DW Collectors Series Vs Design Series Comparison

DW Collectors Series Vs Design Series

DW Collectors Series Vs Design Series Head To Head

DW Collectors Series Vs Design Series Detailed Comparison

In this comparison review, I’m going to be comparing the DW Collectors Series Vs Design Series side-by-side to find out which is best. I’m going to be looking at the build quality, design, sound, and cost to help determine which is the winner!

DW is renowned for producing some of the finest quality drums ever. They really are highly regarded as the pinnacle of drum manufacturing! So it came to some surprise when DW announced they would be producing a new, more affordable line of drums known as the Design series.

People were understandably skeptical. How can DW craft offer beautiful sounding drums at a fraction of the price? And with premium North American HVLT Maple shells?

Well in this article, I’m going to be comparing the legendary DW Collectors series Vs Design series to understand the differences and see which offers the best value for the money.

Sizes, Customization & Finishes

Jumping straight into the review, let’s take a look at the finishes on offer for both DW series, and see how they compare.

The DW Design Series has a very limited range of finishes and drum set configurations. But this is completely understandable and ought to be expected. To be able to produce drum sets and reduce the price tag significantly requires streamlining manufacturing processes.

Although it’s not quite the bespoke, custom shop experience synonymous with DW, the drum set configurations and finishes on offer with the DW Design Series are stunning. There are five attractive finishes available:

  • Cherry Stain Lacquer
  • Gloss White
  • Tobacco Burst
  • Black Satin
  • Clear Acrylic

Buying a DW Collectors Series drum set on the other hand is the ultimate custom experience. Your drum set can be whatever you imagine. You can choose to buy any finish or drum set configuration, and choose your woods, hardware type, shell depths, and more. Or you can choose one of the many standard finish options including exotic, hard satin, lacquer, satin, and finish ply choices. But this comes at a cost; with DW Collectors series drum sets carrying a much heftier price tag.

DW understandably has reduced the available choices for the Design Series to the most popular configurations and a select number of finishes. Which in my eyes is a very sensible move, and the finishes are fantastic.

Build Quality and Features

DW has taken lots of high-end features from the Collectors Series and put them into the Design Series drum set whilst keeping the price affordable. It’s very impressive because these drums look and sound incredible.

The DW Design series drums boast thicker North American Maple shells that produce warm and rounded tones throughout the kit. They are easy to tune and deliver tonal clarity. The newly designed mini Turret lugs, STM suspension mounts, True-Pitch tuning rods, and Remo heads also help to allow these drums to deliver killer sounds.

Comparing the build quality and design of the DW Design series to the DW Collectors series is tricky because although the DW Design series drums are very impressive, the Collectors series is the crème de la crème.

You can choose from a range of woods and hardware options to create your dream drum set including North American Maple, Heartwood Birch, and Mahogany. The drums are crafted with flawless perfection and as you would expect from a drum set of this caliber, the DW Collectors Series drums are built with exceptional quality.

A notable difference is that the DW Design Series drums are built in Taiwan, whilst the DW Collectors drums are built in California.

Sound & Performance

Now we’re going to take a look at the most important aspect: the sound. We’re going to compare the DW Collectors Series Vs Design Series side by side with the stock heads equipped. This means that the DW Collectors series will be sporting pro-level Remo heads whilst the Design Series has lower level Remo drum heads equipped.

On a blind test, it’s genuinely difficult to tell the difference between the sounds of the Collectors Series Vs Design Series with the same drum set configuration. Both drum sets sound full, and have a pronounced low end and responsiveness.

The DW Collectors Series offers the perfect balance of tonal clarity, projection, attack, sustain, and warmth. These drums sound as good as you’d expect from a top-of-the-range flagship drum set.

The Design Series drum set also packs a punch. These drums are clear and responsive and have a very warm sound to them. I would say the Collectors Series drums sound a little more full and have a slightly smoother tone overall across the kit.


Now we come to the biggest difference between the two drum sets – the price! As mentioned at the start of the review, in order to produce the Design Series and sell them at an affordable price point, DW has had to streamline the manufacturing process by offering a small selection of finishes and building the drums in Taiwan.

But this by no means makes them considerably worse in quality in terms of build quality, design, sound, or looks. The Design Series drum set is a professional quality drum set.

You can expect to pay three times more for a Collectors Series drum set than if you were to buy a DW Design Series drum set in the same setup configuration.


If you opt for the DW Design Series drums, you can be confident you will receive a professional level drum set in every way. The sound will be incredibly close to that of a DW Collectors Series drum set, and at a fraction of the price.

The finishes are beautiful and the drum set size configurations are spot on in my opinion. I really believe DW knocked it out of the park with the Design Series drum set, helping to make the desirable DW sound within reach of most drummers. For this reason, the DW Design Series set wins!

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