Bingo! Spend your money on cymbals. Cheap cymbals sound well....cheap. A starter drum kit with good heads and tuning can sound fantastic with a good set of pies. Sadly, most budget sets are paired with budget heads and cymbals which results in garbage sound.1. Allow AT LEAST 35-40% of your budget for good-sounding cymbals. Most drums can be made to sound good with tuning and choice of heads. But poor cymbals can't be made to sound good.
2. Once you have found out what you like, consider buying the gear used - you will get more for your money this way, and there's a lot of decent used
gear out there. And then if you want to change, you don't lose much money because you didn't spend a lot on brand-new gear.
3. Another thing worth considering is to buy a good used budget kit. While you're playing it you will probably find what you like and dislike about it - so you're developing preferences - then you may want to upgrade and spend your whole budget. Some find that ownership and 'living with a kit' is the first step to knowing what you really want. Just a thought.
I've heard good and okay things about the ddrum reflexes but I haven't seen one in person to try. I've heard they are similar to Birch drums but not as rich sounding but more focused. As far as I know ddrum is the only company making Alder drums.I'm curious to hear a ddrum Reflex kit in person. It is made of Alder wood. Do any of the custom builders use alder wood? I've seen ash being used, but not alder wood.
The vintage Fibes kit I played recently at a gig was made of cherry & gum. I think it sounded great.