Pearl Roadshow 4-Piece Drum Set Review: A Great Set for Beginners
When you talk about drums, one of the names that always comes up is Pearl. They have consistently been at the top of the drumming food chain for years, making quality products at reasonable prices, with many top artists swearing by their hardware.
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The Pearl Roadshow 4 piece kit is an entry-level drumset that functions well for beginners to learn the basics on. Amateur drummers, and those looking for a basic practice kit, would also get good use out of this model.
Priced very reasonably, this is a set that is meant to grow with you, so we wanted to see for ourselves if the asking price is warranted. Keep reading for all the details.
At a Glance – Our Initial Thoughts
Pearl certainly knows how to make a kit look enticing. This model has 5 different colors you can pick from on the shells, giving it a sleek look that will immediately make people take notice.
It is slightly smaller than a normal kit, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are just starting out. Learning drums is all about technique, with the quality of sound the instrument produces being secondary. Even though it would be nice to own a professional-grade kit to learn on, not everyone can afford that. Furthermore, it is better to make a small investment when starting out, to see how much you really enjoy drumming and decide how far you want to go with it.
We think this kit would suit those that are just starting out very well. With its smaller size, it works perfectly for kids as well as adults, and if you don’t have much space, it can be squeezed into small rooms easily. With the ability to make upgrades as you go along, this is an attractive drum set that can potentially provide you years of use.
What’s in the Box?
Inside the box, you will find everything you need to get started playing, and it sets up in a standard 4-piece configuration.
Your low end comes from the 18 x 12 bass drum, a 7-inch rack tom, and 14-inch floor tom provide punchy fills and a 13 x 5-inch snare drum to bring it all to life. Included on the kit are a pair of 14-inch hi-hat cymbals, and a 16-inch crash/ride cymbal.
Keeping everything upright is the hardware, all of which is double-braced for maximum support and performance. You get a boom cymbal stand, hi-hat stand, and another for your snare.
Rounding out the hardware are chain-driven hi-hats and bass drum pedals, legs for the bass drum and floor tom, a rack tom holder, and a drum throne. The bass drum beater includes a locking clamp to secure it to the drum, so it doesn’t shift while playing.
How Does It Stand Out?
Small Size, Large Sound
One of the knocks on this kit is that it feels a bit small, making it more of a “junior” kit, than a full-size acoustic drum set. While that can be true, the sound is anything but small.
Each drum has a silver finish over its 9 ply, 7mm poplar shells, which provide bright high-end and mid-range tones with plenty of low end for a smooth overall sound. Poplar shells are mainly used in entry-level kits for their decent quality and inexpensive price point. 1.2mm triple-flanged hoops around each drum allow for them to resonate well, adding nice overtones to the overall sound of the kit. The cymbals do a good job providing accents at the right parts.
Make no mistake, it might be a touch on the smaller side, but adults can still play on it, and it will still make enough noise to potentially annoy your neighbors.
Customize To Your Liking
One of the nice things about this kit is that you can expand on it easily. As you progress, you may want to fine-tune the settings to suit your playing style. There are many ways you can expand upon this kit.
The addition of dampeners on your drum heads can help take out the ring, sustain, overtones they produce, helping you control how they react to your playing. Dampening rings that cover the perimeter of your drum head is one way to achieve this. Another way is to invest in damper pads, which are small silicone pads that can be stuck to the drum head. These are very popular as they are usually cheaper and just as effective option.
Another option to get a tone you are looking for is to just swap out the drum head completely. Different heads will produce different tonal characteristics. So if you are looking for a rock sound compared to a jazz sound, or a more distinctive snare tone, you can get that by changing the heads out.
The cymbals that come with this kit are adequate, but nothing ground-breaking. Again, for a beginner kit, they work fine, but cymbals are one of the easier parts of a kit to upgrade. As this kit has only one crash (and it’s a hybrid ride/crash), you will probably want to invest in a few other cymbals at some point. There are many types of cymbals that come in various sizes and are forged from different materials, all of which affect the sound they make. You will also need stands for any add-on cymbals, which can be standalone, or boom style which can hold more than one and provide precision placement.
Depending on your style, you may want to upgrade the snare wires, as they can change the tone and reactivity of your snare. Jazz players tend to favor a “sloppy” sounding snare, whereas rock music favors a snare that cuts through the music well. More wires will produce brighter tones, whereas less will produce a more “pure” drum sound.
This kit comes with pedals to control the bass drum and hi-hats, but many drummers will eventually upgrade them to a pedal that is more to their liking. The reason for this usually feels and response time, and in some cases, it can be because a drummer wants to add in a secondary bass drum pedal for those metal beats.
The Roadshow comes with a single rack tom, and a floor tom, but you can always add more in if you wish. A lot of drummers prefer kits with a variety of tones to choose from, so you can add in a secondary rack tom and even 2 or 3 more floor toms. It all depends on how much you want to Frankenstein your kit.
What shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated is the type of stick you use for drumming. Like guitar picks are to a guitarist, drum sticks can drastically affect the sound of your drumming. The proper stick for you will relax and improve your playing, instead of feeling heavy and stiff. In addition, you could try 20 different sticks on the same cymbal and get 20 different sounds from it. The stick taper, tip, weight, length, and grip all contribute to your physical performance as well as the sound that is produced. Sticks are one of the cheapest customizable upgrades you can mess around with to help get the sounds you are looking for.
As you will be spending 100% of your time behind the kit in the sitting position, you will want a throne that is as functional as it is comfortable. It’s nice that Pearl includes a throne with this package, as they can easily run you upwards of $100 for a basic seat, with more elaborate and comfortable models commanding as much as $300. Again, this is something that can be upgraded in time if you find the stock throne is uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time.
This 4 piece drum set is hard to beat when it comes to the price. As it includes everything in the box, you don’t have to plunk down any extra money upfront, and at just over $400 USD you are getting a kit that will function well and you can spend lots of time learning on. The hardware is of good quality for the price point, and if you do decide to upgrade parts of the kit, you have a running start with the foundation Pearl gives you in this set.
Our Final Thoughts
This is a model that has its limitations, but overall, the Pearl Roadshow drum kit is a great set for beginners to learn the art of drumming on.
Does it have top of the line drum heads? Nope.
Does it have the best cymbals? Not really.
Are there nicer kits out there? Sure, but they are also a lot more money.
Drum heads and cymbals are customizable pieces that can be upgraded in time as you become more comfortable with drumming and have a better-trained ear for such things.
What it does offer is an excellent foundation of drum shells, hardware, and overall playability. You probably won’t be taking this kit to any professional studios and recording with it, but you should get good mileage on it practicing at home and jamming with friends.
At around $400, it is one of the best entry-level kits available today and should be seriously considered for anyone that is interested in becoming a drummer.
If this acoustic drum is not what you were looking for, check out our Best Acoustic Drum Set Under $1000 Post.