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  • Vision vs Catalina Maple vs PDP X7

    I'm still trying to decide which shell pack will suit me best. At the minimum I want a 2 up 2 down kit, with floor toms on legs. I don't mind the mount on the bass drum, as it comes in rather handy at times. I would prefer a lacquer finish.

    Snare drum wise - I really don't care as I already have several drums on hand for variety, both wood and metal. I'm also not concerned with factory heads.

    I trust Pearl's quality 100%. I'm a die hard Pearl guru. But regardless of which Vision series I choose, I'd want to upgrade the hoops and mounts. I'm heavily considering going with a RIMS-type mount for the toms, instead of ISS or even Opti-mounts. I'm also not 100% in love with any of the Vision colors.

    The Vision would come with a free 8" tom.

    But....

    I really like the 2.5 mm hoops on the Gretsch, plus it already has RIMS-type mounts, and fully finished bass hoops (not an absolute deal breaker, but I really like the look) Also the Catalina Maple only comes in 1 configuration, but it's exactly the sizes I want. (In lieu of an 8" rack tom, I'm thinking about getting a 8" DW steel piccolo tom.)

    I've owned a Gretsch Catalina Birch kit that I thought sounded and looked phenomenal. I'd put it up against any kit I've ever played. I'm curious if the Catalina Maple will have the same magic as the Catalina Birch kit.

    Then there is the X7. For 2009 they are featuring all-maple shells, on top of a 3 up 2 down config, STM mounts, sparkle LACQUER finishes, and a tom mount with accessory clamp. I've played a set of the poplar X7s and was thoroughly impressed for the price. I love the 7 piece kit right out of the box.

    I'm also considering a whole new arsenal of single braced, medium weight hardware. I know it's not of huge importance to have the stands match the kit, but Pearl really doesn't offer a whole lot in this department. Gibraltar on the other hand has single braced, flat based, and elliptical stands. They would fit well with any kit really.

    The Pearl Vision VSX
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9QU0TBYEhE

    The Gretsch Catalina Maple (Ignore his playing, he's pretending to be stiff)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBIrlq57xSE

    The X7 (poplar shells - Ignore the Pitch Blacks)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_1Kc7Vi43I

    Is this a win-win-win situation?
    Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
    All my previous kits - Here

  • #2
    GS,

    Man... you've got a tough decision there. I went back and forth for quite some time myself before I decided on the GC Limited Edition VSX (you know, the one in the Walnut Burst everyone's dying to see). It's cool to see you've narrowed down your areas, so I'm gonna try to help.

    Pearl Vision Series
    I've played a VX. I've played a VSX. I've played a VMX. I've dabbled on a VBX. I love those drums. For the price, you can't really beat them. Out of all the groups you've listed, Pearl is the most consistent quality-wise. Their bearing-edges are actually what they advertise. Their hardware is sturdy as hell. And, for the lower end VX and VSX, the Birch/Basswood combos sound AMAZING for the value. But you're right. You'll want to upgrade the rims and the mounting system.

    Gretsch Catalina Series
    I've played a Catalina Maple and a Club Mod. Both amazing kits. Especially under the mics. Might've been the phenomenal sound guy we had (Matt... looked just like Jugghead from the Archie comics). Might've been the acoustics of the room. Either way, I would never bash on them. Except... I'm not a huge fan of the tom mounting system. I couldn't tell you why, but I prefer the Optimounts. But, that's my preference.

    Pacific by DW X7
    I've played my friend's X7 (back with the 2008's Poplar shells). Decent sound. Nothing to brag about. Upon closer inspection, unfortunately, I discovered the the shell was splitting on the non-existent bearing-edge. It looks like a blind 12-year-old with a piece of sandpaper did the bearing-edges. Most of the floor didn't have one. The 8" rack tom had one... and then didn't for about an inch... and then had another different angle... and then didn't. Also, not a huge fan of the smaller tom sizes. I like a fatty 16" x 16" and 18" x 16". They're angry.

    Best bang for your buck, in my opinion, lies with the Visions. But, if someone offered me the Gretsch's, I wouldn't complain.

    Hope I helped.
    sigpic

    It's important to play the spaces. Silence can speak so loudly.
    Carter Beauford, modern drummer september 1997
    Originally posted by MisterMixelpix
    Yeah I gotta admit she managed to tune her cymbals pretty well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, I am a man of many drumsets. I went through alot of kits in the past 2 or 3 years..My buddy is the manager of a drum shop00**..I have a sickness..

      I have owned all three of the kits you described and am in the process of piecing together another Vision kit for gigging.




      The Catalina maples are without a doubt the best deal on a maple shell pack out there today. Sorry guys, value to sound ratio they are better than the VMX. 2.5mm hoops, RIMS style mounts, UV polyester lacquer finishes, (allbeit not too many choices) great build and phenomenal sound..for a 100% maple shelly... you cant beat this deal. Pro gig ready after a head swap! Asian maple or not these kits are smokin! Gretsch just released a new black on black lacquer kit and an 7x8" add on rack tom!!
      If I find the need for another maple shell pack, I will get these again in a second. GS, the Cat maples will impress as did the Cat birch did!






      The PDP X7s were a great kit as well. I liked having the 7 pc for the versatility of the set ups (as you can see)
      They were poplar and had their limitations, but still with proper heads and tuning skills, I was able to eek out some pretty righteous tones.

      For me, however in a birch or birch hybrid shell pack, it's gotta be Pearl Vision series. I have had a set of VBX in concord fade..one of the first on PDF..and wasn't thrilled with the kick sound. In fairness, I didn't have the kit long enuff to dial in the sound00**..I have a sickness..



      and now I am building..and keeping my second VSX. My wife will have me murdered if I buy/sell another kit.

      I am 100% sold on Pearl's quality and awesome sound..plus we got Al to back it all up.
      If you are looking for maple bang for the buck GRETSCH CATALINA..everything else?? PEARL.
      MAPEX l PEARL l SABIAN

      BOOM DA DA BAP DA BOOM BOOM DA BAP
      CDA MEMBER since 2006

      Comment


      • #4
        My understanding is that Gretsch is coming out with an 8" tom for their Catalina Maple kits. It might be out by now.

        I never heard any bad comments about the Catalina Maples. I never played one, but everybody who owns one, has nothing but praise for them.

        Dennis

        Comment


        • #5
          thanks a lot guys. The Cats have a lot going on for them aside for color choices.
          Current kit - Pearl VBX Ruby Fade Outdoors
          All my previous kits - Here

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Genius Switch View Post
            thanks a lot guys. The Cats have a lot going on for them aside for color choices.
            I have been playing close to 35 years and I recommend them!
            MAPEX l PEARL l SABIAN

            BOOM DA DA BAP DA BOOM BOOM DA BAP
            CDA MEMBER since 2006

            Comment


            • #7
              The Gretsch Catalina Maple/Birch are 'formula shells' which is another way of saying "Mixed Shell composite". Our Vision VSX is similar in that it has a birch-ply (birch/basswood) shell but in a 6" and 8" ply thickness. Our Vision VMX and VBX are made up of 100% "All maple" and "All birch shells". Our Vision Limited Lifetime shell warranty is second to none in the business today.
              sigpic


              Pearl Corporation USA | Nashville

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AL PERCIVAL View Post
                The Gretsch Catalina Maple/Birch are 'formula shells' which is another way of saying "Mixed Shell composite". Our Vision VSX is similar in that it has a birch-ply (birch/basswood) shell but in a 6" and 8" ply thickness. Our Vision VMX and VBX are made up of 100% "All maple" and "All birch shells". Our Vision Limited Lifetime shell warranty is second to none in the business today.
                I saw that too. I will be sending an inquiry to Gretsch. I will post the answer here. All I do know is they sound awesome!!!!!! And you dont need to mess with buying aftermarket hoops and mounting HW

                Here's what Gretsch is saying about their USA custom line..maybe there is mystery wood in these as well!

                USA Custom:


                Gretsch USA Custom drums feature the original Gretsch formula 6-ply maple shell that has been applied for over 50 years. Each drum includes 30-degree bearing edges, our original Silver Sealer inner shell finish and either Nitro-cellulose lacquer or Nitron exterior finishes to give you that "Great Gretsch Sound".


                Catalina maples are also made with varying plys:

                Maple-formula shell with 45-degree bearing edges, natural interiors and mini Grestch lugs. Catalina Maple features 6-ply toms, 7-ply bass drum and 9-ply snare drum.

                *not sure of any thickness differentiation.

                Still lovin' my Pearls!
                But I had a set of catalina Maples and they just kicked butt!!!!
                For a Maple-formula shell kit at that price point, they cant be beat!
                Last edited by pearlygates; 07-02-2009, 07:37 AM.
                MAPEX l PEARL l SABIAN

                BOOM DA DA BAP DA BOOM BOOM DA BAP
                CDA MEMBER since 2006

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AL PERCIVAL View Post
                  The Gretsch Catalina Maple/Birch are 'formula shells' which is another way of saying "Mixed Shell composite". Our Vision VSX is similar in that it has a birch-ply (birch/basswood) shell but in a 6" and 8" ply thickness. Our Vision VMX and VBX are made up of 100% "All maple" and "All birch shells". Our Vision Limited Lifetime shell warranty is second to none in the business today.
                  Originally posted by pearlygates View Post
                  I saw that too. I will be sending an inquiry to Gretsch. I will post the answer here. All I do know is they sound awesome!!!!!! And you dont need to mess with buying aftermarket hoops and mounting HW

                  Here's what Gretsch is saying about their USA custom line..maybe there is mystery wood in these as well!

                  USA Custom:


                  Gretsch USA Custom drums feature the original Gretsch formula 6-ply maple shell that has been applied for over 50 years. Each drum includes 30-degree bearing edges, our original Silver Sealer inner shell finish and either Nitro-cellulose lacquer or Nitron exterior finishes to give you that "Great Gretsch Sound".


                  Catalina maples are also made with varying plys:

                  Maple-formula shell with 45-degree bearing edges, natural interiors and mini Grestch lugs. Catalina Maple features 6-ply toms, 7-ply bass drum and 9-ply snare drum.

                  *not sure of any thickness differentiation.

                  Still lovin' my Pearls!
                  But I had a set of catalina Maples and they just kicked butt!!!!
                  For a Maple-formula shell kit at that price point, they cant be beat!
                  Here's the reply I got from Gretsch..


                  Thank you for your interest in Gretsch Drums, we appreciate your questions. We
                  produce our Catalina Maple shells to our exact specifications using a
                  proprietary formula of selected Maple woods that are sourced from Asia. We feel
                  this shell formula gives the Catalina Maple drum a full, rich tonality quality
                  with a unique and distinctive tonal identity.

                  The type of woods used in the drum shell making process are a key ingredient to
                  the ultimate tonal characteristics of the drum. But we also believe it is
                  responsible to mention the other various factors that are key contributors to
                  any drum's tonal characteristics: shell thickness, shell lamination process,
                  bearing edge angles, shell finishing, type of hoops, type of hardware, type of
                  heads, how the drums are tuned, and even the technique used to strike the
                  drumhead.

                  Regards,
                  Gretsch Drums


                  Wherever the Maple comes from..The Catalina maples are some sweet sounding kits!!
                  MAPEX l PEARL l SABIAN

                  BOOM DA DA BAP DA BOOM BOOM DA BAP
                  CDA MEMBER since 2006

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I for one, was astonished at the quality construction of the Vision Series. Way ahead of both the others in this thread. The process Pearl uses to create the bearing edge yeilds the best bearing edges I've seen in this price range. Total pro quality in that area. Fit and finish is astonishing and far exceeds it's category. The Cats and PD-7 are made in the same factory. I have seen some quality control issues with both series. Add to the equation Pearl's great hardware and ability to upgrade with many choices and top notch customer service. It's a pretty easy choice for me as I have a Vision special edition VSX on order.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dis330 View Post
                      The Cats and PD-7 are made in the same factory. .
                      No they aren't

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 44Ronin View Post
                        No they aren't
                        That is correct.

                        I have contacted Gretsch directly regarding the thought that the Catalina and Renowns are made in some cookie cutter Asian factory. This was a topic of debate on a different forum.

                        I was told by Gretsch that they own and run 2 of their own Gretsch facilities in Asia. 1 in Taiwan and 1 in China. So to dispel the myth. .. Gretsch's Asian made drums are in fact made in Gretsch facilities located overseas.

                        I cannot say for sure who is producing PDP chinese kits.

                        As far as the comment made that Gretsch and pdp are somehow not up to Pearl standards in build or QC... That is debatable.

                        Don't get me wrong here. I own and love my Pearl drums, of which I am in process of piecing together another VSX, but do some research before posting opinion or inuendo as fact.

                        Sorry for going off topic here. The new faux wood VSXs are fabulous drums and if it were not for my affinity for the #444 finish, I may just be looking at a faux wood kit.
                        MAPEX l PEARL l SABIAN

                        BOOM DA DA BAP DA BOOM BOOM DA BAP
                        CDA MEMBER since 2006

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pearlygates View Post
                          That is correct.

                          I have contacted Gretsch directly regarding the thought that the Catalina and Renowns are made in some cookie cutter Asian factory. This was a topic of debate on a different forum.

                          I was told by Gretsch that they own and run 2 of their own Gretsch facilities in Asia. 1 in Taiwan and 1 in China. So to dispel the myth. .. Gretsch's Asian made drums are in fact made in Gretsch facilities located overseas.

                          I cannot say for sure who is producing PDP chinese kits.

                          As far as the comment made that Gretsch and pdp are somehow not up to Pearl standards in build or QC... That is debatable.

                          Don't get me wrong here. I own and love my Pearl drums, of which I am in process of piecing together another VSX, but do some research before posting opinion or inuendo as fact.

                          Sorry for going off topic here. The new faux wood VSXs are fabulous drums and if it were not for my affinity for the #444 finish, I may just be looking at a faux wood kit.
                          I retract my comment concerning the manufacturing plant where Gretsch drums are made. I do, however, stand by my opinion concerning the quality control issue. I've owned many PDP kits and frequent a local pro shop where I help assemble many kits. Pearl Vision drums are made to a higher quality standard. This is only my opinion based on my observations. Take it for what it is worth..if anything.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dis330 View Post
                            I retract my comment concerning the manufacturing plant where Gretsch drums are made. I do, however, stand by my opinion concerning the quality control issue. I've owned many PDP kits and frequent a local pro shop where I help assemble many kits. Pearl Vision drums are made to a higher quality standard. This is only my opinion based on my observations. Take it for what it is worth..if anything.
                            I would buy the Pearl.
                            sigpicPEARL DRUMS
                            MCX RED GLASS 22" X 18," 14" x 6.5", 10" X 8", 12" X 9", 14" x 11", 16" X 14", 18" x 16", and Sabians
                            My Kit; http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/at...8&d=1290113760

                            MASTERS ARMY

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dis330 View Post
                              I retract my comment concerning the manufacturing plant where Gretsch drums are made. I do, however, stand by my opinion concerning the quality control issue. I've owned many PDP kits and frequent a local pro shop where I help assemble many kits. Pearl Vision drums are made to a higher quality standard. This is only my opinion based on my observations. Take it for what it is worth..if anything.
                              No worries,

                              I have a good friend who was a department mgr in the drum shop at Geetar center locally. He now heads up a local five star shop. I have gotten my hands "dirty' as well assembling many kits. I do agree that Pearl's attention to detail and overall build are exceptional, but I have seen some bloopers make it thru QC from Pearl too.

                              I will go ahead and risk sounding like a broken record by saying that Pearl makes some of the best mass produced drum shells on the planet!
                              MAPEX l PEARL l SABIAN

                              BOOM DA DA BAP DA BOOM BOOM DA BAP
                              CDA MEMBER since 2006

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