DW Performance vs. Pearl Session Studio Select

OliverATX

Active Member
First, I hope everyone is well!

OK. Here is goes. I am sure it has been covered in some forums to some extent, but I would like to get some first hand feedback from folks who have had experience with one or both sets.

This is going to be a present, so there is little use in me finding a place that may have both sets on display and trying them out. Besides, finding a place that has the sets equally well tuned is probably near impossible.

I am looking at the following:

DW Performance 5 shells and Pearl Session Studio Select 5 shells. Just comparing the shell cost, the Pearl comes in at $1,900 and the DW at $2,700- an $800 difference, so quite significant.

My son is playing primarily classic rock and is after a warmer, deeper, fuller tone than what his current entry-level Mapex (Mars) birch set can deliver. The DW is maple and should give a pretty warm balanced tone. I am a bit concerned about the Pearl. While the Mahogany on the inner and outer plies are supposed to take the bite out of the birch, I have read some reviews where folks were saying that the Pearl was on the less-warm side.

And, while I already see lectures coming about how the wood should not the deciding criteria, I do want to make sure that I am not missing something and perhaps have a few folks chime in that had experiences with one or the other set :) .

I must say that $800 is quite a difference and I really like some of the Pearl hardware over the DW hardware (ex.: two-post brace on the left pedal on the double-kick pedal, the Pearl tom mounts, the gyro cymbal mounts, etc.).

The DW hardware is obviously top-notch as well (and at least the shells are Made in USA, which is nice plus), but unless folks are suggesting that the DW is going to be noticeably warmer, deeper and fuller sounding, then I am leaning towards the Pearl. Or, put differently, if feedback is that the Pearl has a much harsher sound than expected, then I would lean towards the DW.

Also, just to mention this for full disclosure, I have looked at Tama but cannot find combinations that I like (maple, free-floating toms, etc.) at this price point. In addition, I must say that the color choices are very "unique" on Tama and my son is actually looking for white marine perl........

One other option would be the Pearl Masters Maple Complete, but the the price advantage is out the window.....

Thank you for any input you guys can provide!

Oliver
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
". . . but unless folks are suggesting that the DW is going to be noticeably warmer, deeper and fuller sounding, then I am leaning towards the Pearl. Or, put differently, if feedback is that the Pearl has a much harsher sound than expected, then I would lean towards the DW."

My toms and bass are of Pearl's Session Studio Select series. If "warmer, deeper, and fuller" is what you're looking for, search no more. The Sessions have tons of low-end, permeated by a dark and subtle African Mahogany voice. I'm a lifelong Pearl player, and the Sessions get exalted honors in my ranking system. They're one of my favorite Pearl offerings ever.

I'm not defaming DW in any way. I've played a few DW kits in house/backline arrangements, but that's the extent of my direct experience with the brand. DW makes good drums. That goes without saying. I'm just an incurable Pearl patron who buys nothing else.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
(Personally I like Pearl and birch.)
In saying that the Sessions Studio Select is a killer good value for the money.

As you mentioned the Sessions have mahogany (this is where the natural and lacquer finishes really come through), 1 inner and 1 outer ply of mahog as the 4 plies of birch are between.

A quality instrument that’s very musical sounding, it’s really a best of both worlds, as far as and attacking bite and growl.

Here’s an audiophile from my Sessions kit recorded with Shure MV88+, and no sound editing, listen with earphones to better pick up initial attack, followed by the tone.

 

OliverATX

Active Member
Larry and C.M,

Thank you both for the feedback.

Larry, I actually went back to the drawing board and there is a Tama kit (Starclassic Walnut/Birch) that almost fits the bill. Main drawback is that he does not like kick drum mounted toms. I have to say (and this is probably also a controversial topic) that I cannot see how mounting heavy toms on the kick are going to help the resonance on the kick..so prefer to not use the "stem" mount. However, the kit seems to get good feedback and is praised for its good warm tonality. Besides, it is only available in Molten Brown Burst among some other choice colors :)

C.M.,

This was just the type of feedback I was looking for! Thank you! Hearing that there is a clear difference between a plain birch set and the shells with the added Mahogany is a relief!
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
C.M.,

This was just the type of feedback I was looking for! Thank you! Hearing that there is a clear difference between a plain birch set and the shells with the added Mahogany is a relief!
Fear not. The addition of mahogany has a transformative effect on birch. Birch can be great by itself too -- I've had Pearl BLX kits (birch) that I've absolutely loved -- but mahogany conveys a unique richness to the equation. I think you'll be quite pleased with the Sessions.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
Larry and C.M,

Thank you both for the feedback.

Larry, I actually went back to the drawing board and there is a Tama kit (Starclassic Walnut/Birch) that almost fits the bill. Main drawback is that he does not like kick drum mounted toms. I have to say (and this is probably also a controversial topic) that I cannot see how mounting heavy toms on the kick are going to help the resonance on the kick..so prefer to not use the "stem" mount. However, the kit seems to get good feedback and is praised for its good warm tonality. Besides, it is only available in Molten Brown Burst among some other choice colors :)

C.M.,

This was just the type of feedback I was looking for! Thank you! Hearing that there is a clear difference between a plain birch set and the shells with the added Mahogany is a relief!
First off, you need to know that our good member @C.M. Jones will die before he buys non-Pearl drums (and I, Tama). And @larryace plays a boutique kit from Jupiter (or Narnia, I forget) that is no longer available and he’s an electrician. Caveat emptor.

The Tama kit has a “tom tree” as some call it, and there have been many discussions about the sound of a ”virgin” bass drum (no tom tree) vs. a bass drum with a mounted tom tree. Here is the rabbit hole:


As you will find out, there is no definitive answer until the drummer who plays the kit (prolly for years) derives his own opinion.

It takes a few years of constant playing in various rooms and kits to discover how one’s drum kit sounds compared to others. And it’s so subtle that you’d have to be an extraordinary recording engineer and/or veteran drummer to hear and know those differences.

That said, go for the Tama. Their hardware and shell construction are second to none.

64B155D3-A586-4F0C-B7D3-ABC9D01EE134.jpegF034CC14-FB89-4482-BE86-5704123A1C37.jpeg
 
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C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
First off, you need to know that our good member @C.M. Jones will die before he buys non-Pearl drums (and I, Tama). And @larryace plays a boutique kit from Jupiter (or Narnia, I forget) that is no longer available and he’s an electrician. Caveat emptor.

The Tama kit has a “tom tree” as some call it, and there have been many discussions about the sound of a ”virgin” bass drum (no tom tree) vs. a bass drum with a mounted tom tree. Here is the rabbit hole:


As you will find out, there is no definitive answer until the drummer who plays the kit (prolly for years) derives his own opinion.

It takes a few years of constant playing in various rooms and kits to discover how one’s drum kit sounds compared to others. And it’s so subtle that you’d have to be an extraordinary recording engineer to hear and know those differences.

That said, go for the Tama.

View attachment 110106View attachment 110107
Surcease this vile campaign, CB. Like Lucifer himself, you revel in chaos and confusion. In Pearl lies the path to purity. Repent at once! Your salvation hangs in the balance.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Since we are throwing wrenches in the mix, let's not forget that bearing edge profiles make a difference also:


@OliverATX welcome to drum nerd heaven. Just when you think you can make a decision, 10 other factors come into play.

I predict a Gretsch purchase lol.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
Since we are throwing wrenches in the mix, let's not forget that bearing edge profiles make a difference also:


@OliverATX welcome to drum nerd heaven. Just when you think you can make a decision, 10 other factors come into play.

I predict a Gretsch purchase lol.
Or Noble & Cooley. Then all innocence will be lost.
Is there a shart emoji?
 

Ransan

Senior Member
I will add as a devout Pearl guy and gear head who uses gyro lock - the GL series of hardware is a step up from their Uni Lock system.

Their GL tom arms go away from the slotted finite (used to be 65 or so) gear teeth positions to an 360 Omni type swivel (like Yamaha, Tama and DW), that also has the lateral flexibility through their arms.

The 1030 series booms have GL swivels as well as the 2030 series boom stands.

The 2030 is a mini rack in itself as the boom can draw out an additional ‘seating’ arm that’s knurled to hold accessories, multiple TL-2030 gyro lock tilter units are innovative, I use 2 to mount splashes on one of my booms.


18A5A595-22AB-466F-9D53-4B1BAEF2166E.jpeg
14FF8AA8-38E5-4343-9856-0C0DD76A81EB.jpeg
Extremely versatile, and modular.
Pearl hardware is in another realm.
 
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cbphoto

Diamond Member
I will add as a devout Pearl guy and gear head who uses gyro lock - the GL series of hardware is a step up from their Uni Lock system.

Their GL tom arms go away from the slotted finite (used to be 65 or so) gear teeth positions to an 360 Omni type swivel (like Yamaha, Tama and DW), that also has the lateral flexibility through their arms.

The 1030 series booms have GL swivels as well as the 2030 series boom stands.

The 2030 is a mini rack in itself as the boom can draw out an additional ‘seating’ arm that’s knurled to hold accessories, multiple TL-2030 gyro lock tilter units are innovative, I use 2 to mount splashes on one of my booms.


View attachment 110108View attachment 110109
View attachment 110108
Extremely versatile, and modular.
Pearl hardware is in another realm.
The placement of that memory lock is typical for a Pearl aficionado. 😤




😂

Poor @OliverATX , what a flood of data.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
The placement of that memory lock is typical for a Pearl aficionado. 😤




😂

Poor @OliverATX , what a flood of data.
It was locked in its proper position when I removed the knurled arm, I did my best to screw that image up lol. Good eye CB 😄

Here’s a diagram (really just yanking your chain) that I like to display for Tama set builders efficiency, to not be confused in connection.

Just remember the slogan:
Tama - holding things up, one stand at a time.


8554AF9B-5B01-42FF-9EF6-0519408CA21D.png
AFE92DCB-1FA5-4532-98E8-B3EC06EAF18D.png
 

Iristone

Well-known Member
The DW will sound like a DW. Personally I wouldn't call it 'warm'.
The Pearl, judging by its shell and bearing edge, looks like it will sound like some vintage Premiers (R.I.P). Now THAT is what I'd call WARM!
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
It was locked in its proper position when I removed the knurled arm, I did my best to screw that image up lol. Good eye CB 😄

Here’s a diagram (really just yanking your chain) that I like to display for Tama set builders efficiency, to not be confused in connection.

Just remember the slogan:
Tama - holding things up, one stand at a time.


View attachment 110110
View attachment 110111
Mmm. So sexy:

4928B7AD-0C60-4979-9F3C-838812476098.jpeg
 
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