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Thread: DW Performance Series Drum Kit Review

  1. #1

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    Default DW Performance Series Drum Kit Review

    This is a review for the DW Performance Series drum kit. The Performance Series is DW’s newest family edition with the softest price point of all DW series drums. With the exception of three 1 mm rolled steel snare drums, all Performance Series shells are constructed from plys of North American Hard Rock Maple, which are hot then cold pressed. The tom shell sizing is what DW refers to as fundamentally accurate sized toms or FAST. Consistent with DW’s attention to wood grain orientation, the Performance Series shells are straight shells designated HVX (Horizontal, Vertical, Cross or 45º). Grain orientation for an 8 ply shell would be, from outer in inner ply; H, V, V, H, V, V, H, X. Eight inch toms are 7 plys, snares are 10 plys and all other shells are 8 plys. All shells have 45º bearing edges. Shell sizes for the kit I’m reviewing is as follows:

    √ 8 x 10 tom, 6 lug, 1.6 mm triple flange hoop
    √ 9 x 12 tom, 6 lug, 2.3 mm hoop
    √ 12 x 14 FT, 8 lug, 2.3 mm hoop
    √ 14 x 16 FT, 8 lug, 2.3 mm hoop
    √ 18 x 22 undrilled kick, 10 lug, lined die cast claws
    √ 6.5 x 14 snare, 10 lug, 3 mm hoop

    DW introduced this series toward the end of 2010. The series is manufactured at their plant in Oxnard, CA. The configuration and finish I was interested in was not available locally when I was ready to purchase this kit. I ordered the kit from a retailer and waited for my order to be manufactured. Although the Performance Series is not a custom order kit, it will be made to order if not immediately available through a retailer. The kit was delivered 22 weeks from the time of order.


    The drum kit was delivered well boxed (10” tom was a separate purchase). They packed the shells in boxes within boxes which did a good job of securing and protecting the contents. There were floor tom legs protruding a couple of inches out of one box, but there was no damage to the legs or other contents of that box. The kit was ordered in Ebony Stain Lacquer. The finish out of the boxes was flawless. It has an automotive grade clear coat that feels very durable when tapped with a fingernail. The shell’s interiors are also protected with the clear coat. The Ebony Stain Lacquer takes on a different look depending on the lighting. Low light and it appears black. Adequate lighting and the wood grain pops through the finish. I’ve had it under some LED stage lighting and it takes on an almost dark purple appearance with the visible grain.

    The kit was factory tuned and outfitted with DW / Remo drum heads. The kick and toms have a single ply coated / clear head (coated control ring) for the batters and a clear reso head for the toms. The kick reso is a black logo head with 6 dime size mini ports that run the perimeter of the drum head. The snare batter is a coated single ply with a reverse dot and a hazy type reso head. The collars on the tom heads are crimped, while the snare head is glued. I’m very pleased with the sound produced with the stock drum heads, however I will be trying something new when the kit is due for head replacements. I was happy with the sound of the kick and toms out of the box before any tuning of my own. The kick drum ships with two light weight crescent moon shaped pillows installed in the drum. They are secured to the inner shell with hook & loop, resting against each head. One of the pillows had become loose in transit, requiring me to remove a head, affix and re-tune the drum head.

    The snare needed some tuning. I noticed two tuning rods on the snare were loose and could be removed by hand. Before tuning the snare I replaced the stock standard butt plate with a DW chrome 3-position butt plate. The Performance Series snare utilizes the DW mag throw-off. The action on the throw is smooth and gentle. It engages and disengages quickly with little effort. The tuning rods have a metric thread and require more turns of the drum key to remove than an imperial threaded rod. This is supposed to allow for more fine tuning of the drum head. Each rod is outfitted with two washers, 1 steel, 1 nylon. I tuned the snare to taste and configured the drum kit.

    The two rack toms are outfitted with DW’s Suspension Tom Mounts (STM) in chrome. I mounted them on a DW 9000 Series Double Tom Stand. There were two memory locks included with the kit for use with the rack toms. The STM does what it was designed to do and looks good doing it IMO. I haven’t noticed any choking or shortened sustain on these drums when mounted. The STM is not affixed to to the shell. It cradles the drum, holding onto 4 lugs. This leaves a little play in the drum when aggressively played or if pushed up from the bottom by hand. The two larger toms are both legged floor toms. Each leg includes a memory lock for consistent set-up. The kick drum has some solid and easily collapsible spurs. There is a rubber gasket or buffer between all shells, lugs and claws.

    I attached a DW kick pedal to the kick and used the plastic side of a stock beater. The 18 x 22 HVX kick drum is a beast IMO. Out of the box the drum is loud, has a wet attack / punch with a deep, booming report. I am very impressed with the 22” DWPS kick drum. The toms sound like DW drums, which is a sound I wanted when purchasing these. They have an assertive attack and a warm sustain to my ears. They achieve low notes while the heads maintain a rebounding, playable tension. The low notes emitting from the floor toms are impressive and seem to do a good job of projecting that bottom end. The 11 lb., 6.5” deep snare produces a low crack and adequate volume. Projection doesn’t appear to be an issue for this kit. It is marketed as being suited for live applications and I find this to be an accurate statement.

    I have found the drums to be easy to tune with the most challenging being the snare, but have since been able to get it where I want it. The shells are not timbre matched like other DW line of drums, however the pitch intervals between the shells is spot on. There is no mistaking the tonal qualities of one tom to the next. Other smalls included were; DW polishing cloth, drum key, drill key, rubber hoop protector, DVD, 2 extra kick tuning rods and 3 extra tom tuning rods.

    The DWPS has really met or exceeded my expectations. For someone looking to buy a pro-level production drum kit I would highly recommend this line of drums be given careful consideration.

    Last edited by areFish; 01-07-2012 at 12:47 AM.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: DW Performance Series Drum Kit Review

    Nice review man. For the amount of time they took to arrive, you'd be hoping they would be something special lol
    Pdp LXE | Pearl ELX Export

    'Give me your fingernails, oh look, the moon' - Todd Sucherman.

  3. #3

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    Outstanding. Nice write up.

  4. #4

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    Great Write up...sounds like the kick is a beast

  5. #5

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    I really wish I waited and got this kit instead of my Pdp MX kit (not thats its bad, I love it but Im only now getting to play it now after owning it for over two years). Im glad DW caught up and made a production kit.

  6. #6

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    Drumstix, Marko, Longgun, Yoda,

    Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by areFish View Post
    Drumstix, Marko, Longgun, Yoda,

    Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it.
    Kind of sounds like a Star Wars band

  8. #8

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    The kit looks absolutely stunning, man! I bet they sound better than they look! Especially with the virgin kick you have there. For the time it took DW to make your kit, you had to know it was going to be something special. Congrats on a wonderful kit areFish. I wish I was you right about now-ish...
    So itchie, how did the kick sound?
    Quote Originally Posted by itchie
    like godzilla humping a mountain
    Quote Originally Posted by CycleDude View Post
    You, my friend, owe me a keyboard... I just spit coffee all over mine...
    Get counted! http://www.drumchat.com/showthread.p...ers-12079.html

    Check it.
    http://www.reverbnation.com/allihave

  9. #9

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    Hey thanks Jordison515! Kind words my man, I appreciate it.

  10. #10

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    That was a good read, thanks for your review Ryan! I agree about the kick haha, it's an absolute beast. I just put the frost coated EC2 heads on mine, with an Emad2 and EC Reversed dot(2 ply) on my Aluminum snare, I absolutely love the sound I'm getting out of these. ESPECIALLY the kick, the EMAD 2 was made for this kick. However next time around, I believe I will go with G2's for the heads. I like the sound I'm getting now better than I did with the stock heads, however I think they will sound even better with the more open sounding G2's.
    Dw | Zildjian | Pro-Mark | Evans

  11. #11

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    Hey thanks Ciz. I'm trying to decide on which heads I will try first myself. I'm thinking about coated G plus on the toms and a GMAD on the kick. I've yet to try Aquarian though.

  12. #12

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    Man this is killing me. I can't wait to get my kit
    DW Performance Series
    Peavey Radial Pro RBS-1
    Roland TDW-20

    Gibraltar rack system
    Sabian AA/AAX/HHX/Vault
    Tama pedals

  13. #13

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    I really like that finish. Its black but its not solid black, you still have grain.
    Too Much Stuff.

  14. #14

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    Somehow missed this. Thanks for the review arefish!
    - Tom

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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    Somehow missed this. Thanks for the review arefish!
    No problem Drummer. A year and a half later and the review remains the same. No remorse.

  16. #16

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    How about now? LOL

    I read through your review as i apparently hadn't seen this either. I just got my performers yesterday and haven't had any time with so I look forward to comparing kits and see if there is consistency.

    Great write up, Fish.
    Signature here

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    How about now? LOL

    I read through your review as i apparently hadn't seen this either. I just got my performers yesterday and haven't had any time with so I look forward to comparing kits and see if there is consistency.

    Great write up, Fish.
    Thanks Bish and congrats on your new kit (if you had a nickel for every time you heard that…). Of you happen to be a Tune-Bot user, I've got setting numbers that will make your new kit sound sweet IMO.

  18. #18

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    I don't know how I missed this sweet kit and great review as well AreFish. Man, that is a beauty! I love black kits!!!

    I don't have a Performance kit, but I am a Tune-Bot user and would be insterested in your settings if you woudn't mind sharing.
    "it is what it is"

    "Dont rent anything you cant afford to burn in the backyard while drunk." - ThePloughman

  19. #19

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    Excellent review. Have you played a pdp Platinum kit by any chance? If so, could you compare the two? I've heard the two kits are basically the same (I've only ever played the Platinums myself) and I was wondering if you found this to be true or exaggeration.
    .
    kits:
    Mapex Saturn IV -- Transparent Espresso Walnut (10-12-14-16-22)
    RMV Bapeva shell -- Blue Sparkle (12-14-16-22)

    snares:
    14x6.5 Yamaha seamless brass
    14x6.5 Taye Metalworks vintage brass
    14x6.5 Taye Metalworks stainless steel
    14x6 Tama Starphonic brass
    14x6 Pork Pie maple
    10x6 Pork Pie maple

    cymbals:
    14" K's and New Beats

    20" Byzance Sand Ride
    20" K Custom Dark Ride
    21" HHX Legacy Ride
    20" and 22" Dream Contact Crash/Rides

    15" AAX Dark Crash
    16" Signature Fast Crash
    18" Saluda Earthworks Crash
    20" Crash of Doom

    8" A Custom splash
    10" Signature splash

    electronics:
    Roland SPD-30
    Alesis Sample Pad Pro

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrummerD View Post
    I don't know how I missed this sweet kit and great review as well AreFish. Man, that is a beauty! I love black kits!!!

    I don't have a Performance kit, but I am a Tune-Bot user and would be insterested in your settings if you woudn't mind sharing.
    Thank you DD! Here are those TB settings:

    TOMS
    8x10 = 240 batter, reso
    9x12 = 185 batter, reso
    12x14 = 152 batter, 147 reso
    14x16 = 109 batter, 104 reso

    KICK
    18x22 = 65 batter, reso

    I don't use the TB on my snare.

    Quote Originally Posted by soren-k View Post
    Excellent review. Have you played a pdp Platinum kit by any chance? If so, could you compare the two? I've heard the two kits are basically the same (I've only ever played the Platinums myself) and I was wondering if you found this to be true or exaggeration.
    Thank you. I don't have any experience with the Platinum Series by PDP. Great drums from what I've read. I don't believe they are the same as the DWPS as the Platinum was a standard shell I believe and the Performance is a HVX shell.

  21. #21

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    Good review I saw a similar kit at GC ( sAme finish different sizes) and I realy like the way it looked with the wood grain and I think it will be my next kit just 24" kick would you say these are better than renowns.
    Sabian!!!

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by HolyChina View Post
    … would you say these are better than renowns.
    So's not to offend the Gretsch crowd, I would not say that (out loud in a public forum ).

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by areFish View Post
    I don't use the TB on my snare.
    Any particular reason? Just curious.

    Thanks for sharing your settings!
    "it is what it is"

    "Dont rent anything you cant afford to burn in the backyard while drunk." - ThePloughman

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrummerD View Post
    Any particular reason? Just curious.

    Thanks for sharing your settings!
    It doesn't, at least for me, give a good consistent reading on a higher tension head, especially the thin snare side head.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by areFish View Post
    So's not to offend the Gretsch crowd, I would not say that (out loud in a public forum ).
    It would be just a opinion and possibly just fact
    Sabian!!!

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