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Pearl is one of the leading drum brands in the world. Their drums can be found all over the world in venues, practice rooms, and recording studios.
If you’ve ever been on the search for a new drum set, you most likely came across a Pearl drum kit at one point or another. The company offers a great selection of drums to suit all different budgets.
In this article, I’ll compare sounds, shell hardware, build quality, and price sets to help you decide on the best Pearl drum set for your needs. I’ll also share some practical tips to consider when buying one.
What are the Best Pearl Drum Sets?
In-Depth Pearl Drum Set Reviews
The Pearl Masters Maple Complete is one of the pro kits that Pearl has on their product line. It’s a fantastic sounding kit that has 6-ply maple shells that give it a great balance of sustain, projection, and sensitivity. This makes it a good kit for recording in the studio.
It’s kitted out with Pearl’s SuperHoop II steel hoops and the Masters Bridge lugs. Both these hardware components further add to the professional tone that the drums produce.
If you’re not looking for the full customization from the Masterworks Series, the Masters kit is the next best thing to aim for. It comes with a standard setup that is a lot more affordable. This makes it the Premium pick on this list as it’s one of Pearl’s attainable pro kits.
Just note that it comes as a 4-piece shell pack without a snare drum. You’ll need to get your hands on one of those separately.
- 6-ply maple shells
- 10” and 12” toms, 16” floor tom, 22” kick
- SuperHoop II steel hoops & Masters Bridge lugs
- Professional kit at a relatively affordable price
- Sounds great through microphones
- High-quality and sturdy construction
- No snare drum included with the shell pack
Pearl’s Session Studio Select kit is another high-quality pro kit that comes at a reasonably affordable price compared to other kits with similar qualities. This Pearl drum set is fairly unique as the shells are a mixture of birch and African mahogany.
The birch plies give the drums punch and focused tone while the mahogany smooths the tone out with a bit of warmth. This combination makes the drums sound amazing when they’re tuned properly.
The kit has a similar hardware design to the Masters Series, coming with SuperHoop II hoops on the drums for that added tonal boost.
This is arguably one of Pearl’s best drum kits as it’s a pro-sounding kit that gives you the most bang for your buck with all its features. However, it doesn’t come with a snare drum. Pearl has a matching Session Studio Select snare that you can buy separately.
- Blend of birch and African mahogany shells
- 10” and 12” toms, 14” and 16” floor toms, 22” kick
- Borrows hardware features from the Pearl Masters
- Great pro-level drum set
- Unique tones from the blended shells
- Excellent value-for-money
- Shell pack doesn’t include the Session Studio Select snare drum
Moving onto the intermediate category, the Pearl Decade Maple 7-piece is a huge maple drum set that Pearl offers. Every drum has a thin 6-ply maple shell that makes it warm and resonating.
The big selling point with this kit is the fact that you get 7 drums at a good price. You could set them all up if you wanted to, or you could select different sizes for varying settings to have appropriate drum setups. You get a lot of options.
The design of the kit is inspired by Pearl’s Reference Series, meaning there are plenty of high-quality build features that make the kit feel and look incredible. These would include the mini-lugs, the Opti-Lock suspensions, and the tom arms.
If you equipped this kit with some higher-quality drumheads than the ones it comes with, it will comfortably compete with a few pro drum sets. It’s a great kit to get if you’re looking to upgrade from an entry-level set.
- 6-ply maple shells
- 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, 16” toms, 22” kick, 14” snare
- Inspired by Pearl’s Reference Series
- Excellent value for money
- Lots of toms allows you to explore new musical ideas
- High-quality and focused tones
- Stock drumheads don’t sound amazing
The Pearl Roadshow is a fantastic starter kit from Pearl. In fact, it’s one of the best entry-level kits you can get, no matter the brand. The big reason for this is that it has Pearl’s heavy-duty hardware. Many entry-level kits are quite flimsy with their hardware. Not this one!
The shells are made of poplar. While they’re not the greatest sounding drums around, you can make them sound fairly good with some higher-quality drumheads. The tone is perfect for beginners, though.
The kit comes with a set of hi-hats and a crash/ride cymbal. These cymbals are great for players who don’t have a set of cymbals yet. The kit also comes with stands for all the cymbals and drums. These stands are double-braced at the legs, further adding to the heavy-duty hardware aspect of the kit.
Altogether, it’s an excellent kit for beginner drummers to get.
- All-inclusive entry-level drum set package
- Poplar shells
- Includes drums, cymbals, hardware & accessories
- Has everything a beginner needs to get started
- Very affordable
- Best entry-level kit on the drum market
- Cymbals don’t sound good, so they’ll need to be upgraded down the road
The Pearl Midtown is one of Pearl’s compact drum sets. The shells are made from poplar and they’re all a fair bit smaller than standard shells. This makes the kit easier to transport around and set up.
It’s a good kit that can either be used for smaller children or for playing gigs. The shells can all fit into two drum bags, making it the perfect gigging tool for playing in small venues.
The tones that the drums produce are surprisingly large, so the kit works well for any style of music. It’s a great second kit to have for whenever you can’t fit your full kit onto a stage.
- Small & portable drum set
- 10” tom, 13” snare, 13” floor tom, 16” kick
- Poplar shells
- Excellent kit for gigging
- Can be tuned to sound fairly large in tone
- Fits into two drum bags
- The snare doesn't sound amazing
Pearl Drum Kit Buyer’s Guide
If you’re looking to get a new drum set, Pearl is one of the top brands you can trust. Each of the above-mentioned drum sets has fantastic features that will benefit you in several different settings. Whether you’re looking for an entry-level, intermediate, or pro drum set, Pearl has you covered.
There are also a few different Pearl kits that haven’t been mentioned here like the Music City Custom kits. They’re well worth checking out as well.
Things to Consider When Buying a Pearl Drum Set
When looking to buy a kit, you need to make sure of whether you’re getting a shell pack or a full drum kit setup. Shell packs don’t come with hardware or cymbals, so you need to buy those separately.
This can sometimes be a bit confusing as online stores put images of full kits, even though they’re just being sold as shell packs. So, read carefully what the kit comes with before making the decision to buy it.
When it comes to Pearl, the only two kits that come as full setups are the Pearl Roadshow and the Pearl Export.
One of the qualities that Pearl kits are most well-known for is their hardware. No matter which Pearl drum set you’re getting, it’s going to have heavy-duty hardware that will last decades.
Pearl had an incredibly good run with their Export kits. They became the most popular drum set in the world at one point. You can still easily find Export kits being used all over, and the hardware pieces from those kits are still standing strong. That’s one good example of how great Pearl’s hardware is.
Pricing is something you always have to take into consideration when buying a kit. You need to see everything that a Pearl kit is offering and decide how much value for money you think it has. At the end of the day, you should choose which Pearl kit best fits your budget as well as which one caters to your needs the best.
Some Pearl kits like the Pearl Midtown cost around $600 while others such as the Masterworks Series have the potential to cost ten times that amount. Choose which one you think will go the furthest with how much you paid for it.
Intermediate vs Pro Pearl Kits
The great thing about an intermediate set is that you can easily use it within professional settings. You just need to equip it with high-quality drumheads and use it along with professional cymbals. Your cymbal setup is the biggest determining factor of how good your overall drum setup sounds.
So, a Pearl Decade Maple kit is a decent option to consider if you put more money towards cymbals and drum heads. With that being said, you should go with the pro kits like the Pearl Masters Maple Complete and the Pearl Session Studio Select if you can afford them.
Pearl Drums FAQs
Are Pearl Drums Any Good?
Pearl is considered to be one of the top drumming manufacturers. Their drums are well-constructed, with select woods and heavy-duty shell hardware. Pearl drums are supremely versatile and sound great for all genres of music, and many of the world’s best drummers play Pearl drums both live and in the studio.
What Is The Most Expensive Pearl Drum Set?
Pearl’s Masterworks line of drums is the most expensive offering from the brand. It’s an exquisite and completely handcrafted drum kit that is made with the finest materials and hardware. These drums are completely custom made and you can choose from a wide range of shell wood types, bearing edges, shell thicknesses, hardware, finishes, and more.