Yamaha Maple Custom Drumset
The drummer of my current band has a 7 piece maple custom set which I have had the pleasure of recording on many occasions. I had previously regularly recorded a Tama Swingstar set, and I could get decent sound out of it with another playing around, but this Maple Custom set is in a whole other league.
First off it's an absolutely gorgeous drum kit. The one he got was the blue sparkle set, and in the pics you expect the sparkly to be kinda tacky looking, but in person it's super cool and has this awesome, vintagey look about. Like any kit, you have to make sure it's got nice heads and is well tuned. Drummer and I went through and played with a bunch of heads and messed with the tuning according to the Drum Tuning Bible (who recommended this set specifically, by the way), and after getting all tweaked, the tones we get out these drums are absolutely phenominal. Playing with those cheaper sets in the past always seemed ok, but it never seemed to have the power and character that I'd heard on records and with professional live acts, and now I knew why.
Like so many things in recording, great sound starts with player and instrument. It was so apparent after getting this set all tweaked that capturing a great performance suddenly got a lot easier. The first basic recording I did on these drums sounded better than all the drum recordings I'd ever made previously. It's a real eye opener when your record a good player on a good set and realize that your cheap mics actually sound pretty good, and all this time, it's the player or the instrument that wasn't right in some way or another. That taught me a valuable lesson that has carried over to my approach to every instrument, and even how I percieve recorded sound.
If you're looking for a beutiful drumset with top-notch pro sound, this is one of the best sets money can buy, and for good reason. If you're in the market for a serious kit and have been eyeing kits from DW and Pearl, make sure you take a look at these, they are a serious contender.