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Drum Forums => Drum Forum - Drummers Discussions - General => Topic started by: woodpro on January 08, 2012, 07:39:28 PM

Title: Reference vs Reference pure Any thoughts?
Post by: woodpro on January 08, 2012, 07:39:28 PM
Hi, I have a Pearl Sessions Custom set 8-10-12-14-16 & 22x18 all maple and want to upgrade to the reference or pure. I'm leaning toward the reference. I also want to add the 18x18 as well as a set of Rocket toms or the tama version. Has anyone played the the reference or own them? or any other thoughts.  Thanks!!!!

Title: Re: Reference vs Reference pure Any thoughts?
Post by: KenSanders on January 09, 2012, 12:28:03 AM
I have played them at the NAMM show and they are truly very well made drums.  The Refererence Pure, as I recall had lower mass lugs, thinner shells, and specialized bearing edges.  So I believe the goal was more sustain from each drum.

But other than selecting beautiful and wonderfully crafted drums....it's still a matter of your personal preferences, for how the drums should set up and tuned for your performance needs, that dials in that "perfect drum sound" you hear in YOUR head.

After all, you choose the drum heads and decide how you are going to tune each drum....what the interval gaps are beween the top and bottom heads....and of course the 'feel".  THAT's the main thing that determines how your drums will ultimately sound.

Plus, if you play mostly mic'd up, then you are likely wanting more control of certain tone characteristics than someone who doesn't. For example, if you usually play your drum without mics and tuned “wide open" you MAY be interested in a much different drum designs....shell material and construction......sizes, etc.....and of course drum heads.

In my years of playing hundred of different drums, I find that although a drum series may have certain tonal characteristics that are easier to achieve (warmth, resonance, boosted low end....or mids....or highs); it's still a matter of how you utilize and optimize (or minimize) those  “built in” characteristics. For a simple example..... not everyone actually wants a bass drum with tons of resonance..   They might really prefer quick decay....or quicker reponse from using a more narrow depth..... 12" or 14"  vs.  18" or 20"

You can certainly select drums with the "built in" characteristics that you prefer already inherent to the design.  That's why some drummers (i.e. Steve Gadd) might choose a narrow depth maple shell bass drum, and yet use standard depth birch toms.  He has a sound, and feel, and pitch intervals in mind for his “ideal” drum sound.  I think that’s important to think about.  Steve Gadd can have ANY bass drum in the world…but for HIS needs, he chooses at 14” x 22” maple bass drum.

Another point for drums like the Pearl Reference (and Pure), the Yamaha PHX, and maybe the DW Jazz SERIES, is that the drum makers have spent a lot of time designing drums that maximize certain tone characteristics that they believe that particular size drum should have.  So, they have an “optimum sound" in mind for say a 16" x 16" Floor Tom, ….the sound and note that drum wants to produce…..and where that drum will be designed to sound “best”.

But the REAL question is.....what is YOUR optimum sound for a 16" x 16" Floor Tom is?

So my advice is go to a professional drum shop that will let you play some demo drums. At any rate, you are going to make quite an investment, so it is reasonable for you to "test drive".....basic play and hear which drums achieve the sounds YOU like most easily and naturally. Whether it is drums, guitars, microphones, golf clubs...whatever.....the newest thing out is not always the best fit for your needs.

Otherwise, you could end up with a great high-end drum set.....but you might have to really struggle with it to make it sound the way YOU want a set of drums to sound.......when another drum series could have done that much easier.

As drummers we toally get this "designed for a specific purpose" concept with snare drums and cymbals.  We now that the beatiful handcrafted 6 1/2" x 14" 1 ply endangered species wood drum is not going to sound "right" for us if we prefer the sound of a 3 1/2" x 14" brass shell snare drum.  We know that a toatally awesome looking brilliant finsh 20" Rock Crash Cymbal won't be as versatile as a 18" Medium Thin Crash, although you might need the extra power for the venues you're playing.  We are sometimes just a little slower in applying it to toms and bass drums.

Title: Re: Reference vs Reference pure Any thoughts?
Post by: woodpro on January 09, 2012, 09:36:09 PM
Thanks Ken for the feedback, I'll take your advise before I buy. Back in the early 80s I worked for Paul Reed Smith and learned a lot about how each piece of wood would effect the natural sound of a guitar. So the whole idea of the reference set makes a lot of sence to me. I'm still not shore on the set up I want and will have to figure that out as well. I mostly play christian music at church with no mics. Then classic rock, latin and some funky stuff for my enjoyment. Thanks again, Mike

Title: Re: Reference vs Reference pure Any thoughts?
Post by: KenSanders on January 10, 2012, 02:44:07 PM
The new Reference Pure may be a great choice for your needs, because the increased sustain should help in a purely accoustic situation.

If that it is series that you choose then it becomes a matter of determing what sizes best accomplish the tuning sequences (pitch intervals) you want without compromizing the optimum note range or choking the drum.

I found out by working on a set about five years ago with DW's John Goode, that a tom set of 8", 10", 12", 15", and 18" covered my desired pitches much better than the typical 8", 10", 12", 14", 16' configuration did.  Conversely a 16" x 22" bass drum helped reduce ring without loosing the desired deeper note.  I am not saying those sizes will work best for you.  I am just suggesting that you considered alternatives over the "standard production-line" sizes.