Top Ten Best Drum Sets

The Top Ten
1 Tama

I have played all of them over 44 yrs. Tama has been in my stable for years SuperStars, Starclassic Maple and Performer Birch but I have to give honors to the newest Superstar Hyperdrive Maple drum kit in my opinion they are the best sounding drums and easy as hell to tune and they stay in tune no matter how hard I spank them! The best part is they cost about half of a Starclassic kit and sound better! Everyones ear is unique and our tastes unique as well but this is my opinion. Rikk Hammer Tama Fl.

I have the original Tama Starclassic Bubingas (my studio kit) and also have a DW Performance Series for live gigging. These two kits are absolutely the best sounding kits I have ever played, and I have played them all. And yes I also use Paiste 2002's. Use a Tama Starclassic Maple G snare or a Ludwig Black Beauty and you have reached tone heaven.

I own a Gretsch USA custom kit, mid 50's round badge Gretsch kit and a
Pearl sessions custom kit, All the drums mentioned are great drums.
I do know for a fact that the Gretsch company are interested in their customers.

Tama Starclasic Bubinga (Japanese made) absolute best kit for the price. DW Performance Series now comes real close. Pair them with Paiste 2002's or Giant Beats and you're in Rock and Roll heaven. Harware also best for the money. DW Collector's Series way too expensive, but also killer sound.

2 Pearl

No matter what Pearl kit you pick, the quality is amazing. The Export has the hardware which never needs replacing. The hardware is durable, reliable and has a stunning finish. The shells also are brilliant and the innovation for the price makes Pearl the best kits you can buy personally. (Leave the Pearl Roadshow), otherwise Export (which is amazing), Vision all the way up to Masters has fabulous finishes, hardware, quality, shells and sound amazing. What more can you ask for? A quality kit for a budgeted price.

Pearl have a bad name in my opinion from the kit I had to use in high school it was the most beat up POS ever and I know that it does not reflect Pearls quality in anyway but the heads were well beyond repair and tuning. And unfortunately this one kit has subconsciously put me off of buying Pearl kits for the rest of my life. Sorry Pearl.

Pearl means good quality for the price, no complains with hardware these are very resistant and solid. For drums it depends of anyone taste but for me are really good specially in grindcore, punk and heavy metal style also very versatil sound. The snares are outstanding! Pearl Rules!

Play the drums over 50 years. All different brands but in my opinion PEARL VINTAGE has sound quality compared to the others. Tama comes close but little bit of more vibration not as crisp with each beat.

3 Craviotto

After 5 years saving I ordered my 5 p Crav set..
Took about 28 weeks of waiting but it was so worth it!
8700.00 and that is the most by far I ever paid for
A set of shells but they sound so very fine. The detail in craftsmanship was unreal. In a top Nashville studio I was told that they love the sound of my set. Just wish I could have a 2nd set to keep at home to play with when I playing near where I live.

I've owned great sounding drums from DW, Yamaha, Pearl, Ludwig... I also have owned a vintage 67 ludwig kit in great shape. However, my Craviottos are BY FAR the best quality in craftsmanship and sound that I've every played. Beautiful and yet so incredibly pure sounding. No doubt they are expensive, but totally worth every penny.

UnREal Sound from steam rolled one piece shells - Listen on YouTube Craviotto drum set Maple at Memphis Drum Shop - these drums are second to none.

Toms have a resonance and sustain unlike any other. And the snare drums have been famous for years for their great sound and playability.

4 Sonor

Sonor is a super good drum company! Sonor has nice thick wood to provide great sound! The kick drum can give a nice, warm sound for jazz, or a hard punchy sound for rock and roll. Sonor drums are handcrafted in Germany and they are made with no mistake!

Easily the highest quality out there. Sound is subjective and changes from person to person but I've never heard a high-end sonor that didn't blow me away. Expensive but without a doubt worth it for those who want something that sets itself above the conpitition. Vertical grain shells and the highest quality finishes out there, Sonor SQ2 for the win

Sonor should surely be number 1. They are made in Germany and are the highest quality drums. The Germans make the nicest Sonor Drumkits and they just sound superb, especially the Prolite series

I have played pretty much most of the brands and nothing compares to the Sonor Delite thin maple. Best sounding kit overall, Quality second to none.

5 Noble & Cooley

I'm not familiar this drum brand until tre cool used this. They started since 1854. I know dw, tama, yamaha, gretch, sonor. They made great drum sounds but nothing beats the original.

Nothing beats the original and traditional sounds

Love my N&C kit! Fantastic in R&B, blues, pop, jazz and rock.

Not famous, just perfect sound

6 Ludwig

The sound, tone, and playing feel of Ludwig drums cannot be beat. Both their sets and snare drums are probably the most recorded in history. The craftsmanship and quality control level is at a new high, and the drums offer a lot of value at each price point. You can get Ludwig's high-end drums for a relatively affordable price compared to other manufacturers and get drums that are commensurate in quality to the more expensive sets and better in sound. With the Atlas hardware, Ludwig now has cutting-edge designs that others (I.e. Tama) are begging to copy. So, why not get the real thing?

I've played on Ludwig. Then I've gone and tried Yamaha and Pearl. After that, I knew I'd do everything possible to always play on Ludwig. There was such a big difference... Yamaha sounded dull, and Pearl sounded normal. Ludwig had a sharp, clear sound that I'm SURE will never be found in anything else.

Have a vintage 1970's 4 piece, marine marble Kit. They still sound amazing. Parents paid $760 over 40 years ago. Maple shells. Made in Chicago at that time, and all ordered. Still can't beat that old Ludwig sound. Hardware over the years has definitely improved. Drums have not...

Ludwig drums have always been top notch... well the USA made drums anyway. Ludwig's drums have been the DE-facto standard of what good drums sound like. I had them build my custom kit 14 years ago... and it still rocks.

7 Yamaha

Yes I play the Rock Tour too. Sound, quality ans practibility of the hardware - you need to be able to replace those lugs and such on the road - etc, shell construction... some stave sets I came across sounds better but overall when you take every aspect into account... best drumset I know of. Cost 700 bucks with matching snare, used, but like new, mint condition. I have the matte finish which I scratched at the gig and I swear you cannot see the wood! It's not a wrap and when it gets scratched, you don't see the damn wood! I does not get any more roadworthy than this, not to mention how light the shells are. Best touring drumset that was on the market, in my opinion.

Best kit for your money period. I was in a band where I lit my drums on fire and kicked them over at the end of every show - for YEARS! Started shopping for a new kit and I gotta tell ya that my 12 year old Yamaha Stage Customs still blow away everything I've tried so far. My old Yami's still sing and the sustain is re-dics! The bearing edges and the shells themselves are made to perfection. I looked and played some Sonors (With all the hype about being the best quality)and it was close, but my totally trashed Yamaha's had better bearing edges than some brand new Sonors I looked at. The bearing edges on my old Yami's are comparable to acrylic as far as the precision. I am convinced that no one makes a better shell until I see and hear it.

I play Yamaha rock tours and they sound great... Much better than my pearl kit and a little better than my DW kit... Much cheaper than both... Bought my Yamaha as a road kit... Now I use only it studio and road!

Yamaha are simply making the best drums in the business... From Recording custom to maple custom, innovations after innovation..

8 Premier

I started on Ludwig's. in my opinion pre 80s Ludwig kits stand up very well to anything built today. September 1978, I remember selecting a pristine chrome dual flobeam marching snare... I have been a Premier drummer ever since. Traded in my 6 piece Ludwigs for a 9 piece birch Premier Elite kit. I traveled the world with it for 23 years until a guitarist stole it. I would still have it today if not for that. Agree with other posters: Signias stand alone for tone quality and craftsmanship. After over 14 years of collecting individual drums I am the proud owner of an 8 piece Black Shadow Resonator kit. I know when I sit behind my kit I play the finest drums handmade by the most skilled Craftsmen in the percussion industry. My 24" twin shelled black shadow bass drum thunders and responds with every beat issued by my Gibraltar Predator double kick pedal. FYI for non-premier drummers: In the air tonight was recorded on a set of Phil Collin's Resonators. Nikko McBrain of Iron Maiden doesn't ...more

Premier Signia's will wipe the floor with the TAMA, DW and Pearl Kits Mentioned here. Literally no comparison. They are no longer made so the only way to get one is to buy a used one. People walk, not run when these things go up for sale 5-ply maple with undersized shells so they hit the sweet part of the drum head every time. This is the kit that made all the other up their game in the late 90's.

Premier has gone up and down over the years, but at the time of their Signia range they were at the top of their game, and the Signia kits are one of the best kits ever made, and still outclass many of the best available today. Of all my kits, my Signia is in the top 2 of my favourites

Very well made, slight undersized shell lets them tune to perfection. From jazz to rock, coated single ply tuned high, to double ply clear tuned lower,these drums sound fantastic.I"ve had my Signia's for 20 years now,and they floor me every time I play them. I also own a set of XPK's and have got to say, Premier is a very under-rated company. Probably not great on resale, but own a set of Signia's,you wont let them go.I can say that as well for the XPK's.Bang for the buck they really shine

9 Gretsch

I own DW, Gretsch, Slingerland and Rogers kits and the one I've used most on recording is my late 80's vintage USA Custom Rosewood Gretsch. It's got a unique sound, punchy bass drum and toms and a deep slamming snare. You can't go wrong with this brand. by the way the Catalina Club mahogany kits are an amazing sounding kit for such a cheap set. That little 18" bass drum is a punchy beast.

I am a drum teacher and I tune drums Professionally. I have tuned practically every major brand of drums out there from entry level to top of the line with various heads and have owned something from almost every major brand and to put it mildly, Gretsch is without a doubt the best sounding drums you will ever play. I now own 2 Gretsch sets both of which are in the intermediate price range and I'm still waiting to tune any set from any other maker that sounds any better, and that includes any other makers high end sets.

I've been playing drums for 48 years now, I've played just about every set known and in my opinion he's right, German Name drums are usually the best. The older the company the better or at least should be. I have many favorites in different catagories however Gretsch has been mine for many years. Ever since my 1st Broadkaster kit " 62 Gold Sparkle ". The bass back then was 22"x16"...I prefer a Ludwig snare ( usually either a 10 lug Supraphonic or 10 lug Acrolite depending on situation. reason being Die Cast Hoops on snare are good but a tad too heavy for good clean rim shots..Slingerland toms are nice but never liked the rounded rims on the snare.
DW are very nice and would probably be my second choice due to price. Japan makes good drums, They did they're homework and have upped the game in a lot of markets ( guitars & drums ) and many other markets ( cars etc ) My favorite here are Yamaha recording however for the money...Tama superstars are as close to Gretsch as you can ...more

Everything which is made of German technology & science is so quality & reliable. In the drummers' world these instruments existed long before the Japanese instruments came. Ludwig, Gretsch & Sonor share the same professional sweet vintage sound. I love its sound, the power, the attack. I salute these quality products. the Japanese drums are also good. Its because of their constant research & study but personally, I prefer the German names in the drum category...

10 Mapex

These drums are some of the best drums money can buy. Yes there made in China, but the quality is excellent. Their finishes are excellent and beautiful as well. Sound' with a walnut maple shell is unbelievable for the price and they cut wonderful with a deep rich tone' that's unique to Mapex. If you want to not spend 4000 on a kit and get a kit that can stand up against DW Ludwig, Tama.save yourself tons of money' and get these drums, your wallet will greatly thank you.

Great finishes with an awesome eye for detail. Mapex is definitely the best bang for your buck. I have personally owned the V series, Pro M, Saturn and Mars Pro series kits and they all played well, tuned easily and stayed in tune. The one thing that was the same with all of the Mapex kits I've owned is the awesome bearing edges...clean, smooth and true!

Owned a gorgeous Mapex Orion Birdseye Kit from 1997 to 2003 - great set with great quality. Since 2014 I am owning a Saturn IV Exotic Kit which just blew my ears the first time I heard it. For the price you can't get any better I think. Superb sound, awesome look, top quality hardware and really cool features. Can not recommend it enough!

Mapex has a really great sound for a very good price. Also, rheir finishes are the best I've seen on drumsets.

I've played on Pearls as well as Ludwigs but I have always liked my Mapex more.

If you're looking for a great set but don't want to spend over $1,500 the Mapex is your brand!

The Contenders
11 Dw

DW offers much, much more than other drum manufacturers. Their kits can be completely customized to your liking. Their quality control is absolutely outstanding as well. I've never seen a bad shell from DW. I definitely can't say that about any other manufacturer, except maybe Sonor, but DW has them beat on customization (definitely a preference between the two brands). The only drum kits that compare to these two brands would be some of the vintage Ludwig, Gretsch, Rogers, and Slingerland Kits. DW has these companies beat on overall quality and hardware however. No other company offers so many different shells (and NONE of DW's shells sound bad or even average, it's just a preference thing). PDP by DW also makes some GREAT drums at perfectly reasonable prices too.

I've owned (from beginning to my latest) Drumcraft ( Beginner ), Pearl Export, Yamaha Recording Customs ( birch ), Pearl MLX ( Maple ), Ludwig Maple Shells and my current and favorite is DW Collectors series Maple Shells. My DW Collectors sound great and are easy to tune up. As a hard hitting drummer I also find there snare drums stay in tune far better than other brands I've had. The tuning rods on DW drums are 10/32 threads rather than the 10/24 on most other drums, this may be one of the reasons they seem to stay in tune longer.

DW is the best by far just due to the specific selection of their shells. At Drum Workshop, the hand pick, and hand test each shell to match it to the other shells so you don't have that one faulty tuning tom. They also stamp the note of each tom on the inside so you can easily tune each tom to that note and get the best tone possible.

Come on let's stop with all the dw craze. Brady, craviatto, Qdrums and even unix drums blows dw out of the water! I'm not dissing dw or anything. They were my favorite drums too, until I realized the truth. Now everyone knows that solid steam bent and stave shells sound better than, ply drum. I mean even Brady are ply kits and yet they pack a punch that destroys dw. I'm just speaking my opinion, so don't hate me.

12 Ddrum

The d is for dangerous.

I've got three nice maple kits one being Ddrum and I love it pocket configuration,its not as good sound as my Sleishman but Sleishman are the best in the world and I just love the Ddrum set I got my most enjoyable drum kit I've ever played and looks great too

13 Pacific

Dw quality without the price.

I've just bought pacific drum, it sounds awesome, the toms hit perfectly it is like DW little brother when you cannot afford DW drums you ought to buy this drum, the sound just like DW

14 PDP

I have a Pdp concept maple 7 piece and it sings sooo beautifully.. Punchy, nice amount of warm resonance, full tone, Amazing sounds! I still get impressed even after quite some time behind the kit.
Easy to tune, and has huge range of notes.. I use evans for my batter and resonate, didn't even try stock heads. The finish is truly beautiful and shines like a fancy sparkle that will leave your impression in awe.
The hardware is solid and legit, not like tama rock stars look, at least in My opinion. 2.5Mm hoops for that extra sensitivity, makes for a really nice rim shot. I truly could go on and on, but my suggestion is for you to get behind a properly tuned kit, and you'll understand exactly my reason to go on and on about it.
I'm in no way putting down any other kits.. I enjoy the pearl vision birch/poplar series, the mapex SaturnII, some nice tamas (don't care for rock star hardware, but sound was ok).. I don't know, guess my point is I've played on a fair share of drums.. ...more

PdP X -7 FAST Tom toms sing.
Bass drum 18" DEEP comes with damping pillow. Easy to tune.
The key to all drums is your drum heads.
love the quality of the finishes. will love the isolation TomTom mounts.
DW drum technology. love their hardware.

Love pdp drums because I have a pdp drumset at our church. It is black

These have the best sound!

15 Pork Pie

The best sounding snares you will ever play

Excellent craftsmanship. Sound amazing.

16 CB Drums

With good drumheads, top seven vote!

Ill be playing my cbs when I'm famous

You don't have to spend bunch of money to play a decent drums,drums sounds great for the price that you pay,the rest depends how good you play😃

17 Crush

I love crush drums because of the different type of colors

The wood is the best ever and love the hardware

18 RJ

Because I feel fine.. So keep calm and shut up..

19 Rogers

There is still nothing that sounds as tough as a set of Power Tones. And the Dynasonic Snare still acetate of the art instrument. With all the technology post Rogers USA production, there's still no touching these timeless classics.The Swivomatic hardware still beats anything made and after 44 years my Swivomatic bass pedal is still faster and easier to play than anything made. Show me another foot pedal that'll even last 40 plus years let alone play like these do.,I've yet to hear another snare that can quite compete with my Dynasonic and the brutal tone from the splatter coated Power Tone shells speaks nothing less than legendary perfection.

I bought a set of 9/72 Rogers in 1976. I know now that they were made in 1973. Blue Onyx finish. Still using them 42 years later with a Ludwig Black Beauty and Paiste 2002s all around. Nothing better.

20 Dixon

Dixon is one of the most underrated drum brand. Doesn't spend much on it's marketing, but delivers quality that's equal or better than tama

21 Peavey

The Peavey International 2 drum set is a great sounding drum set. They're not made anymore, but if you find a good deal on a used one, snag it!

Suprisingly, these are very decent sounding drums, very good for the money

Very nice,Great sound

Incredible drum.

22 Adams
23 GMS Drum
24 SJC Custom Drums
25 Hayman
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