Pearl Session Custom (Maple) vs Tama Starclassic (Birch)


New member
Hello all,
Just looking for some advice here.
I am currently an intermediate drummer.
I have the choice to get either set and I am curious what some of you guys would go with and why?
I know that it varies on what style of music and sound you prefer, but Id like to hear what you guys would do and use that as reference for my decision.
Thanks a ton if you reply and best regards,


Platinum Member
Personally I would almost always pick maple over birch. But I don't care for the Pearl tom mounting system.
If I had to pick in this case, likely the Tama.
My advice is go with your own ears and heart.


Gold Member
I’m in agreement with @opentune. When I was shopping, the Tama Starcast mount system was what sold me on them. Their other hardware is very well designed too. Both companies make very fine shells.


Platinum Member
Pearl Sessions Maple, for me. Damn the hardware. I use Yamaha stuff, anyways. If I can't live with the Pearl (or Tama) suspension mounts, I RIMS mount the toms and away I go.

I have both maple and birch drums (and I plan on keeping it that way) ..... but ...... if I had to go with just one, it would be maple.


Platinum Member
It would come down to drum sizes and configuration first, and finishes a distant second for me. They're both well made drums from great companies but practical considerations come way before brand and even wood type in my opinion.


Platinum Member
I'd love to hear a Starclassic birch in person.

If I was playing my normal set-up (one up, one down), I'd choose the Pearl by default because they make good stuff, and I always mount my rack tom on a snare stand.


Gold Member
Chris, since you say "Starclassic Birch," I assume you are referring to the 2007 and earlier "Starclassic Performer" series? These were the original "Performer" series drums with birch shells, cast hoops, and the less-than-attractive black suspension mounts. Are these the Starclassic series you are considering?

And additional information on the Pearl Session Maple drums would be helpful, as well.

How about telling us the approximate ages of the sets you are looking at, and the tom/bass drum sizes on each kit. And please let us know what style of music you expect to play.



Platinum Member
I've never owned an all Maple kit. So it my opinion is kind of one sided. I've had 3 high quality Birch kits. My newest kit is Maple, Poplar, Maple (Ludwig Clubdates) and I like them a lot. The kit I use the most is a 2003 Starclassic Performer all Birch shells. I like them a lot also. I've had a Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute kit, and still have a Yamaha Power Tour Custom kit from the 80s. In all honesty, I think they all sound similar. The biggest difference is the old Yammies. They have a very sharp bearing edges, and I think that's the main difference. Lots of attack with that kit. Having said all that, I would go with the Tamas. Reflecting on what others have said, I don't like Pearls tom mounting system. I personally do not hear much difference between Maple, and Birch (high end) shells. Some people say that Maple shells have more sustain. If they do, I think it's a minute amount. Good luck.


Senior Member
I like birch, personally. But it's all about your preference. Listen to the kits and choose whichever one sounds better to you, or the one that looks better, or the one with the hardware you like. They're both really good, neither will hold you back in any way.


Senior Member
I'm a birch fan myself. Maple always strikes me as being slow to respond in comparison to a great birch kit.

The Tamas also have the die-cast hoops, if you're into that thing. A bit firmer attack, and a tighter bottom end. If you're going for warm and round, the Sessions will get you there easier, but if you're going for punch and cut, Tama all the way!