You get what you pay for

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ncc

Silver Member
I just read a thread about DW being worth the price. I wanted to expand on that, because its not just about DW, and especially for the young guys just coming up. Just like with anything else you can possibly buy, there are 'price classes' of drums, cymbals, hardware, etc. from all the manufactures these days. Something I have really learned over the years is that the statement 'you only get what you pay for' is 100% true.

For example, if you look at only one high end manufacturer, like DW or Sonor, you can buy a $100 snare or a $1000 snare. First off, you are paying for the name, and that actually is a good thing - because the name does mean quality, be it the low end or the high the models.

Now is that $1000 snare worth 10x the cost of the $100 model. The answer is yes. Although you have the quality that comes with the name, that high model most likely has better hardware and plating, better wood, better snares, better metal (steel, brass, ...), different construction methods, etc, all leading to a both a better sound and better longevity. Not to mention holding value better.

Bottom line, always buy the best you can afford. If you just 'settle' for something, chances are you will be unhappy and it will only end up costing you more in the long run.

my 2 cents. ;-)
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Yes, but there is also the law of diminishing returns.

Assuming each shell pack has the same number of drums:

A $1000 shell pack is twice as good as a $500 shell pack.

A $2000 shell pack is better than $1000, but perhaps not by the same jump.

A $4000 shell pack is not twice as better than a $2000 shell pack, although it may visually be nicer.

I agree you get what you pay for, to a point.

However, at some point, the sonic return for every additional dollar spent is less and less. Although the aesthetic value to the beholder may still be dollar for dollar.
 

Guru Drums

Senior Member
Yes, but there is also the law of diminishing returns.
Absolutely! I always tell clients that they can get 90% of our sound for half the money, & 80% for half that again. That last 10% however, is the difference between a great sounding kit & a special sounding kit. Put whatever value on that you like. In some contexts it's gold, in others, a complete waste of money.

As for the thread title - um yes mostly, but there are exceptions. There's drums out there that stand out at their price point. Sonically, they punch well above their weight. There's others that offer less in the way of performance than either their price or name would suggest, but maybe deliver more towards visual & brand ownership satisfaction.

Mapex Saturn & C&C player date are two that really deliver sonically above their price point. I won't be drawn on those in the other category.
 

ncc

Silver Member
As for the thread title - um yes mostly, but there are exceptions. There's drums out there that stand out at their price point. Sonically, they punch well above their weight. There's others that offer less in the way of performance than either their price or name would suggest, but maybe deliver more towards visual & brand ownership satisfaction.

Ahh.....that is why i said take any *one* manufacture. It was not about one drum company being better than another. That is totally up to the player and that topic is a war zone to discuss. :) To me, there are no good or bad companies. Just different.

My point was in the same manufacture's line card, there are differences between high end an low end, everything considered (including service and esthetics). Be it drums, cymbals, hardware .... How much 'better' is also a different topic. :)

When someone does the research, as you point out, they can make their own determination on the meaning of 'better' and the value of what they are buying, and which companies have the best 'bang for the buck'. :) No pun intended ;-)
 

jbonzo1

Silver Member
You can always buy used.
It's been a buyer's market for some time now. High end Gretsch and DW drums can be had for great prices.
 

vipe155

Member
I definitely agree with the diminishing returns. Also, a $1000 snare ends up having a terrible price to usefulness ratio, as something for half/third of the cost can sound just as well. A $1000 drum probably never sounds 10x better than a $100 drum.

Also, once you get into the intermediate/lower pro level kits, the difference in quality and sound get significantly muddled going up from there. DW is more name than really being worth that much in musical sound IMO. Not a popular opinion maybe, but no one should be steered to believe that whatever they have is nothing until they get up to a DW.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Not to get into specifics on any one brand, it is very true that you get what you pay for. The only snare I would consider in the used, under-$150 category would be a Ludwig Acrolite. Every new snare I've tried in that price range, or that came with a cheap sub-500 kit has never delivered what I expect out of a snare drum. This something about the engineering, or the bearing edge cuts, the fit and finish of all the parts....super cheap snare drums are not worth it. However, I've yet to be unhappy with the toms or bass drum of my current Ludwig Breakbeats, or Sonor Safari - those are quite manageable in their price point.

Of course, a $1000 snare drum will not be five times better than a $500 snare drum, but I've noticed that once you get past that $200 mark on a new snare, at least you've gained an instrument that can be tuned and playable. This is even more true for cymbals - you must spend the money because you can't fix or tweak those to sound good, they are what they are.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Yep - diminishing returns, intended usage, and a whole slew of other variables.
Sometimes you pay for hype too.
I went through it with synthesizers.
When I finally snagged what most people consider the holy grail, I wasn't that impressed
with it, from a value standpoint.
I no longer have it, but hopefully someone is real happy with it.
 

drummerjims

Senior Member
I have found that a quality snare will run you $250+ once you get there you will not notice many bad snares. after $250 you start paying more for fit finish and cost of materials. They do not seem to get a whole lot better in terms of sound the higher up the price line you (there are exceptions). With a kit today once you hit I would somewhere between $800-$1000 you start getting great sounding kits. Not to say something cheaper doesn't sound great or something more expensive doesn't sound bad. From there the higher the price goes the better the parts and finish are. To me though generally the sound quality does not get exponentially better even though there are plenty exceptions.

However as far as sounds go as drummers we can recognize a good sounding kit or snare. But there are thousands of different sounding good sounds coming from different drums. I may prefer one sound you may prefer another. To get my sound I may need to spend $4,000 to get your sound you may need to spend $900. More than likely unless I got a killer deal the fit and finish is going to be better on mine (I got what I paid for) and on yours not so much (you got what you paid for) However to drummers and non drummers alike they both sound amazing.

What I'm saying in short is that after a certain point the "you get what you pay for mentality" does not necessarily focus on the sound of the drum anymore as it does fit and finish. However the lower priced drums sound wise you get what you pay for.

Remember there are always exceptions to these rules.

I would also like to add that outside of the drumming community a Subaru will easily keep me going for 200,000 miles a Corvette will not (or atleast not so easily)
 

JimFiore

Silver Member
Another thing to consider is how well the instrument will hold its value. If you spend good money on a quality instrument, not only will you have an instrument that you enjoy playing, but you also know that its price will only appreciate as the years go by. Looking outside of drums for a moment, I've owned several basses over the years and only rarely have I come across a nice mid-priced bass that I'll keep (I bought a MIJ Fender fretless Jazz Special from a friend 20 years ago for $350 and still have it). A few years back I bought a new Ric 4003 and I can sell it today for considerably more than I paid for it (not that I would). These days I generally wouldn't consider buying a new guitar or bass for under $1k because I notice too much of a difference between one of those and, say, a $1500 unit. Because of this I don't own that many guitars/basses! OTOH, I really like what I have.

A quality instrument is an investment. If you're serious about music then you'll invest a lot of time practicing. It only makes sense to make an equivalent investment in your instrument(s). Not to the point of going broke, of course, and it's obvious that just because something is expensive doesn't mean it represents a high standard of quality.
 

vitaflo

Member
A $1000 drum probably never sounds 10x better than a $100 drum.

I disagree with this (if only because you used an extreme example). I own a $100 snare and a $1,000 snare. The $1k snare sounds infinitely better because it can do things the $100 snare simply cannot do (think sensitivity, tuning range, etc, not just tone).

Certainly a $500 snare vs a $1,000 snare has less of these differences, because you expect a $500 one to be at least adequate at most things. But there tends to be a price point below which that a drum sorta "gives up" and simply cannot do a lot of the things that could be asked of it like a higher priced version could. I think that threshold is where "bang for the buck" conversations come into play.
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
I definitely agree with the diminishing returns. Also, a $1000 snare ends up having a terrible price to usefulness ratio, as something for half/third of the cost can sound just as well. A $1000 drum probably never sounds 10x better than a $100 drum.(QOUTE)


This is a hugely important statement. All these famous guys spend thousands more for the same gear that club level acts use and they gain 10-15% better sound. That 10 or 15% is huge. It separates their sound from the generic masses and to some musicians that small difference is worth every cent. If you don't want to shell out the extra two or three grand for five drums, then you will end up having the same sound and quality as every other Tom,Dick and Harry.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I just read a thread about DW being worth the price. I wanted to expand on that, because its not just about DW, and especially for the young guys just coming up. Just like with anything else you can possibly buy, there are 'price classes' of drums, cymbals, hardware, etc. from all the manufactures these days. Something I have really learned over the years is that the statement 'you only get what you pay for' is 100% true.

For example, if you look at only one high end manufacturer, like DW or Sonor, you can buy a $100 snare or a $1000 snare. First off, you are paying for the name, and that actually is a good thing - because the name does mean quality, be it the low end or the high the models.

Now is that $1000 snare worth 10x the cost of the $100 model. The answer is yes. Although you have the quality that comes with the name, that high model most likely has better hardware and plating, better wood, better snares, better metal (steel, brass, ...), different construction methods, etc, all leading to a both a better sound and better longevity. Not to mention holding value better.

Bottom line, always buy the best you can afford. If you just 'settle' for something, chances are you will be unhappy and it will only end up costing you more in the long run.

my 2 cents. ;-)

But then you have other companies fighting for some market share and these companies can't rely on their name, so they do their best to make excellent products and at lower prices. I think the smart buyer looks past the logo (and the idiot fixates on it).
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
But then you have other companies fighting for some market share and these companies can't rely on their name, so they do their best to make excellent products and at lower prices. I think the smart buyer looks past the logo (and the idiot fixates on it).
This is mostly correct, although to play devil's advocate for a moment, in addition to the sheer visibility brand delivers, it also equates to a degree of buyer comfort (either deserved or not).

Where the smaller company can really excel, is in providing an instrument that the bigger companies either cannot conceive of, or would find to be too specialised to slot into their volume production model. This is where costs tend to climb too. The more the smaller companies chase costs to compete, the closer to the major company products they become. It's really tough to stick to your principals in a cost/price driven market.
 
Yeah well i think that you do get what you par for and that the £5000 kit is better than the £1000 kit, is it 5 times better ...? i don't think so, maybe 20% better ! Id agree with drumeatdrum on this ..
 

coolhand1969

Senior Member
Whether it be drums or cymbals you go for the sound, not the price or the name brand.

If you are RICH, then go ahead and buy the name.

A $1000 snare, no way would I pay that much, sure it is better than a $100 snare, but is it really so much better than a $400 snare?

I recently bought a new car. All I ever wanted was a 911 Turbo, but after driving one, and then driving a new Vette, there was no diffeence ( except about $50,000). I bought the Vette.
 

Polska

Member
And yet another thing to keep in mind - how will I be using my gear?

If I'm a classical drummer in an orchestra or do a lot of pit shows, $1000 is probably well worth it for a snare.

If I'm going on the road for the first time with my indie band in a van playing clubs, do I want to bring along a high end, brand new DW kit?

If (like me) you're a weekend warrior with a regular full-time job and do this for the fun of it, then perhaps you're looking for something in the middle ground.

I've certainly had my dream kits in mind through the years, and probably could find a way to fund the purchase, but justifying it is another thing. To me, it's directly relevant to how I'm going to be using it. Just because I can, doesn't mean I should. I want good gear, but in my life I don't need the best of the best.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I recently bought a new car. All I ever wanted was a 911 Turbo, but after driving one, and then driving a new Vette, there was no diffeence ( except about $50,000). I bought the Vette.
Not to derail this thread, but I would argue this point. I've fantasized about owning both of those cars since I was a kid, so I can relate. I love them both for different reasons, but there are big differences between these cars. I mean, engine placement, for one thing, is not a small detail!

But congrats on the Vette! What color? :)
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
All of us put a value on things in proportion to our wealth in my opinion. I own 5 watches, most expensive one was 100.00, but a gift. I could never afford a Rolex, and could never in my dreams think why anyone would spend $10,000.00, or more, for one. I own a Gretsch Renown drum set, new, worth 1600.00. I got it a month old for $650.00 in mint condition never played. I would love a USA Custom set or a Ludwig Classic, or DW whatever, but will never afford either, or quite understand $4000.00 for one. Speaking strictly of sound, I have good ears, but fear I could never hear the difference in a set costing that much. I feel if you pay 3 or 4 hundred, you get what you pay for. If you spend 4 thousand is your set worth twice as much as a 2000.00 set. Not to my ears.. That is not to say that the 2000 set wont take to the travelling world as well as a 4000 set. Packed in the same cases they should. Maybe the hardware won't take all of the set up and tear down, but just on sound alone I cant see it. I feel that all of the major builders have great sets at the 2000. range and that the 4000.00 range is getting into fluff and fancy that I just don't need or understand.


Quote.."A $1000 snare, no way would I pay that much, sure it is better than a $100 snare, but is it really so much better than a $400 snare?"

The funny thing here is that according to many on this forum, and I won't dispute it, the most recorded, best sounding drum is an Acrolite which is no where near 1000.00
If that is the benchmark, 400-600 dollars then why spend 1000.00 or more for something that sounds good but a lot of the effort is in the looks. I love the drums that look like the best furniture but why spend all of that when the Acro's are the ones people want to record and play with? I must be missing something
 
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