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.


DimensionsModel Number

Tom toms

DimensionsModel Number

Floor toms

DimensionsModel Number

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

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. 

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.


  • 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.

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.