Drum Set Reviews
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The Pearl Vision is the latest mid-level drum set to come out the pearl factory. It has been brought in to replace the previous Export Series that was so popular. Some big shoes to fill.
The series has four different models, the higher end VMX (all maple), then the VBX (all birch), then the VSX and VX (birch/basswood) as slightly cheaper options.
Pearl's 900 series hardware is also included in the VSX, VBX, and VX packages too.
For review, we have the maple VMX set to try out. The VMX includes 10"x8" and 12"x9" toms, a 16"x16" floor tom, 22"x18" bass drum, and a 14"x5.5" maple snare drum. The Vision Series goes further into semi-pro territory than it's predessor the Export Series ever did, but is it going to be as successful? Let's find out...
The VMX set is made from 100% maple, with 6-ply toms at 7.5mm thick, and an 8-ply bass drum and floor tom at 10mm thick. The idea for the thicker bass drum and floor tom shells comes from Pearl's top-end Reference Series which does this to increase the volume of the lower pitched drums. The maple snare drum is 6-ply at 7.5mm giving it a more open sound.
Taking off the Pearl ProTone heads (which are rather good might I add) and looking inside the shells reveals some nicely finished 45-degree bearing edges and smooth dark maple. Also, the bolts and shell hardware inside have been finished in a jet black colour that really makes them look cool. While putting the set back together ready to play, you can feel how solid and sturdy it is, especially with the thicker bass drum and floor tom.
The shell hardware on some of the cheaper sets in the series is fairly standard, but the VMX has rubber gaskets between the lugs and the shell, and the floor tom legs and bass drum spurs are the same you'll find on Pearl's top-end Masters Series.
Also, the VMX has Pearl's I.S.S mounting system to get maximum resonance from the toms, and the Uni-lock tom holders work very well too. Altogether, it's well made and dependable.
The Pearl 900 series hardware that comes with the other sets in the series is unfortuantely not available as standard with the VMX, possibly becasue the quality maple shells are already pushing the price as high as they'd like it to go. Still, getting some decent hardware seperately isn't going to be big problem.
Does the Pearl Vision Series VMX turn heads? Well, there are few different finishes available across the series with more basic wrap finishes on the VX and VSX sets, but the VMX has some of the nicest with 5 high-gloss laquered options to choose from. These include Terracotta, Vintage Wine, Glacier White, Silver Sparkle, and Red Sparkle. The review set came in the Red Sparkle finish and looked like it belonged on a much more expensive set. Pearl's mid range offering is looking good.
As the replacement for the Pearl Export Series, this drum set has a lot to live up to when it comes to sound. The Export was a best selling drum set for many years, surely Pearl wouldn't drop the ball and offer a lesser quality sound with the Vision? Of course not! Those guys at Pearl are good at their jobs. The Vision sounds remarkabley good for a mid-level set and improves upon the sound of the Export.
The rack toms have a deep, warm sound just as you'd expect from maple shells. And when played with the floor tom, it's noticeable how well they all blend together, each giving a solid, fat note. They're not as loud as some other sets, but they do have a quality musical tone.
Throwing some rim shots and rolls at the 14"x5.5" snare drum prooved that it was up to the task. It has a crisp, sweet sound that is rounded out by the warmth of the maple shell.
There's plenty of sensitivity too, and the lightest touch will give you a pleasing sound. It isn't as loud as the steel snares found on the other sets in the series, but playing rim shots still gives a quality snap!
The bass drum was equally fun to play, but needed a bit of time messing around with some dampening to find best sound. With that done, it has a full, deep note with plently of punch, but not so much that it sounds blunt.
Wether you want a tight pop sound, jazz sound, or a fat rock sound, the VMX offers a good tuining range thanks to it's standard shell sizes. I personally liked it tuned slightly higher were the notes rang out well, but it could get a little 'boxey' sounding if you crank it way up.
This kit not only does a great job of replacing the Export Series, it offers even better quality, sound, and finshes too. When you take into account that there are four sets available in the series to suit different budgets, it's looking like a real winner for Pearl.
With well made shells, decent 2-ply ProTone heads, some nice finish options, and a good sound, the Pearl Vision Series is a standout drum set at this price level. The maple VMX set isn't the loudest in the world, but there is the all birch VBX available too which gives a much more attacking and loud sound if that's what you want.
Any downsides? Only that there isn't any hardware included with the VMX set. The cheaper VX, VSX, and VBX sets all have Pearl's 900 series hardware as standard. But, I guess the cost of the maple shells on the VMX means that including hardware would drive the price up to high.
What about the price? The Vision is one of the best priced mid-level sets around at the moment. Especially because you can choose a cheaper or more expensive set in the series depending on what features are important to you. It is a little more expensive than the Export was, but it offers so much more quality, and there's a free lifetime warranty. Where's the cheapest place to buy it? Here's the cheapest site i've found. They usually have the lowest price and sometimes free delivery too, so I recommend checking them out for the best deal!
The final word: mid-level sets are perhaps the biggest selling in any drum company's range. Here Pearl have made sure that the Vision Series is very much in the picture as potentially the best-selling. Good quality, good sound, good price.
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