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With the metal scene being so diverse, it can initially seem quite hard to find a good drum set that will fit well. Some kits tend to work better than others in metal settings thanks to their shell composition and sizes.
In this article, we’re going to look through the best drum sets for metal that work incredibly well in heavy music settings. Many reputable metal drummers use these kits on stage and in the studio, so let’s see what makes them sound so good.
What are the Best Drum Sets for Metal?
Metal Drum Sets Reviews
Tama is one brand that many metal drummers tend to gravitate toward, and the Tama Star is at the top of their product line. It’s a fully customizable kit, but you can purchase a ready-made one if you’re not looking to spend extra cash on the customization and ordering process.
The Tama Star Walnut is a great kit for metal as it has a thunderous tone that sounds fantastic on the lower-end. While the sound is powerful, it’s has a natural EQ vibe to it. This makes it sounds great when drum fills are played.
The Star has everything you’d expect from a top-of-the-range kit, including specially crafted bearing edges, premium die-cast hoops, and a high-quality mounting system for the toms.
This is the premium pick for this list as it looks, feels, and sounds the best that a drum kit can.
- Thunderous low-end tones
- Stunning visuals and exceptional build quality
- Very versatile
- Quite expensive
The Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch is another kit from Tama that works excellently in metal settings. Starclassics are highly popular kits. The Walnut/Birch version, in particular, has a punching sound of birch with the stiff tone of walnut. The overall sound is very powerful and full.
The kit has high-quality hardware features such as zinc die-cast hoops on the drums, rubber-based claw hooks on the hardware, and innovative design choices on the bass drum that add to the overall quality of the set.
It has the unique design of having the rack toms mounted onto the bass drum instead of onto cymbal stands. Some drummers prefer this as it’s easier to set the toms up and position them comfortably. Other drummers don’t. Just know that the mounted rack toms don’t seem to affect the tone of the bass drum at all.
Overall, it’s one of the best sounding kits out there, especially in its price range. All of the drums deliver powerful, punchy tones; and this kit feels right at home both on stage and in the recording studio.
- Beautiful tom tones with plenty of projection and warmth
- Excellent quality shell hardware
- Stunning lacquer finishes
- Some drummers may not like the ‘drilled’ bass drum tom mounting system
The Mapex Armory is a great intermediate kit that lends a few design features from Mapex’s pro-level kits. The shells are made from a mixture of maple and birch wood.
The maple provides a warm presence while the birch dries it out, focusing a bit more on the attack of the drums. This combination gives you a beautiful sounding kit that is fairly powerful.
The drums have Mapex’s SONIClear bearing edges. These bearing edges help bring the purest tone out of the drums after you’ve put drumheads on them.
Also included with the Mapex Armory is the Mapex Tomahawk snare drum. It’s a steel snare that has a fairly aggressive tone. It has a deep and penetrating cutting sound which is perfect in a metal band context.
Plenty of metal drummers use this kit as it’s affordable and sounds great in a mix with screaming vocals and distorted guitars.
- Includes a steel snare drum that is great for metal drumming
- Warm tones with a focused attack
- Great price to quality ratio
- Stock drumheads aren’t too good
The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch is an incredibly popular drum kit. It’s known for being one of the most affordable kits that sounds good enough to be used in professional settings.
This drum set is constructed with pure birch shells that sound warm and full of low-end. The toms can be tuned to sound massive while the snare remains tight and cutting.
Yamaha’s YESS tom mounting system is a highlight of the kit. The rack toms are mounted to the bass drum and incredibly easy to move around and position. The mounts that hold them do a great job of maintaining their tone.
Overall, the Yamaha Stage Custom is truly a great intermediate kit to buy if you’re on a budget or want to save money to spend on high-quality cymbals. It sounds, looks, and feels fantastic.
- Intermediate kit that can comfortably be used in professional settings
- Wonderful low-end birch sound
- Massive value-for-money
- Will sound much better with higher-quality drumheads
The PDP Concept Maple is a great kit to get if you need a large drum setup. This kit is loved by both metal and gospel drummers thanks to the large number of toms and the warm focused tones.
The shells are made of maple, giving the drums a rich and clear tone that is incredibly responsive. They tend to react very well to fast playing, which is the biggest reason why gospel and metal drummers love this kit.
PDP is a relative brand of DW, meaning this kit shares many design features of a DW kit. This would include the True-Pitch tension rods, the MAG throw-off on the snare drum, and the high-quality mounting hardware.
It’s a great heavy metal drum set for drummers needing many different tonal options.
- Large number of drums to play with
- Lends a few design features from higher-quality DW kits
- Toms react very well to fast playing
- Stock drumheads are known not to be great
Things to Know When Looking for a Drum Set for Metal
The type of shells that the drum set is made of is the biggest determining factor of how it sounds. Different drum shells give a kit varying sound qualities, so your choice of shell will impact how the kit sounds when it’s set up and ready to play.
Since metal drumming needs to be quite punchy and intense, shells that produce strong and effective tones are typically the better option. Walnut and birch are two popular kinds of shells that produce punchy tones. That’s why, drums like Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch, Tama Star Walnut, and Yamaha Stage Custom Birch are good options to go with for a heavy metal drum set.
While the drum set is important, the cymbals are much more vital in achieving an appropriate metal drumming sound. Most drum sets can be tuned to sound effective in different styles. Cymbals can’t have their tones changed.
So, I’d suggest that you leave room in your budget for appropriate cymbals when you’re looking for a metal drum set. If the kit is punchy and great for fast playing, it’ll fit in a metal band.
If cymbals are too warm and washy, they won’t be heard through an intense metal mix. You need a good set of cymbals that are bright and punchy, just like the kit.
Double Pedal vs Two Bass Drums
Most subgenres of metal require you to be using a double bass drum pedal. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to get one along with the drum set. You may be wondering whether getting two different bass drums with single bass drum pedals is a better option.
While classic heavy metal drummers tend to play on setups like this, modern metal drummers have been moving away from it. You’ll commonly see influential metal drummers like Matt Greiner, Matt Garstka, and Matt Halpern all using single bass drums with a double pedal.
The double bass drum setup looks cool, but it’s not practical. So, it’s better to go with a double pedal unless you’re playing on a big stage that needs the dual bass drum aesthetic.
Best Drum Brand for Metal
Tama, Pearl, and Mapex are some of the most popular drum brands that you’ll often see metal drummers playing. They tend to cater to metal drummers quite often in their kit designs.
However, every top drum brand has fantastic drum sets, so you shouldn’t rule any of them out. At the end of the day, you should go with a brand that has the best drum kit for you and your needs.
Each kit from the list above will fit perfectly in a metal setting. Pair the kit up with a good set of cymbals and a double pedal, and you’ll be equipped to play blast beats and breakdowns all day.
Be sure to find a kit that suits your budget and don’t compromise on features that are important to you. You’ll regret it in the long run. Good luck on your kit buying journey!