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PDP By DW 5-Piece Review: Comes with Only The Shells

The Concept series is an attractive shell pack kit that takes a boutique-style approach to drum craftsmanship.

Made by DW (Drum Workshop), the Pacific Drums & Percussion (PDP) line aims to offer consumers a high-end drum kit at an affordable price. This is no easy task as top tier sets can run thousands of dollars, and these shells hover around the $700 mark.

But word on the street is that they are good. Really good.

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Can DW really provide affordable drum shells that have all the hallmarks of high-quality drums? We explore this kit in full detail in the article below.

At a Glance – Our Initial Thoughts

At first glance, we were taken aback by how beautiful this kit looks. A 5-piece configuration will supply you with all the necessary shells you need, and there is even a 7-piece version if you are looking for a bit more flexibility with your playing.

This is definitely an intermediate-level kit, but don’t let its status fool you. It sounds great even with the stock heads, and with a few minor tweaks, you can have it rivaling most pro-level kits. A big reason why the PDP line can keep the cost down while providing what compares to a high-end DW level kit is due to the fact its made in China. American-made kits will always command a higher price, but the Concept series comes so close in sound and craftsmanship that many shouldn’t think twice about flocking to it.

We think anyone that is a serious musician will love playing this set. You can use it for not only practice but also gigging/touring, and recording sessions as well. As you will find out the further you read, the only question you should be asking is what color should you purchase it in.

What’s in the Box?

So what do you get when you plunk down your hard-earned cash? 100% maple drum shells in a 5-piece configuration.

The toms and kick drums are all 7-ply, while the snare gets the 10-ply treatment to help cut through the mix.

Sizes are as follows: a beefy kick drum at 22” x 18”, rack toms at 8” x 10” and 9” x 12”, floor tom at 14” x 16”, and the snare at 5.5” x 14”.

Looking further at the shells, they are adorned in high-quality hardware accents: graduated counter hoop thickness, DW’s True Pitch tension rods, as well as dual-turret lugs, and die-cast claw hooks. If that wasn’t enough, the snare comes with a DW MAG throw-off, full chrome snare wares, carbon steel coils, and brass endplates. Mounting the rack toms is DW’s excellent suspension tom mount (STM) system that allows for maximum resonance during the performance.

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How Does It Stand Out?

Maple Madness

Maple shells are a staple of high-end kits. It used to be that the majority of drum sets were fashioned out of maple, but as technology advanced, there are now a variety of woods that drum shells are manufactured with.

However, maple still reigns supreme due to its ability to produce a warm, even tone, with plenty of resonance. It is also easy to manipulate to get a specific tone you are looking for, and it lasts a long time.

The toms and kick drum are all 7-ply, and the snare is outfitted in 10-ply. A thin ply produces a lower resonant frequency (toms and kick drum), whereas the thicker ply produces a brighter sounding drum that can cut through the mix well, which is essential for a snare drum.

Covering all shells are Remo heads that sound very good out of the box, although we would recommend swapping them out for a head that suits your style.

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Holy Impressive Hardware, Batman!

There are some very nice hardware accents on these shells, as they are taken from the DW arsenal.

The True Pitch tension rods allow you to tune with precision accuracy as they have about 20% more thread than standard rods, and they are secured well with dual-turret lugs. These lugs also secure die-cast claw hooks for the kick drum, while triple flange chrome hoops on the toms and snare allow versatility and full resonance.

Rack mounting the toms is simple with the STM system that secures them firmly over the kick drum, while allowing them to vibrate freely and resonant openly with each strike.

Finally, the MAG throw-off on the snare has horizontal tension adjustment and easily adjustable action. Fully chrome wires, carbon steel coils, and brass end plates are further proof of high-end touches, and when released you will have zero buzz flavored into the snare sound.

Color Your World

A beautiful lacquer finish shows how much attention to detail PDP put into these shells. They are extremely pleasing aesthetically and come in 8 different colors you can choose from: black sparkle, blue sparkle, cherry stain, natural, pearlescent black, pearlescent white, red to black fade, and silver to black fade.

No doubt you will have a hard time choosing, but regardless of your choice, you really can’t go wrong and will love looking at them.

Does this kit come with cymbals?

It does not. This kit is a shell pack, meaning the only things you are purchasing are the drum shells. All other parts of the kit (stands, pedals, cymbals, throne) must be purchased separately.

Do I need to buy hardware for it?

The only hardware that is included is pertinent to the drum shells themselves – meaning, you will only get hardware like legs for the floor tom and bass drum, and mounts for the rack toms.

Can I expand this kit?

You sure can! There is actually a 7-piece version of the Concept kit that includes an additional 8” x 7” rack tom, and a secondary floor tom measuring 12” x 14”. As this additional rack tom can only be secured to a cymbal stand, PDP includes the mount for you. There are also optional drum sizes available on PDP’s website if you decide you want to change the shells.

Do these shells have a wrap or lacquer finish?

PDP is aiming for a high-end intermediate kit with this Concept series, so they use a lacquer finish, which looks quite stunning.

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Our Final Thoughts


If you are looking for a well-priced set of shells at the intermediate level, you should seriously consider the Concept series from PDP, as they have a lot of upsides and very little downside.

Yes, this model doesn’t come with anything other than the shells, but as an intermediate level drummer, you will most likely already own a kit and you can use the stands, cymbals, pedals, and throne from it.

We love that DW has produced a drum set that is affordable but doesn’t skimp on any areas of these shells. It is overwhelmingly evident that a lot of thoughtful planning and work has gone into their creation, and we think you will undoubtedly have a blast using them to further your artistic progression.

For drums in this price range, you will be hard-pressed to find a model that can rival what the Concept series offers.

If this acoustic drum is not what you were looking for, check out our Best Acoustic Drum Set Under $1000 Post.

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