Every time I try a new product from Pearl, it’s usually a step forward, so when I had the chance to have a crack at the new Decade Maple (DMP), my expectations were high. It replaces the outgoing Vision model but it offers so much in its place and for a price point that is really hard to beat.
I got to try two main configurations. First up was a 22x18 bass drum 10x7 and 12x8 toms, 16x16 floor tom with an added 8x7” tom and a matching 14x5.5” snare drum. The other combination I got to try was a full rock 24x14 bass drum, 13x9 tom and 16x16 floor tom.
The new Decade Maple features all-maple 6ply/5.4mm shells made with Pearl’s SST tech, wood bass drum hoops with a matching finish, 1.6mm steel triple flanged hoops, new designed NDL mini lugs that look great, Opti-Lock Mounting system for toms, 900 series Uni-Lock tom holders plus Remo UT Clear Ambassador Tom heads with UT Powerstroke3 Remo bass drum heads front and back with the front already ported. The drums can also be purchased with and without a full 900 Series Hardware pack in any configuration and even come with a pillow for the bass drum and pre-drilled hole as well as a lifetime warranty and five killer finishes – Solid Yellow, White Satin Pearl, Satin Brown Burst, Gloss Deep Red Burst and Satin Black Burst.
The drums look really great and have all the usual quality fittings you’d expect from Pearl. The price really does buy you a solid piece of kit and the additional functionality of the mounting hardware will not go unnoticed on a gig.
Let’s start with the bass drums. I got to hear the 22” bass drum from behind the kit and out front and to be honest, out front was massive, which is good to know. There’s just a fundamentally low natural note from this drum so even with the heads slacked off, there’s still heaps of balls. The 24” was also massive but the 14” depth gives real punch – think old school rock vibe. I love that manufacturers are thinking about things and understanding that players crave these options.
The drums are actually fairly thin at six plies of 5.4mm so this equates to a really open and wide sound. There’s real depth in the sound across all the drums – snare included. The fact that you’re dealing with an all maple shell just means you’re in business from the get go, and I found the shells gave that projection and clarity that you associate with this type of wood. Clear single ply heads as standard with no dampening tuned well and produced a focussed sound. The drums perhaps don’t have the ultimate complexity and depth of flavour of the Masters, but in the mix or under mics, you wouldn’t really care. With some 2ply heads, they’d be mighty. How much was this kit again?
I loved the roundness from the smaller drums and the depths from the floor tom. It matched the bass drum really well. I love a kit that entices you to play from the way it responds to you, and I got that with this so-called ‘budget’ kit. The snare drum was a real surprise too. Great fittings overall, and as mentioned, a natural depth and fatness to the sound with the ability to leave it a little lower tuned if necessary. A great match to the kit for very little outlay.
Drummers or all levels would be into this Decade Maple. I don’t know how Pearl can produce these drums at this price point but it’s awesome.
The configurations they’re offering too are killer, as the big rock 24/13/16 is super affordable and will cater to players who just want that type of kit as an option but don’t want to spend $10k. You can also spec or order any individual drum you want, so really, there’s something for everyone. An 8” drum starts at $169.00, and the additional snare drum is great value at $259.00, so basically you can’t go wrong.
Hits and Misses
Unreal value with good configuration options
All-maple thinner shells
Great hardware and fittings
Stock heads won’t last long