Okay... so i search on this forum and did some research ... just to get this out of the way first this is what I found:
- poplar wood is not "bad sounding" or "cheap quality" wood... rather it was a wood that has certain sounds properties... but is abundant and thus was inexpensive for drum construction.
- a lot of older (and prized) vintage drums were made using poplar as the core of the drum... with a vener of another wood (sometimes mahogany) inside and outside b/c poplar wood did not have as nice of a finish as some other woods. In fact it sometimes had greenish/bluish (i think) marks in the wood
Other things i've found are that keller shells are making vintage shells which have a poplar core, mahogany on the inside and out (i think a very thin ply) with maple reinforcing rings. Also, this is the same construction as dw's classic series shells.
Also,... harder/denser woods typically have more low end... for example bubinga and mahogany have good low end. I believe mahogany is used more in the reference series shells for their floor toms and bass drums for this sonic property. So... i'm not sure how hard/dense poplar as compare to other woods.
Okay... so with that out of the way... i'm thinking that the keller mahogany vintage shells would make a nice bass drum. I just emailed them to see if they make deeper shell depths for their kicks. I'm not particularly looking for a tubby sound though (as some vintage sounding drums have been described). I play harder music (metal core/rock) but also play jazz too. I find that a versatile/musical drum will suit any/most music style anyways... and for the extreme sounds that you hear on records that's all the result of processing like compression and eq'ing, reverb etc anyways.
Here are some useful links: