Drum Workshop Worth The Cash?

We have all overpayed for everything that we have purchased as opposed to the cost of actually manufacturing the items. I am not bashing DW i think they are tremendous drums. My brother plays DW I play on an Orion kit. We both use identical remo heads even down to the 5 AB sticks. His Dw's dont sound any better than my Mapex in my opinion and he even admitted that to me. He stated that he realizes he payed for the name but really wanted a set of DW'S. If anyone plays DW'S and feels differently i want opinions from both sides. I cant see the thousands of dollars in price difference being justified. They do have a neat marketing scheme with their cute certificates with the sonic matching and wood harvesting techniques blah blah blah. But I cant see where they are all that better than a Starclassic, Absolute, Orion, or Reference series. What are your opinions are they really worth the extra cash? or are Dw's customers paying for the name badge and marketing schemes?
 
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Signals

Senior Member
IMHO: Company A's North American Maple isn't going to sound any different than Company B's North American Maple. However, there will be a slight difference in sound based upon the obvious -- plies, thickness, heads, tuning, etc.

With regard to higher-end kits, I believe you're really paying for the 'extras' -- finish quality, attention to detail, and yes, even the name. After all, they have to pay for that endorsement roster some how! I would suggest just comparing their 'features' to other kits in that price range -- you may find that you can get the same features/quality for a much lower price.

Moreover, I believe the Collector's Series are made in the USA, so DW's labor costs may be higher. Moreover, they may have to adhere to higher State/Federal standards vs. their Asian competitiors.

In the end, DW's are worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them. There are many great drummers on their roster, so they must be doing something right.
 

DdubBdrum

Junior Member
I have played identical size 24x18 bass drums, both Mapex Orion, and DW. With tunings basically the same, the DW sounded far better than the Orion. The tone was more full, had a deeper boom that really filled the room with the nice attack sound at the batter head. The Mapex just didn't have the same low thump that fills your ears. I don't know what it is exactly, but DW drums IMO, sound better than Orions if tuned to their full potential. Single ply batter heads really bring out the resonance and the rich tone in the DW bass drums. However, on the other hand I do think that you pay quite a bit for the name. In DW's defense, they had to get their fabulous reputation somewhere, right? They had to build that name that people now pay extra for. I'm not sure though if it's worth $1,000 extra.

Whichever you pick in the end I suppose that it's your personal preference, and your price range, that dictate which to get, and tunings, heads, etc that make the drums sound the way that they do. Good, or bad. As you all know, the most expensive DW can sound worse than a beat-to-crap beginner brand if it's tuned badly.
 
I paid for my slightly used dw's what i would have paid for a brand new maple kit from another company and i really havnt heard anything that sounds better. Also, if you look at pearls or tamas top line maple sets, its really not thousands of dollars more. I would have paid more even if i hadnt found such a great deal because they are better drums. plus i love the lug design...
 

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Staff member
As you perhabs didn't know yet: Producing round lugs is a very complicated process. Only some people from the inner circle of the Swiss mountains are knowing the secret (the same who make the holes in Emmentaler Cheese). So if you count all round lugs on a complete DW-Set and multiplie with 100$ each: you get the idea.

So all drumsets coming from the coast are much cheaper and have very bad sound.

Bernhard
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
DW rose up from the ashes of Camco. For a while, they were not even making their own drum shells. They were using Keller shells (great shells). So certainly the round lug and the infamous DW chain drive pedals have lineage that trace directly back to Camco design. So also with shell design. A very thin shell with re-inforcement rings. Worth the money? If you like the drums, yes.
 

Fat Elvis

Pioneer Member
i agree with harry. basically it all comes down to personal preference. Many will say their drums sound just as good.... even some will say their drums sound better. For some -- including me -- its sort of like this:

I drive a porsche. I always wanted one, i have dreamed about it since i was a kid. I am lucky enough to own one. Many people share this dream. Now suburu makes a fast ass car -- it can beat my car. It has well over 300 hp and all wheel drive. It is also less than 1/2 the price of my car new. Apples to apples, you can say that the suburu is better -- its faster, grips the road better, etc.

No kid is going to sleep dreaming of owning a suburu.

There is something to be said for the porsche name, its quality, its mystery and its exclusivity. Its got a great design, great performance, a great name - no matter what suburu produces, it will never approach it. Many would agree the same can be said for DW.

food for thought. By the way, i also play a DW. :)
 

Bigfoot

Junior Member
Porsche and a DW Set!
You're my New hero man.

Seriously though i think the Company have done some Cool things (like the "Edge" Snare)
Apperantly they offer Timber-Matching Drumkits which involves matching the shells so that you get the best Sound possible out of the kit.
They have a lot of good drummers on their Roster but so do Pearl, Tama, Sonor, Yamaha & Mapex.
Me personally i prefer Tama hardware. I play a Premier kit at the moment but i say my next shells will probably be a Pearl probably Birch unless this Refernce series is as good as it's supposed to be.
 

Rhythmic Disciple

Senior Member
DW have worked very hard to develop a reputation which places them at the pinnacle of the drumming ladder in the vast majority of drummers minds (whether we like it or not!).

They have done that by (a) producing high quality products (b) being innovative and (c) using clever marketing. Generally, nobody can really argue about the quality of their products.

So, IMO DW are there to be shot at, and it's no surprise to see people continually comparing their products to those produced by other companies. It's my belief that we are subconsciously admitting that DW are the standard by which all companies are trying to adhere (which probably isn't true!).

Whether they are worth the money or not - I thought so! Though everything depends on several variables such as what deal you've been able to obtain, which country you're buying them in, and many others...
 

Togg

Senior Member
A lot of what we are talking of here is basically 'fashion' currently DW is in fashion as was Ludwig in the 60's-70's, there is no doubt in my mind that they make wonderful kits that deserve the price tag, however as to the question of whether a DW kit is really better I think there is very little to choose from between the top of the line kits from all the major companies.

DW's matching process is well worth a special note here, I think it's an interesting twist that they have picked up from the cymbal manufactures.

As they say 'God is in the detail' and when you look closely at a DW kit it is indeed a fine musical instrument.

Living in the UK I suspect I have to pay top dollar as it were for my chosen brands, Ludwig and Zildjian, and the prices compare to DW's at the top end I'd say, I would love a DW as my second kit, but I will probably always stick with Ludwig and my main. Why because I grew up in a time when Ludwig was king!

In twenty years time when another new kid on the block comes along, all the DW players will probably be saying the same about their tried and trusted kits that they worked so hard to buy.

Fashion my friends it's a wonderful thing when combined with marketing!
 

Drums558

Senior Member
I think Fat Elvis nailed it with his Porche, Screwburrew analagy.
I have a DW 25th aniversary kit and a Tama performer. I can't compare the 2 because one is maple and the other is birch, but I can say I love both kit's. The DW's were very expensive because of the limited production of the 25th aniversary kit and I have yet to see one just like mine, plus it was made for me! My DW's are special to me and i'm glad i bought them, but I could have bought 2 Tama Starclassic Maple's or Pearl, or Yamaha kit's for the price I paid.
My current lust is for Tama Bubbinga's or Pearl reference, but I have yet to hear either kit. If you want a kit like any of these, including DW, you pay the price you have to pay to get them, then smile a big smile every time you get to take em out and show em off.
Mike
 

aceman

Senior Member
I think cosmetics have alot to do with the price of DW drums. You name it, they can or will paint it for you. Of course, your going to pay for it. They do have top notch craftmanship on their kits but no more than pearl, Yamaha etc.. Round lugs? funky paint? who are you buying the kit for? your wife? I don't even notice what color my drums are or what my lugs look like when I'm behind my kit and in my own little world. Tune up some Rydeems, give me some sticks and get out of the way!
 

Fat Elvis

Pioneer Member
Henry II said:
Overpriced! Overrated!
you know i get this exact same comment about my car from suburu owners. hmmmm....

you know, with all due respect (and that this point, very little is due) you always chirp on about how over-rated they are, yet you so rarely support your argument. Your "absolute" obsession with yamaha is only exceeded by your "absolute" hatred for DW. Many people find value in these drums. They are well made, well finished, use incredible materials. Since you play the suburu of the drum world, i guess we can all understand why you would hate the porsche of the drum world.
 

aceman

Senior Member
I think the point thats being made is that why drive a porsche to work when a good reliable nissan will get you there.
 

michaeldangelo

DW Pro Drummer
I think personal preference reigns supreme.

In terms of sound: it is all about the player. One person can make a kit sound completely different than another person, not to mention style. I have an $800 Pearl Export Radical kit down at North Texas and we have every variety of drum there. Sonor, DW, Yamaha, Gretsch, Pearl, Mapex, even custom kits from Keller shells.

I must admit, I believe my kit sounds just as good, if not better, than some of the other guys down there. I've noticed that some people who have $4000 drum kits that sound like crap to be honest. I believe it is all about the player. Pure and simple. The rest is just preference. You might like round lugs, or artisan finishes, or 18" bass drum lift kits, or free floating shells, but it's really about how the drummer plays them.
 

Auger

Senior Member
Mike has a great point there. Let's not forget the drumER!

Also, drum sizes, head selection, and tuning will have 100x more impact on the sound of a drumset than the brand or composition of the shells or hardware.

Another thing to consider is that a drumset only sounds as good as the room it's in. It's kind of the nature of the beast with drumsets -the drumset itself is only half of the instrument in terms of acoustic sound. The other half is the room the drumset is in.
 

jollymosher

Gold Member
Yeah ide say so. but alot of drums out there are 1000s less and sound just as good. Really take a look around. you can make a pro m sound BEAST and a Dw make an annoying wap. it is all the player and the players tuning
 
DdubBdrum said:
I have played identical size 24x18 bass drums, both Mapex Orion, and DW. With tunings basically the same, the DW sounded far better than the Orion. The tone was more full, had a deeper boom that really filled the room with the nice attack sound at the batter head. The Mapex just didn't have the same low thump that fills your ears. I don't know what it is exactly, but DW drums IMO, sound better than Orions if tuned to their full potential. Single ply batter heads really bring out the resonance and the rich tone in the DW bass drums. However, on the other hand I do think that you pay quite a bit for the name. In DW's defense, they had to get their fabulous reputation somewhere, right? They had to build that name that people now pay extra for. I'm not sure though if it's worth $1,000 extra.

Whichever you pick in the end I suppose that it's your personal preference, and your price range, that dictate which to get, and tunings, heads, etc that make the drums sound the way that they do. Good, or bad. As you all know, the most expensive DW can sound worse than a beat-to-crap beginner brand if it's tuned badly.
I cant say that i agree with that because a lot of things come into play (ex. acoustics) of the room that you played these kits no way the Dws sounded Far better than the orions. We tested these kits in a contolled enviroment to draw these conclusions I have to ask did you do the same please be honest.
 
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