So unobtrusive compared to the lugs of a DW Collectors. Having said that, the lugs on a regular Reference are too bulky looking for my likings.

But in the end i think my dream kit is an Ayotte and well... those cost a small fortune as well, but maybe when it's time to retire my Masters BCX and I've saved some money i go nuts and custom order an Ayotte (gotta love those wood hoops)
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
After owning a DW Collector's for many years, and now listening to recordings of other DW players, I believe that the mounting system dampens the resonance a bit too much. The thin shells have a beautiful, warm maple tone, and the re-rings give them great punch/attack. But the tone dies off too early. That has been my greatest concern with DW for a while now. Excellent design and construction, but the mounting system (which is my favorite because it isn't bulky) just kills off that quality maple tone. Just my $.02
You are the only person I have ever heard complain that DW's don't sustain long enough.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think the DW ISO mounts for the rack toms are the best looking/functioning suspension system out there. I've never had a problem with lessened sustain from the mounts. I like being able to change heads without dealing with RIMS mounts. I have to remove lugs to remove the mounting system, but that hardly ever needs to happen. Their tom tree is an abomination, but the ISO mounts are killer.
 

AZDRUMZ

Well-known member
Hummmm. What should I do with my hard earned dollars? Support Americans or some sweat shop assholes in Asia? Let me think about that for a while. I'll be playing my DWs until I decide.
I don't think pearl uses sweatshops. I know its good to support American labour, and that DW is a good drum manufacturer, but they have so many useless features like the shell note. Who the fuck needs that, I tune drums to sounds I prefer, not ones on a stocker on the inside of the shell. otherwise,
DW is cool ig
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I think the DW ISO mounts for the rack toms are the best looking/functioning suspension system out there. I've never had a problem with lessened sustain from the mounts. I like being able to change heads without dealing with RIMS mounts. I have to remove lugs to remove the mounting system, but that hardly ever needs to happen. Their tom tree is an abomination, but the ISO mounts are killer.
Weird you mention this. I've been able to remove the mounting system from all my toms (8, 10, 12, 14, 16) w/o removing lugs. Granted, removing lugs does make it easier, but I've done it on both kits w/o having to do so.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Weird you mention this. I've been able to remove the mounting system from all my toms (8, 10, 12, 14, 16) w/o removing lugs. Granted, removing lugs does make it easier, but I've done it on both kits w/o having to do so.
Maybe I wasn't doing it right. I only did it once to remove the horrid rubber gaskets under the lugs.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
I wonder if folk know that Pearl uni-lock and omni-lock tom arms are just as adjustable as ball lock mounts but are also stronger? They can also be bought as long or short arms, or easily lengthened by changing the 7/8 tube to any length.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I'd say Pearl, just by the fact that I've owned 3 Pearl sets in the past, my high school drumline were Pearls, my middle and high school drumset were Pearls, and I've never played DW. I even use a Pearl cymbal stand on one of my Sonor sets. The closest thing I have to DW gear is a PDP cymbal stand, which for how freaking cheap it was in 2005 is actually rather good and still holds strong.
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
I wonder if folk know that Pearl uni-lock and omni-lock tom arms are just as adjustable as ball lock mounts but are also stronger? They can also be bought as long or short arms, or easily lengthened by changing the 7/8 tube to any length.
I've always reallly liked the Pearl arms...... never had any issues with them and they look really good connected with the chrome suspension.
 

dirtyclinic

Member
I own both but it isn't a fair comparison. I have only owned the Pearl sets that are lower and intermediate in their range. The Pearls I have played have been great considering they have all been sub-$1000. I have a DW Collector's set that I love and I think it sounds terrific. I keep hearing people on here talk about the muddiness DW have but I haven't encountered that on my set.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I own both but it isn't a fair comparison. I have only owned the Pearl sets that are lower and intermediate in their range. The Pearls I have played have been great considering they have all been sub-$1000. I have a DW Collector's set that I love and I think it sounds terrific. I keep hearing people on here talk about the muddiness DW have but I haven't encountered that on my set.
When you tune down to jaw like most do, they all sound muddy to me so that doens't really suprise me
 
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