The Forum Series was one of Pearl’s most popular and affordable complete drum set lines, breaking sales record after record. However, the Forum was discontinued in 2013 when Pearl announced the new Export EXX series at Winter NAMM.
I’ve chosen to keep this page up as a resource for collectors and include links to relevant related content (and some new kits you should consider instead).
For drummers looking at getting a drum set similar to the Forum, consider the Pearl EXX series, which I’ve linked below this paragraph.
The Pearl Forum series originally came with 6-ply shells made from poplar with wrap finishes. Included with the complete drum kit were Pearl’s CXP cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, an instructional DVD, and Pearl’s 890 series hardware.
The Forum line also received an upgrade in 2008 to include their famous ISS tom mounts. In addition, Pearl used a heat-compression shell molding system, according to their original brochure from 2002.
Pearl’s Forum series was arguably the best starter drum set in the mid-to-late 2000s. In 2008, the Pearl Forum Standard 5-Piece drum set sold for $689 at Guitar Center (with an MSRP value of $1,149).
It included everything you’d typically need to purchase separately. I tried to find when Forum drums originally were released by Pearl but had no luck. Based on an early brochure, my guess is in the mid-1990s (let me know in the comments below if you know).
The kit included the S-70W snare stand, B-70W boom stand, and H-72W hi-hat stand. All featured sturdy, double-braced legs. The package also included a P-120 kick pedal with an Eliminator-style footboard.
Original Shell Configurations
|FX Kits||FX 725HC||FX 725C||FX 705C|
|Hardware||see below||see below||see below|
All FX kits include 1 each, H-70W hi-hat stand, S-70W snare stand, B-70W cymbal boom stand, P-100 bass drum pedal, D-70W drum throne, and 2 TH-70 tom holders, 1 18″ crash/ride cymbal, a pair of 14″ hi-hat cymbals, a pair of Vic Firth 5A drumsticks, and an instruction/set-up video featuring Eric Singer.
The Pearl Forum is Now the EXX Series
Drummers are still talking about the Pearl Forum series to this day. However, it’s important to know that this line of kits is now known as the Pearl Export or EXX Series.
Are They The Exact Same?
Somewhat. The Forum and EXX Series share the same type of shell: poplar. They also feature the same style of drum wrap. They look strikingly similar.
If you can find a newer set of Pearl Forum drums used (from 2013 on), they will have the ISS mounts on the toms. These mounts allow the drums to sing and have better tone, but tuning and changing heads can be more challenging. Older Forum drums use tom mounts (TH-88) that are physically inserted into a hole cut into the tom drums.
If you’re looking for an affordable drum kit in the same vein as the Forum, look to the Export EXX series.
Pearl focuses on affordable drum sets, which is one of the reasons they are very famous. They also have many professional drum kit lines, including Crystal Beat, Session Studio Select, Masters Maple, Reference, and Masterworks.
Pearl Forum Series Drum Set Review
I have always been fascinated by Pearl because of the quality of drums they make for the lower-end market (the Pearl Roadshow comes to mind). In addition, some of their products aim to change how people perceive the budget level.
Another factor that puts Pearl at the top is its use of innovation and various technologies. The Forum series bears some of these features, and they have always been an inspirational reference point. For example, the shells on the Forum series were made from 6-ply (7mm) or poplar utilizing Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology.
Poplar may not be the best material for making drums, but Pearl has used a superior approach to improve it. The Forum line can still be used by drummers professionally with proper tuning and head selection. (It wouldn’t be my first pick, but I’ll take them over some of the venue house kits I’ve had to play on).
If you are looking for something affordable yet useful, this is the series you should consider if you can find one used. The newer Forum F.Z. series comes with Pearl’s Integrated Suspension System (I.S.S.) tom mounting mechanism. This system is a new way of ensuring easy setup for your toms and managing them at any moment.
In 1998, the Pearl Forum came in five color choices: Jet Black, Pure White, Red While, Albine Green, and Deep Blue. By 2002, Pearl included some of the same colors but added Silver Flash and Charcoal Metallic.
Finally, the Forum FZ line in 2008 had Smokey Chrome, Jet Black w/ black hardware, Pure White, Zenith Gold, and Red Wine w/ black hardware.
Pearl seems to understand what the market needs at any given time, and they always strive to provide their best. And this is why this line of drums is nothing but reliable.
This set’s full 22″ bass drum offers deep sounds that will satisfy you and anyone who hears you perform. I have seen only a few drums in this price range of this quality, making it easily the standard.
Other components included are:
- S-790 snare stand
- B-790 boom cymbal stand
- C-790 straight cymbal stand
- H-790 hi-hat stand
- D-790 throne
You can rely on this line of high-quality hardware for excellent performance. In addition, the drum throne is quite sturdy compared to others in this price range.
Besides, you can get the set with the CXP-3 cymbal pack. So here you have a 14-inch pair of hi-hats, a 20-inch ride, and a 16-inch crash.
As you can see, this is a complete configuration with everything you will need to start playing drums. This is an excellent solution for a beginner because it’s very affordable.
As if more is needed, the forum comes in two configurations. FZH 725 features a 22-inch bass drum with a larger tom pack. It is for those who want a fuller sound.
The second configuration is the F.Z.H. 705D, which comes with a 20″x18″ drum with standard toms. Hence, you can pick a setup that satisfies your needs.
In terms of sound, you get a full tone from the kit. The snare is bright, with an excellent click sound that flows nicely through the setup.
Pearl Forum Series Drum Set Price
The Pearl Forum Series drums can be found for between $200 and $500 used. Of course, it depends on the configuration you choose. Getting a good quality drum set at this price range is complex, making it an ideal drum set for beginners.
If you are a more experienced drummer, consider upgrading the snare, cymbals, and hardware. Unfortunately, they are not the best on the market, which makes them less functional for professional needs.
Pearl Forum Series 5 Piece Drum Set
If you are ready to rock, the Pearl Forum standard drum set with superior shell technology should offer a great solution. It’s made for the entry-level market, but optimal resonance and superior tone are for every drummer.
It features a 14″x5.5″ snare that assures top-notch sonic performance. In addition, its 100% poplar shell construction delivers great quality.
The kit offers low-mass lugs, creating a touch of tonal perfection. It is also a very portable gear that will fit in any space.
Generally, the Pearl Forum F.Z. kit is an excellent value for the money. And the fact that it sounds good makes it even more admirable. Any drummer will be happy to have one of these in their collection. The problem, of course, is it’s no longer made by Pearl. So let’s talk about some alternatives to the Forum series.
Pearl Export Fusion Natural Cherry
The new Fusion kit from the Pearl Export series delivers an excellent solution for the modern drummer. This Natural Cherry Finish drum set with hardware gives a perfect entry into sonic quality.
It features a 22″x18″ bass, 10″ x7″, 12″x8″, 16″x16″ toms, and a 14″x5.5″ snare. As a result, it is a perfect setup for modern drumming.
The best part is the P930 Demonator bass drum pedal, considered one of the best in the drum hardware world. Then there is the 830 hardware pack, which completes the series with a beautiful new look and touch.
Marching snare, Remo snare batter side heads, and excellent tonal ranges create an ideal drum set that performs in various music genres.
It is the best-selling drum set of all time. Returning with this lacquer finish is an ingenious idea that serves a great purpose. It includes the S.S.T. superior technology from Pearl with Opt-Loc mounts.
Overall, there is nothing much to complain about this kit – price considered. However, you may want to upgrade the hardware and the snare heads for better performance.
Pearl Export Jet Black Finish
Here is another finish from the bestselling drum set series of all time. Now the Export series comes with Pearl’s S.S.T. Superior Shell Technology, Opti-Loc tom mounts, and a new 830 series of hardware.
The included Pearl Demonator pedal puts the kit above other entry-level drum sets. Also, it features a choice of five incredible finishes.
The Jet-Black finish looks better physically than it does in pictures. This is because every component has been specifically selected to offer top-choice performance.
You get a 22″x18″ bass drum, a 12″x8″, 13″x9″, and 16″x16″ toms, and in a 14″x5.5″ snare for the standard configuration.
Matching snare with Remo heads on the batter side and a lifetime warranty completes the feature of this beautiful kit.
However, it still does not offer that professional touch, so an upgrade is necessary.
Pearl Roadshow Charcoal Metallic
Pearl’s Roadshow series of drums has always been the number-one choice for many drummers. And the main reason for this is it’s high-quality.
Here is another one on this line that will satisfy you. The Charcoal Metallic finish Rs525cc/C706 drum set comes with 9-ply 7mm poplar shells that assure optimal tonal power. In addition, 1.2mm triple-flanged hoops ensure nothing stands in your way.
It comes with heads and double-braced hardware. Cymbal stands, hi-hat stand, snare stand, bass drum pedal, throne, and two tom holders offer everything you need to set your gear in place.
The drums are a 22″x16″ bass drum, 10″x8″, 12″x9″, 16″x16″ toms, and a 14″x5.5″ snare. It includes a 16″ brass crash and a 14″ hybrid hi-hat.
There may be better-sounding sets for professional use, though. But you can upgrade.
Pearl Export Series Smokey Chrome
At $720, you get a complete drum set with a cymbal and hardware. This Pearl Export 5-pc drum set, Smokey Chrome finish, is an ideal solution for beginners and advancing drummers.
It features 6ply/7mm poplar/Asian mahogany shells that are durable and excellent sounding. The Opti-Loc tom suspension system makes it easy to get your toms in the right place and start playing.
Everything has been included: 830 series snare, cymbal boom, hi-hat stands, and P930 bass drum pedal, so you can start playing right from the box. Cymbals are not included, but you can get them. Also, it comes with a lifetime warranty, which guarantees quality.
As an entry-level kit, it may have some cons, like poor-sounding shells. A professional drummer will have to upgrade these features.
The Pearl Forum and Export series is among the best-selling drum lines from the mid-90s to early 2010s. And it’s all because they cater to quality in the entry-level lines. Although we may not be able to pick up a new Pearl Forum in the 2020s, we know Pearl has since innovated beyond their original best-selling drum set.