Plywood is a wood composite material, as is particle board, particle board gets a bad rap. Remo makes Acousticon shells (which actually sound very good) which are a high-grade form of particle board, just as drum shells are a high-grade form of plywood. A lot of drummers look down their noses at Acousticon, but their own ply drums are close cousins.I see where you are going with that.. however, you really equate the non-engineered plies in drumshells with "particle board" ??
Personally, I don't look down my nose at anything. I have drums made of natural whole wood, ply, Acousticon, plastic, fiberglass, metal and ceramic. I'd love one of those Tibetan drums made of a human skull to add to my collection!