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In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best drum sets on the market.
I’ve compared design, sound, performance, and cost to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Drum Set?
The Best Drum Sets Reviewed
The stunning Pearl Decade Maple kit has been designed to push the boundaries of performance, sound, and value. It’s a very impressive mid-level drum set that makes a great choice for rehearsals, gigs, and studio sessions.
Pearl has spent 10 years of process and material refinement to create the perfect shells for this drum set. The result is a very thin yet incredibly strong 100% maple shell that delivers wonderfully clear tones.
All of the drums included sound remarkably clean with a full and resonant tone. From the rack toms’ clear highs to the powerful low end in the kick drum and floor tom.
The hardware included with this drum set is highly functional, including the Opti-Loc suspension system which offers optimal shell resonance, and a new style of durable, mini tuning lugs that look fantastic on the all-maple shells.
This is the best drum set for progressing drummers that also comes with a lifetime warranty, reflecting Pearl’s tradition of excellence.
- Stunning visually and sonically
- Lifetime warranty
- Opti-loc suspension system
- More expensive than some other options included in this list
The Yamaha Stage Custom Drum Set has been an institution for over 30 years in the drumming world as one of the best drum sets of all time.
Yamaha employs a 100% premium birch shell for these drums and the very same lugs and hardware used on their flagship drum sets.
The all-birch shells produce a punchy and bright tone, and the drums deliver a powerful and focused sound. These drums are incredibly versatile and sound excellent both live and in the recording studio.
Inspecting these drums you can tell that the quality of the construction of these drums is tremendous. It is apparent that the craftsmanship and quality control undertaken by Yamaha is first-rate.
The resonant tone achieved from the premium birch shells is very impressive, and the quality of the lugs and hoops with the drums is the same premium quality used on Yamaha’s top-end range of drums.
The toms are open and bright, whilst the snare drum delivers a strong attack with a lot of snap. The kick drum and floor tom have an equally strong response with heaps of low end and punch.
The Yamaha Stage Custom drum set is an excellent choice for both the aspiring drummer and seasoned professional looking for a great sounding drum set at an affordable price point.
- Bright and focused sound
- Versatile performance
- Excellent hardware and tom mounts
- Very few negatives
Up next for review is the PDP Concept Maple drum set, featuring 100% maple shells with high-end components to match.
This is one of the more attractive intermediate level drum sets. I can see similarities in aesthetics between this PDP set and a top-level DW Collector’s drum set.
PDP has inherited some high-end DW features for this drum set, including the classic MAG snare throw-off and true-pitch tuning rods for all of the drums.
Additionally, PDP has also utilized specific graduated counter-hoops for each individual drum offering greater shell resonance.
The 10-ply snare drum delivers a lot of snap and attack as well as articulate ghost notes. The toms produce a warm, balanced sound, while the kick drum is the standout part of this drum set for me with a powerful low-end thump.
This mid-level drum set sounds great across a diverse range of tunings, and it will fit well into any musical application. The high-quality maple shells allow the drums to sing and the kit really does deliver fantastic looks and sounds at a great price point.
- Fantastic sounding drums
- DW WAG snare throw off is excellent
- Solid drum hardware
- Experienced a few small build quality issues
The new Gretsch Catalina Maple drum set is a fantastic kit. Gretsch has made some necessary improvements to really bring a new lease of life to this model.
The new and improved hardware adds functionality as well as providing this model a contemporary new look.
Playing the kit reveals incredibly warm and open sounds, which can be credited to the premium maple shells and rounded 30-degree bearing edges given to each of the drums. I’d describe it as quite a vintage sound but with a modern edge.
The drums are quite low in pitch, but there is enough attack and pop from each of the drums to really make its presence known in any musical style. This drum set is diverse enough to perform brilliantly across any live music or studio application.
If you are looking for the classic Gretsch sound on a budget then the Gretsch Catalina Maple is the best intermediate drum set for you.
- Vintage sound with modern edge
- New and improved hardware
- Warm and open sound
- Expensive for a low-tier Gretsch model
The Tama Superstar Maple drum set has set the bar for quality and design at the mid-range price range for over 40 years. This drum set features thin 100% maple shells that deliver a wonderful projection and a well-rounded tone.
These drum shells are incredibly thin and are very sensitive, opening up well to all styles of playing. The drums provide a well-rounded and full tone across the boar
The kick drum has a rock-solid low-end punch, and the toms project a rich and warm sound. The snare is ultra-responsive and it has the ability to deliver powerful rimshots and backbeats.
The hardware included with this drum set is both durable and rugged. The Star-Cast mounting system is functional and offers easy adjustments.
It offers a lot in terms of sound quality and performance at an affordable price. It holds up well in different musical applications both live and in the studio and blends in well for all styles of music.
Whilst this may not be Tama’s best drum set available, if you are looking for high quality at a great price then this is another fantastic option for you.
- Thin and lively drum shells
- Durable and rugged hardware
- Sensitive snare drum
- Arguably outdated design
The Best Drum Set Buyer’s Guide
So, you’ve worked hard to become a great drummer, and you have outgrown your beginner drum set.
Now you want a better quality drum set that looks and sounds the part… something that you’ll be proud to show off on stage and even start recording drums with!
The good news is that drum manufacturing has come a long way over the years from all of the best drum brands, and you can achieve a professional level sound at an affordable price.
These drum sets featured are not the flagship ranges, but they do however inherit plenty of high-end features one would expect from a premium kit. With correct tuning, you can obtain a sound that it is genuinely hard to distinguish between the professional level kits used by pros.
Why Upgrade to an Intermediate Drum Set?
There comes a time in every musician’s journey when he has made full use of his entry-level drum set. Maybe you feel limited creatively, or are unhappy with the sound of your drums. When the time is right, it is certainly wise to make the decision to upgrade.
Buying new musical equipment is very exciting. It provides the framework for capitalizing further on your passion for playing the drums.
Playing great sounding equipment will, in turn, allow you to feel like you are performing better and this will increase your overall satisfaction.
Owning quality musical equipment also provides a real sense of ownership, and the responsibility of owning, maintaining, and caring for musical equipment is both a valuable lesson and very rewarding.
What’s Included In a Drum Set Shell Pack?
All of the drum sets in this product guide are sold as “Shell Packs”. This means that all you receive is the drums, and all the shell packs included in this list include:
- 1 Snare Drum
- 2 Rack Toms
- 1 Floor Tom
- 1 Kick Drum
- Tom mounts
This is standard practice when purchasing one of the best drum sets on the market. It is generally only beginner drum sets that will include hardware and cymbals, and these will often be low-quality items.
Maple or Birch Wood
When choosing to upgrade your drum set, you can choose from different types of woods. Different woods have unique sonic qualities and it directly contributes to the sound of the drums. The most common woods for mid-level and professional level drum sets are birch and maple.
Maple offers a legendary performance for drums. It has a distinctive warm tone and projects smooth, balanced frequencies. Maple drum sets sound great across a wide tuning range and they make great all-around performers.
Birch is also a very popular wood used for drum sets. Birch has a brighter and punchier tone and it has great high and low frequencies that sound crisp and focused. Birch also makes a fantastic choice for drum sets.
What Is The Best Brand of Drum Set?
There are many great drumming brands you can trust! These large global enterprises are very experienced with drum and cymbal manufacturing, and some have existed for centuries. In fact, the cymbal manufacturer Zildjian is one of the world’s oldest companies, having been formed in 1623!
In terms of strictly drum set brands, here is a list of some of the most famous names you might be familiar with. They have mastered the techniques associated with producing great-sounding drums ‘off-the-shelf’ for the mass market.
- DW Drums
There are many other great drum set manufacturers, but these are but a few of the most famous names out there. You will likely see these brands’ logos on the front bass drum head of drum sets you see at concerts, large music festivals, and even on TV!