5 Best Studio Drum Sets for Recording

Studio drum set

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If you’re looking for a studio drum set, you’re going to need to look near the top of each drum brand’s product range. All the best-sounding drums tend to work the best in studio environments. Every brand has a great studio drum kit, and we’re going to have a look at a few of them. 

Pay attention to the level of detail that each of these kits has. Recording studio drums is often made easier by all these design features. So, let’s have a look at what each kit has to offer.  

What are the Best Studio Drum Sets for Recording?

Image Recommended ProductsProduct Features Price
Best
Yamaha Recording Custom
  • 6-ply birch shells
  • 10” & 12” rack toms, 14” floor tom, 20” bass drum
  • 30-degree bearing edges
Premium
DW Collector’s Series Purpleheart
  • Purpleheart shells
  • 14” snare, 8”, 10” & 12” rack toms, 14” & 16” floor toms, 23” bass drum
  • HLVT shell technology from DW
Gretsch Broadkaster
  • 3-ply maple/poplar/maple shells
  • 14” snare, 12” rack tom, 16” floor tom, 22” bass drum
  • 30-degree bearing edges
Tama Starclassic Maple
  • Thin maple shells
  • 10” & 12” rack toms, 16” floor tom, 22” bass drum
  • Die-cast hoops
Budget
Yamaha Stage Custom
  • Birch shells
  • 10” & 12” rack toms, 16” floor tom, 22” bass drum, 14” snare drum
  • YESS mounting system & low-mass lugs

Recording Studio Drum Sets Reviews

Yamaha Recording Custom Drum Set

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • 6-ply birch shells
  • 10” & 12” rack toms, 14” floor tom, 20” bass drum
  • 30-degree bearing edges
OUR RATING
PRICE
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Yamaha Recording Custom Drum Set Review

5

The Yamaha Recording Custom is simply one of the most sought-after and widely used recording studio kits in the world. The latest version of it was designed with the help of legendary studio drummer, Steve Gadd. 

The floor tom and bass drum are slightly smaller than on most kits, but the tuning range is surprisingly large on this kit. The 6-ply birch shells give it an open tone that is round and deep. That sound ends up translating extremely well through microphones. 

The 30-degree bearing edges make the drums quite easy to tune. They also tend to stay in tune for extended periods which is great.  

Something unique about the Recording Custom is that it’s one of the few high-end drum kits that has rack toms mounted to the bass drum. It utilizes the YESS mounting system which manages to maintain the resonance of the bass drum and rack toms without any unwanted sound choking. 

If you are looking for the best studio drum set, then the Yamaha Recording Custom is widely regarded as just that. It ticks all of the boxes sonically and is a complete workhorse designed to fit right in amongst any style of music.

Pros

  • Designed with the help of Steve Gadd
  • The drums have a wide tuning range and they are easy to tune
  • Beautiful low-end tones

Cons

  • No snare drum included

DW Collector’s Series Purpleheart Drum Set

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Purpleheart shells
  • 14” snare, 8”, 10” & 12” rack toms, 14” & 16” floor toms, 23” bass drum
  • HLVT shell technology from DW
OUR RATING
PRICE
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DW Collector’s Series Purpleheart Drum Set Review

4.9

The DW Collector’s Series Purpleheart is one of the highest-quality drum sets you can get. You won’t find many kits that sound better than this one, making it the premium pick on this list. 

The Purpleheart wood is fairly unique, and you won’t find it being used in drums by many other drum companies. It gives these drums an excellent balance of attack, sustains, and sensitivity. 

Apart from the sound, another reason this kit works great in a studio is the size of the drums. It’s a 7-piece kit, so you have plenty of configuration options to choose from. You could set the whole kit up or mix and match the drums to get another comfortable setup. 

It has all the high-quality features that you’d expect from DW such as the HLVT shell technology, True-Pitch tuning rods, and MAG throw-off on the snare drum. 

The DW Collector’s Purpleheart is one of the best-sounding drum kits available, and it’s a pure delight both sonically and visually.

Pros

  • Incredible sounding drums
  • Different setup options thanks to the large number of drums
  • Impressive low to mid-range tones

Cons

  • Spectacularly expensive

Gretsch Broadkaster Drum Set

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • 3-ply maple/poplar/maple shells
  • 14” snare, 12” rack tom, 16” floor tom, 22” bass drum
  • 30-degree bearing edges
OUR RATING
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Gretsch Broadkaster Drum Set Review

4.6

The Gretsch Broadkaster is another classic high-quality studio drum kit option. This kit has been used on hundreds of classic rock records over the years, and Gretsch recently did a rehaul of it by adding a few modern touches. 

The drums have 3-ply shells that are a mixture of maple and poplar. The two outer plies are maple while the inner ply is poplar. The combination gives a great wide and open tone which is reminiscent of many vintage drum kits. 

You’ll find 30-degree bearing edges on all the drums that help with tuning as well as give the drums a warmer sound. 

Similar to the Recording Custom, the rack tom also stays mounted on the bass drum. Overall, this is a great vintage kit that is ideal for jazz and rock recordings. 

Pros

  • Superb vintage tones
  • Drums don’t need muffling when tuned properly
  • The Broadkaster snare is especially fantastic

Cons

  • Gretch’s tom mounts aren’t as easily maneuverable as other drum brand mounts
  • Not the most versatile drums due to retro sizes

Tama Starclassic Maple Drum Set

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Thin maple shells
  • 10” & 12” rack toms, 16” floor tom, 22” bass drum
  • Die-cast hoops
OUR RATING
PRICE
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Tama Starclassic Maple Drum Set Review

4.5

The Tama Starclassic Maple is a beloved kit by many rock drummers. However, the maple shells work beautifully in studio settings for all styles of music. 

The shells are fairly thin, allowing for powerful tones. The shells have a cross-lamination structure that helps prevent warping due to the shells being thin. The overall outcome is a solid drum kit with massively responsive drums.  

The swivel-wing tom posts are some of the sturdiest tom mounts that you’ll find, having very little movement whenever you play the toms. 

Each drum is fitted with high-quality die-cast hoops, giving them a sharp attack and very clear tone. The high-quality design features and the strong tones of the Starclassic Maple make it an ideal studio drum set. 

Pros

  • Powerful tones
  • Die-cast hoops are an excellent addition
  • The kit comes equipped with high-quality drumheads

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a Starclassic Maple snare drum

Yamaha Stage Custom Drum Set

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Birch shells
  • 10” & 12” rack toms, 16” floor tom, 22” bass drum, 14” snare drum
  • YESS mounting system & low-mass lugs
OUR RATING
PRICE
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Yamaha Stage Custom Drum Set Review

4.5

The Yamaha Stage Custom is the budget option on the list. This drum set has a well-known reputation for being one of the best-sounding intermediate kits available. 

The shells are made from birch which gives them a fairly powerful and punching tone. These drums sound great when recorded through microphones because of that. 

Most of the design features of the Stage Custom are also used in the higher-end Yamaha models, further adding to the quality of this kit. Things like the YESS mounting system and the low-mass lugs all add to the value of the set. 

With clear, punchy tones from lively birch shells, this is the best drum kit option for you to consider if you’re on a tight budget. 

Pros

  • Most affordable kit on the list
  • Huge value-for-money
  • Fantastic snare drum

Cons

  • Stock drumheads will need to be replaced to get the best possible sounds

Studio Drum Kit Buying Guide

Be Selective with Drumheads

One of the most crucial aspects of a studio drum set is the selection of drumheads on all the drums. The type of heads you have on the drums have the power to drastically change how the drums get picked up through microphones. So, make sure you put some top-quality heads on the kit. 

Luckily, most high-end kits come equipped with high-quality heads already. However, many drummers tend to forget about the bottom heads. The bottom heads will change how the sustain of the drums sounds as well as a few of the overtones. 

Every part of the kit gets exposed in a recording environment, so those bottom heads will make a significant difference. 

Cymbals are Arguably More Important

While your choice of the drum set is important in studio settings, your choice of cymbals will have a bigger impact on your overall drum kit sound. The cymbals have the power to make or break a drum mix, so you need to select them appropriately for whatever music you’re recording. 

If you’re planning on recording drums often, you should get a decent drum kit that you can use for all of your trackings. You should then get a few varying cymbal options to use for different projects. 

It’s Better to Get an Expensive Kit that Will Last Longer

While most of the kits that have been mentioned above appear to be quite costly, that’s typically the price you need to pay to have a good studio drum set. It’s good to think of it as an investment. The studio kit will stay in the recording space for years and be used for countless recording projects. 

The money you pay for it will be well worth all the usage you get out of it. If you end up recording with it for paid projects, you’ll make your money back after a certain amount of time. 

Higher-priced kits work better in the studio as they have better tones. Those tones have an extra focus thanks to all the microphones picking the sounds up. 

Final Thoughts 

Most drummers dream of having a high-quality studio kit. There’s no better feeling than walking into a room that has a top-quality drum set on display. All the kits mentioned above will have this effect. They also have sounds to match the looks. 

Each kit has shell properties that tend to work incredibly well in conjunction with drum microphones. The kits are easy to mix and EQ with as well. 

If you have a large budget, consider getting one of the high-end DW like the DW Collector’s Series Purpleheart or Yamaha kits like the Yamaha Recording Custom. The Gretsch Broadkaster and Tama Starclassic kits are great for slightly lower budgets while the Yamaha Stage Custom can’t be beaten in the entry-level studio kit budget space. 

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