Pearl has never been a disappointment when it comes to offering a wide range of options. They have more than 13 series of acoustic drums on the website. Each of these pieces is designed for specific users.
The Pearl Decade Maple (henceforth referred to as DMD) is one of their best mid-range drum kits. Just above it is the Export Lacquer, whereas the Vision series sits below.
I decided to review this series because I have been using one and found it very helpful. In this review, I will be looking at a standard 5-piece configuration. Continue reading.
About the Pearl Decade Maple Drums
Pearl went to the drawing board about a decade ago and designed a drum series that changed the current balance between performance and value. Many users only knew the low-end poor sounding options and the unaffordable higher-end options.
The result of their ingenious thought was a brand-spanking-new line of pocket-friendly, well-designed drums called Pearl Decade Maple series. It is incredible how the company went on to deliver high-end sound, durability, and looks while ensuring it was within reach of most users.
If you are looking for a real-value-pay, this is the solution you may need.
Does this still sound unbelievable? Well, I used a DMD for several months not, and there are several things I have discovered that will make you believe. While the price may seem a bit underwhelming – at least for some – the sound quality will make you feel like you have the best product your money can buy.
The piece I am reviewing here is a standard 5-piece configuration. They bear similar sizes to any standard drum set by the company.
Other configurations are available. These include shell packs and extra tom. There are also others with 20-inch by 24-inch diameter bass drums. Also, it features Pearl by Remo single-ply heads that were installed in all heads.
Not one can ever go wrong with black drums. Just like what you get on a timeless grand piano in a concert hall, the same classy look greets you.
My DMD came with the Black Ice finish. The crisp, deep black lacquer applied by the shells expertly hit me as the best way to set my kit in motion. I have only seen such in a five-star hotel ballroom; hence, it dropped a really nice first impression.
You can get any other finish you want. For instance, there is a selection of beautiful gloss and matte lacquer bursts that deliver a wonderful feeling.
The sleek, evening wear finish I received came from Pearl’s low-mass NDL lugs. They are small enough to give enough playing room and allow a gaping maw of beauty to rest on your eyes.
The drums hoops are full, lacquered, which complements and completes these sound machines’ desirable looks. Also, noticeable, they were balanced using a coated white resonant-side kick head. Its preinstalled port completed the look.
In short, this is a really nice-looking drum.
Another thing noticeable and impressive about the Pearl Decade Maple is its construction. When it comes to delivering quality, there is nothing Pearl will not do. The company has invested carefully in each component making sure the final result is desirable to the consumer
It comes with an all-maple, 6-ply, 5.4mm shell that has been smoothened inside. They are perfectly done between each plug pair.
The drums feature staggered seams that keep the shell strong and in shape. Every shell edge has a fine cut 45-degree interior grade with some rounding over the bevel.
Anyone can easily take this kit for some of the higher-end solutions. Even without looking at the price, the well-crafted shells represent a wonderful product.
I liked that the diminutive NDL lugs were light, yet felt sturdy when held. Besides, the slim plastic gasket is there to hold each firmly while ensuring they don’t rattle.
It also features slim, telescopic drum spurs, which look a bit small on the kick, but solid on performance. These are some of the features that make Pearl’s product stand out from all others.
The rack toms are designed with Pearl’s Opti-loc suspension-style mounting system. This came as a surprise because it is not something I was expecting on the drums, especially at this price range.
The mount is so nicely-done that it penetrates the shell at one contact point, and distributes downward pressure more evenly. This is achieved mainly because it braces against in two batter-side tension rods. With this feature intact, the shell is able to vibrate more freely, compared to a fully tapped bracket. At the same time, it limits bounce and wobble, giving out a more stable resonance.
As if that is not enough, the kit features floating Air Suspension feet on the floor tom legs. This gives the jumbo drum more room to breathe without cradling.
Also, the kit is supplied with a 7/8-inch Unilock tom arm that is sturdy and highly functional. They work well with the mating memory locks and the gearless single-bolt tilter, increasing positioning range. One side of each am – the upper- is a bit long, which could make it touch the other side of the shell. But I did not experience any such issues.
Positioning the mounted toms is particularly very easy. It gives you a comfortable play by backing each out a fraction of an inch.
When it comes to balancing, you may not have any other kit that is as good. You need to take a compromise if you are looking for a good quality sounding kit at a price. This is why you will meet some buyers wondering if Pearl’s R & D team’s choice is indeed what they want.
Well, this question can be answered by the sturdiness in the DMD shells. You can tell that the creator did away with a few minor hardware things to give you professional sounds. The best drum is defined by playability, and I think Pearl made the right call here.
I said it and I will repeat, that Pearl has never disappointed me in terms of great sounds in gear. And the Pearl Decade Maple is not about to begin.
Sonically, it was everything I was expecting and more. The thin maple shells and low-mass lugs ensure the drum resonates in a way you have never seen. They deliver broad, open tons that shift among low, medium, and high tuning ranges with any pressure.
This is one of those drums that give out a narrow, specialized performance approach. Instead, they are created with a standard kind of sound that can be easily molded for any type of setting.
The included matching snare measure 14-inch by 5.5-inch, which could be a wonderful value-add. In many cases, matching snares are only but placeholders’ throw-ins that come and go. But Pearl has thought a lot about this inclusion. The snare comes a crisp, lively component that gives full meaning to the kit.
It appears as a slim but solid throw-off and chrome-over-steel wires feel comfortable when tensioned. If you do it on the snug side, you get a fast, dry snap under each note.
The snare is the most important component of any drum setup, and the one hears it is made for that purpose. Even though it lost some power when tuned below medium, you can always swap it out for a better sound.
It is the bass drum that made me feel like I had the right gear. Pearl has included a specially designed muffling pillow that easily mounts a Velcro string under the drum. This feature, with a number of other tone control options, ensures you get the deepest lows. And when you tension it just under the medium on both heads, you get the best sound from any bass at this price range.
The rack toms are all clean and full. The subtle brightness they display is only meant to enhance your feeling. And you can make them perform better by the quick snap of clear, single-ply heads.
The flow toms deliver a rick, low and rumbling sound. But you will need more tuning time for them than you do for the other drums.
The Pearl Decade Maple Drums is a product that Pearl has taken years perfecting. As such, they are great instruments for any level of drummer. The price is unbeatable, and they include a lifetime warranty. If you get your hands on one, I would recommend you enjoy the sounds to the fullest.