Drum kits are instruments that have a lot of room for personality when it comes to appearance. Every drum kit has different finishes, allowing drummers to choose how they want their drums to look like.
One of the more extreme types of drum kits is an acrylic kit. They’re drums with transparent shells that allow you to see right through them, exposing the drummer behind the kit.
Best Acrylic Drum Kits for a Unique Look
The DW Design Series is an affordable set of drums from DW. It has a lot of build qualities of DW’s higher-end kits but this one has a more streamlined production process that cuts on costs. The end product is a drum kit that is punchy and versatile.
This acrylic shell pack includes a 14” snare, 10” and 12” rack toms, a 16” floor tom, and a 22” kick drum.
The drums have a surprisingly warm sound with a lot of attack and a deep low end. The tone is quite versatile and will work for many different styles. These drums just won’t work well for jazz, seeing as how the acrylic shells make them quite loud.
The drums have DW’s True Pitch tuning rods which make them quite easy to tune. The snare drum has the MAG throw-off system which allows you to turn the snare on and off very quickly. These are two of the features that are borrowed from DW’s higher-end drum kits.
The one downside to this kit is that it doesn’t include mounts for the rack toms. They can’t mount to the kick drum, meaning you’ll have to buy mounts separately.
Another minor gripe is that the resonant head of the kick drum isn’t transparent. Thankfully, it is just a cosmetic thing and doesn’t affect the sound.
The Crystal Beat goes all the way back to the 70s. Pearl started remaking this kit a few years ago, adding all of their modern hardware technology to it. It’s an intermediate acrylic kit that looks great and is affordable.
It comes in a shell pack that includes 10” and 12” rack toms, a 16” floor tom, and a 22” kick drum.
The drums are punchy with some seriously powerful projection. This makes them quite loud, allowing them to cut through any heavy mix that you throw at them.
The snare has a tight crack that is great for rimshots. The highlight of this kit is definitely the kick drum. It will blow you away with its beefy tone and solid impact.
The toms use Pearl’s Optimount suspension system, allowing you to position them very comfortably on cymbal stands. The toms are quite heavy, so you’ll need to use double-braced stands so that they sit securely.
This kit has 4 finish options: Ultra Clear, Ruby Red, Tangerine Glass and Frost Acrylic. The Ruby Red and Tangerine Glass are the standout finishes, allowing you to still have color on your kit.
This shell pack doesn’t come with a snare drum, meaning you’ll have to buy the Crystal Beat Acrylic snare separately.
John Bonham and his Ludwig Vistalite kit are what made acrylic kits very popular in the 20th century. Bonham is known as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time, and this kit is modeled after his setup.
This kit comes as a shell pack which includes a 14” snare, 14” rack tom, 16” and 18” floor toms, and a 26” kick drum.
By just looking at the sizes of these shells, you can tell that this kit sounds massive. The drums have a high level of attack with a bunch of volume. The projection is intense, especially from the snare drum and kick drum.
Each drum has a significantly low thud that just gets deeper as the drum gets bigger. This kit truly brings out the sound that John Bonham was so famous for.
The 26” kick drum makes it quite difficult to position the rack tom comfortably. So, it’s something that you have to get used to. The rack tom is also large, so it has to be mounted on a snare stand.
The Amber tint on the shells makes the kit look vintage, adding to the aesthetic Bonham look.
The high quality construction and large shells make this kit quite expensive. It’s one of the best sounding acrylic kits out there, but it will take quite a bite out of your savings.
If you’re a rock drummer who needs a loud and present kit that looks great on stage, the Ludwig Vistalite is a great option for you. Just remember that this kit is seriously loud, meaning it won’t work in a lot of situations.
Acrylic drum kits aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some drummers won’t like how transparent the shells are. However, acrylic drum kits look great on a stage, especially when there is good lighting. The drums reflect the lights, creating a unique appearance that will benefit the show.
Some drummers will even go as far as triggering lights under their acrylic shells. Every time they hit a drum, a light will trigger, resulting in a great spectacle.
Acrylic drums are also louder than wooden drums, making them great for hard hitting drummers in big venues. However, an acrylic drum kit isn’t a great option to have as a recording kit, due to how loud it is and the fact that no one will see it.
So, if you want a loud kit that will turn a lot of heads, get yourself the best acrylic drum set for you.