DW Design Series Review

DW Design Series Drum Set

Key Features

  • 5-Piece drum set shell pack
  • North American maple shells
  • Black Satin matte finish
  • True-Pitch tuning rods
  • Equipped with pro Remo heads
  • MAG Snare throw-off

96/100

The DW Design Series is a top-of-the-range drum set that is supremely playable and offers exceptional value for money. It’s the complete package – delivering premium sounds and looks at a fraction of the cost of a DW Collector’s Series.

DW Design Series Drum Set Review

The DW Design Series drum set is without a doubt one of the best professional drum sets on the market. These drums deliver incredible tones and warmth, and carry a modest price tag compared to the legendary DW Collector’s Series drums.

These drums are built from North American maple shells that offer a wonderful attack, projection and tone. The DW Series drums come in a selection of stunning finishes.

These drums are also equipped with professional features throughout including DW’s newly designed mini-turret lugs, True-Pitch tuning rods, a MAG snare drum throw off and US made Remo drum heads on the batter and resonant sides.

In this DW Design Series review we’ll be taking a look at exactly what exactly makes this drum set outclass its competitors, and what makes it such good value for money.

DW Design Series Drum Set Ratings

Sounds

Build Quality

Finishes

Playability

Value

Sounds

Diving right into this DW Design Series review, let’s look at the sounds this 5—piece shell pack has to offer. Straight away I was blown away by the incredible tone and warmth of these drums. They sound outstanding.

They have a real presence and character; with the distinctive clarity and tonal purity you would expect from a DW drum set. These drums truly sound as good as any drum set I’ve heard when tuned up well.

Speaking of tuning, these drums are vert easy to tune and they hold their tuning well. This is thanks to DW’s True-Pitch tuning rods that have an added thread count. These drums also have a wide tuning range and they sound fantastic tuned low right through to high.

The HVLT North American maple shells sporting USA-made Remo heads make these drums so inviting to play. The toms sound focused, with a relatively short sustain which I like a lot. There is plenty of attack and a clear definition of pitch between each of the toms.

The kick drum produces a powerful low-end tone that packs a real punch. It also has a very clear and pronounced tone that confidently speaks with a real presence.

The matching snare drum is wonderfully versatile. It has a deep and resonant tone with significant body when it’s tuned low, and tuned higher up it has a lot of crack and cut – whilst still retaining that real power.

Build Quality

In order for the DW Design Series to be more affordable, DW decides not to build these drums in the USA, but to instead build these drums in Taiwan.

This helps keep the cost of production down, as the cost of labour is reduced.

You may assume in this DW Design Series review that this would be a significant compromise – potentially sacrificing the quality of the drums.

But the build quality is very high. In fact, the standard of build is practically faultless compared to the drums built in DW’s USA factory. The Taiwanese workers must be incredibly skilled because these drums are phenomenal.

Each drum is stamped with the date of manufacture, and there is also a designated note that confirms the timbre matching of the shells. This timbre matching is allocated to DW drum sets and enhances the collective sound of the drum set.

I can attest in this DW Design Series review that I am so impressed with the quality of the craftsmanship of these drums; it looks to be equal to that of DW’s American produced drums.

Finishes

As a way of minimizing costs, the choice of finishes and size configurations for the DW Design Series is very limited. This helps DW ramp up production and streamline the process.

Despite the small number of finishes, the selection is stunning! All of the DW Design Series finishes are very attractive and they are expertly applied.

Although it’s not quite the bespoke, custom shop experience people associate with DW; it’s understandable as to why the company offers only a small selection for the Design Series.

The Black Satin finish in this DW Design Series review is striking, and makes a strong impression. The chrome hardware really jumps off the shells and I personally enjoy the smaller Mini-Turret lugs DW has opted for the Design Series drums.

Playability

DW takes advantage of HVLT shells (Horizontal Vertical Low-Tension) for the Design Series drums, and this means the drums utilize an arrangement of vertical grained inner, horizontal outer and cross-laminate plies mixed together.

The HVLT North American maple shells deliver incredible tonal clarity and projection. These drums produce a great amount of attack with just the right level of sustain. I personally don’t like lots of overtones, but these drums have just the right balance without being ‘dead’ sounding.

The kick drum comes with a dampening system that helps minimize overtones, and the result is a powerful punch and strong slap combined that you can feel right in your chest.

These drums are simply inspiring and enjoyable to play; perfectly able to adapt to any type of gig or session you’ll be playing. They truly excel under microphones both live and in the studio!

I have played on numerous DW Collector’s Series drums, and it is genuinely difficult to tell the difference between the sounds of the Collector’s compared to the more affordable Design Series drums. That’s how good they sound.

Value

You would expect any DW drum set to carry an enormous price tag, and rightly so. DW drums are widely revered as the best quality drums around. All you need to do is look at their artist roster to see for yourself.

As mentioned throughout this DW Design Series review, DW has streamlined the manufacturing process by offering a small selection of finishes and building the drums in Taiwan.

These drums are far more affordable than a boutique DW Collector’s Series kit. You can expect to pay three times more for an equivalent USA made DW drum set!

That’s excellent news for any drummer who has ever dreamed of owning a fully-fledged DW drum set, but has not been able to justify the enormous price tag. Or perhaps for an aspiring drummer who may be looking to upgrade to a professional level drum set with a limited budget.

Verdict

These drums are the real deal. They are insanely good value and the sound they produce is astonishing. The hand picked North American shells are a delight to play, and despite the fact these drums are built overseas the quality is flawless.

I will conclude this DW Design Series review by stating that these drums offer an incredible attack, punch and sonic versatility that makes them perfectly suited for any style of music.

Best of all, the price is within reach for most drummers. So look no further- the DW Design Series is everything you would want in a top of the range drum set.

What Comes In The DW Design Series Drum Set Box?

The DW Design Series is an outstanding professional level drum set. It’s a shell pack only, however. This means that you must buy cymbals and hardware separately. Included with the bundle you receive all of the following components:

  • 22x18 Kick drum
  • 14x5.5 Snare drum
  • 10x8 Rack tom
  • 12x9 Rack tom
  • 14x16 Floor tom
  • True-Pitch tuning rods
  • STM tom mounts
  • Floor tom legs

DW Design Series Drum Set At A Glance

Pros

  • North American maple shells
  • Exceptional craftsmanship
  • Unbeatable value for money
  • Legendary DW quality and features

Cons

  • Limited number of configurations and finishes on offer
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