Pearl Session Studio Select | Ultimate drummers guide

pearl session studio select drum kit

The Pearl Session Studio Select is a drum kit that aims to give you a professional sound at a great price point. The sound is punchy with sturdy hardware that will last.

Let’s find out more about the Pearl Session Studio Select.

Who is the Pearl Session Studio Select for?

The Session Studio Select from Pearl is an entry-level professional kit. It sits above the Pearl Export kits but below the Masters and Masterworks drum kits.

Even though it isn’t in the top kits from Pearl, it certainly does have many of those top tier features. That makes this kit a good option for drummers wanting a professional sounding drum kit without breaking the bank.

Alternatively, if you are a drummer that does shows often, this kit is a great workhorse. You could invest in a Session Studio Select for touring whilst keeping your best drum kit safe at home or for studio work.

What woods are Pearl Session Studio Select shells made?

The Pearl Session Studio Select drum shells are made from two different kinds of wood. 

Masters grade Birch hardwood and African Mahogany imported softwood.

There are four plies of the birch on the outside of the shell with two plies of mahogany on the inner.  

Pearl Session Studio Select wood

Birch offers a full rounded tone full of projection whilst the mahogany adds the low end and punch.

Using premium and cheaper wood produces a professional sound whilst reducing the purchase price. 

The shells feature a 60-degree bearing edge to help increase the volume and resonance of the shells without the harsh tones.

The sound

The combination of the shells and the bearing edge produces a kit that sounds punchy with an almost pre-EQ’d sound. The toms are very musical and flow well as you play through the different sizes.

Depending on the heads used and tuning of the kit, it can be used for a wide range of musical applications. Tune the heads low for more punch in a rock band or tune them up for jazz gigs.

Have a listen to the kit here

What hardware comes with the Session Studio Select?

The hardware on the Pearl Session Studio Select drum kit is designed for the working drummer. Everything is built to be sturdy, reliable and durable. 

2.3mm Superhoop II Hoops

These 2.3mm Superhoop II Hoops are triple-flanged and are one of the better hoops offered by Pearl. These are designed with hard hitters in mind.

They will maintain tuning and drum resonance even after a long session of playing. 

Optimount Tom Isolation System

The optimount tom isolation system from Pearl removes any contact between the hardware and the shell. The mount attaches to the lugs of the drum rather than the shell itself.

Therefore the shells are not being interfered with in any way. Ensuring you get the best sound from the shell woods.

Remaining hardware

The rest of the hardware on the kit is sturdy and dependable. It isn’t the premium quality as on the Masterworks kit but is perfect for this kit.

Pearl has ensured that the premium hardware is included where it has an impact on the sound. Holding back on the other elements helps keep this drum kit at a great price point for you. 

What finishes are available?

The Pearl Session Studio Select drum kit is currently available in five different finishes. Either as a wrap or a lacquer. All of which look amazing.

Pearl Session Studio Select finish options

High Gloss Lacquer

  • Gloss Barnwood Brown (#314) – this is a beautiful finish that allows the wood to peer through the dark fade.
  • Piano Black (#103) – the timeless finish that looks good on any drum kit.

Premium Delmar Wrap

  • Nicotine White Marine Pearl (#405) – a classic shell finish that still looks good to this day. If you are wanting white, this is as close as you will get.
  • Black Mirror Chrome (#766) – for that classic black finish that reflects at you.

Matt Ash Lacquer

  • Scarlet Ash (#847) – this finish is a combination of red with the natural wood pattern. Personally, this is my favourite finish available. The longer you look at it, the more beautiful details you see. 

Of course, the finish of a drum kit is unique to each drummer’s tastes. With that being said, Pearl has done a good job at offering something every drummer will like. 

The limited options also make it easier for Pearl to produce. Once again, keeping the costs down and giving you a lot of drum kits at this price point.

Pearl Session Studio Select kit configurations

The Session Studio Select is available in several basic configurations.

The “funk” set (STS904XP/C)

This configuration features slightly smaller sizes making it perfect for pop/ funk. 

  • 20″ x 14″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ and 12″ x 8″ toms
  • 14″ x 14″ floor tom

The “standard” set (STS924XSP/C)

This configuration features the most common sizes you find on a drum kit. 

  • 22″ x 16″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ and 12″ x 8″ toms
  • 16″ x 16″ floor tom

The “rock” set (STS943XP/C)

This configuration features larger size drums and the one up one down tom setup favoured by rock drummers. 

  • 24″ x 14″ bass drum
  • 13″ x 9″ tom
  • 16″ x 16″ floor tom

The “small” set (STS983XP/C)

This configuration features smaller size drums. This makes it perfect for a younger player who hasn’t grown into a full-size kit yet. Or a player after a tight sound.

  • 18″ x 14″ bass drum
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 14″ x 14″ floor tom

Extra options

You can also order extra drums separately to create a custom setup to your liking. Also, none of the kits above come with a snare but they are available to order as extra if you wish.

Snares

DimensionsModel Number
14×5.5STS1455S/C
14×6.5STS1465S/C
14×8STS1480S/C

Tom toms

DimensionsModel Number
8×7STS0807T/C
10×7STS1007T/C
13×9STS1309T/C
14×10STS1410T/C

Floor toms

DimensionsModel Number
14×14STS1414F/C
16×16STS1616F/C
18×16STS1816F/C

Gong bass drum

It is nice to see Pearl adding some of the more unique drum pieces to this line.

That being said, the Pearl Session Studio Select Gong Drum is only available in one size. 20″ x 14″ (STS2014G/C)

Bass drums

DimensionsModel Number
18×14STS1814BX/C
20×14STS2014BX/C
22×16STS2216BX/C
24×14STS2414BX/C

Are Pearl Session Studio Select drum kits good value?

Without a doubt, the Pearl Session Studio Select is a great value kit. You are getting a professional sounding drum kit at a great price point. 

Pearl has invested in the elements that give you a great sounding kit and tactically used cheaper parts in certain places to bring down the cost.

Where can I buy one?

Luckily for you, Pearl drum kits are available from all online music stores or your local music shop. 

If you are looking to order online, check out the link below.

Frequently asked questions

What drum heads come with the Pearl Session Studio Select?

As standard, the kit comes with Remo UT Pinstripes (Tom Batter), Remo UT Clears (Tom Resonant) and Remo UT Powerstroke3 (Clear Kick Batter).

Where are the best alternative kits to the Pearl Session Studio Select?

The best alternative drum kits at this price range are the Tama Starclassic Performer and the DW Design Series

What are our thoughts?

The Pearl Session Studio Select is a perfect fit for a lot of drummers. If you have had a Pearl Export Drum Kit and you are looking for an upgrade, this is a logical next step. 

This kit sounds great and it will last you a long time. 

Tama Imperialstar | The ultimate drummer’s guide (2021)

tama imperialstar drum kit

The Tama Imperialstar is seen as one of the best starter drum kits available. For a budget drum kit, it sounds good and is of great value. 

In this guide, we are going to talk you through all of the features that come on the Tama Imperialstar and what is new for 2021.

Who is the Tama Imperialstar for?

The Imperialstar is the budget drum kit offered by Tama. Its price point makes it ideal for new drummers who are looking for a good sounding kit to learn on. 

Although this is the budget model, it is still packed full of features you may not expect to find on an entry-level kit.

Since this is the case, the Tama Imperialstar often lasts drummer beyond the early years and can become a good touring kit. 

This is why the Imperialstar stands out against many of the budget drum kits available on the market.

What are Tama Imperialstar shells made from?

The shells on the Imperialstar are made from 100% poplar wood. 

When compared to other woods commonly found in drums such as maple and birch, poplar is a cheaper option.

That doesn’t mean it is bad though. Poplar creates a warm tone with a medium attack. 

The shells are made up of 6 plies of 8mm poplar.

To make an affordable drum kit poplar wood is a great option as it pushes down the costs without the need to use a wood blend. 

Tama Precision Bearing Edges

The final thing to note about the Imperialstar shells is the Tama Precision Bearing Edges. 

Bearing edges have a big impact on the sound of the drum. It can affect the tuning, how the drum rings and the response.

Tama’s advanced edge-cutting process provides extremely precise bearing edges making the most out of the cheaper poplar wood. 

The result is a drum that has a full ring, a wide tuning range with sensitivity and response.

What hardware comes with the Imperialstar?

As well as their incredible drums, Tama is known for making great hardware.

Unfortunately, the Imperialstar doesn’t feature any of the latest innovations but that is to be expected. 

There is nothing wrong with the hardware found on the Imperialstar though. It has classic features that have stood the test of time.

Tom Holder

The bass drum mounted dual tom holder features the L-rod ball socket holders. 

These holders allow you to make the smallest tweaks to the tom positioning. If you like to have your toms placed over your bass drum, you will be able to get the placement just how you like it with these holders.

Spur Brackets

The spur brackets on the bass drum are very sturdy to ensure maximum stability. This is very important as the bass drum is also holding your toms. 

Stage Master Stands

The Imperialstar comes with stands included. The stands are from the Stage Master range. 

The Stage Master range features double-braced legs for extra stability and quick-set cymbal mates for quick cymbal changes.

tama stage master hardware

The Tama Imperialstar comes with:

  • Hi-hat stand
  • Boom stand
  • Straight arm stand
  • Snare stand

Remaining hardware

The kit also includes a standard single pedal and a throne.

There is nothing special about these but they will be fine for any drummer starting to learn.

What finishes are available?

The Tama Imperialstar is available in 6 different finishes. These finishes are all wraps. 

These look nice and there is a good variety to meet everyone’s tastes. 

The wrap finish helps keep the cost down to make the kit good value to you whilst looking nice.

Brand new finish for 2021. The Natural Zebrawood Wrap has been added newly for 2021. This is a great looking wrap giving the kit an exotic wood look. 

tama imperialstar kit finishes

Finishes:

  • Black Oak Wrap (BOW)
  • Natural Zebrawood Wrap (NZW)
  • Vintage White Sparkle (VWS)
  • Candy Apple Mist (CAM)
  • Hairline Black (HBK)
  • Hairline Blue (HLB)

Tama Imperialstar kit configurations

The Tama Imperialstar is available in 4 different configurations to match the style of drumming and budget you have. 

Each kit comes with all the hardware mentioned above.

The kits are available with or without cymbals. 

If you are starting to learn drums and don’t have cymbals yet it comes with Meinl HCS bronze cymbals. These are as good as any other entry-level cymbal and are of good value when purchased with the kit.

6 piece kit with 22″ kick (IE62H6W)

This configuration is the most expensive and comes with the most drums. If you are looking for a bigger set this is the configuration for you.

Drums included:

  • 22″ x 16″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 14″ x 13″ floor tom
  • 16″ x 15″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

5 piece kit with 22″ kick (IE52KH6W)

I would class this as your “standard” drum set configuration. You are getting a 5 piece kit in the standard sizes you would expect. 

Drums included:

  • 22″ x 16″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 16″ x 15″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

5 piece kit with 20″ kick (IE50H6W)

If you are looking for a kit with a slightly tighter sound this kit could be the one. It comes with a slightly smaller bass drum at 20″ and a 14″ floor tom rather than a 16″. 

Drums included:

  • 20″ x 16″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 14″ x 13″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

5 piece kit with 18″ kick (IE58H6W)

If you are looking for a kit for a child this configuration is the better option. The 18″ bass drum allows you to place the toms lower whilst still maintaining a good tone.

Drums included:

  • 18″ x 14″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 14″ x 13″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

Individual drums

If you have purchased a Tama Imperialstar drum kit and you are wanting to expand it you can purchase individual drums. 

The size selection is decent as long as you aren’t picky when it comes to the depth of the drums.

Bass drums

  • 18″ x 14″
  • 20″ x 16″
  • 22″ x 16″

Floor toms

  • 14″ x 13″
  • 16″ x 15″
  • 18″ x 16″

Toms

  • 8″ x 6.5″
  • 10″ x 7″
  • 12″ x 8″
  • 13″ x 9″

Snares

  • 14″ x 5″
  • 14″ x 6.5″

Are Tama Imperialstar drum kits good value?

There is no doubt that these drums are of great value. If you are a beginner or an intermediate player this kit is an amazing option.

Tama has had to cut areas of the kit to lower the price but it has done this in areas that will have minimal impacts on the sound.

For example, the hardware and finish have been cut back to allow the shells to be the best they can for the price.

The only thing you will want to replace on this kit is the heads. Drum heads can be expensive so cheaper Tama branded heads come with the kit. These are single ply so they won’t be that durable and they will be a bit harder to tune. 

Ideally, you would switch these out for a two-ply head such as the Evans G2s or Remo Emperor.

This does push up the cost but there is nothing wrong with playing the stock heads while they last. 

Where can I buy one?

Luckily for you, the Tama Imperialstar is available from nearly all online music stores or from your local drum shop. If you are looking to order online, here are our top picks.

Frequently asked questions

Are Tama Imperialstar drums good?

If you are a beginner the Imperialstar drum kits are perfect for getting started. They are one of the best sounding drums at this price and will last you for many years until including when you are at an intermediate level.

Should I buy a used Tama Imperialstar?

If you are wanting to save more money a second head kit is a good option. The Tama Imperialstar has been around since the 1970s so there are plenty of second-hand kits around. Like when you buy anything pre-owned, make sure you inspect the kit before purchasing. Looks for any cracks in the shells and damage to the hardware.

What is the difference between a new or vintage Tama Imperialstar?

The main difference is the wood the shells are made from. The vintage Tama Imperialstar drums from the 1970s and 1980s were made from Luan with a heavy speckled Zola Coat on the interiors rather than poplar with a natural internal finish like on the new kits.
Luan is a cheap wood like poplar. They have many similar characteristics but the sound of luan is preferred by some drummers.

What are our thoughts?

If you are buying your first drum kit this is one of the best options. There are cheaper entry-level drum kits available but this kit will see you beyond being a beginner well into intermediate levels. 

It sounds good and it is built to last. 

If you are looking for an alternative at this price point we recommend checking out the Pearl Export. If you are looking for an entry-level professional level kit from Tama, check out the Tama Starclassic Performer.

Have you owned a Tama Imperialstar drum kit? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Matt Halpern Signature Snare drum from Pearl Drums | New for 2021

matt halpern signature snare drum pearl

Pearl drums have just released the brand new Matt Halpern Signature Snare drum. This is part of the Pearl Signature Series Snare line.

Matt Halpern is a phenomenal drummer and it is great to see he now has a signature snare drum. Let’s see what makes it unique and what Matt wanted it to achieve. 

Who is the Matt Halpern Signature Snare drum for?

If you know of Matt Halpern you will most likely know him from his drumming with Periphery. Complex music that is aggressive, melodic and softer at times. At its core, this is what the drum aims to achieve. A powerful snare drum that is also responsive to dynamic playing.

Matt Halpern also had a few other things he wanted to achieve with this snare. He wanted it to have its unique place in the already extensive Pearl snare drum line up and he didn’t want it to break the bank. He wanted a premium grade snare that was out of the price range of the average drummer. We all know how expensive some snares can be!

What is the Matt Halpern Signature Snare made from?

The 14″ x 6″ snare drum is made from a 1.5mm brass shell with a black powdered coat finish. The snare drum also features powder-coated black brass STL Swivel Tube Lugs and black mastercast hoops. 

The drum also comes with the great Ultra-Sound snare wires in conjunction with the SR-150 click-lock.

Yes, this snare drum has a lot of black but it looks incredible. The drum also features yellow gaskets and details to finish off the look.

Features:

  • Size – 14″ x 6″
  • Shell – 1.5mm Brass Shell w/Black Powder-Coat Finish
  • Lugs – Powder-coated black brass STL Swivel Tube STL-55MH/B 
  • Hoops – MasterCast (DC-1410B/1410S)
  • Strainer – SR-150 Click-Lock
  • Snares – Ultra-Sound (SN-1420I)
  • Heads – BATTER Evans Heavyweight Dry, SNARE Evans Hazy 300 (S14H30)
  • Air vents – Black Powdercoated w/Yellow Gaskets AH-03B Die-Cast (x3)
Matt Halpern Signature snare close up

Brand new Evans Heavyweight Dry batter heads as standard

To accompany, the Matt Halpern Signature snare drum Evans has also developed a new batter head. This head has to deliver on the goals of the drum. 

This led to the creation of the Evans 14″ Heavyweight Dry Coated Drumhead. This head features two plies of 10mil film, a 3mil reverse dot, precision drilled vents and Evans patented UV coating. 

This head is extremely durable with a compressed attack and wide dynamic range.

Everything this snare needs to shine. 

What does it sound like?

Overall this snare achieves what it set out to do. The brass shell is cutting and lively but yet controlled by the help of the triangle layout air vents and Evans head selection. 

This gives you a cutting aggressive sound that is also a little dry when played at higher volumes. When you pull back to the mid-volume hits and ghost notes this drum has more tone with a quick snare response. 

Overall this drum has great clarity and an impressive dynamic range.

It is worth noting that this snare also has a wide tuning range so you will be able to find a pitch that is best for your style of playing.

Have a listen to Matt playing his signature snare drum here.

Where can I buy one?

This snare drum is now available in the majority of online music stores or from your local drum shop. If you are looking to order online here are our top picks.

Our thoughts

There is no doubt that this is a great snare drum. I think it looks fantastic and it has everything I look for in a snare drum. Power but yet dynamic where needed.

The bold finish won’t be to everyone’s taste though and that is understandable. 

The only thing I think that is disappointing with this snare drum is the price. Matt expressed that this drum was designed to be affordable but this thing isn’t cheap. Brass snares are never cheap but there are many other great brass snares out there cheaper than this. To be clear, this isn’t the most expensive brass snare either. You are still going to be paying more for a Tama Starphonic or Ludwig Black Beauty for example. 

Overall, I still think this is a great snare that has sonically accomplished what it set out to. Matt should be proud of this great snare drum himself, Pearl and Evans have managed to create.

Tama S.L.P. Snare Drums | Brand new additions for 2021

Tama SLP snare drums new for 2021

The Tama S.L.P. snare drums have become a staple for many modern drummers. The Tama S.L.P. range has a diverse selection of different types of snare drums that sound great and won’t break your bank.

Let’s take at the new additions for 2021. 

What are Tama S.L.P. snare drums?

The Tama Sound Lab Project (S.L.P.) snares have been designed to give drummers a wide range of snare drums with professional-grade features at an affordable price. Much like the Tama Starclassic Performer drum kits.

These snares aren’t your average snares though. They feature exotic materials not always found on snare drums and come in a range of different sizes. 

These snares stand out and there is bound to be something that will pique your interest. 

New snare drums for 2021

Every year Tama is mixing up the options available in the great line of S.L.P. snare drums. 2021 is no different. Let’s take a look at the new additions for this year. 

Tama S.L.P. Dynamic Bronze 14″x4.5″

Let’s start with this eye-catcher. The aged patina finish makes this snare stand out from in bronze counterparts. Due to this finish, each snare is unique. 

Tama S.L.P. Dynamic Bronze

The combination of a shallow drum (4.5″) and a thick shell (1.2 mm) gives you a snare that has a strong attack with a firm crack yet a lot of sensitivity. This makes the snare very dynamic and great for a range of musical applications. 

Features:

  • Size – 14″ x 4.5″
  • Shell – 1.2mm bronze with an aged patina finish
  • Hoops – Die-Cast Hoop (8 holes)
  • Snare wires – 20 strands Starclassic Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires

Have a listen to what Tama has to say.

Tama S.L.P. Maple Snare, Satin Figured Maple 14″ x 4.5″ 

This is a beautiful maple snare that features a satin figured maple finish, allowing the natural grain of the wood to shine through. 

Tama S.L.P. Maple Snare, Satin Figured Maple

This features everything that drummers love about maple snares combined with Super Sensitive Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires. This gives you a full-bodied sound with a crisp and fast response.

Features:

  • Size – 14″ x 4.5″
  • Shell – 7mm / 7ply Maple + 1 outer ply Figured Maple
  • Hoops – Die-Cast Hoop (8 holes)
  • Snare wires – 20 strands Super Sensitive Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires

The last thing to mention is that these are being produced in limited numbers. When they are gone they are gone!

Tama S.L.P. G-Maple Snare Drum w/ White oak outer ply 14″ x 7″

With the S.L.P. G-Maple snare you are getting a thick and deep drum with a classic snare look. This drum features an outer ply of white oak that looks stunning.

Tama S.L.P. G-Maple Snare Drum w/ White oak outer ply

This drum features plenty of attack with plenty of power when hitting rimshots. 

Features:

  • Size – 14″ x 7″
  • Shell – 10mm, 11ply Maple + 1 outer ply White Oak
  • Hoops – 3.0mm Ultimate Steel Mighty Hoop (10 holes)
  • Snare wires – 20 strands Starclassic Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires

This snare is also being produced in limited quantities. When they are gone they are gone.

Final thoughts

I am a huge fan of these Tama snare drums. Especially the S.L.P. Dynamic Bronze, this is a real standout. 

If you are looking for a new snare the S.L.P. range from Tama is a great option. Amazing snare without the massive price tag. What else could you want?

Floor snare drums | The floor tom and snare crossover you didn’t know you needed

floor snare drums snom

One of the latest trends in drumming is floor snare drums. Often called a “Snom drum” or a “Baritone Snare drum”. It is both a floor tom or a snare at the flick of a switch. More professional drummers are adding these to their kits and more manufacturers are making them.

Let’s take a look at why you would want one and what options are currently available on the market. 

What are floor snare drums?

A floor snare is in essence a floor tom with snare wires on the bottom head. You can switch between the floor tom sound and the snare side by flicking on the snare wires on and off. Just as you would with any other snare drum.

What do floor snares drums sound like?

Snare wires off

Without the snare wires on these sound just like a floor tom. That deep sound that we all know and love.

Snare wires on

It is when the snare wires are on that they become a bit more interesting. You get a very deep and fat snare sound. You will not get the same sensitivity you would expect from a snare though. Due to the depth of the drum, the snare wires aren’t as responsive so they aren’t great for ghost notes.

The final thing to note is that depending on how the drum is tuned a rim shot won’t give you the big crack you would expect from a snare.

How do I integrate a floor snare into my drum kit?

Snoms are primarily designed to be used as an auxiliary snare. This leaves you with the question of where you should place this on your kit. There are two main placements to try for your setup. 

On the left of your hi-hat (or right if left-handed)

This is the most common place you would find an extra snare if a kit has two. It makes it easy for you to play your kit as you normally would but with access to that fat snare sound on the side. 

If you are primarily wanting to use this as an extra sound on your kit, this is the way to go. 

Snom drum of the left

In the position of your first-floor tom

If you are wanting to make the most of the floor tom functionality this is probably your best bet. You can use it as a floor tom in your playing and fills and then switch on the snare sound as and when you need it for particular parts.

The main thing to consider is that this will make playing your hi-hat with the deep snare sound ticky as it is a fair distance to cross over your hands. If you are comfy with your open-handed playing you have nothing to worry about.

floor snare drum on the right

How do I tune a floor snare drum?

The main thing to consider when picking up a floor snare drum is that it can be a tricky drum to tune. If you are wanting to only use them as just a snare without the floor tom you can tune them similar to a normal snare. If you are wanting to use them as a floor tom and a snare you have a delicate balance to achieve a tuning that works for both.

Resonant head

You are going to want to tune this like you would for a floor tom of this size. If you have it too tight and you are hearing a pitch it isn’t going to give you a nice floor tom sound.

Batter head

You will need to tighten the head finger tight first. You will then want to press in the centre of the head and tighten again until the wrinkles just vanish. You will then need to pitch match the individual lugs.

Snare wires

Due to the depth of the drum, you will need to keep your snares wires fairly loose. A lot of air will be moving around inside the drum so having the snares wires too tight will give you some odd sounds you won’t want from the drum.

To consider

Each floor snare drum is going to have its unique quirks so please consider this a starting point and not a definitive guide. This is a really fun style of a drum to be creative with so take your time and enjoy the process. For more ideas check out this great video by Sounds Like A Drum.

What floor snare drums are available? 

At the moment there are only a few dedicated floor snare drums on the market. These are still a new trend that is growing in the drumming community so I am expecting more to become available in the coming years. 

Here are the top picks of the snoms currently available on the market.

Pearl Modern Utility Maple 14″x10″ Floor Snare Drum

This entry from Pearl is part of their Modern Utility line. These are reasonably priced snare drums aimed at providing an option for everything the modern gigging drummer needs. 

That is good for you as this is reasonably priced if you are looking at testing the waters for adding one of these to your kit. 

This drum is currently only available in one finish, Satin Brown.

Tama S.L.P. 14″x10″ Duo Snare

This is very similar to the Pearl offering expect it is made from birch rather than maple. The size, features and price range are very similar.

This drum is only available in one finish which is the natural birch.

Tama S.L.P. 16″x10″ Duo Snare (new for 2021)

Tama has taken the concept and gone one further. The 16″ version of the drum looks and sounds mad in the best way possible. Due to its size, it seems to achieve the deep snare sound without as much compromise on the floor tom sound. Have a listen here. 

Custom drums

Apart from these two manufacturers, no other companies are making these yet. The other option currently would be to go to a custom drum makes and ask them to make you one. 

Can I do this with an existing snare?

Yes, you can. This is where the trend originally started by doing this with a normal snare drum. It is worth noting that the dedicated floor snares drums featured in this article are deeper to make achieving the sound easier than with a not so deep snare drum.

If you are wanting to convert an existing snare drum into a snom, here is a great guide Larnell Lewis created for Drumeo.

Main points:

  • Batter side – Evans hydraulic head. Very low tuning, just above finger tight.
  • Resonant side – Evan hazy 300 (3 mm) head. Not too loose, not too tight

Our thoughts

The floor snare drum is a really interesting concept and it is interesting to see how the pros are adding these into their setups. It is still early days for these so it will be interesting to see if the trend catches on and what other manufactures bring to the market. 

The only downside with the market at the moment is that the drums are only available in one finish. If you are wanting a drum that matches your setup you are going to be out of luck (for now). It would be nice to see this available as an add-on when buying a kit. Hopefully, this is something manufacturers will look at in the future.

Also, the snoms currently available on the market are mid-range drums. It would be great to see someone push the boundaries and create a premium product that truly nails the sound whilst creating a drum that is easier to tune. That is a lot to ask but I am sure one of the many great drum companies out there will be able to achieve this.

Overall, I love the concept. As a player that uses a floor tom on the left side of my hi-hat, I would consider replacing that with a floor snare drum to get the best of both worlds.

DW PurpleCore™ Drums | New shell technology for 2021

DW Purplecore drum shells

DW has just introduced its new PurpleCore™ drum shell technology. DW Drums are some of the best you can buy. The quality is outstanding and consistently pushing the boundaries of what is possible. With all that being said, DW has managed to push the boundaries once again with its new PurpleCore™ shells. 

Let’s see what is new about these shells and why you need to check them out.

What are DW PurpleCore™ shells?

DW has been trying to create a shell that features just short grains for some time. Most drum shells do feature short-grain plies but they are primarily made of long-grain plies.  

Why short-grain plies?

Short-grains create a deep sound when compared to long-grains. The issue is that they have very little tension making it almost impossible to make a shell out of them. You need high tension to make drums shell hard and hold their shape.

Short-grain plyLong-grain ply
Deep soundHigh sound
low tensionHigh tension

This is why most drum manufacturers choose a combination of plys to get the sound and strength needed for a drum that lasts.

So how has DW overcome this issue?

DW has created a hybrid shell that is 9 plies with only one of them being long-grain. This is the PurpleCore™ drum shell technology.

The three inner cores are all purpleheart wood. Purpleheart wood is more dense than oak and provides ample attack and punch. Therefore this wood is ideal to act as the centre support for keeping these drums stong. 

Of these three plies, one is long-grain and two are short-grain. 

The remaining six short-grain plies that site three on either side of the purpleheart come in either maple, cherry or mahogany. 

DW PurpleCore drum shells explained

The shells also feature an addition 3-ply reinforcement hoop inside the shell for additional support.

What does DW PurpleCore™ Shells sound like?

They sound deeper than traditional shells whilst still maintaining the attack and presence you would want from your drum kit. This makes these shells ideal for a drummer who cherishes the sound of bigger toms without the need to have a bigger size kit. So rather than playing a 14″, 16″, 18″ tom setup, you could have a 10″, 12″ and 14″. 

You can now bring that big sound to gigs in smaller venues just by having DW PurpleCore™ shells.

Have a listen to Thomas Lang playing a DW Maple PurpleCore™ Drum Kit.

Where can I buy a DW PurpleCore™ Drum Kit?

The DW PurpleCore™ are part of the DW Collectors Series range. These drums are made to order so they can be configured to your exact specification. This does make ordering a little trickier as you will need to find your local DW dealer and order through them. You can find USA distributors on the DW website

Our thoughts

Just like everything DW makes, the PurpleCore™ kits sound unbelievable. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is first class and you won’t go far wrong buying one of these kits. We aren’t sure about the pricing of these kits but I can imagine it will be expensive. For anything new and innovative you always pay a premium price but I’m sure it will be worth the investment.

We can’t wait to see what incredible creations DW Drums comes up with next.

Pearl Export Drum Kit | The Ultimate Guide (New for 2021)

pearl export drum kit

The Pearl Export drum kit has become globally known as one of (if not) the best intermediate-level drum kits available. There is a valid reason for this. They are great kits for the pricepoint. 

A drummers gear generally goes like this. 

  1. Buys a cheap drum kit
  2. Realises they love the drums
  3. Progress to a Pearl Export drum kit
  4. Eventually progresses to a more expensive drum kit of their choice

Pearl Drums has expanded the Pearl Export line fresh for 2021. Let’s see what has changed and if these new kits live up to the legacy. 

The Legacy

Pearl Export, the best selling drum kit of all time passing the 1 million mark back in 1995. First released in 1982, the Pearl Export has been on quite a journey. As you can imagine with a drum kit line of this heritage the Export has had a few names. 

Drum roll, please… Pearl Export EX, ELX, ESX, EPX, EXR, EXX and EXL with multiple versions of each over the years.  

Pearl Export kits have always sat in the sweet spot between the very cheapest drum kits that don’t sound great and the entry professional level kits that are expensive. This makes the Pearl Export kit ideal for players who love the drums and want a good sounding kit but don’t need a professional kit. For example, drummers who mostly play at home and maybe some smaller shows.

The legacy of the Pearl Export Drum Kit is so strong due to a couple of factors. Mainly, because of how long the kit has been around, many of today’s professional drummers have had a Pearl Export at some point in there drumming career. We know how influential professional drummers are to up and coming drummers. If your favourite pro had one why wouldn’t you want one?

Secondly, Those drummers who had their first kit as children are now adults buying their kids Pearl Export kits.

What are the Pearl Export drum kit shells made with?

The Pearl Export shells are made with a blend of white poplar and dark Asian mahogany. This is a blend of wood so you can’t be too sure of the exact ratios used.

The main thing to note is that Pearl has developed SST (superior shell technology) to ensure that there are no gaps or small pockets of air in the wood. SST is a high-temperature hydraulic curing system that was developed to craft a multi-ply, bonded drum shell with single-ply resonance and strength.

So in short, you are getting a blended wood shell with the characteristics of single-ply. Using a blend of woods means two cheaper kinds of wood can be combined to mimic that sound of more expensive wood. 

Have a listen to the Pearl Export drum kit here with a demo from Casey Cooper.

What hardware comes on the kits?

The most notable hardware feature on the Peal Export drums is the opti-loc tom suspension system. Th opt-loc mount suspends the by two tuning points and one air vent. Drums resonate at there best with minimal contact with the shell so having only three points of contact is a welcome addition to the kit. 

Beyond the opti-loc suspension system, the rest of the hardware of the Pearl Export is standard for a mid-tier drum kit. There is nothing wrong with that and it is expected to keep the price down.

What is the difference between the Pearl Export EXX and Pearl Export EXL?

In short, the Pearl Export EXX and EXL are the same but the EXL has a lacquer finish rather than a wrap like you will find on the EXX. Due to the lacquer finish on the EXL, it is slightly more expensive than the EXX.

So if you prefer one of the wrap finishes on the EXX you may as well save your self some money. There is nothing else you are missing out on. 

What finished can the Pearl Export be purchased in?

Due to the two different sub-brands in the Export range, you have a total of nine different finishes to choose from! There is bound to be something to fit your tastes.

Pearl Export EXX finishes:

  • Smokey Chrome
  • Jet Black
  • High Voltage Blue
  • Satin White
  • Black Cherry Glitter

Pearl Export EXL finishes:

  • Azure Daybreak
  • Raspberry Sunset
  • Ember Dawn
  • Indigo Nights

These EXL finishes are brand new for 2021 and we think they look incredible. I think my pick would have to be the Azure Daybreak. That blue fade looks amazing.

What configurations of the Pearl Export are available?

The Pearl Export has three different configurations available for purchase. All of the kits are five-piece kits with a hardware and a Sabian cymbal pack. You get everything you need to start playing straight out of the box. You just need to choose from one of the tom configurations below. 

Option 1 (the funk set)

Model numbers:

  • EXX – EXX705NBR/C
  • EXL – EXL705NBR/C

Included in the kit:

  • 20″x16″ Bass Drum
  • 10″x7″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x8″ Tom Tom
  • 14″x14″ Floor Tom
  • 14″x5.5″ Snare Drum
  • Includes HWP830 Hardware Pack
  • Includes SABIAN SBR Cymbal Pack

Option 2 (the pop set)

Model numbers:

  • EXX – EXX725SBR/C
  • EXL – EXL725SBR/C

Included in the kit:

  • 22″x18″ Bass Drum
  • 10″x7″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x8″ Tom Tom
  • 16″x16″ Floor Tom
  • 14″x5.5″ Snare Drum
  • Includes HWP830 Hardware Pack
  • Includes SABIAN SBR Cymbal Pack

Option 3 (the rock set)

Model numbers:

  • EXX – EXX725BR/C
  • EXL – EXL725BR/C

Included in the kit:

  • 22″x18″ Bass Drum
  • 12″x8″ Tom Tom
  • 13″x9″ Tom Tom
  • 16″x16″ Floor Tom
  • 14″x5.5″ Snare Drum
  • Includes HWP830 Hardware Pack
  • Includes SABIAN SBR Cymbal Pack

Is the Pearl Export Drum Kit good value for money?

Without a doubt, the Peal Export kits are good value for money. When you consider that you aren’t just getting a shell pack, you are getting everything you need to start playing right out of the box. 

The only time this may not be a good a deal for you is if you are mainly wanting the sells. If you already have a set of cymbals, a snare you like and a bass drum pedal, it may be cheaper to consider buying the individual shells rather than being left without a load of redundant parts.

Where can I buy a Pearl Export drum kit?

As you can imagine with the best selling drum kit in the world, you can pick it up almost anywhere. Most online music stores sell it or you can visit your local drum shop! If you are looking to order online, here are some of our top choices.

Frequently asked questions

Do Pearl Export drum kits come with cymbals?

Yes, they do! They come with a Sabian SRB Cymbal Pack. These are brass cymbals that include a 20″ Ride, 16″ Crash,14″ Hi-Hat. If you already have some cymbals you may not want these as the quality isn’t amazing. If you are just starting to learn drums, these will be fine until you want to upgrade. 

Do Pearl Export drum kits come with hardware?

Yes, they do! They come with an HWP830 Hardware Pack. This includes a 1x BC-830 cymbal boom stand, 1x C-830 straight cymbal stand, S-830 snare drum stand, H-830 Hi-Hat stand and P-930 Demonator Bass Drum Pedal.

What heads come on the Pearl Export drum kits?

Out of the box, you will have Remo UK Clear on the toms, Remo UK Powerstroke 3 on the bass drum as well as Remo UK Coated and Remo UK Snare on the snare drum. 

What are our thoughts?

The Pearl Export kits are iconic and they still live up to the reputation in 2021. Sure, the competition has grown since its initial launch back in the ’80s but it still holds up to this day. 

If you are looking to start playing the drums and can afford to get a Pearl Export vs the cheaper entry kits it is a great investment. The sound and quality will make your drumming journey a little bit sweeter and you won’t need to upgrade your kit as soon for a better sounding replacement.

If you are looking for an alternative, we recommend having a look at the Tama Imperialstar drum kit.

Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kits | New model for 2021

Tama starclassic performer drum kit

The Tama Starclassic Performer drum kit has become a favourite amongst drummers in the past ten or so years. It is easy to see why. You are getting a pro-grade acoustic drum kit for a fraction of the cost when compared to the premium kits. 

Let’s find out how Tama have improved the Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit for 2021.

What wood is in the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer?

The 2021 model of the Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit is a hybrid shell consisting of maple and birch. To be specific:

  • Tom toms/ Floor toms/ Snare Drums: 6mm, 4ply Birch + 2 inner ply Maple
  • Bass Drum: 7mm, 5ply Birch + 2 inner ply Maple

This combination gives you the warmth of birch with the clarity of maple.

Previous Tama Starclassic kits have used combinations of wood such as bubinga/ birch and walnut/ birch. 

What hardware comes on the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer?

The hardware the comes on a drum kit can make an undeniable difference to the end sound. Lets have a look at what comes on the Tama Starclassic Performer.

The hoops

The Starclassic performer comes with Tama’s professional line die-cast hoops. These are made from zinc and are formed by injecting the molten metal into moulds. 

Die-cast hoops come with a great range of benefits:

  • Easier tuning
  • More consistent tuning
  • Crisper attack
  • Clear resonant sound
  • Powerful rim shots 

The mounting system

The Star-Cast Mounting System is what you will find on the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit. This is the go-to choice for all of Tama’s professional kit lines. They offer maximum resonance and stability whilst allowing you more options to place your toms where you want them.

What finishes are available on the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer?

The 2021 model has four different lacquer finishes available to choose from. All of them are beautiful but there is one standout. Caramel Aurora. It won’t be for everyone but wow, what a finish.

Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit finishes
Credit – Tama Drums

Here are all the finish options available:

  • Molten Steel Blue Burst
  • Caramel Aurora
  • Dark Cherry Fade
  • Piano Black

Which one would you pick? Let us know in the comments!

What does the 2021 Tama Starclassic Drum Kit sound like?

So how do Tama describe the kit? Here a quote from them.

offer drummers a complex, powerful and expressive sound

Tama drums

To be honest that is a pretty spot-on description. The Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kits offer you the modern drum sound we all love. A full-bodied tone with punch and dynamics where you need them. 

Here is a great demo of what the drums sound like.

Just incredible.

What configurations does Tama Starclassic Drum Kits come in?

The Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kits come in two standard configurations. A four-piece or a five-piece. Neither of which come with a snare so bear that in mind when purchasing. 

Four Piece Kit (MBS42S w/ Chrome Hardware)

The sizes of this kit are very much that of a traditional drum kit. This kit consists of:

  • 10″x8″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x9″ Tom Tom
  • 16″x”14″ Floor Tom
  • 22″x16″ Bass Drum
  • Double Tom Holder (Bass Drum Mount)

Five Piece Kit (MBS52RZS w/ Chrome Hardware)

This kit comes with shorter size tom-toms for an even punchier stand. This kit consists of:

  • 10″x7″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x8″ Tom Tom
  • 14″x12″ Floor Tom
  • 16″x14″ Floor Tom
  • 22″x16″ Bass Drum
  • 2 x Single Tom Mounts

Individual Drums

If the preconfigured kits don’t meet your tastes you can also order individual tom-toms, floors toms, bass drums and snare drums. These can be used to enhance one of the preconfigured kits or to create something truly unique. 

Bass Drums

ModelDiameterDepth
MBSB18RM/Z18″14″
MBSB20RM/Z20″14″
MBSB22DM/Z22″16″
MBSB22EM/Z22″18″
MBSB24DM/Z24″16″

Floor Toms

ModelDiameterDepth
MBSF14A14″12″
MBSF14D14″14″
MBSF16A16″14″
MBSF18D18″16″

Tom Toms

ModelDiameterDepth
MBST8H8″6″
MBST8A8″7″
MBST10R10″7″
MBST10A10″8″
MBST12R12″8″
MBST12A12″9″
MBST13R13″9″
MBST13A13″10″
MBST14R14″10″
MBST14A14″11″

Snare Drums

ModelDiameterDepth
MBSS5514″5.5″
MBSS6514″6.5″

Why is the Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit so cheap?

There is no doubt that with the Tama Straclassic Performer you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. There are still some differences between the Tama Starclassic Performer and the more expensive Tama STAR kits.

The main differences are:

  • The wood of the STAR lines is just one material and don’t use any form of hybrid.
  •  The shells on the STAR range feature a unique and more complex bearing edge shape.
  • The hardware on the STAR range features the latest Tama patent technology.

All of these differences lead to a drum the costs more to make due to the time-consuming shells and more expensive hardware. 

All this doesn’t mean you aren’t getting a professional level kit with the Tama Starclassic Performer. Far from it. Tama is always pushing the boundaries with there kits and much like with technology, you pay a premium for the latest innovations.

Where can I buy a Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit?

You can get purchase the Tama Starclassic Performer from you local drum store that suppliers Tama. Or if you are looking to order online, here are our recommended websites.

OR have a look on Gear4music

Frequently asked questions

What heads come on the Tama Starclassic Performer?

The Starclassic Performer comes with Evans Heads on the kit.
EVANS® G1 coated batter and TAMA clear single-ply Power Craft II resonant heads on the toms.
EVANS® clear EQ4 batter heads, Tama resonant head with muffle ring on the bass drum.
EVANS® G1 coated batter heads and EVANS® 300 snare-side head on the snare drum.

What are our thoughts? 

If you are looking for a professional sounding acoustic drum kit at a good price the Tama Starclassic Performer is a great choice. You are getting an amazing sounding kit with the premium price you get on the very top range kits. 

It is easy to see why it has become a favourite among so many professional drummers, such as the incredible Anup Sastry.

The Tama Starclassic Performer drum kit is renowned for delivering exceptional kits with undeniable value. The 2021 version certainly continues the reputation. 

If you are looking for an alternative kit at this price point, check out the DW Design Series or the Pearl Session Studio Select.