The difficult sub 1200 range

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
Hello everyone. I am still on the search to find the best sub 1200 euro drums. So far I've found these 5 kits that are very similar in price and quality:

-Tama Silverstar

-Gretsch Catalina Maple

-Yamaha Stage Custom Standard

-Pearl Decade Maple

-Mapex Armory

Observations:

Most of these kits are maple but the Yamaha and Tama are birch. I'm not very picky about wood type and I think birch shells are very good.
Every kit except the Gretsch comes with hardware but I prefer Yamaha's HW780 single braced stands. The hardware can be replaced later for less money so I won't take that too much into consideration.

The shell sizes are nearly identical, and I'm not searching for a specific sound, so I am happy if I get any of these kits.

Yamaha SC does come with a "better" snare since it has 2 more lugs than competition, meaning more range when tuning. Meanwhile Mapex's kit comes with a Tomahawk steel snare drum which I'm a fan of.

Finish options are very good and there are a lot of different options provided by the manufacturers.

Very similar in price, though the Catalinas will require another set of hardware. So far the most expensive option is the Tama Silverstar.

Drum hardware (Lugs, Rims, Heads) are very good across all 5 kits though I think Yamaha's YESS tom mounting system is the best since it's very simple, durable, not bulky and clean looking.

Mapex comes with a virgin kick and separate tom mounts for a cleaner look which I really like.

I will replace the heads anyway so the Remo UTs that come with all the kits are not important.


This is a very hard choice to make for me, and it's also a very important one since the kit that I purchase in the end will have to last me a lot of years. Was initially thinking of the Tama Superstar Hyperdrive but the snare and hardware is too much and the total comes in a bit too high (200 euros more than these 5 kits). I have looked into other brands as well but none of the kits in this price range are comparable to these 5. For example I won't choose the Pearl Export over the Stage Customs or choose the Rydeens over an Armory.

I'd still like to hear your thoughts on this topic, and if someone thinks the options mentioned above are not the best ones, please let me know.

Sorry for the long post, here's a floor tom:

http://s4.lonestarpercussion.com/resize/images/product-image/DW-DDL1618TT.jpg
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Yamaha SC does come with a "better" snare since it has 2 more lugs than competition, meaning more range when tuning.
Nonsense. Ten lug snaredrums do not automatically offer a wider tuning range. You get a more open, resonant sound with eight lugs. Nothing else. Or do you really think that a ten lug Stage Custom snare has a better tuning range than e.g. a Tama Star snare? Only in your dreams.

Out of those drums, I would get the Silverstar, which has better, more robust hardware than the rest, followed by the Yamaha. BUT I would look for a used drumset first, a Pearl Masters, a Tama Starclassic, a Mapex Saturn or a Gretsch Renown. All of them can be found used for less than 1200 quite often. And those drums are better than those midrange drums. Better hardware, better built quality, sweeter sound.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
The easy sub 1200 range :

Yamaha stage custom.

Or go used and go pro : ludwig classic maple, dw collectors if you feel lucky, yamaha live custom, tama starclassic b/b or maple.

Happy hunting !
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Quite apart from sound - my experience with the Yamahas is that they last forever and are light and easy to carry. The metal fittings and lugs are made from quality materials that don't bend or break. eg. Titanium wing nuts so the threads don't get stripped.

The new 10 lug snare is way better than the old 8 lug. I could never get the 8 up to high tension. The 10 is much easier to tune and feels more stable, more solid.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Gretsch Catalina Maple. Best sound of all of these.

You can get a new 3 piece Gretsch Renown for under $1,200. That is worlds ahead of any of these.

The Mapex finish choices seem to be limited.

Think about why - for same price - hardware is included with some of these. Because they're cheap drums. Cheap lugs cheap rims cheap shells poorly finished bearings.

You left off Tama Supersrtar Classic. Maple shells. Excellent rims and lugs. Quality product. Well under $1,200. You could buy this kit and then buy a DW Ultralight hardware kit and be under $1,200 and have a great set of drums and hardware.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
The Yamaha is pretty nice, I recently had a chance to work with that series and was very impressed. :)

Bermuda
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Last note,

While I've never seen the Yamaha "Live Custom" on it's own for < $1200, I have seen it bundled with a set of K's for not much more. Definitely worth it if you're also looking for cymbals, potentially worth it if you're in a geography that makes resale easy.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
EU market is a lot pricier than the US market because of import taxes. Anything that costs around 1000 bucks in the US is 20% more expensive in the EU. If I lived in America I could expand my budget by a couple hundred bucks and get a DW kit.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
EU market is a lot pricier than the US market because of import taxes. Anything that costs around 1000 bucks in the US is 20% more expensive in the EU. If I lived in America I could expand my budget by a couple hundred bucks and get a DW kit.
There are some really good European makers, you could start small and expand. What about an Oriollo? Just buy snare and kick first, then add a couple toms later.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
EU market is a lot pricier than the US market because of import taxes. Anything that costs around 1000 bucks in the US is 20% more expensive in the EU. If I lived in America I could expand my budget by a couple hundred bucks and get a DW kit.
Judging by all of your posts, I think you need to buy something used and as inexpensive as possible since you've clearly been brainwashed by marketing hyberbole. You need a few years of first hand experience so that you'll know exactly what you want, and how to get a good sound out of pretty much any drum set.
 

Black Label

Senior Member
I am an avid Tama fan - their drums are very well built, their hardware is very robust and they generally sound very good. However, I am also of the view that you should buy used - you’ll get a hell of a lot more bang for your buck.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I also agree buying a used pro level kit makes a lot of sense. It's really the only way you're going to get something that could be special or unique in that price range.

All of the mid-level kits mentioned are all pretty equally great...for the price. There might be some differences in the specs but in real life any one of them would be a nice set of drums that will likely last a long time and suit you just fine.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
All of the mid-level kits mentioned are all pretty equally great...for the price. There might be some differences in the specs but in real life any one of them would be a nice set of drums that will likely last a long time and suit you just fine.
This. You have to go to the really low end to find badly made drums these days. Out of all the drums listed by the OP, I'd count them all as relatively equal. Pick the colour you like best.

The other advice to shop for a used pro kit in the same price range is even better advice in my opinion. A used Mapex Saturn or Yamaha Live Custom or Gretsch Renown or Pearl Masters are all good steps up, if you can get a price similar to any of the sets you are looking at.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
All right since you've been telling me to get used kits because I'm brainwashed from marketing, I am searching for good used kits but I'm not finding any. If you can help then feel free to search some high end drums on ebay.it. Italy doesn't have a huge used market and you don't really see any real offers that are good. Last offer I saw was 2 years ago. I don't see why I'm brainwashed by marketing since I am still very open to suggestions and am not a brand snob either.

If you do find a deal on ebay (If I don't find one until then) then please PM me or leave a comment.

Now to spend an hour on ebay.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
Judging by all of your posts, I think you need to buy something used and as inexpensive as possible since you've clearly been brainwashed by marketing hyberbole. You need a few years of first hand experience so that you'll know exactly what you want, and how to get a good sound out of pretty much any drum set.
Dude I'm stuck here with an e kit. I don't want to get an acoustic kit that sounds worse than my current kit. I'm sure nobody wants to downgrade here. Roland TD11 is around the price of these 5 kits I mentioned so I want something that sounds as good as a Roland kit and has acoustic sizes and looks. I don't really want something like a Pearl Export since I can get something better for the same price. I wouldn't get a 200 dollar kit since I won't be very happy with it. I can't get something like a DW kit since.... price. It's not an easy situation to explain.
 
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