Pearl has been one of the most popular drum companies for years. With their Export kit being the most sold drum kit ever, they’re pretty successful! They produce drums in all shapes and sizes, with different types of designs, and catered to players of all levels.
Here’s my list of some of Pearl’s best drum kits.
Best Pearl Drum Kits for All Budgets
The Export has held the title of being the best entry-level drum kit for years. It isn’t as popular nowadays. However, it’s still as great as it always has been. I got one of these kits as a present in my early days of drumming. After playing on a seriously low budget kit, the Export quickly became my pride and joy.
In this shell pack, you’ll find a 14” snare, a 16" floor tom, 10” and 12” rack toms, and a 22” kick drum. The shells are built with a mixture of poplar and mahogany woods, giving them a unique tone that blends qualities together.
The tone is rich and balanced. The mahogany emphasizes dark tones while the poplar emphasizes bright ones.
The Export kit is quite versatile. It’s easy to tune, allowing you to get the required sound for all types of music.
If you want a new budget-friendly kit, the most sold drum kit of all time is a great option. The one aspect of this kit that is a bit frustrating is the tom mounts. It can be a bit of a mission to position the toms comfortably.
The Session Studio Select falls under the category of intermediate and pro. It provides build quality and sound that working drummers can use to best express themselves.
With a mixture of birch and mahogany, the shells have a versatile tone. The birch gives the drums a focused sound that cuts through a mix while the mahogany provides balance and warmth.
The drums have a seriously full tone that sounds EQ’d. The kick drum supplies plenty of low end and the toms have great tonal variety between them.
The shell pack consists of 10” and 12” rack toms, 14” and 16” floor toms, and a 22” kick drum. With 6 different finish options, there’s plenty of choice from an aesthetic point of view.
The rack toms mount onto cymbal stands. They’re quite heavy, meaning you’ll need to use some solid double-braced stands.
Unfortunately, this shell pack doesn’t include a snare drum.
The Decade Maple has toms that sing and a kick that booms. It’s a wonderfully musical drum kit that is easy to tune and sweet on the eyes.
The musicality comes from its maple shells. The drums have a balanced and responsive warm tone. The toms pack in plenty of resonance, making this kit great for large venues.
Equipped with a 14” snare, 10” and 12” rack toms, a 16” floor tom and a 22” kick drum, the Pearl Decade Maple provides everything you need to play live gigs or record in a studio.
Similar to the Export, the toms are incredibly difficult to position comfortably. This only affects drummers with certain height preferences though.
If you’re a beginner that needs a kit that crosses over into an intermediate level, the Pearl Decade Maple is a great option.
The Roadshow is a kit that is aimed purely at beginners. With so many people deciding to play drums, there must be an affordable drum kit option that doesn’t chase away new players. Pearl has capitalized on this and provided a great affordable kit in the Roadshow.
It’s a one-stop-shop that includes a 14” snare, 10” and 12” rack toms, a 16” floor tom, and a 22” kick drum. It also includes hi-hats, a ride/crash cymbal, and hardware to hold everything together.
These shells are made from poplar wood, giving the drums a solid attack. The stock drumheads produce a bit of a cardboard-like sound, meaning you’d need to change the heads. The cymbals don’t sound too great. However, they’re a perfect starting point for a beginner.
The highlights of the Roadshow are the kick and snare drum. The kick drum has a low thud while the snare drum has a lot of power and attack. The snare is also dynamically responsive, something not common in entry-level snares.
If you want to buy some drums for gigging, but don’t want to spend too much money just yet, the Pearl Roadshow is a great option.
The Masters Series is one of Pearl’s top lines of drum kits. The Masters Maple drums are used by many pro gigging drummers. This shell pack comes with a 16” floor tom, 10” and 12” rack toms and a 22” kick drum.
The maple shells provide everything you’d expect from a high-end drum kit - good projection, sustain, and sensitivity. The drums sound especially good when tuned low, giving a warm thud from each tom and a deep kick from the kick drum.
The kick drum tone is quite controlled, making it a great option for studio recording. Another aspect that adds to the pro-level quality of these drums is the hardware. The toms are all sturdily held together and the construction of the drums makes them easy to tune as well.
If you’re looking for openness and punch, the Pearl Masters Maple is a great pro-level option.
The Crystal Beat is Pearl’s famous acrylic drum kit. Acrylic drums have transparent shells that look amazing on stages. They also tend to project louder than standard drum shells.
The 10” and 12” rack toms are punchy while the 16” floor tom and a 22” kick drum provide solid low-end thumps.
These drums are very loud. If you’re a rock or metal drummer, they’re perfect. They’re not a great option for jazz.
Pearl’s Optimount suspension system, allows you to position them very comfortably on cymbal stands. It seems to be a trend with Pearl that their cymbal-mounted toms work way better than their kick drum-mounted toms.
This kit has 4 finish options, something not very common in acrylic kits. Each finish option has a different transparent color.
Acrylic kits aren’t for everyone. So, if you want a transparent drum kit that will look great under lights, the Crystal Beat is the way to go.
Pearl Drum Kits Buying Guide
The biggest difference between drum kits is the type of wood that their shells are made of.
Woods have different qualities that affect the tone of the drums. Some of the most popular woods when it comes to drum kits are birch, maple, mahogany, poplar and bubinga.
Maple is the most versatile wood that packs a balanced amount of highs, mids, and lows. Birch is great for high frequencies and attack. Mahogany is great for resonance.
Bubinga makes the drums sound punchy and is one of the most expensive woods. Poplar is the cheapest wood and is used in most entry-level drum kits.
Drum Kit Size
The size of your kit should depend on what environment you’re going to play in. If you gig a lot, it would be good to have a small kit that makes it easy to travel with. If you stay in one place, then a bigger kit may be a good option.
Drum kit size isn’t the biggest worry for drummers. As long as you have a great sound, you should be good to go. A small kit can be tuned to sound quite big.
Most drummers have more than one snare drum since a snare is where sound can differ the most.
Categories of Drum Kit
It may help when choosing a drum kit to know which category it falls under in terms of skill level and price. Pearl has a fairly large selection of drum kits on offer and they cater very well to beginners and pro players alike.
The pro kits will be the most expensive while the beginner kits will be very affordable and often include extras like hardware and cymbals. A good example of a beginner kit from Pearl is the Roadshow. An example of a top-quality professional kit would be the Masters Maple.
One of Pearl’s strengths lies in the intermediate drum kit market. They have so many drum kits to choose from in this category, giving you a wide selection if you’re looking to buy something that can be used professionally but is still relatively affordable.
Another category of drum kit that Pearl provides for is the compact drum kit market. The Pearl Midtown is one of the top players when it comes to bite-sized drum sets.
Another strength that Pearl has compared competitor brands is high-quality hardware on every single one of their drum kits. Even the Roadshow comes with double-braced stands and highly durable shell mounts.
I have a few cymbal stands that came with a Pearl Export that I had a decade ago. They’re still some of my favorite cymbal stands to use thanks to their sturdiness.
Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology does a wonderful job in making all their kits sound amazing.
When buying a Pearl drum kit, you get a guaranteed sense of quality. Even their most basic kits have solid build qualities and sounds. They have a reputation for having seriously solid hardware. I personally always use Pearl hardware, no matter what brand of drums I’m playing.
If you’re looking to buy a new drum kit, consider getting one from Pearl. They have a drum kit for everyone, beginner or professional.