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  1. Professional Amateur

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,839

    Default Pinning down exactly what kit I want to upgrade to.

    So...first off I guess I should say hey. Long time, no post. I was a regular around here way way back when I was in college, but I see my last post hasn't been since 2004 so...well. Hey!

    To the point of the post and my less-than-triumphant return:

    All these years later I'm still playing my good ol' Pearl Rhythm Traveler for home play, along with my Roland TD4s when the wife is home as to not drive her up the wall.

    I'm looking to finally upgrade to something that's good for both home practice and potentially gigging, as I'm looking to dive into playing with others again. To that end, I'm a bit torn.

    I've been done a lot of video watching on YouTube and the like and lot of research into various kits and the bottom line I'm coming up against is...apparently everything is terrible?

    I've been debating mainly between going with a Pearl Decade Maple and a Mapex Armory. I like that both come in under the $1,000 mark and they come in a good configuration with two+ racks and two floors. Videos and reviews on YouTube are largely favorable for both, slightly favoring the Mapex. I've come very close to pulling the trigger on the Armory.

    The thing is, I've read some negatives about both kits and I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't just save a bit and consider going a step up to the next level, going with a Tama Starclassic, Mapex Saturn, or Pearl Session/Masters.

    The configuration I want would be almost twice the price but I'm just seeing so many questionable stories about the $1000-level kits that I'm wondering if it wouldn't be more worthwhile to go higher grade. My only issue there is I don't want something I'm going to feel gutted by if, while gigging, something damages them. I know some people will always say "buy higher end if you can afford it," but at the same time it's a lot of money to lay out for something that's basically, at this point, a self-indulgent hobby.

    So...thoughts? Opinions? Am I being reasonable in my concern over these mid-range kits or am I just psyching myself out hearing a handful of reported bad experiences? Anyone find themselves in a similar situation recently? What route did you take, if so?

    Or, inversely, if anyone owns an Armory or Decade Maple that can provide me with some positives/negatives about those kits, that would also be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, and may I say it's good to be back and still see this forum kicking all these years later.
    Last edited by jester2937; 07-16-2019 at 07:41 PM.

  2. A Passion Play ...

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sacramento CA.
    Posts
    5,397

    Default

    Welcome back. If it were me I would look around for a used higher
    end kit. A great used kit can be had for under a grand. Do you
    have hardware and cymbals ? Glad you are back at the Forum.
    Eric G : Pearl,pAiSTe,Remo,Vic Firth,SKB,Roc n Soc,Roland V-Drums. Masters MCX Chestnut fade.
    22"x18",10"x8",12"x9",16"x16". Ian Paice Snare. Why not ...

  3. Registered User

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    339

    Default

    As Eric says, think about what you really want then look out for something close to it second hand. The downside with buying second hand is that you may have to compromise on finish or configuration and getting additional toms can be nigh on impossible. But if you're in no rush, have a scan at the usual places to see what's around and go from there.

    A good second hand session or masters kits will be a lot nicer to play and own.
    Pearl Prestige Session Select SRX 1998 in black mist
    8-10-12-14-16F-18F-20BD 14x6.5" Masters Custom Maple Snare

  4. Professional Amateur

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,839

    Default

    I should have specified this in my original post, but it was getting a little long:

    I'm not opposed to the second-hand market and I do, in fact, keep a very keen eye on it. But I'm willing to compromise very little on my desired specs; this is an investment and something I'm going to own for potentially a very long time. So unless the perfect thing pops up, I'm content paying full price for new gear. My biggest concern with going higher end with new gear is as stated, however. That being the concern of going too high end, then feeling overly dejected if it were to be damaged.

    Added to that, Western Pennsylvania is not exactly the most robust of second-hand equipment markets. In the past few months I've been scoping it out I've seen exactly one used kit I'd even consider on Facebook Marketplace/Craigslist, and even then I'd be sacrificing configuration a little.

  5. Comrade Tim

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Russian Annex, North America
    Posts
    3,110

    Default

    Sessions. I was looking at having a masterworks kit built - Pearl came out with Sessions in the wood combo I wanted, so went that direction. Zero regrets. Kit plays and sounds fantastic and will be the last new kit I ever buy.

    Kit Pix
    Pearl | Aquarian | Zildjian | Vater | Yamaha

  6. Professional Amateur

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,839

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah Hex View Post
    Sessions. I was looking at having a masterworks kit built - Pearl came out with Sessions in the wood combo I wanted, so went that direction. Zero regrets. Kit plays and sounds fantastic and will be the last new kit I ever buy.
    I'm certainly warming to them as an option the more I look at them; all things considered the price jump from DM seems to have a few very worthwhile upgrades. I'm not in love with the color options, but that's easily my most flexible spec so they've definitely got potential.

    I'm also liking the Masters stuff which is only a touch more than the Sessions, though I'm not seeing a Masters set with a second floor, nor am I easily finding anywhere that sells a second floor. Which is a bit disappointing.

  7. Comrade Tim

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Russian Annex, North America
    Posts
    3,110

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jester2937 View Post
    I'm certainly warming to them as an option the more I look at them; all things considered the price jump from DM seems to have a few very worthwhile upgrades. I'm not in love with the color options, but that's easily my most flexible spec so they've definitely got potential.

    I'm also liking the Masters stuff which is only a touch more than the Sessions, though I'm not seeing a Masters set with a second floor, nor am I easily finding anywhere that sells a second floor. Which is a bit disappointing.
    Yeah - for me it was more about the wood combo - the Session Selects are birch/african mahogany which is what I spec'd the MW kit with, and the edges were identical. Color for me was also spot on tho - my MW snare was built a full year before they came out with the current Sessions and the Barnyard Brown color was dead on...so no brainer for me all around. And it saved me a few grand.

    I should add them adding in the second floor tom was also a factor especially since I added the 2nd kick....
    Last edited by Jonah Hex; 07-17-2019 at 09:22 AM.

    Kit Pix
    Pearl | Aquarian | Zildjian | Vater | Yamaha

  8. The Dark Sentencer

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Orange County
    Posts
    205

    Default

    Welcome back to the forum!
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

  9. Professional Amateur

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,839

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LRDrummer View Post
    Welcome back to the forum!
    Thanks! It's been a minute but hopefully I'll have a new kit to share sooner rather than later!

  10. Blind and Faithless

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,890

    Default

    I'll second the Sessions, but I'm biased and love the birch/mahogany shells. I have old Yamaha Tour Customs which used similar shells (the newer Tour Customs are an entirely different animal, disregard them).

    My biggest gripe with the new Sessions line is the lack of an 18" bass drum. I'm also not a huge fan of the finishes. However, if I was looking for a brand new kit and didn't mind getting a 20/22/24 kick, I'd probably pick the Sessions. Nice shells, solid hardware, and reasonable prices. Used, I'd be looking at older Yamaha and Tama kits. The old Pearl Sessions were also very nice, but I believe those were either all maple or all birch.

    Granted those are just my personal preferences. Just about any "intermediate" level kit or higher is going to sound great with fresh heads and proper tuning, so I wouldn't stress it too much. Find something that checks all your boxes and just go for it!

  11. Registered User

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    339

    Default

    The old prestige session selects are maple/mahogany and very nice, but then I'm biased.
    Pearl Prestige Session Select SRX 1998 in black mist
    8-10-12-14-16F-18F-20BD 14x6.5" Masters Custom Maple Snare

  12. Drumming Since 1943

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    17,393

    Default

    How about used MCX’s? For my $, the best full-production line Pearl’s ever produced for the money.
    Way Too Much Crap

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