PDP Concept Maple v Gretsch Catalina Maple v Pearl Decade Maple v Mapex Armory


Silver Member
Another vote for the Armory. Incredible value & sounding kits. Some of the finishes are among the best out there :)


Senior Member
After several years of developing my listening skills in regard to drum demos, I've concluded that the Catalina Maple sounds the best, followed very closely by the Mapex Armory. They have the cleanest tone, and a fast and clear attack, without all the extra muddiness and overtones.

The only reason I think the Catalina sounds slightly better is because it has more warmth than the Armory.

Of course my preference is subjective, but I prefer drums with a clean tone, and a clear attack. Some people like a slower attack and more overtones. But if you have the same preferences as me, then the Catalina and Armory are the best sounding.

Then this comparison video came out and reinforced and validated my opinions...



Gold Member
I don't love Catalinas. The other 3 are similar quality. Pearl probably has the best resale value. Mapex is probably the one I'd choose though. Best finishes out of that group.


Active member
I hadn't really considered the resale value. I think I am erring towards either the Concept Maple or Armory, decisions, decisions, decisions!

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Scratch off the Catalina Maple. I had one and it sucked pretty hard. Didn't sound good or stay in tune. Finish went hazy on it too.


Platinum Member
Apparently the Catalinas have sucked in past but they kept improving them-so the guys in flannel state. A lot of people gig with them it seems. But I'd pick the PDPs before the Catalinas-and I was looking at PDP when I got the Decades. The Decades had just come out-the low mass and thinner shells and watching Dennis Chambers playing them hooked me. I imagine all these low end maple are the softer Asian maple. I don't know why the Decades aren't more popular-they are an improvement over the Visions that's for sure-I've owned both (though the fewer lugs on floor tom bothers many-I've had no issue). I'm glad I bought them-I was really interested in the 24 in kick-and love playing it -and it has a 13in tom, which I love. But I have an itch for a grade or two above these. I had a hard on for Renowns a while back and now it's SONOR with the SQ1 and Vintage series. Hopefully this too will pass-heck I can't even play my Decade at home now. I'm using my dainty Safari. I've been looking at e kits since playing one at church-which I can't believe I'm saying that as much as I've protested the beasts.


Platinum Member
My order of preference for the 4 you have listed would be Gretsch, PDP, Pearl, and then Mapex. YMMV


Active member
Thanks for all your help guys, it seems that sound wise there’s not much in it between them so think I’ll go for the PDP, it’s the most aesthetically pleasing to me and I love the Tom mounts and mag throw off on the snare.


Active member
I have moved country and it's a nightmare getting my Yamaha Stage Custom shipped so have decided to sell that and get myself a new kit. I really want a Maple kit as much prefer the sound to the birch on my SC.

I have looked at loads of threads and not seen anything exactly like this in recent months so apologies if I am doubling up, I'd really appreciate some input on the above kits and also any others you'd recommend in the same price bracket.
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